Another unusual year has passed, although with a very positive balance for ESO and its community. Despite all difficulties associated with the pandemic, a lot was achieved. The observatories remained open for most or all of the year, with a focus on maximising the delivery of scientific data. Work on the ELT continued at a very good pace, new instruments are at various stages of development, CTA is taking shape, and a variety of scientific activities keep the link between ESO and its community as strong as ever. The special effort that we are all making through these difficult times is warmly appreciated by ESO’s governing bodies, whose unfailing support is a clear tribute to the impact that the ESO community has on worldwide astronomical research.
With the release of the La Silla Paranal telescope schedule, the preparation of Service Mode (SM) observations (Phase 2) starts. The deadline for the submission of the Phase 2 material for Period 109 observations is 3 February 2022.
The 109th Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met online during November 2021. Based on the committee's recommendations to the ESO Director General, a total of 2093 (10-hour equivalent) nights of Designated Visitor Mode and Service Mode observations were allocated on the VLT/VLTI, VISTA, the 3.6-metre and NTT, and APEX telescopes. The submission deadline for Phase 2 Service Mode observations is Thursday 3 February 2022; see the separate announcement for further details.
The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) will start Cycle 9 observations in October 2022. A Call for Proposals (CfP) with detailed information on Cycle 9 is anticipated to be issued in March 2022 and the deadline for proposal submission will be in April 2022. A pre-announcement has been issued highlighting aspects of the CfP to assist with early planning. More information on the Proposal Review Process, and full details on the offered capabilities can be found on the ALMA Science Portal. For additional questions regarding the Cycle 9 Call for Proposals, please visit the pre-announcement, the Q&A page or contact the ALMA Helpdesk.
The next Science Operations workshop, SciOps 2022, will be dedicated to Artificial Intelligence (AI) for science and operations in Astronomy and will take place on 16-22 May 2022 at the ESO Headquarters in Garching bei München. Building on the success of the previous series of similar events, this ESO/ESA workshop aims to facilitate the exchange of current developments and applications of AI-enabled technologies in science operations for space- and ground-based astronomical facilities.
The ESO Office for Science is pleased to announce the beginning of the Hypatia Colloquium Series 2022, where early career scientists will have the opportunity of describing their research to a very broad audience. The seminars were selected after a very competitive process. The detailed programme of the seminars, which are scheduled to take place online on Tuesdays at 3pm (Central European Time), is already available.
At the most recent meeting, in December 2021, ESO Council approved a new Guaranteed Time Observations (GTO) policy for ALMA. In exchange for contributions to the ALMA development programme, the new policy allows institutes to access the European regional share of ALMA time. The policy thus aims to incentivise R&D institutes in the ESO member states to contribute to the ALMA development programme, leading to increased investment in the ALMA facility, which will in turn provide significant improvements in bandwidth, sensitivity, etc., for all users. In other words, the policy seeks to replicate for ALMA the model that has been so successful for the development and upgrade of instrumentation on ESO's optical and infrared telescopes.
In this online workshop, which will take place from 14 to 18 February 2022, ESO invites the astronomical community to discuss several important aspects related to the way science is done, together with professionals from different scientific and social disciplines. On the first day of the workshop, philosophers will lead a discussion of the scientific method and its use in the modern world while the use of metrics in evaluation processes and distribution of funds will be discussed in the following days. One day will be dedicated to mental health in research, a topic of primary importance especially after the severe restrictions on scientific life due to the COVID19 pandemic. Finally, the workshop will be closed with a discussion about the role of astronomy in society.
After the marked success of the program in the last three editions, ESO has been working hard on the preparation for the 4th ESO summer Research Programme and is now ready to open the call for applications. The fully-funded program is open to all university students not yet enrolled in a PhD course.
The latest edition of ESO's quarterly journal, The Messenger, is now available online. This Issue 185 completes the series of articles dedicated to the the ESO's Extremely Large Telescope mirrors by presenting the lightweight field stabilisation mirror M5. Further, readers will get acquainted with the specifics of a new instrument for the VLT: MAVIS, which will be a powerful synergistic complement to the ELT in the visible wavelengths range.
