Science Announcements

Workshop: Preparing for 4MOST - Registration Open

Published: 26 Nov 2018

ESO, Garching, Germany, 6–8 May 2019

4MOST is a state-of-the-art, high-multiplex, optical spectroscopic survey facility currently under construction for ESO’s 4-metre VISTA telescope. During the first five years of operations 4MOST will be used to execute a comprehensive programme of both Galactic and extragalactic Public Surveys, and 30% of the observing time during this period will be available to the community. The process of selecting Community Public Surveys will be initiated by a Call for Letters of Intent for Public Spectroscopic Surveys, to be issued by ESO in mid-2019. In preparation of this Call, ESO and the 4MOST Consortium are jointly organising a workshop to prepare the ESO community for this exciting scientific opportunity, to assist potential PIs in successfully responding to the Call, and to foster scientific collaborations between the community and the 4MOST Consortium.  

ELT News

Published: 25 Nov 2018

A concrete step towards the ELT: Onsite at Cerro Armazones there has been good progress in escavating the platform for the foundations of the Dome and the Main Structure and in pouring the lean concrete. The outline of the telescope’s main structure is clearly visible. The 55-metre diameter circular pit at the centre will eventually contain the foundation for the telescope structure. To put things into perspective, see how small the various construction vehicles look when compared to the size of the ELT’s foundations.

ELT Instrument update: Work on all ELT instruments is proceeding. HARMONI has almost completed addressing the actions from its Preliminary Design Review (PDR), while MICADO is undergoing PDR at the end of November. METIS and MAORY have planned their PDRs for mid-2019. 

ESCAPE Project on Open Science

Published: 23 Nov 2018

The European Science Cluster of Astronomy & Particle physics ESFRI research infrastructures (ESCAPE) project has received funding of €16 million through the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme of the European Union. The ESCAPE project will combine the efforts of participating institutions to make data and software in multi-messenger astronomy and accelerator-driven particle physics open, accessible and interoperable. As a member of the ESCAPE project, ESO will focus on developing Deep Learning techniques to enhance the content of its Science Archives for the La Silla Paranal and ALMA observatories, and on supporting Virtual Observatory activities across Europe.

Telbib Update

Published: 22 Nov 2018

ESO telescope bibliography (telbib) records were recently enhanced to provide more comprehensive access to data products in the ESO Science Archive. All telbib records are linked to raw data of the Programme IDs used in the research as before. In addition, the library has identified all programmes for which data products exist in the Archive. If data products are available, an additional link is displayed, providing direct access. A script is run regularly to identify new Programme IDs in telbib records for which data products have become available, as well as new data products for existing Programme IDs.  

Now In: Results of the 2018 Paranal Service Mode User Satisfaction Survey

Published: 22 Nov 2018

The User Support Department (USD) extends its thanks to all those Principal Investigators and their Phase 2 delegates who filled in this September's online Paranal Service Mode User Satisfaction Survey. A total of 185 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.

First Data Release by the Next Generation Transit Survey

Published: 21 Nov 2018

The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) is a ground-based exoplanet survey designed to detect Neptune and super-Earth sized planets orbiting around bright stars, using the transit method. The NGTS facility consists of 12 fully-robotic 20-cm f/2.8 telescopes located on ESO ground in Paranal. Each telescope has a 2.8 x 2.8 deg2 field of view and is equipped with a custom filter with a bandpass of 520-890 nm, which increases sensitivity to late-K and early-M stars.

Data Release: Spectra from the XSHOOTER GRB Afterglow Legacy Sample (XS-GRB)

Published: 20 Nov 2018

This data release provides 1D spectra of 103 individual afterglows that were observed with the X-shooter spectrograph within 48 hours of the GRB trigger. The data release includes a few late-time host observations also for completeness. The total collection of spectra represents all GRB afterglows that have been followed up with XSHOOTER before 31 March 2017. This date marks the end of the XS-GRB legacy follow-up programme. Redshifts have been measured for 97% of these sources, covering a redshift range from 0.059 to 7.84, hence this dataset provides a unique resource to study the ISM across cosmic time.

2018 ESO Studentships

Published: 09 Oct 2018

The ESO research studentship programme provides an outstanding opportunity for PhD students to experience the exciting scientific environment at one of the world's leading observatories. ESO's studentship positions are open to students enrolled in a university PhD programme in astronomy or related fields. Students accepted into the programme work on their doctoral project under the formal supervision of their home university, but they come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer for a period of between one and two years.

ESO Period 103 Proposal Submission Statistics

Published: 08 Oct 2018

The deadline for proposal submission for Period 103 (1 April 2019 - 30 September 2019) was 27 September, 2018. 914 valid proposals were submitted, including 20 Large Programmes, of which one is a GTO Large Programme. The number of proposals for Period 103 is very similar to that of Periods 91 (893), 92 (892), 93 (898), 94 (901), 98 (901), 99 (887), 100 (895), 101 (899) and 102 (916) so the plateau observed since peaks in Periods 95 (934), 96 (960) and 97 (1024) remains. On the VLT the most requested ESO instrument was X-shooter with 258 nights, followed by MUSE with 226 nights, and FORS2 with 145 nights. HARPS on the ESO 3.6-metre was the most demanded instrument at La Silla, with a request of 190 nights, though the combined request on the NTT was larger (246 nights).

Message to Volunteers Testing Distributed Peer Review Process

Published: 07 Oct 2018

The response to our call for volunteers for the Distributed Peer Review (DPR) experiment was very enthusiastic, well beyond our original expectations. Out of the 272 scientists that had initially expressed their interest, 172 (63%) submitted a proposal for Period 103 as Principal Investigators (PIs) and will hence serve as reviewers. This corresponds to about 23% of all PIs in Period 103. This is also a reminder that the DPR process will run in parallel to the regular proposal review by the Observing Programmes Committee and will have no effect on the final ranking of the proposals.

ESO wishes to warmly thank its community for the enthusiastic response and collaborative spirit, which will ensure the success of the experiment! An in-depth analysis of the experiment and its results will be presented in due course.


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