ESO-Enews #24: October 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.


During on-sky tests following the recent upgrade of the VLT Imager and Spectrometer for mid InfraRed VISIR, the instrument sensitivity was found to be out of specification. Therefore the instrument has not yet been re-attached to the telescope as various issues are still being worked on in order to properly diagnose the problem and quantitatively characterize the performance parameters. The situation is being analyzed and a short term as well as a long term recovery plan are being drafted. Until the instrument behaviour is fully understood and characterized, VISIR will not be available for operations for the rest of P90 (to end March 2013). Affected PIs have already been contacted.

Up-to-date Paranal news is always available and news of the upgrade will be posted under VISIR news.


Raw FEROS data from 2001-2003 available

As part of the ongoing effort of enabling access to historical ESO data, raw frames from the FEROS instrument taken between 2001-09-01 and 2003-10-15 have been recovered from offline media. The raw data are now available through the standard archive query form.

Since the files were not obtained with the standard ESO data collection system, it is possible that some of the files were mislabeled. Users are asked to exercise caution when working with those data.

If a user encounters any files with incorrect metadata, please inform

Phase 3 data format standard for spectroscopic data

In order to support the ESO spectroscopic surveys, the format standard for data products to be submitted via Phase 3 has been expanded and now includes spectroscopic data, i.e., extracted, calibrated, and fully characterized one-dimensional spectra.

The new ESO Science Data Products Standard (Issue 4, dated 15/10/2012) fully decribes the Phase 3 format standards. The data format standard for VISTA public survey products (images and catalogues) remains unchanged from Issue 3.

For more information about ESO archive services and to keep informed of the latest ESO archive developments, please visit


Cover of Europe to the StarsCover of The Jewel on the MountaintopThe Jewel on the Mountaintop - The European Southern Observatory through Fifty Years, authored by Claus Madsen of ESO, has been produced especially for the 50th anniversary. It contains 560 pages of ESO history with stories about the people behind the organisation and 150 historical photos and illustrations. Available at €49.90 from Wiley-VCH.

An illustrated 264-page coffee-table book, Europe to the Stars, has also been released for the 50th anniversary. The book, which also contains a 63 minute HD blu-ray film, contains 300 of the best images taken with ESO telescopes and can be purchased for €34.90 also from Wiley-VCH.