Science Announcements

Update on La Silla Paranal Observatory

Published: 12 Jun 2020

All ESO observatories continue to operate in safe mode and no science operation is taking place. All visitor mode runs until middle of July have been cancelled. La Silla Paranal Observatory has developed a ramp-up plan to transition the Paranal, La Silla and APEX Observatories from Safe State to Restricted Operations mode, with the ability to perform basic science operations with limited staffing on site. Once the ramp-up plan is initiated, we estimate a minimum of three weeks until first scientific data can be taken again, and about two more weeks until 'steady state' restricted operations would be reached.

Update on the Status of the ALMA Observatory

Published: 11 Jun 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the global community, including ALMA users and staff. While ALMA operations remain suspended, we have been working actively on plans to restart operations at a time that they become feasible. In these unprecedented circumstances, ALMA’s first priority is the health and safety of all our staff, many of whom travel long distances by bus and plane to reach the remote ALMA telescope site in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. At this time, and given the current evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak in Chile, it is unclear when a ramp up to start operations could begin, or when a restart of science operations will be possible. ALMA is working on guidelines and considerations for the restart of operations and will provide a next update to the community in the coming weeks.

Workshop Postponed: Inward Bound - Bulges from High Redshifts to the Milky Way

Published: 09 Jun 2020

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany 22-26 November, 2021

Due to the difficult circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the LOC and SOC agreed to postpone this conference to 2021. It will be held as planned at ESO Headquarters. The organisers have studied the possibility of going ahead with an online meeting, but this would have been very detrimental to one of the main goals, which is to foster discussions and collaborations between members of the four different communities (Galactic, extra-galactic, high-z and theory).

Update on Suspended ESO Operations due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Published: 08 May 2020

All ESO observatories continue to operate in safe mode and no science operations are taking place. As in April and May,  all Visitor Mode runs have also been cancelled for the first two weeks of June. An update will be posted on the La Silla Paranal Observatory news page as soon as ESO starts to ramp up and resume science observations. At present, no date has been set for the commencement of operations.

2020 ESO Studentships

Published: 08 May 2020

The ESO research studentship programme provides an outstanding opportunity for PhD students to experience the exciting scientific environment at one of the world's leading observatories. ESO's studentship positions are open to students enrolled in a university PhD 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 they come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer for a period of between one and two years.

ESO Cosmic Duologues

Published: 07 May 2020

ESO is organising a web-based series of Cosmic Duologues aiming to cover the current state of some of the major questions in astronomy today in a lively way, via a duologue between two professional astronomers, each expert in their field. These events are streamed live via YouTube and are open to all members of the scientific community. The dedicated website will show how to access the last two duologues, including information on how to access past events. The next event on Substructure in Protoplanetary Discs will take place on Monday 29 June. The following duologue will be called Dust at High-z  and will be held on Monday 6 July. Please see the event webpage for more details of the event.

Online Munich Joint Astrophysics Colloquia (JAC)

Published: 05 May 2020

The Munich Astrophysics Colloquium (JAC) series is jointly organised by ESO, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestial Physics and the Observatory of the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. JAC presentations cover the most exciting topics and developments in astrophysics. A video archive of presentations given in  2020 and 2019 is available and earlier presentations can be found through the ESO Garching Seminar Web page.

Update on Status of ALMA Cycles 7 and 8

Published: 03 May 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has continued to affect the global community, including ALMA users and staff. ALMA operations remain suspended, as announced on March 20. On behalf of the ALMA Director, with support from all Executives, a number of decisions were taken regarding the status of Cycle 7 and Cycle 8. Cycle 8 has been postponed until 2021 October. It is anticipated that the Cycle 8 Call for Proposals will open again in 2021 March. ALMA Cycle 7 will continue through 2021 September, with currently non-completed projects ranked A, B and C remaining in the observing queue.

ESO Period 106 Submission Statistics

Published: 01 May 2020

The deadline for proposal submission for Period 106 (1 October 2020 - 31 March 2021) was 23 April, 2020, after an extension of four weeks due to the COVID-19 crisis. 1070 valid proposals were submitted, including 47 Large Programmes, which is the largest number of Large Programme proposals ever submitted in a single period. On the VLT the most requested ESO instrument was MUSE with a request of 486 nights, followed by X-shooter with 364 nights. HARPS on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope was the most demanded instrument at La Silla, with 396 nights.

ALMA Band 2 Contracts Signed

Published: 29 Apr 2020

The contract has been signed for the production of the final set of receivers to be installed on the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Of the originally foreseen ten receiver bands, eight have already been installed, and the ninth, Band 1, is currently in production in East-Asia. Now, contracts have been signed to start the production of the final band in the original ALMA definition —  Band 2 (67-116 GHz), led by ESO. Exceeding the originally defined frequency range for this Band (69-90 GHz), the proposed receiver will operate over the full 67-116 GHz frequency window. The hugely successful Band 3 receiver already opened up the 86-116 GHz frequency range years ago, but the new Band 2 will allow for observations across the entire 67-116 GHz atmospheric window using a single receiver. The ALMA board approved pre-production of a series of six cartridges, with the goal of moving into production of the full set, one for each ALMA antenna.

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