ESO-Enews #19: September 2011

A skyline shot of the Paranal Observatory taken in 2007 showing two more telescope enclosures in addition to the Very Large Telescopes(VLT). The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) shares the mountaintop with the VLT, while the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy(VISTA) rises on the hill to the right. In the foreground are the Residencia and the basecamp.

Important Deadlines

Call for Proposals for Period 89  Call for Proposals for Period 89
 Deadline 29 September 2011


The Call for Proposals for observations at ESO telescopes during Period 89 (1 April - 30 September 2012) has been released.

Proposers are strongly encouraged to check the Call for news items and a description of instruments and policies. VISIR is undergoing a major upgrade and is only available in the second part of the period. ISAAC proposals are accepted on a limited basis as it is likely to be decommissioned in P89 to allow for the installation of SPHERE. NACO maybe decommissioned at the end of the period in order to allow for the installation of MUSE.

In Period 89 there is also a final call for ESO/GTC proposals; details of the offered instrument modes are available.

The deadline for proposal submission for both the ESO and ESO/GTC cycles is 29 September 2011, 12:00 noon CEST. The full Call for Proposals and the ESOFORM electronic submission package can be obtained here.
In order to avoid last-minute problems, users are strongly encouraged to fully verify their proposal well ahead of its actual submission, using a preliminary version including all necessary technical information (see the ESOFORM manual for details).


ESO has an active fellowship programme in both Garching and in Chile, with a yearly application deadline. The goal of these fellowships is to offer young outstanding scientists the opportunities and facilities to enhance their research programmes in close contact with the activities and staff at ESO.

The closing date for applications for ESO Fellowships, to be taken up in 2012, is 15 October 2011. Full details can be found here. Applications should be made online through the ESO recruitment portal.


The International Max-Planck Research School on Astrophysics is a joint graduate school of the Max-Planck Institutes for extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) and Astrophysics (MPA), the Observatory of the Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU), the Astroparticle Physics groups at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Physics (MPP), and ESO. Applicants for IMPRS studentships should hold a Bachelor or Masters Degree or Diploma in Physics or Astronomy (or equivalent), including a corresponding thesis. Successful applicants will receive a tax-free allowance of about EUR 1200-1500 per month (depending on family status). Support in all administrative matters, such as visa, housing and access to free language classes, is provided.

More details on the IMPRS programme and the admission requirements can be found on the IMPRS website. All application material may be submitted by e-mail.

Closing date for applications is November 15, 2011 for the programme starting on September 1, 2012.


Phasing out of Optical Discs as a Delivery Option

Optical disk media (CDs and DVDs and more recently Blu-ray discs) have been an option for the delivery of archive requests and PI packages. Period 87 will be the last for which PI packages will be distributed on optical media.

New functionality has been introduced to enhance the on-line delivery of data through the domain “”. The incremental delivery of PI packages offers improved timeliness and the download manager supports the instant download of all ESO Archive Requests. Full documentation on these new procedures is provided in the Archive User Manual, and queries may be answered by the Archive FAQ. The Download Manager is planned as a replacement for the old ftp service and for the production of optical disks.
However, since massive data orders are sometimes requested, it is still planned to retain a service to deliver data on USB HDD for special circumstances. More details can be found here.

For more information about archive services or to subscribe to the archive RSS feed to stay informed on the latest archive developments, please visit


The list of workshops organised by ESO can be found here.
A number of ESO workshops are planned for 2012, including ones devoted to large area imaging surveys, blue stragglers and circumstellar dynamics as well as a worshop on early ALMA results. Workshops co-organised with other institutions include the MPA/ESO/MPE/USM Joint Astronomy Conference on supernovae, an ERC-ESA-ESO workshop on pipeline data analysis and a meeting on astrochemistry. These workshops will be announced in the near future. In addition a conference to celebrate the science legacy of 50 years of ESO (1962-2012) will be organised.

Registration for the following workshop is open:

Observing Planetary Systems II

ESO Santiago, Chile, 5-8 March, 2012

This workshop will bring together the two communities of Solar System and extra-solar planetary systems scientists to discuss, mostly from an observational standpoint, our understanding of the formation of our Solar System and its early chemistry, and how it fits with recent observations and current knowledge of the formation of planetary systems at large. Emphasis will be given to the capabilities provided by ALMA and the next generation of adaptive optics planet finders (e.g. SPHERE) to search for, and characterize, young planetary systems.

Further information can be found here and more details can be obtained by e-mail.