ESO Science Newsletter July 2017
06 Jul 2017
VST image of M16, M17 and Sh2-54

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

Science Announcements

Period 100 Telescope Allocation

05 Jul 2017:

The 100th Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met on 16–18 May 2017. A total of 1082 (8-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. The submission deadline for Phase 2 Service Mode observations is 3 August 2017; see the separate announcement for further details.

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Service Mode Phase 2 for Observing Period 100

04 Jul 2017:

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 100 observations is 3 August 2017.

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Reaching New Heights in Astronomy

03 Jul 2017:

Celebrating ESO's achievements and perspectives from 10 years of Tim de Zeeuw as Director General
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 28–30 August 2017

The last decade has witnessed a great expansion in the footprint of ESO on the world astronomical landscape, with many developments at Paranal and La Silla, the construction and start of operations of ALMA, the continuing success of APEX, and the arrival of new Member States. The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has advanced conclusively, funding has been secured, and construction has started. The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) has recently selected its southern site to be on the ESO area that also contains Paranal, with ESO as a partner.

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Atacama Large-Aperture Submm/mm Telescope (AtLAST)

02 Jul 2017:

Workshop to discuss science/technical aspects of AtLAST
ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 17-19 January 2018

A two-year EU-ALMA study on the scientific merit for – and technical implementation of – an Atacama Large Aperture Submm/mm Telescope (AtLAST) is underway. We now invite the community to join in establishing working groups on science and technology aspects of AtLAST. The workshop will be a crucial forum to collect insights and feedback, and commit to a single vision for producing a single dish facility.

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Status Update of ALMA Cycle 4 Observations

02 Jul 2017:

The ALMA Observatory has experienced severe winter storms, making it difficult to recover the 12-metre array for Principal Investigator (PI) observations. This has had an even more detrimental impact on the relocation to long baselines. Routine observations utilising the 7-m and Total Power Arrays are ongoing and clearance work is continuing to enable 12-metre array PI science and reconfigure to the longest baselines. An update regarding the revised configuration schedule will be released in the coming weeks; see the ALMA News for more detail.

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Results of ALMA Cycle 4 Supplemental Call

01 Jul 2017:

198 proposals requesting 4815 hours of observing time on the ALMA 7-metre Array were received in response to the Cycle 4 Supplemental Call for Proposals. A total of 32 proposals requesting 716 hours were accepted and added to the 7-metre Array observing queue for the remainder of Cycle 4. See the report for further details.

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ESO Annual Report 2016

28 Jun 2017:

The 2016 ESO Annual Report is now available, as small or full sized PDF. The Annual Report describes a few science highlights from 2016 and provides a comprehensive summary of last year's activities covering all aspects of the Organisation, including ALMA and the ELT.

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Vacancy Notice: Director General of CTAO

The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is a multi-national project to observe extremely high energy photons from the Universe with greatly improved sensitivity. The southern site will be at Paranal and will be operated by ESO; the northern site will be at Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma.

The Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO) is searching for a Director General to lead the organization. The Director General has the overall responsibility for the management of the organization in charge of the construction and future operation of the CTA Observatory. Full details of the application procedure can be found here.

Upcoming ESO or ESO-Related Workshops

  • Early Stages of Galaxy Cluster Formation (GCF2017)
    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. The aim of GCF2017 is to discuss cluster formation over the last ten billion years. This is truly a multi-wavelength topic and participants with expertise across the electromagnetic spectrum are encouraged. Further details can be found on the workshop webpage.

  • 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.

  • Cosmology and Fundamental Physics with Current and Future ESO Facilities
    3rd Azores School on Observational Cosmology; 5th Azores International Advanced School in Space Sciences; Angra do Heroísmo, Azores, Portugal, 27 August – 2 September 2017

    A range of planned ground- and space-based facilities will gather an unprecedented amount of data in observational astrophysics and cosmology, allowing open problems to be tackled, some of which require new physics. The aim of the school is to prepare the next generation of astrophysicists for this exciting quest, in the context of current and forthcoming ESO facilities, in particular the ELT. The School will feature a range of lectures and hands-on tutorials. More information and application conditions on the School website or by email.

  • Dispersing Elements for Astronomy: New Trends and Possibilities
    Joint INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera and ESO Workshop, Milan, Italy, 9–11 October 2017

    The aim of the workshop is to bring together researchers and engineers involved in the design, realization and construction of spectroscopic instrumentation, particularly dispersing elements and associated optical components. The workshop provides a forum for discussing the scientific needs for future instruments and technological challenges in developing new types of dispersing elements, covering spectroscopic instrumentation from low to high dispersion and visible to infrared. Full details on the workshop webpage; the abstract deadline is 31 July 2017 and registration deadline 5 September 2017.

  • The Challenge of Distributed Science Operations
    European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), Madrid, Spain, 17–20 October 2017

    Science operations are becoming ever more complex and this 3rd ESA-ESO collaborative SCIOPS Workshop on "Working together in support of science" will focus on the challenges that distributed science operations present to space- and ground-based projects, promoting the interchange of ideas and information between ESA, ESO and the broader community. Full details can be found here; the abstract and registration deadline is 6 September 2017.

  • Spectroscopic Surveys with the ELT: A Gigantic Step into the Deep Universe
    Toledo Congress Centre, Spain, 17–20 October 2017

    MOSAIC, a powerful multi-object spectrograph for the ELT, combining wide field high multiplex near-infrared and visible spectroscopy with adaptive optics, is in the design phase. MOSAIC will contribute to a wide variety of science areas, particularly surveys of galaxies to the highest redshift. The worskop is timed to discuss the scientific opportunities of surveys with MOSAIC, focussing in particular on simulated performance from the conceptual design. Full details on the webpage.

  • Centimetre-Sub-Millimetre Q&U (and V) European Southern Observatory Workshop (QUESO)
    ESO Workshop, Garching, Germany, 25–27 October 2017

    Full polarisation observation will become standard for ALMA in the near future. The aim of the QUESO workshop is to bring together leading and potential science users of mm/sub-mm polarimetry, from research fields including AGN, star formation, solar observations and CMB, with observatory calibration experts and software developers to stimulate discussion about the most critical scientific cases, some of which may require development of techniques to achieve the requested precision. Details on the QUESO webpage or by email. The abstract deadline is 15 August 2017 and registration deadline 30 September 2017.