Science Announcements

Olivier Chesneau Prize 2021

Published: 28 Jan 2021

Olivier Chesneau, one of the most active and prolific members of the optical interferometry community, passed away in May 2014, at the age of 41. To honour his work in this field, his home institute, the Laboratoire J.-L. Lagrange at the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in France, and ESO established a prize in his memory. Since 2015, the prize has been awarded biennially for the best PhD thesis completed in the field of high angular resolution optical astronomy.

Paranal, La Silla, and APEX Update

Published: 28 Jan 2021

Paranal Observatory is in restricted operations, with almost all systems available for scientific observations: FORS2 and KMOS@UT1, UVES and FLAMES @UT2, SPHERE and X-Shooter@UT3, MUSE@UT4 with the AOF, ESPRESSO at the incoherent combined focus, OmegaCAM@VST, VIRCAM@VISTA, and Gravity/MATISSE/PIONIER @ VLTI. HAWK-I@UT4 recommissioning is foreseen for later in Q1. VISIR recommissioning is suspended until Q2 at the earliest. Regular operations with the NTT and 3.6m telescopes are ongoing at La Silla. Visitors are performing their observations remotely in designated visitor mode. APEX ended the year with restricted operations, almost 1300 hours of hours on sky, and the last run (ever) of one of the most successful APEX instruments ever, i.e., LABOCA. Currently scientific operations are suspended as the annual deep telescope and instrument maintenance is taking place. This period is aligned with the worst weather season for science at the site, the 'Altiplanic winter'.

ALMA Recovery Status Update

Published: 27 Jan 2021

While the COVID-19 pandemic persists all around the world, ALMA staff at the JAO and in the regions continue to work towards bringing the array back online, with the ultimate goal to resume science operations and deliver high-quality science data to its users. At this moment, the ALMA antennas are in the process of being powered up and inspected after having been stowed for about 300 days.

New series of ESO Cosmic Duologues

Published: 25 Jan 2021

ESO is happy to announce the start of the new series of ESO Cosmic Duologues. Started in 2020, the ESO Cosmic Duologue series aim at covering the current state of some of the biggest questions in astronomy in a lively way. The program of the new events is now available on-line. The first event of 2021 will be entitled The Big-Bang Nucleosynthesis: Concordance or New Physics? and will take place on Tuesday 26 January at 3pm (Central European Time). For each duologue, ESO invites two speakers who will present in short, dynamic talks, their side on a challenging scientific subject, or on a topic related to the sociology of science. The duologues will be streamed live on the dedicated YouTube channel.  All astronomers are invited to remotely attend the talks. 

How ESO Impacts Society: New publication highlights ESO’s benefits to its Member States

Published: 22 Jan 2021

ESO is a testament to research, innovation, and collaboration in Europe with a far reaching and invaluable impact on society. A new publication, “ESO’s Benefits to Society”, explores ESO’s contributions to its Member States across five areas: science and engineering, economy and innovation, talent development, education and outreach, and international collaboration and policy. Impact indicators and case studies provide arguments as to why your work matters and why society should continue to invest in astronomical research.

Pitch your Research to ESO Communications to Reach a Broad Audience

Published: 22 Jan 2021

Are you an author on an upcoming scientific study based on ESO data? If you think your study could be relevant for the wider public or journalists, please consider pitching it to ESO’s Department of Communication by sending your paper to ESO's Media Manager Bárbara Ferreira at press@eso.org.

New Website for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope Launched

Published: 14 Jan 2021

ESO has launched a new website to deliver a wealth of information about the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). Created for a wide range of audiences, the general public and astronomy experts alike can dive into the website to discover the new telescope, its instruments, some of the history behind this ambitious and challenging telescope, as well as how it will further our knowledge of the cosmos.

Message from the Director General

Published: 22 Dec 2020

The year 2020 will go into history as an exceptional one in almost every area of human activity. While we are still suffering the direct impact of the global pandemic and these will surely continue for some time, the end of the year is a suitable occasion to sincerely thank the efforts of our scientific community to carry on producing excellent science. I also wish to express my appreciation to all ESO staff and to our partners and contractors in the Member States and Chile for finding creative ways of enabling our projects to move forward, and of resuming astronomical observations and the delivery of scientific data. Last but not least, my warmest thanks to the Member State delegations in our governing bodies for their continued, unfailing and invaluable support to ESO.

ALMA Cycle 8 2021 Pre-Announcement

Published: 18 Dec 2020

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) is planning to start the observations for Cycle 8 2021, in October 2021. A Call for Proposals (CfP) with detailed information on the new cycle is anticipated to be issued in March 2021 and the deadline for proposal submission will be in April 2021. The purpose of this pre-announcement is to highlight aspects of the CfP to assist with early planning. It also contains information related to the proposal review process.

Paranal Update

Published: 17 Dec 2020

VIRCAM@VISTA started science operations on December 15th, bringing back all Paranal telescopes. The operational systems on Paranal are: FORS2@UT1, UVES@UT2, SPHERE & X-Shooter@UT3, MUSE@UT4 with AOF, ESPRESSO@ICCF, OmegaCAM@VST, VIRCAM@VISTA, Gravity/MATISSE/PIONIER @ VLTI.

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