Science Announcements

Call for Letters of Intent for 4MOST Community surveys

Published: 26 Nov 2019

ESO issues a Call for Letters of Intent for Public Spectroscopic Survey with 4MOST, which is a state-of-the-art, high-multiplex, fibre-fed, optical spectroscopic survey facility currently under construction for ESO’s 4-metre VISTA telescope. During the first 5 years of operations 4MOST will be used to execute a comprehensive, integrated programme of both Galactic and extragalactic Public Surveys. The guaranteed time for the instrument consortium will be 70%, with the raw data being released immediately as with ESO Public Surveys. The GTO surveys have been presented at the 4MOST workshop and in a dedicated issue of the ESO Messenger (March 2019).

Period 104: Change in UT Instrument Distributions at end of Period

Published: 25 Nov 2019

In order to balance the oversubscription rates between UTs, ESO will change the distribution of instruments on the UTs at the end of Period 104 relative to the one announced in the Call for Proposals. This affects X-shooter and VISIR in particular.

Pre-announcement of Call for GRA4MAT Science Verification Proposals

Published: 23 Nov 2019

GRA4MAT is a special mode of MATISSE where GRAVITY is used as an external fringe tracker. GRA4MAT enables longer exposures in MATISSE, and improves this instrument in two ways: a much wider spectral range can be observed at once in the highest spectral resolution modes and improved sensitivity by about 2 magnitudes compared to the current offering, under certain conditions. This mode will be offered for Science Verification in April 2020, with a Call for Proposals published in January 2020, pending final commissioning and estimation of the performance gains. 

Workshop: GALSPEC2019 Postponed

Published: 22 Nov 2019

ESO, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile, 5–9 October 2020 

VIMOS, the VIsible Multi-Object Spectrograph, was decommissioned in March 2018 after 15 years of operations during which it amassed over 9700 hours of science data and marked the completion of two Public Spectroscopic Surveys: VANDELS and LEGA-C. To commemorate this milestone, GALSPEC was organised to  review past and current spectroscopic surveys on galaxy evolution (both with ESO and non-ESO instruments), as well as to explore future surveys that will be soon enabled by new MOS and IFU facilities. The conference was originally planned for 2019 but recent developments have led to it being postponed.

Now In: Results of the 2019 Paranal Service Mode User Satisfaction Survey

Published: 20 Nov 2019

The User Support Department (USD) extends its thanks to all those Principal Investigators and their Phase 2 delegates who filled in this year's online Paranal Service Mode User Satisfaction Survey. A total of 154 responses were received from our targeted campaign.  As in the past, where possible, we have contacted those respondents who provided detailed comments.  A summary report based on this latest User Satisfaction Survey is now available

VLT2030 Workshop Update: White Papers for BlueMUSE, GRAVITY+ and SPHERE+

Published: 18 Nov 2019

Following the VLT in 2030 workshop in June 2019, and the Science and Technical Committee (STC) meeting in October 2019, ESO and the STC are seeking additional information for three instrument projects (in alphabetical order): BlueMUSE, GRAVITY+ and SPHERE+. The teams that put together these instrument concepts are being asked to deliver information to ESO in the form of a white paper, covering science cases, preliminary instrumental concepts and management aspects. The white papers should be delivered by 20 February 2020, at which point they will reviewed by ESO and discussed at the upcoming STC meeting in April 2020. In the future, ESO will request similar white papers for other projects, in particular for a high spectral resolution multi-object spectrograph.

Meeting: The ALMA2030 Vision - Design Considerations for the Next ALMA Correlator

Published: 14 Nov 2019

Charlottesville, USA, 11–13 February 2020 

The purpose of this meeting is to bring together experts on the ALMA system and modern digital correlator design in order to:

  1. discuss ALMA design requirements for the next generation ALMA correlator that enables the ALMA2030 vision; 
  2. share pros and cons of recent and currently under design correlator architectures; 
  3. identify challenges for implementing and deploying a new ALMA correlator. 

Workshop: Ground-based Thermal Infrared Astronomy - Past, Present and Future

Published: 13 Nov 2019

ESO Garching, Germany, 30 March – 03 April 2020 

Ground-based astronomical observations in the thermal infrared wavelength regime (3-30 microns) provide a powerful tool to discover and characterise the most obscured and cool sources in the Universe. This workshop aims to bring together the experts in the field to review the science highlights from various thermal infrared instruments, from protoplanetary discs to active galactic nuclei. We will review some future facilities, and we will compare techniques and approaches for observations and calibrations, with the aim to reach the theoretical  limit, the background-limited performance.

Data Release 3: VANDELS ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey

Published: 12 Nov 2019

VANDELS  is a deep Public Spectroscopic Survey targeting high-redshift galaxies in the UKIDSS Ultra Deep Survey (UDS) and Chandra Deep Field South (CDFS) survey fields using the VIMOS spectrograph. The goal is to obtain spectra with sufficient signal-to-noise ratio to derive stellar population ages, metallicities and outflows velocities from absorption line studies, allowing a detailed investigation of the physics of galaxies in the early Universe. Within an area of 0.2 square degrees,  the survey aims at delivering ~2100 high signal-to-noise spectra of star-forming galaxies in the redshift range 1 < z < 7, with 85% of its targets selected to be at z = 3 or greater, and passive galaxies in the redshift range 1 < z < 2.5.

Data Release Using SPHERE DDT Star-Hopping Technique

Published: 10 Nov 2019

As previously announced, the performance of the star-hopping technique in observations with SPHERE has recently been assessed and described in the instrument's User Manual. It has been shown that this technique can boost the signal-to-noise ratio in exoplanet studies, particularly at small separations (0.1") from the star. In order to encourage future observations exploiting the new technique, DDT observations under Programme ID 2103.C-5076 were performed and the data is now available for download on ESO's Science Archive Facility.

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