The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the La Silla Paranal Observatory has resulted in the loss of virtually all the observing time allocated in Period 105 (April-September 2020), and the timescale for a full resumption of science operations remains unclear at the moment due to the uncertain evolution of the pandemic. Following the Special Announcement issued on 24 July and the finalization of the time allocation process for Period 106 (October 2020-March 2021), ESO has completed an in-depth analysis of the detrimental effects that the loss of the observing time will have on the commitments made for Large Programmes and other high-priority programmes in both Periods 105 and 106, its foreseen impact on the science time expected to be available in the forthcoming Period 106, and the amount of time that will be required for technical work to be rescheduled once the observatory resumes normal operations. The conclusions of this analysis clearly show that the time available for new programmes in Period 107 will be extremely reduced with respect to previous periods. For this reason the ESO Director General, following discussions with the Council President, the Chair of the Scientific and Technical Committee, and the Chair of the Users Committee, has confirmed the decision to suspend the Call for Proposals for Period 107.
Suspension of P107 Call for Proposals Confirmed
Principal Investigators whose programmes have been affected by the loss of the science time in Period 105 will be contacted shortly on a case-by-case basis with information on the specific plans for their observations. In the meantime, ESO continues to work towards the implementation of complementary proposal submission channels for projects consisting of novel, urgent, or time-critical observations that could be executed during Period 107. These channels will be announced once they are fully defined, and their use is expected to be limited to exceptional and very high-priority cases.
Feedback should continue to be preferentially channeled through the members of the Users Committee. The latest news on the conditions at the observatories can be followed at the La Silla Paranal Observatory News webpage.