The PIONIER news page is separated into two parts. First a 'timeline of instrument status' is outllined, together with a table that lists important changes to the instrument status (this is formally complete from 13/09/20). Then, an 'announcements' section includes items regarding future changes to the instrument status. (This later section also includes instrument status changes prior to 13/09/20 that have not been incorporated into the table.) In the 'announcement' important information about the call for proposal are also listed.

Timeline of instrument status

The following table describes the events affecting the quality or the measurement of data obtained with PIONIER. Its content can be downloaded as a Comma Separated Values file. It is complete as of September 13th, 2020.

The Start Date column indicates when the event took place. Some events cannot be defined by a single instant, but extend over sometimes several days, weeks or months. Operation with the instrument may continue while the event occurs, in which case the Ongoing flag is set. If the event had ended, the Ongoing ? flag is lowered and End Date is given. The Type column indicates the characteristic(s) of the event: Earthquake, Maintenance, Upgrade, Element failure, Intervention, Pipeline installation at QC, Change of nominal values or thresholds, Modification of configuration file of this database, or Other. The Instrument Modes column indicates the affected mode. The column KPI indicates which quality control parameters identified as Key Performance Indicators (i.e., parameters following the most critical quantities) are affected; the column non-KPI indicates which other critical Quality Control parameters are affected. The Calibration Raw Types column indicates the raw types of the affected calibrations. The Calibration Breakpoint flag indicates if calibrations obtained before the event cannot be used for science data obtained after the event or if calibration data obtained after the event cannot be used with science data obtained before the event. The Comment column provides more details. The History column allows one to see possible past information on the entry.

The Quality Control pages for PIONIER can be accessed through the QC overview page


Period 113:  The issue with the cooling pump persist. Contacts withe building company have been established. the pump needs to be replaced, test are ongoing on a possible spare. it is still unclear if the instrument will be repaired or if it will be decommissioned. A direct consequence of the instrument status is that no Monitoring Programs are offered for P113.

Period 112:  The cooling pump of the PIONIER detector is currently not performing, and this will affect on a longterm the performances of the instrument. ESO in collaboration with the PIONIER consortium is currently looking into possible solutions. A direct consequence of the instrument status is that no Large nor Monitoring Programs are offered for P112.

Period 111: no changes with respect to Period 110.

Period 110: no changes with respect to Period 109.

Period 109: no changes with respect to Period 108.

Period 108:  following some optimization of operations, the execution time for the PIONIER concatenation (two faintest magnitude bins) have been updated for P108 Call for Proposal.

December 2020: PIONIER is back into Operations!

March 2020: PIONIER was shutdown as a consequence of the observatory being place in "safe state".

Period 106: no changes with respect to Period 105.

February 2020: Results from the PIONIER Calibration program 4100.L-0105(A) are avaiable at the following link (Gallenne et al. 2018 A&A 616, A68; Sect. 2.3). 

Period 105: The magnitudes of PIONIER have been updated following NAOMI performances adaptive optics. See the Overview webpage for the details.

Following the introduction of the new phase 1 proposal preparation and submission tool, the following important changes apply to all the VLTI instruments.

  • A new atmospheric turbulence constraint replaces the current seeing constraint.
  • The way the requested VLTI baselines and VLTI observation types have to be specified has changed. From P105 on, alternative baseline configuration can be specified at P1 in a keyword list, in order of priority. Note that each run will be scheduled on one configuration. Most likely, it will be the first (primary) choice. However, a run may exceptionally be scheduled on an alternative choice if the primary choice of the baseline configuration cannot be scheduled. All set-ups of each run need to specify exactly the same baseline configuration. If different configurations are needed, different runs need to be specified, each with one configuration.


Period 104: Starting from Period 104 the ATs are equipped with NAOMI adaptive optics. The details of the limiting magnitude for the adaptive optics performance are described in the VLTI User Manual. Moreover, we remind the user that starting from P103 the limiting magnitude and execution time of the OBs have been revised. The update values are listed in the Overview page.  

Period 102: Some changes in the operations of the VLT and VLTI affect PIONIER, but are not specific to it:

First, the use of the p2pp software is phased out.In P102, VM and SM observations have to be prepared with p2 for all VLT and VLTI instruments.

Second, in P102, a new operation scheme designed to stimulate the production of quality interferometric images will be tested at VLTI. The main goal of these operations is to fill the (u,v) spatial frequency plane in an optimized way to reconstruct interferometric images more easily and with more reliability. Users are referred to the VLTI User Manual and the Call for Proposals for more information.

Period 98: The optimum calibration strategy with respect to calibrator magnitude has been described in some more detail in the "Instrument Overview"

Period 95/ VLTI Lab refurbishment: PIONIER will be removed from its current location to make space for GRAVITY and mounted back above the FINITO fringe tracker table with periscope optics to inject the light into PIONIER. As part of this project, PIONIER will be integrated more tightly into the VLTI IT infrastructure, including daily calibration procedures that will result in public instrument health and quality control pages, as for other instruments.

December 2014: The PICNIC detector was replaced by the RAPID detector. This impoved both the sensitivity and read-out speed, making the instrument more robust against bad observing conditions. At the same time, the dispersive optics was replaced, so that now only two dispersion modes, GRISM (6 pixels) and FREE (1 pixel), are available.