ESO Science Newsletter January 2017
24 Jan 2017
ALMA 1.25mm image of a sunspot

This newsletter is a summary of recent ESO Science Announcement items. Follow the links or visit ESO Science Announcements to read more.

Science Announcements

Announcement of 3mm VLBI in ALMA Cycle 5

19 Jan 2017:

It is expected that phased ALMA will participate in some Global 3mm VLBI Array (GMVA) observations during ALMA Cycle 5 (1 October 2017 – 30 September 2018); see the full announcement for further details. Any GMVA proposal requesting phased ALMA during Cycle 5 must be submitted by the 1 February 2017 deadline; see the proposal call .

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Availability of ALMA Solar SV Data

19 Jan 2017:

The latest release of ALMA Science Verification (SV) data will contain observations of the Sun obtained during the Solar commissioning campaigns in 2014 and 2015. The release contains mosaics and single pointing observations in quiet and active solar regions at Band 3 and 6 with the 12-metre, 7-metre and total power arrays. The data are available under ALMA Science Portal SV.

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Period 99 Telescope Allocation

18 Jan 2017:

The 99th Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met on 15–17 November 2016. A total of 1044 (10-hour equivalent) nights of Visitor Mode and Service Mode observations were allocated on the VLT/VLTI, VISTA, VST, the 3.6-metre and NTT and APEX telescopes. Of these, 193 nights were allocated to filler programmes. The submission deadline for Phase 2 Service Mode observations is 9 February 2017, see announcement.

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Recommissioning of UT4 with the Deformable Secondary Mirror

17 Jan 2017:

From October to December 2016, Unit Telescope 4 (UT4) was shut down to install the new Deformable Secondary Mirror (DSM), as part of the Adaptive Optics Faciity (AOF) project. The joint planning by the AOF Project and Paranal teams allowed a very efficient re-commissioning of the telescope, and tests were also successfully performed on some of the AOF sub-systems.

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Cosmology and Fundamental Physics with Current and Future ESO Facilities

16 Jan 2017:

3rd Azores School on Observational Cosmology
5th Azores International Advanced School in Space Sciences

Angra do Heroísmo, Azores, Portugal, 27 August – 2 September 2017

In the coming years a range of ground- and space-based facilities will gather an unprecedented amount of high-quality data in observational astrophysics and cosmology. These will allow open cosmological problems, e.g., nature of dark matter, dark energy, inflation and neutrino masses, to be tackled, all of which require new physics. In order to fully exploit these datasets, the interplay of a broad range of expertise, encompassing theory, phenomenology, high performance computing, data analysis and instrumentation, is required.

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Early Stages of Galaxy Cluster Formation (GCF2017)

12 Jan 2017:

Mergers, Proto-clusters, and Star Formation in Overdense Environments
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 17 – 21 July 2017

Proto-clusters, high redshift galaxy clusters, and merging clusters represent the initial stages in the formation of largest gravitationally-bound structures in the Universe. (Proto-)cluster assembly via mergers and accretion has a decisive impact on the subsequent cluster evolution, and is thus an important process to understand. The aim of  GCF2017 is to discuss cluster formation over the last ten billion years, from its beginnings to the present day.

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First Catalogue Release of Weak Lensing Shear Measurements from KiDS DR3 Images

11 Jan 2017:

The Kilo-Degree Survey (KiDS) is an ESO Public Survey carried out at the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) with the OmegaCAM instrument. KiDs is a weak lensing shear tomography survey and its core science drivers are to map the large scale matter distribution in the Universe and constrain the equation of state of Dark Energy. This catalogue is the first weak lensing shear dataset from KiDS Data Release 3 (DR3) images, based on 454 tiles and a total area of 449.7 square degrees.

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-Related Workshops

  • Getting Ready for ALMA Band 5 – Synergy with APEX/SEPIA
    ESO Workshop, Garching, Germany, 1–3 February 2017

    The 160–210 GHz range covered by ALMA Band 5 is expected to be offered in Cycle 5. SEPIA on APEX has already been observing in this band since 2015. Important science topics covered include the 183 GHz H2O line, a wide range of dense molecular gas tracers, CO(2-1) at 0.077<z<0.414, [C I] and high-J CO lines in high redshift objects. The workshop will discuss the role of APEX as an ALMA complement and aims to stimulate the focus of European ALMA users on Band 5 science. Full details of the workshop can be found here.

  • Stellar Populations in Stellar Clusters and Dwarf Galaxies – New Astronomical and Astrophysical Challenges
    Intra-Chile Workshop, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile, 2–3 March 2017

    Globular clusters are no longer a proxy for a single stellar population. High-precision photometric and spectroscopic observations have been revealing multiple generations in young and old massive clusters in the Milky Way and beyond. The workshop will bring together both observers and theoreticians trying to solve the question of how star clusters form and evolve, and the connection with their host galaxy. The workshop is open to all astronomers and students, especially those in Chilean institutes. More details here. The abstract submission and registration deadline is 25 January 2017.

  • Star Formation from Cores to Clusters
    ESO Workshop, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile, 6–9 March 2017

    This Workshop aims to bring together astronomers towards answering the question: "What constitutes a prototypical low-mass star forming region from core to cluster scales?". This refers primarily to the formation of low-mass stars, but also involves higher-mass stars, starless cores, brown dwarfs, planet formation and related topics. The workshop will feature observational and theoretical/simulation studies towards a comprehensive understanding of low-mass star forming regions. Full details on the workshop webpage.

  • The Impact of Binaries on Stellar Evolution (ImBaSE2017)
    ESO Workshop, ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 3–7 July 2017

    Stars are mostly found in binary and multiple systems: at least 50% of all solar-like stars have companions and that fraction approaches 100% for the most massive stars. A large fraction of these systems will interact in some way and alter the structure and evolution of the components, leading to the production of exotic objects. This workshop will examine in detail the impact of binaries on stellar evolution from observational and theoretical viewpoints. Full details on the ImBaSE2017 webpage. The closing date for abstracts is 31 March 2017.

  • The Galaxy Ecosystem. Flow of Baryons Through Galaxies
    ESO and Excellence Cluster Universe Workshop, ESO Headquarters, Garching Germany, 24–28 July 2017

    The fate of a galaxy is governed by an intricate ballet of gas flows: flow of cool gas into the system, conversion of baryons into stars and ejection of gas enriched with heavy elements. Determining what rules and mutually relates these three aspects still remains a critical and very complex problem in cosmology. The conference aims at addressing this core topic from many observational and theoretical viewpoints. Full details on the workshop webpage; the abstract deadline is 15 March 2017.