ESO-Enews #18: March 2011

A skyline shot of the Paranal Observatory taken in 2007 showing two more telescope enclosures in addition to the Very Large Telescopes(VLT). The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) shares the mountaintop with the VLT, while the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy(VISTA) rises on the hill to the right. In the foreground are the Residencia and the basecamp.

Important Deadlines

Call for Proposals for Period 88  Call for Proposals for Period 88
 Deadline 31 March 2011


The Call for Proposals for observations at ESO telescopes during Period 88 (1 October 2011 - 31 March 2012) has been released. Proposers are strongly encouraged to check the Call for Proposals for news items and a description of instruments and policies. VISIR will be available only for the first part of the period due to a major upgrade in Period 88. Z-Spec is offered on APEX, subject to the installation of a new mount in May 2011. The MPIfR PI instrument FLASH, also offered on APEX, has undergone significant changes and now has 345 and 460 GHz channels.

In Period 88 there is also a fourth and final call for ESO/GTC proposals; details of which instrument modes are offered will be made available on the Late Breaking News page.

The deadline for proposal submission for both the ESO and ESO/GTC cycles is 31 March 2011, 12:00 noon CEST. The full Call for Proposals and the ESOFORM electronic submission package can be obtained here.
In order to avoid last-minute problems, users are strongly encouraged to fully verify their proposal well ahead of its actual submission, using a preliminary version including all necessary technical information (see the ESOFORM manual for details).


Announcements of the plans for ALMA Early Science Cycle 0 and Science Verification have recently been released.

The European ALMA Regional Center (ARC) supports astronomers in Europe for ALMA Cycle 0 and the Early-Science phase of ALMA operations. The EU ARC consists of a network of eight nodes throughout Europe, coordinated by a central node at ESO Headquarters in Garching and forms the interface between the Joint ALMA Observatory in Chile and the European users. The EU ARC coordinates the face-to-face user support, including a Helpdesk service, and will be responsible for the maintenance and refinement of the ALMA data archive and the delivery of data to principal investigators. It will assist users with the technical preparation of observing proposals and ensure that the observing programmes are consistent with their scientific goals and make efficient use of ALMA.

The EU ARC will be presenting the plans and support for Early Science at the ALMA Community Days hosted at ESO Headquarters on 6-7 April 2011.


The ESO research student programme aims at providing opportunities to enhance the Ph.D. programmes of member-state universities. Its goal is to bring young scientists into close contact with the activities and people at one of the world's foremost observatories.

Students in the programme work on their doctoral project under the formal supervision of their home university. They come to either Garching or Santiago for a stay of normally between one and two years to conduct part of their studies under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer. Candidates and their home institute supervisors should agree on a research project together with the ESO local supervisor. An article on the scheme can be found in West et al. 2009.

The studentship selection takes place on an annual basis. Review of received applications will start on 15 June 2011 and will continue until all positions are filled.

More details are available here. For information about the application procedure and the required material, please see the ESO recruitment portal.


A new query form has been released that provides access to pipeline processed HARPS (since October 2003) and FEROS (since April 2005) data.The processing of the entire dataset is ongoingand will become available in batches through the query pages.The query form can beaccessed here.

For more information about these services and data releases, or to subscribe to the archive RSS feed to stay informed on the latest archive developments, please visit


Phase 3 denotes the process in which principal investigators of ESO observing programmes return their reduced data products for archival storage and data publication, via the ESO archive, to the scientific community. Phase 3 is mandatory for ESO Public Surveys and for ESO Large Programmes since period 75.

During the first half of March 2011, the External Data Product group will release the Phase 3 Infrastructure for operations. More information on policies, data standards and manuals for the Phase 3 applications are available.


The list of workshops organised by ESO can be found here.
Registration for the following workshops is open:

Fornax, Virgo, Coma, et al.: Stellar systems in nearby high density environments

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 27 June - 1 July 2011.

