ESO-Enews #21: March 2012

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 88  Call for Proposals for Period 90
 Deadline 29 March 2012


The Call for Proposals for observations at ESO telescopes during Period 90 (1 October 2012 - 31 March 2013) has been released.

Proposers are strongly encouraged to check the Call for Proposals for late breaking news items and a description of instruments and policies. ISAAC proposals are accepted on a limited basis as ISAAC is likely to be decommissioned during the period to allow for the installation of SPHERE. NACO will be unavailable for six weeks in Period 90, and removed in 2013 to allow for the installation of MUSE. The Laser Guide Star Facility (LGSF) will be taken out of operation for ten weeks in Period 90. The MPIfR PI instrument FLASH is offered on APEX with the 345 GHz channel.

The deadline for proposal submission is 29 March 2012, 12:00 noon CEST. The full Call for Proposals and the ESOFORM electronic submission package can be obtained here.
It is the PI's responsibility to fully verify the proposal and upload all associated figures well ahead of the proposal submission deadline. Proposal submissions or requests for amendments that are received after the deadline will not be accepted.


The E-ELT Project Science Team is an advisory working group that will support the E-ELT programme during the construction phase. Tasks of the Project Science Team include responding to specific requests from the Programme Scientist and providing input and advice to ESO and the E-ELT programme. The Project Science Team is expected to participate in E-ELT reviews, contribute to the science plans and disseminate information to the ESO community.

ESO is seeking a representative group of scientists, covering scientific as well as technical expertise. Candidates should be ready to dedicate > 10% of their time to the project during the three-year appointment. The terms of reference for the Project Science Team can be found here.

Nominations should be submitted to Samantha Milligan ( Both self-nominations as well as nominations by supporters (individuals or groups) are welcome. The closing date is 31 March 2012. The E-ELT programme will start by contacting candidates thereafter, with the goal of completing the team by 30 April 2012.


ALMA Compact Array at the Array Operations Site (AOS)

ALMA started scientific operations on 30 September 2011. While the quality of the data being collected is excellent, the completion rate of projects is lower than planned. To increase the likelihood that most PIs of the highest priority Cycle 0 projects will receive scientifically valuable data sets, Cycle 0 will be extended until the end of 2012.

The observatory plans to release information regarding the capabilities and timeline for ALMA Early Science Cycle 1 in April 2012. The proposal deadline is expected to be in July 2012 with the start of Cycle 1observations at the beginning of 2013.

For more information see the Cycle 0 status report; progress of the ALMA project is available on the ALMA Science Portal at ESO.


The research studentship programme of the European Southern Observatory provides an outstanding opportunity for Ph.D. students to experience the exciting scientific environment at one of the world's leading observatories for a period of up to two years.

ESO's studentship positions are open to students enrolled in a university Ph.D. programme in astronomy or related fields. Students accepted into the programme work on their doctoral project under the formal supervision of their home university, but for a period of normally between one and two years they come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer. Studentships may be hosted either at ESO Headquarters in Garching (Germany) or at ESO Offices in Santiago (Chile), where additionally two positions per year are provided for students enrolled in South American universities. An article on the scheme can be found in West et al. 2009.

The studentship selection takes place on an annual basis. The closing date for applications is 15 June 2012.

More details are available here. For information about the application procedure and the required material, please see the ESO recruitment portal.


UltraVISTA Data Release 1

VISTAThe Public Surveys with the VISTA and VST telescopes are required to release their data.Following the successful publication of the data products from the VISTA public surveys VVV, VIDEO, VMC and VHS in December 2011 (see announcement), the first public data release from the UltraVISTA survey is available. The release consists of about ~ 87 GB of high quality data products for the COSMOS field, including deep images in YJHKs broad bands and NB118 narrow band, plus single band and multi-colour catalogues.

More information on the release is available. Data can be downloaded here.

ALMA Science Verification Datasets

Commissioning and Science Verification activities continue in parallel to ALMA Early Science Cycle 0. Scientifically validated datasets are posted on the ALMA Science Portal. Recently released data include: ALMA observations of the Galactic Centre region, a wide field interferometric image of the grand design spiral galaxy M100 and the millimetre flux and position of GRB110715A observed as part of a ToO SV test.

More information, along with raw and reduced ALMA datasets, are available on the Science Verification page.

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


The list of workshops organised by ESO can be found here.
Registration for the following workshops is open:

30 years of Italian participation to ESO

European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS 2012), Pontificia Università Lateranense, Rome, Italy, 2-3 July, 2012.

