ESO Science Newsletter October 2023
19 Oct 2023

This newsletter is a summary of recent ESO Science Announcement items. Follow the links or visit ESO Science Announcements to read more.

Science Announcements

What Was That? – An ESO Workshop on Planning Follow Up for Transients, Variables, and Solar System Objects in the Era of LSST

11 Oct 2023:

Participants are invited to a workshop to prepare for effective follow up of alerts from the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) using European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes. This workshop will cover a broad range of science topics associated with variable, transient or moving objects that will be discovered in vast numbers by the LSST. It is intended to mix overview talks on how LSST will impact these fields, lessons learned from previous surveys and ESO programmes, the expected yield of discoveries from LSST, and the planned capabilities of ESO facilities in the coming decade. There will be invited talks that introduce the LSST, its alert brokers and other tools and services designed to enable follow-up observations. The workshop will include dedicated breakout sessions to plan broad community follow up programmes at ESO. Attendants of this workshop will be able to present their work with a poster/lightning talk. 

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Release of Band-to-Band High-Frequency Long-Baseline ALMA Test Data Taken in 2021

02 Oct 2023:

ALMA is releasing data acquired as part of the Extension and Optimisation of Capabilities effort (EOC). These data were taken as part of the High-Frequency Long-Baseline Campaign (HF-LBC-2021) during Cycle 7, which was organised to test the calibration and imaging capability of ALMA at high-frequencies (397 - 908 GHz, Band 8-10) and using long baselines (~16 km). One main priority was to make a final validation of the band-to-band (B2B) phase referencing observation mode in Bands 8, 9, and 10. This technique allows the calibration of high-frequency observations by using a phase calibrator observed at a lower frequency, e.g. pairing Band 10 target observations with a Band 7 phase calibrator. The campaign conducted validation tests observing a complex structure (non-point-source) target source, R Lep, a carbon-rich evolved star in Bands 8, 9, and 10. Details of the campaign is detailed by Asaki et al (2023 Aug ApJ accepted). The successful campaign helped lead to the opening of Bands 8-10 long-baselines during Cycle 9. R Lep in Bands 8, 9, and 10 are available for download.

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European ALMA School

02 Oct 2023:

The European ALMA Regional Centre network is organising an ALMA School that will be hosted by the UK ARC Node on 10 - 14 June 2024 in Manchester. This school is designed to provide training on a broad range of aspects related to ALMA, including interferometry, data calibration and imaging, the ALMA archive, analysis techniques, ALMA science, and future ALMA developments. For more details and registration please visit the meeting website.

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Period 113 Proposal Submission Statistics

27 Sep 2023:

The deadline for proposal submission for Period 113 (1 April 2024 - 30 September 2024) was 26 September 2023: 782 valid proposals were submitted, noting that submission of Large Programmes is not open in odd Periods.  On the VLT, the most demanded ESO instrument was MUSE with a request of 266 nights, followed by  X-Shooter with 169 nights and ERIS with 138 nights. HARPS/NIRPS on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope was the most demanded instrument at La Silla, with a combined request of 122 nights.

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La Silla Observing School 2024

27 Sep 2023:

La Silla Observing School 2024 will include lectures on the basics of observing techniques and will teach participants on how to prepare for observing with ESO telescopes. The participants will work on specific science projects within groups and observe with the NTT, the 3.6m and the ESO/MPG 2.2m telescopes at La Silla Observatory, after which they will reduce and analyse their datasets and present their findings to the public. Registration deadline is 30 October. 

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Raising the Veil on Star Formation Near and Far: A Conference in Honour of Richard Hills

18 Sep 2023:

Abstract submission is now open for the conference "Raising the veil on star formation near and far: a conference in honour of Richard Hills". This conference will bring together scientists from multiple areas to discuss the recent developments in understanding star formation both in our Galaxy and across the cosmic epochs, with focus on its elusive and obscured components. It will also be an occasion to commemorate the fundamental contribution in these areas by the late Richard Hills, former ALMA Project Scientist, about two years after his passing. Richard guided the development of instrumentation and observatories that have shaped our understanding of the cold and dusty Universe over the last 50 years both through his insightful technical understanding and his broad scientific knowledge of multiple areas of astrophysics.

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-related workshops

Metals trace the full evolution of the Universe: from primordial Helium and Lithium in the big-bang nucleosynthesis to all heavier elements produced in stars and explosive events. Determining their relative abundances in different environments, and across cosmic time, reveals the underlying star formation history and gas exchange processes. Recent progress in instrumentation and modelling now permits using metal production and distribution to test our ideas of galaxy evolution at many different hierarchical scales: from stellar clusters to clusters of galaxies. The hierarchical build up of present-day structures at different redshifts can also be followed, which goes in parallel with the build-up of stellar and metal mass. These processes are interwoven: during most of cosmic history metal production happens at stellar scales, but metal distribution is effective on spatial scales covering several orders of magnitude. Therefore simulations require exceptional computational power, and tracing metals across cosmic time needs an equivalent investment in observational facilities. In 2013 we held a meeting at the Observatoire de Paris to review the state of the art in all these different research areas.

Ten years later, the time has come to gather the scientific community and discuss the impact of the recent advent of massive spectroscopic surveys (e.g., APOGEE, LAMOST, the Gaia ESO survey, Gaia, GALAH,...), the Gaia astrometric mission and the now operative James Webb Space Telescope.


To commemorate its first decade of science operations, the ALMA partnership is organizing a conference that will take a look back at the observatory accomplishments, highlight its latest results and look forward to future technical developments.

The first decade of ALMA has led to many exciting discoveries, and has resulted in over 2800 publications and counting. As ALMA starts on its second decade of operations, it is implementing an ambitious development roadmap that will ultimately quadruple the system bandwidth and vastly improve ALMA's observing efficiency for both continuum and spectral line science.


This workshop will bring together a group of astronomers with expertise in the study of star formation and galaxy evolution at high redshift (Cosmic Noon and beyond, with a focus on higher redshifts). The goal of the workshop is to promote collaboration and develop a roadmap for future research in this field.

The meeting will be held in person at the ESO offices in Santiago/Vitacura and the number of participants will be limited to approximately 25 people. The workshop does not have a registration fee. Lunches and coffee breaks will be provided by ESO.

The deadline to register is 20th October.


The goal of this meeting is to encourage coordination in the communities who study the variable, transient and moving objects that the Vera C Rubin observatory’s LSST will discover vast numbers of, to figure out how best ESO’s facilities can provide the necessary follow up.

The workshop will take place at the ESO Headquarters in Garching near Munich and remotely (via MS Teams) from the morning of Tuesday, 23rd until noon of Friday 26th of January. Monday late afternoon/evening is planned for registration and get together.