ESO-Enews #23: August 2012

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 91  Call for Proposals for Period 91
 Deadline 27 September 2012


The Call for Proposals for observations at ESO telescopes during Period 91 (1 April 2013 - 30 September 2013) has been released. Proposers are strongly encouraged to check the Call for news items and a description of instruments and policies.

The proposal submission deadline is 27 September 2012, 12:00 noon CEST. The Call for Proposals and the ESOFORM electronic submission package can be obtained here. It is the PIs responsibility to verify the proposal and upload all associated figures well ahead of the proposal submission deadline. Proposal submissions or requests for amendments that are received after the deadline will not be accepted.

The Laser Guide Star Facility (LGSF) on UT4 will be upgraded in early 2013 with the replacement of the existing laser. The new laser will enhance the delivered power and the number of nights during which the LGSF can be used.

The following PI instruments are offered on APEX in Period 91: CHAMP+ (620-720 and 780-900 GHz) and Z-Spec (190-308-GHz).


X-shooter: As notified on the instrument-news page, the behaviour of X-shooter's atmospheric dispersion corrector (ADC) has been diagnosed as faulty. For this reason, and until a solution has been implemented, X-shooter will be operated with its ADC disabled. Please refer to the instrument news for updates.

VISIR: Technical problems during the instrument upgrade required that the commissioning period be extended until the end of October 2012, with the expectation to resume operations at the beginning of November 2012. Please check the instrument news page for the most-up-to-date information about VISIR.


As of 1 October 2012, the production and delivery of DVD data backup to visiting astronomers at the VLT will be discontinued. Access to all data (science, calibrations) will be provided uniquely through the ESO archive via the User Portal. Note that large data sets (e.g. burst mode) will still be provided on USB disks at the visitor's request.

Similarly, target of opportunity (ToO) data (including rapid response mode) will be delivered to PIs (and to all persons who have been granted access) exclusively through the ESO-archive, also via the User Portal.


The APEX archive query form now allows PIs and their delegates to download proprietary processed data. These data products are now transferred over the network, allowing PIs to access their data within a few weeks after they have been taken. It is expected that this lag will be reduced to a few days in the foreseeable future. As for VLT data, DVDs will no longer be shipped to APEX PIs.


Selection of past and present ESO FellowsESO has an outstanding fellowship programme in both Garching (Germany) and Santiago (Chile), with a yearly application deadline. The goal of these fellowships is to offer excellent young scientists the opportunities and facilities to enhance their research programmes in close contact with the activities and staff at ESO.

The closing date for applications for ESO Fellowships is 15 October 2012, for positions to be taken up in 2013. Full details can be found here. Applications should be made online through the ESO recruitment portal.


The IMPRS Programme in Munich offers full 3-year PhD studentship positions to outstanding students at one of the largest centres for astrophysical research in the world. The International Max-Planck Research School on Astrophysics is a joint graduate school of ESO, the Max-Planck Institutes for extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) and Astrophysics (MPA), the Observatory of the Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU), the Astroparticle Physics groups at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Physics (MPP).

Applicants for IMPRS studentships should hold a Bachelor or Masters Degree or Diploma in Physics or Astronomy (or equivalent), including a corresponding thesis. Support in all administrative matters, such as visa, housing and access to free language classes, is provided.

More details on the IMPRS programme and the admission requirements can be found on the IMPRS website.

Closing date for applications is 15 November 2012 for the programme starting on 1 September 2013.


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

Reflex User Workshop

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 24 October 2012.

A one-day workshop will be held to demonstrate the new Reflex environment to run the ESO instrument pipelines. The workshop will include a session on the environment, as well splinter sessions for the X-shooter and UVES pipelines. Participants are encouraged to bring their own data to the workshop.

Details will be announced on the ESO workshops page by mid-September.

Real Time Control for Adaptive Optics

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 4-5 December 2012.

The real-time control system (RTCS) is a crucial component for any astronomical adaptive optics (AO) system. The computational demands placed on the next generation RTCSs for future extremely large telescopes (ELTs) are enormous, and even current systems require skill to implement. The main goal of the workshop is to gather international AO RTCS experts in order to share and exchange experience regarding the design and implementation of these systems. The workshop is aimed at real-time control specialists, instrument scientists and adaptive optics engineers and will include presentations as well as round-table discussion sessions.

This is the second edition of the Real Time Control Workshop series; the first was held in Durham in April 2011.

Further details are can be found here. The deadline for registration is 02 November 2012.

The First Year of ALMA Science

<Poster for First Year of ALMA Science WorkshopHotel Cumbres Patagónicas, Puerto Varas, Chile, 12-15 December 2012.

ALMA Early Science operations began in September 2011 and exciting scientific results are appearing in refereed journals. The conference will include all the ALMA science topics covered by Early Science observations, from observations of Solar System bodies to objects in our own Galaxy and from the local to the high redshift Universe. Presentations and discussions on related theoretical implications and predictions as well as relevant complementary data from other major facilities will be included. The conference will also be an ideal venue to discuss scientific priorities for the ALMA development plan upgrades in the context of the first results from Early Science.

To allow more ALMA users to propose contributions based on results from their Cycle 0 projects, a late deadline for abstract contributions of 27 October 2012 has been selected.

More information is available here or additionally by email. The registration deadline is 15 September 2012.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Joint ALMA Observatory and the ALMA partners (ESO, NAOJ and NRAO) with additional support provided by the EC-FP7 Radionet3 project.
A limited amount of funding is provided by the ALMA partners and by Radionet3 to support participant travel. The appropriate box in the registration form should be filled in order to be considered for funding.

Astrochemistry in the ALMA era

University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 28 - 31 January 2013.

ALMA is expected to allow a significant step forward in our understanding of the processes regulating the physical and chemical structure of the interstellar medium in a variety of astrophysical environments from star and planet forming regions to late type stars and galaxies. It is now timely to review the scientific output of the many recent Herschel and ground based molecular line surveys, present relevant ALMA early science results and identify the outstanding scientific questions that can be addressed with ALMA.

Among the topics to be reviewed and discussed are: the need for high angular resolution for analysis and line identification; sites of the origin of complex molecules; the relative merits of ALMA complete spectral scans versus selection of specific spectral regions; advanced data analysis tools for line surveys; recent results from laboratory astrophysics and further requirements for molecular line data.

More information about the workshop available here.

Shaping E-ELT Science and Instrumentation

Artist's view of the E-ELT domeESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 25 February - 01 March 2013.

The E-ELT project office is organising a four-day workshop to gather community input for the E-ELT instrumentation plan. The workshop will address the instruments to follow on from the two first-light instruments. The project aims at gathering input on the science case and requirements for a mid-infrared instrument, a multi-object spectrograph and a high spectral resolution spectrograph.

Details can be found here and more information is available via email.
The deadline for abstract submission is October 2012.