ESO-Enews #20: December 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.


A new version of the Phase 2 Proposal Preparation will be introduced (version 3, P2PP3) for Service Mode users of UT2 instruments in Period 89, to be subsequently deployed to all remaining VLT/I instruments in Period 90. P2PP3 is an upgrade of the current P2PP and allows encoding of the observing strategy using the new concept of scheduling containers (time-links, concatenations and groups of OBs) originally developed for the Public Surveys. More details can be found here.

A one-day workshop is being organized by the User Support Department to assist prospective Service Mode users of UT2 instruments (UVES, FLAMES and X-SHOOTER) in the preparation of Phase 2 for Period 89. The workshop, with presentations, tutorials and hands-on practical sessions, will take place on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany. If you are interested in participating please register.The capacity of the workshop is limited so early registration is advised.

A similar workshop is planned for summer 2012, before the start of Phase 2 for Period 90, to cover the remaining VLT/I instruments.


CalSelector is a new archive service. From the results of a query for raw science files, CalSelector groups the raw science files that need to be calibrated together and associates all the raw and static calibrations, as defined by the calibration plan for that instrument mode. Excerpts from the relevant Night Logs and an XML representation of the calibration cascade are included.

Only data acquired since June 2009 for Paranal instruments are supported for this first CalSelector release. Calibration files are available only after they are certified for quality, which takes typically two working days. A later CalSelector release will allow association of uncertified calibrations without this delay.

More information and instructions on the use of CalSelector are available.


With the deployment of CalSelector, the generation of PI Packs (the collection of raw science and calibration files, master calibrations and some science products associated with a PI proposal) has been discontinued as of 4 November 2011. PI Packs created before that date will remain available online but will not be updated. PI Packs created between October 1st and November 4th, 2011 only contain raw data.

For more information about archive services or to subscribe to the archive RSSfeed to stay informed on the latest archive developments, please visit


Following one and a half years of successful scientific operations of the VISTA telescope, the first data products from the VISTA public surveys ingested through Phase 3 are now publically available in the archive through a dedicated query interface.

The current data release of data from the VMC, VVV, Video and VHS surveys (nearly 6 TB) covers mostly the period from February to September 2010 and consists of astrometrically and photometrically calibrated mosaiced and coadded images (each 1.5 deg²), weight maps and associated single band source lists in the different bands of each survey. In addition, astrometrically and photometrically calibrated pawprints are included when provided by the survey teams. Each public survey data release is accompanied by a comprehensive description.

The provision of and access to VISTA public data is enabled by the collaboration of ESO with the survey PIs, Cambridge Astronomy Survey Unit (CASU) and the Wide Field Astronomy Unit, Edinburgh (WFAU).


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

Circumstellar Dynamics at High Resolution

Joint ESO/IAG/USP Workshop, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, 27 February - 02 March 2012

Poster for CSDYN workshopThis workshop aims to bring together the active community of hot stellar astrophysics, both theoreticians and observers, to explore the common topic of what can be learned from high resolution observations in the spectral, spatial and temporal domains. The observational discoveries and theoretical results emerging from this field have broad implications for many astrophysical topics, ranging from cosmology (via a better understanding of the progenitors of GRBs, for instance), to star and planet formation (through a better description of circumstellar disc dynamics in which viscosity plays a key role).

Further information can be found here and more details can be obtained by e-mail.


Astronomical Data Analysis (ADA) VII

Institute d'Etudes Scientifiques de Cargèse, Corsica, France,14-18 May 2012

The ADA conference series is focused on algorithms and information extraction from astrophysical data sets. The conference programme includes keynote, invited and contributed talks, as well as posters. This year sessions will be dedicated to advanced pipeline algorithms, asteroseismology, exoplanet detection, large scale structure, CMB, restoration, hyperspectral data analysis and compressed sensing.
The conference will be preceded by a full week of tutorials (7 - 11 May 2012) on various topics of advanced data processing.

Further information can be found here and more details can be obtained by e-mail.


ESO@50 - the first 50 years of ESO

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 3 - 7 September 2012

ESO will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2012. In recognition of this important milestone, a special science workshop will be held at ESO Headquarters. The ESO@50 workshop is intended to provide an original perspective on the scientific challenges of the coming decade, building on the achievements from the science community using ESO facilities.This 5-day workshop will focus on the main scientific topics where ESO has made important contributions, from Solar System astronomy to fundamental physics. Key speakers will be invited for overviews of each field (including some historical perspective) and then focusing on the present science status around these questions. The next science steps will also be emphasized. Some "bonus" tracks will be included, such as introducing the first ALMA results, the latest unpublished VLT/I and La Silla results, and an outlook for science with the E-ELT.

More details will follow soon with an announcement on the upcoming conferences page.