Science Announcements

The Messenger 188 is Now Available

Published: 21 Oct 2022

The latest edition of ESO's journal for science and technologies, The Messenger, is now available online. Issue 188 opens with an overview article by ESO’s Director General on the forward look of the organisation 60 years after its creation. Next, our readers will find articles summarising the latest results in the search for variations in the fine-structure constant, what can we learn from spatially resolving active galactic nuclei, and whether young stellar quadruples could be the progenitors of supernovae Ia.  Issue 188 also features an overview of the Additional Representative Images for Legacy (ARI-L) Development Project for the ALMA Science Archive and a presentation of CUBES, the upcoming Cassegrain U-Band Efficient Spectrograph for the VLT.

Save the date! Peer review under review workshop, Garching, February 6-10 2023

Published: 12 Oct 2022

Many aspects of modern peer review have not changed from its inception in the 18th century despite drastic changes in the scientific community. Specifically, contrary to the early days of peer review, it has become a significant challenge to identify experts who can effectively review the more and more specialised fields of science.

The problem is exacerbated by the ever-rising number of researchers (having grown by 15% between 2014 and 2018 according to a UNESCO report), also seen through the staggering increase of publications and proposals (doubling every 14 years in astronomy). Some say that peer review has not adequately innovated as technology has advanced and the dissemination of publications has surged, creating a space for stagnant and biased reviews. ESO is organising a workshop to discuss these issues.

The workshop will take place at the ESO Headquarters in Garching (Germany) from February 6 to 10, 2023. In the workshop, we aim at bringing together experts from a large number of organisations and facilities (ESO, ESA, ALMA, STScI, NASA, NOIRLab) to discuss the state of peer review and the ways forward for a digital and interconnected science community. The workshop will be divided into 4 main sessions (Peer review at large; Methodologies; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in peer review; and Concrete examples) and it will include ample time for discussion.

ALMA at 10 years: Past, Present, and Future

Published: 12 Oct 2022

To commemorate its first decade of science operations, the ALMA partnership is organising a conference that will take a look back at the observatory accomplishments, highlight its latest results and look forward to future technical developments. The conference will be held in Puerto Varas, Chile on 4-8 December 2023. More information will be posted on the conference web page as it becomes available. Registration for the conference will open in early 2023.

Results of the ACA Standalone Cycle 8 2021 Supplemental Call

Published: 12 Oct 2022

A detailed report on the results of the ACA Standalone Cycle 8 2021 Supplemental Call is now available. The report details the proposal statistics and regional distributions, as well as the proposal distribution across science categories and receiver bands.

The report can be downloaded as a pdf document.

Director’s Discretionary Time on VIRCAM/VISTA in P110

Published: 07 Oct 2022

As announced in the P110 Call for Proposals, VIRCAM at VISTA is used to complete surveys and approved programmes. VIRCAM is available for Director’s Discretionary Time proposals until 15 December 2022 for observations to be conducted until March 2023 when VIRCAM will be dismounted. Only a fraction of the observing time during January and February 2023 will be available for science observations.

Technical activities to prepare VISTA for the arrival of the 4MOST spectroscopic survey instrument will take place starting from January.

Applications for ESO Studentships – Second Annual Call

Published: 29 Sep 2022

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 supervisor, but they come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer for a period of a minimum of 6 months and up to two years.

The closing date for this application round is 30 November 2022.

New Data Release of the Vista Magellanic Cloud Survey (VMC): YJKs Imaging of the LMC and Updated Survey Catalogues

Published: 26 Sep 2022

The ESO Public Survey project VMC, ESO program 179.B-2003, PI M. R. Cioni, targets the Magellanic Cloud system in three filters: Y, J and Ks. The main goals are the determination of the spatially resolved star formation history and study the three-dimensional geometry of the system. This new data release DR6 provides the complete set of observations covering the Large Magellanic Cloud, ~110 deg2, taken between November 2009 and October 2018. It contains both newly released observations (61 tiles) and updated versions of the 7 LMC survey tiles previously released, reprocessed by CASU using the newer version of the pipeline v1.5 which includes improved photometric calibration.

Coordinated Surveys of the Southern Sky (CS3), Garching, 27 February - 3 March 2023

Published: 21 Sep 2022

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory are jointly organising a symposium with the main goal of maximising the science impact of surveys conducted by both organisation’s facilities.  The aims of the symposium are to raise awareness across the respective communities of survey capabilities and to build liaisons in preparation for synergetic surveys, as well as for multi-wavelength follow-up programs. To achieve this, the symposium will have sessions focussing on planned surveys and current and upcoming survey facilities, including SKA pathfinder and precursor instruments as well as the SKA, and ESO’s optical, near infrared and mm facilities. It will cover a variety of research areas: the Galaxy and Solar System science, galaxies and galaxy evolution, EOR and the high-redshift Universe, and transients and time-domain science. In addition, ample time will be reserved for more focussed discussion sessions to forge synergies between different teams and develop plans for collaborative surveys and cross-facility follow-up programs.

Release of Pipeline Processed FORS2 Spectroscopic 1D Science Products

Published: 20 Sep 2022

This data release provides access to reduced scientific 1D spectra obtained with FORS2, the visual and near-UV FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph 2 on the VLT. Data acquired with one of the three spectroscopic modes of FORS2 (within the wavelength range of 330-1100 nm) are included in this release. These modes are long-slit spectroscopy (LSS) using a mask with 6.8′ slit length of different widths, and multi-object spectroscopy with movable slit blades (MOS, slit length about 20′′) or with masks (MXU, arbitrary slit length). The spectroscopic data have been reduced using the FORS2 pipeline version 5.6.1 or higher. Processing includes flat fielding, wavelength calibration, correction of spatial distortion, sky subtraction, optimal extraction of spectra, and flux calibration. The FORS2 pipeline extracts spectra from a single exposure. If several exposures on the same target are executed within the same observing template, the additional reduction step of stacking them together is performed using the ESOTK pipeline (version 0.9.5 or higher). In this case the single exposure spectra are made available as associated files, while the combined spectrum becomes the primary product. 

Call for ERIS Science Verification Proposals

Published: 19 Sep 2022

Proposals are invited for the Science Verification of the Enhanced Resolution Imager and Spectrograph (ERIS), a new VLT near-infrared instrument at the Cassegrain focus of UT4. ERIS has two science arms, SPIFFIER and NIX. SPIFFIER (IFS) is a medium-resolution integral field spectrograph covering J to K band. NIX is capable of imaging between J and M band and pupil-plane coronography. ERIS is designed to be used in conjunction with UT4's deformable secondary mirror. The atmospheric turbulence can be sensed with either a natural guide star, or a single artificial star generated with the Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF).

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