This ESO workshop will provide an overview of recent observational results about stellar systems in nearby clusters, i.e. Fornax, Virgo, Coma et al., and a forum for the discussion and comparison of theoretical models for the evolution of galaxies and larger-scale structures with observations. The aim is also to identify those questions which can be tackled by the E-ELT to promote the study of resolved stellar populations at distances larger than 10 Mpc. The nearby clusters Fornax, Virgo, Coma et al. will be among the first obvious targets for this new era in extragalactic astronomy.

Further information can be found here.
The deadline for registration is 11 March 2011.

Formation and Early Evolution of Very Low Mass Stars and Brown Dwarfs

ESO/MPE/MPA/Excellence Cluster/USM Joint Astronomy Conference. Garching, Germany, 11-14 October 2011.

Wide area surveys in nearby molecular clouds, with Herschel in the far infrared and APEX in the submillimetre, and with VISTA and soon VST in the optical and near-infrared, will offer complete samples of objects in nearby star forming regions from cores to protostars and young stars with unprecedented sensitivity, allowing to probe the physical conditions of the sites where the lowest mass isolated objects form. Together, these facilities will provide a multi-wavelength view of the origin of the full stellar and substellar mass function, shortly to be complemented by ALMA. At the same time, increasingly realistic computations of the collapse and fragmentation processes, the early evolution of the resulting objects and their dynamics and chemistry producing a sound framework for the intepretation of observations.

This workshop will review the current progress in our understanding of low mass star and brown dwarf formation in nearby molecular clouds, bringing together observers.

Further information can be found here.
The deadline for registration is 30 June 2011.

Multiwavelength Views of the ISM in High-Redshift Galaxies

ESO and ALMA Office, Santiago, Chile 27-30 June 2011

Major progress in observational capabilities from the optical to radio have allowed the first studies out to the highest redshift galaxies known, while theoretical modeling has proved essential to interpret the diffent environments in the early Universe. The imminent availability of ALMA will revolutionise this field while the Herschel Space Observatory is observing nearby galaxies in the atomic and molecular lines that ALMA will observe at high redshift. This workshop aims to provide an overview of the field at this crucial moment, and foster collaboration between scientists working at low and high redshift.

Further information can be found here.

Feeding the Giants: ELTs in the Era of Surveys

Hotel Continental Terme, Ischia, Italy, 29 August - 2 September 2011

This workshop is aimed at exploring the synergies between the work of ongoing and forthcoming survey facilities and the Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs), i.e. the E-ELT, the GMT and the TMT.The workshop will address two broad questions: How the upcoming dedicated survey facilities will profit from follow-up by the ELTs and to what extent do the ELTs require surveys to prepare scientific breakthroughs? The projects in these two areas will be reviewed and the developments that they will bring to a wide range of science areas, including exo-planets, star formation, stellar populations, galaxy formation/evolution and cosmology, will be covered.

Further information can be found here.


NEON Observing Schools 2011

9th Observing School: Moletai Observatory, Lithuania, 14-27 July
4th Archive School: ESO, Garching, 6-17 September

The NEON consortium (Asiago Observatory, Calar Alto Observatory, ESO,Haute-Provence Observatory and La Palma Observatories) is organising two schools in 2011. The purpose of these schools is to provide students with the opportunity to gain practical experience in observations and data reduction in astrophysics.

The participants will carry out a short research project in small groups, under the guidance of an experienced observer, over two weeks, going through all the steps of a standard observing programme.They will acquire data at the telescope in the 9th Observing School at Moletai and use archival datasets in the 4th Archive School at ESO. Introductory and complementary lectures will be given by experts in the field, covering the important observing techniques and future prospects in instrumentation or Virtual Observatory.

The school is open principally to PhD students or post-docs in astronomy who are nationals of a Member State or an Associated State of the European Union. Other applications will alos be considered, depending on the available space, with a preference for candidates from countries surrounding the EU.

More details and the registration form are available.
The deadline for applications is 30 April 2011.