Science Announcements

ALMA Cycle 7 Science Observations Status Update

Published: 16 Jul 2021

Cycle 7 PI science observations have been continuing, although with some significant interruption due to snowstorms at the end of May and in mid-June. Combined with pandemic conditions affecting maximum staffing levels at the site, this led to a delay in reaching the 12-m Array C43-7 configuration (completed on 12 July). Unfortunately, the delay has an impact on the configuration schedule for the remainder of Cycle 7.

Registration Open for "The ALMA 2030 Vision: A Next Generation of Front-End Receivers"

Published: 16 Jul 2021

Registrations are open for "The ALMA 2030 Vision: A next generation of front-end receivers" workshop. Abstracts can be submitted here until July 16, 2021. Potential participants can inquire with the organization about late submission of abstracts, via This workshop will be held online, in the week of September 27-30, 2021.

Amplitude Calibration Issue Affecting some ALMA Data

Published: 16 Jul 2021

A visibility amplitude calibration error that affects fields containing strong line emission has been discovered in ALMA interferometer observations up to and including Cycle 7. This calibration scaling error originates in the combined effect of correlator spectral normalization and Tsys calibration and affects both 12-m Array and Atacama Compact Array observations. The effect of this amplitude scaling error is most notable for observations of strong, relatively narrow spectral lines, typically related to Galactic ISM and Galactic star formation (e.g., molecular lines, masers, etc.).

Phase 2 Observations Preparation for Observing Period 108

Published: 15 Jul 2021

With the release of the telescope schedule, the preparation of Service Mode (SM) observations (Phase 2) starts. The deadline for the submission of the Phase 2 material for Period 108 observations is 12 August 2021.

Period 108 Telescope Allocation

Published: 15 Jul 2021

The 108th Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met online during May and June 2021. Based on the committee's recommendations to the ESO Director General, a total of 2419 (8-hour equivalent) nights of Designated Visitor Mode and Service Mode observations were allocated on the VLT/VLTIVISTAVST, the 3.6-metre and NTT, and APEX telescopes. The submission deadline for Phase 2 Service Mode observations is Thursday 12 August, 2021; see the separate announcement for further details.

Coordination with ESO when Proposing Hosted Projects at ESO Observatories

Published: 13 Jul 2021

Members of ESO's community occasionally propose projects to a national or international funding agency, where an ESO site or facility is the intended host.  Some of the telescopes at ESO sites, particularly on Cerro La Silla, are successful examples of this approach. Some visiting instruments for existing telescopes and enhancements to facility instruments have also been known to follow this approach. ESO kindly requests that prospective applicants contact the ESO Director for Science at least 3 months before submission to the funding source.  Implementation cannot be guaranteed if funding for such projects is obtained without a green light from ESO.

Third Data Release from the MATISSE/OCA-ESO Project (AMBRE): HARPS Catalogue

Published: 06 Jul 2021

The AMBRE collaboration between the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (OCA, Nice) and ESO has the goal to analyse the wealth of stellar spectroscopic data in the ESO science archive using the MATISSE parametrisation algorithm to derive stellar atmospheric parameters (Recio-Blanco et al., 2006, Worley et al. 2012, de Laverny et al. 2012, De Pascale et al. 2014. This data release provides stellar radial velocity, effective temperature, surface gravity, mean metallicity and enrichment in alpha-elements for about 4480 distinct stellar objects observed between October 2003 and October 2010 using HARPS (378 nm – 691 nm). More information can be found in the related release documentation.

Over 1000 Studies Using ESO Data: a Look Back at ESO’s Science Results of 2020

Published: 01 Jul 2021

ESO observatories operated under challenging conditions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, having to reduce and even pause scientific observations for a few months. Nonetheless, 2020 was still a very productive year with regard to the number of papers that were published using data from ESO telescopes, mostly obtained in previous years. A recently published report from the ESO library shows that 2020 represents the fourth consecutive year that over 1000 scientific studies using ESO data were published. The majority of these publications used data from ESO’s flagship facility, the Very Large Telescope (VLT), and the VLT Interferometer (VLTI). 

ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope Planned to Start Scientific Operations in 2027

Published: 29 Jun 2021

Preparations are being put in place to resume construction work on ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) at Cerro Armazones in Chile, following disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the closure of the site in mid-2020. As work on manufacturing and design elements of the ELT in Europe progressed steadily, the evolution of this complex and ambitious project, set to revolutionise modern astronomy, has been closely monitored over the past year. ESO’s ELT is now expected to deliver the first scientific observations in September 2027, about half a year after an initial “telescope technical first light”.

First Announcement of ESO Atmo 2021 Online Conference, 23-27 August 2021

Published: 24 Jun 2021

ESO is pleased to announce the conference Atmospheres, Atmospheres! Do I look like I care about atmospheres? that will take place online from 23 to 27 August 2021. This conference will bring together the community working theoretically and observationally on understanding exoplanet atmospheres by transmission and emission spectroscopy, with an emphasis on using ground-based facilities. It aims also to bring together those working on the atmospheres of close-in exoplanets and those studying the atmospheres of giant planets in our Solar System, in order to compare methodologies and see where synergies exist or could be made.

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