The User Support Department again extends its thanks to all those Principal Investigators and their Phase 2 delegates who filled this year's online Paranal Service Mode User Satisfaction Survey. A total of 248 responses were received from the targeted campaign. As in the past, where possible, respondents who provided detailed comments have been contacted via e-mail. A summary report based on this latest User Satisfaction Survey is now available.
MASCOT (MaNGA-ARO Survey of CO Targets) is an ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey conducted with the 12m telescope at the Arizona Radio Observatory (ARO). It provides the community with CO(1-0) measurements of 187 galaxies at 0.03 < z < 0.1 and stellar masses of > 109.5 M⊙, all selected from the SDSS-MaNGA survey. Through the SDSS-MaNGA data releases, all MASCOT targets have accompanying optical IFU observations and well-constrained (spatially resolved) quantities like stellar masses, star formation rates and metallicities. The first data release of the MASCOT Survey for is now available to the community through the Supplementary Material of the Data Release Paper as well as on the MASCOT website.
The European ARC network is launching the new virtual talk series "ALMA recounts of Cosmic Conundrums". In every talk of this series a major astronomical question is discussed. The invited speaker will describe the context of the question and then focuses on the ALMA contribution to the field, past and future. The aim of the series is to highlight the unparalleled contribution of ALMA to the broader astronomical landscape and to provide an outlook towards the future.
Gaia-ESO is a Public Spectroscopic Survey carried out with GIRAFFE and UVES on the VLT between 2012 and 2018. The survey targeted more than 100,000 stars, with 115,000 actually observed by the end of the survey. These stars are selected across all major components of the Milky Way, from halo to star-forming regions, with the goal of providing a homogeneous overview of their kinematics and elemental abundance distributions.
In this online workshop ESO invites the astronomical community to discuss several important aspects related to the way science is done, together with professionals from different scientific and social disciplines. On the first day of the workshop, philosophers will lead a discussion of the scientific method and its use in the modern world while the use of metrics in evaluation processes and distribution of funds will be discussed in the following days. One day will be dedicated to mental health in research, a topic of primary importance especially after the severe restrictions on scientific life due to the COVID19 pandemic. Finally, the workshop will be closed with a discussion about the role of astronomy in society.
Chilean based observatories have been leading the scientific research in several astronomical areas. This forum is organized around the highest impact science results in the last few years. We will show how these different observatories contributed to major advances in Astrophysics and we will put emphasis on the scientific involvement of the astronomers working at those observatories on those high impact results.
The goal of this workshop is to bring together the galactic, extragalactic, and high-redshift communities, both theorists and observers, with the final goal of fostering fruitful discussions and new collaborations on the formation of the central regions of galaxies. Amongst the main topics to be discussed are: Chemo-dynamical properties of the MW bulge, observed properties of bulges and link to formation scenarios, bulges in a cosmological context, clumpy discs, mergers and bulge formation at high redshifts, and formation and evolution of bulges from a theoretical perspective. The meeting is intended to be highly participative, with substantial time devoted to discussions to promote cross-disciplinary interactions and exchange of ideas. This ESO Workshop should set the basis for the study of galaxy bulges in the new decade.
Technologies associated with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, data science, deep learning, and neural networks are already embedded in our daily lives. Also astronomical research is deeply impacted by the advances of AI technologies. The large amount and complexity of data produced by modern astronomical facilities require AI based technologies to allow efficient processing, and novel, synoptical, analysis and discovery methods. They add value to both engineering, observatory operations and science, with the final goal to enhance data exploitation. Building on the success of the previous series of similar events, this ESO/ESA workshop aims to facilitate the exchange of current developments and applications of AI enabled technologies in science operations for space- and ground-based astronomical facilities. The entire scientific operations workflow starting from proposal and observation preparation, scheduling and execution of observing programs, data analysis and archiving will be examined.