On May 24th 1982 Italy joined ESO becoming the 8th Member State. In the past 30 years Italy has made substantial contributions in terms of people, construction of telescopes (NTT, VLT and VST) and infrastructures, collaborations in the development of instrument components and the science programme. The aim of the Symposium is to review critically these past achievements. Contributed talks are especially solicited on new scientific work based on ESO facilities and proposals for Italian participation in future ESO projects.

The deadline for abstract submission is 7 April 2012. Further details are available here or by email to:

ALMA Community Days 2012: Early Science in Cycle 1

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, June 25-27, 2012.

The aim of the the 2012 ALMA Community Days will be to prepare the European astronomical community for Cycle 1 of ALMA Early Science Operations. The first day of the workshop will feature technical and scientific presentations related to ALMA, the European ARCand ALMA capabilities in Cycle 1. The remainder of the workshop will be dedicated to hands-on tutorials focussing on the preparation of Cycle 1 observing proposals using the ALMA Observing Tool (OT),with a choice of a compact 1-day tutorial or a more exhaustive 2-day session.

Further information will be available via the ESO Conferences and Workshops page and will appear here.

ESO@50 - the first 50 years of ESO

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 3 - 7 September 2012.

ESO 50th anniversary logoThis special workshop, announced in Enews #20, is part of the celebrations marking ESO's 50th anniversary this year. The meeting will consist of invited reviews and contributed talks and will focus on the main scientific topics in which ESO has made important contributions across the whole field of astronomy and astrophysics from the Solar System to cosmology.

Further details are available on the web page.

Joint ESO/MPA/MPE Workshop on Supernovae

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 10-14 September 2012.

The workshop will concentrate on the nature of supernovae and theexplosion physics. Topics will include supernova searches, light curves and spectra,progenitor systems, supernova remnants, nucleosynthesis and physics of supernova explosions.

Details will appear soon on the ESO Conferences and Workshops page.

Science from the Next Generation Imaging and Spectroscopic Surveys

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 15-18 October 2012.

Scientific results from the first two years of science operations of the VISTA public surveys, the first year of the VST public surveys and an overview of spectroscopic public survey projects at ESO will be presented and placed in the context of other ongoing or planned large optical and near-infrared imaging and spectroscopic surveys. The first results from the ongoing imaging public surveys from VISTA and VST will be featured through invited talks by the survey PIs. Other topics include science results by the community from use of public survey data. There will a panel discussion on how large collaborations and big projects exploit their data products and carry out data mining.

Deadline for registration and abstract submission is 2 July 2012.
Further details are available.

The Ecology of Blue Straggler Stars

ESO Offices, Santiago, Chile, 5 - 9 November 2012.

Poster for Ecology of Blue Stragglers workshopBlue straggler stars are stellar oddities that have been found in a wide variety of environments: open clusters, globular clusters, OB associations, dwarf spheroidal galaxies, and even in the field. Despite being known since the 1950s a coherent picture is not yet available.This first workshop on the topic aims at bringing together specialists of binary and multiple star systems, stellar evolution, stellar populations and cluster dynamics, both theoreticians and observers, to build a complete picture of the progress in the field. The format will consist of extended invited reviews, contributed talks and posters.

Registration date is 31 July 2012.
Further details are available and email inquiries to:

The First Year of ALMA Science

ESO Offices, Santiago, Chile, 12 - 15 December 2012.

The Joint ALMA Observatory in collaboration with all the ALMA partners is organizing an international conference focused on the first science resultsfrom Cycle 0 and commissioning and science verification data. The conference will take placeafter one year of ALMA Early Science Operations involving around 100 accepted proposals and will be the ideal forum to present the astronomical highlights from Cycle 0. As well as many exciting new science results, the conference will include a discussion of the scientific priorities for ALMA in the future.

More information will be available soon via the ESO Conferences and Workshops page.
Email inquiries to:


NEON Observing Schools 2012

10th Observing School: Asiago Observatory 10-22 September 2012

The NEON Consortium (Asiago Observatory, Calar Alto Observatory, ESO, Haute-Provence Observatory and La Palma Observatory) is organising a school in 2012. The purpose of these schools is to provide students with the opportunity to gain practical experience in observations and data reduction in astrophysics.

The participants will carry out observing runs on the 1.82-metre Cima Ekar and 1.22-metre Galileo telescopes followed by data reduction and analysis under the guidance of an experienced astronomer. Complementary lectures will be given by experts in the field, covering important observing techniques.

The school is open principally to PhD students or post-docs in astronomy who are nationals of a Member State or an Associated State of the European Union. Other applications will also be considered, depending on the available space, with a preference for candidates from countries surrounding the EU.

More details and the registration form are available.
The deadline for applications is 20 April 2012.