Messenger No. 54 (December 1988)
ESO's early history, 1953 - 1975. I. Striving towards the convention.
AA(Kapteyn Laboratory, Groningen)
On January 26, 1954 twelve leading astranomers fram six European countries issued the historical statement we reproduce here . It carries the signatures of Otto Heckmann and Albrecht Unsöld of the German Federal Republic, Paul Bourgeois fram Belgium, Andre Couder and Andre Danjon fram France, Roderick Redman fram Great Britain, Jan Oort, Pieter Oosterhoff and Pieter van Rhijn from the Netherlands, and Bertil Lindblad, Knut Lundmark and Gunnar Malmquist fram Sweden.
EHA = ESO Historical Archives. The numbers
following EHA identify the (folder containing
the) archival document according to
the Inventory explained in the separate box
accompanying this article.
ECM = ESO Committee Meeting. The meetings
of this Committee, which preceded
the ESO Council, are listed in aseparate
box accompanying this article.
Heckmann Sterne = O. Heckmann, Sterne,
Kosmos, Weltmodelle, Verlag Piper & Co,
München, Zürich, 1976.
FHA = Files belonging to the OHice of the
Head of Administration of ESO.
 For the text with authentic signatures,
 See EHA-I.B.1. for correspondence between
Oort and the Dutch funding organization
ZWO in preparation of
 I weil remember Jan Oort one day entering
my oHice - opposite to his at Leiden
Observatory - to share with me his excitement
about the ideal
 The Memorandum on this meeting, later
called ECM No. 1, is in the FHA; a copy
of it in EHA-I.A.1.1.
 For areport on the Conference see lAU
Symp. No. 1, 1955, ed. A. Blaauw.
 For the distribution of observatories in
geographic latitude in 1954, see R.
Coutrez and L. Bossy in Ann. de I'Obs.
R. de Belgique, 3eSer., Tome VI, 1954,
quoted in J. H. Oort, ICSU Review,
Vol. 3, No. 1,1961.
 ECM No. 2, Minutes ("Memorandum") in
 Memorandum on this meeting (ECM
No. 3) is in the FHA; a copy of it in EHAI.
 A copy of this draft Convention is in
EHA-IA1.2. It is marked "1 st draft of
Bannier and Funke" (in Dutch) in Oort's
 A copy of this draft is in EHA-I.A.1.11.,
with accompanying letter from Bannier
 Minutes in EHA-I.A.1.3.  EHAI.
C.1.1.g.  See ref. 12.  See ref.
12.  See ref. 12.
 According to a letter of Blaauw to Hunter,
 See letter of C. W. Borgmann, Director
Ford Foundation, to J. H. Oort of October
2, 1959 in EHA-I.C.1.3.
 See, for instance, Minutes of ECM
No. 6, in FHA; a copy of il is in EHA1.
 In EHA-I.C.1.1.c.
 page 6 of English version.
 Heckmann Sterne, p. 265, 266.
 ESO Annual Report 1964, p. 6.
 Minutes ECM No. 12, p. 3 in EHAIA1.11.
 See ref. 23.
 See, for instance, correspondence between
Swings and Blaauw in MarchApril,
1961, 1961 in EHA-I.C.1.1.a.
 See Oort's report in a discussion by the
Netherlands Astron. Council on 24 Sept.
1957, in EHA-I.C.1.1.c.
 See ref. 27.
 Minutes ECM No. 7, p. 8 in EHA-I.A.1.6.
 Minutes ECM No. 9, p. 1 in EHA-I.A.1.8.
 See EHA-I.C.1.1.c.  See ref. 31. 
See ref. 31.  See ref. 31.
 See letter by Oort to Heckmann of 13
February 1960 in EHA-I.C.1.1.d.
 See EHA-I.C.1.1.c.  See ref. 36.
 Undated copy in EHA-I.C.1.1.c.
 See correspondence between Oort and
Heckmann in May, June 1960, in EHAI.
 Undated letter of Oort to ESO Comm'
January 1961? In EHA-I.C.1.1.c. '
 See correspondence between Oort and
Heckmann in January-March, 1962, in
 In EHA-I.A.2.5.
 Heckmann Sterne, p. 267.
 Circular letter by Fehrenbach of 23
January 1964 in EHA-I.C.1.1.f.
 Circular letter by Bannier of March 27,
1963 in EHA-I.C.1.1.f.
 Communication by the Dutch Ministry of
Foreign AHairs of January 6, 1964 in
 See ref. 46.
 Communication Dutch Ministry of Foreign
AHairs of May 9, 1968 in EHAI.
 See ref. 48.
Setting up the ESO Historical Archives.
Now that ESO has reached the age and status at which interest in its early beginnings is growing, it is desirable to set up an organized system of documentation that should allow historical studies. For that reason, steps have been taken by the Director General to establish the ESO Historical Archives, henceforth to be abbreviated EHA. These archives are meant to serve two purposes:
The Ford Foundation and the European Southern Observatory
Edmondson, F. K.
AA(Indiana University, U.S.A.)
The Ford Foundation supported projects around the world and expanded its activities to include science and engineering after Henry Heald became President of the Foundation in 1956. Garl Borgmann, President of the University of Vermont, was hired in 1958 to be the Director of the new Programme in Science and Engineering. Four large grants to support major astronomical programmes in the southern hemisphere were made during the period from late 1959 to early 1967. The Ford Foundation was restructured in March 1967 by Heald's successor, McGeorge Bundy, and the Programme in Science and Engineering was discontinued. Borgmann served as Advisor on Science and Technology until he retired in 1970.
Paul Ledoux (1914 - 1988).
Paul Ledoux passed away on October 6, aged 74. President of ESO's Observing Programmes Committee from 1972 till 1975, he had with his fellow members the difficult task of selecting among observation proposais. He was also member of the ESO Council for which he served as President from 1981 till 1985.
List of ESO Preprints (September - November 1988)
608. J. Surdej, P. Magain, J. P. Swings, M. Remy, U. Borgeest, R. Kayser, S. Refsdal, H. Kühr: Preliminary Results from a Search for Gravitational Lensing within a Sampie of Highly Luminous Quasars. Communication given at the first DAEC Workshop in Paris.
NTT Picture Gallery
NTT Picture Gallery
Announcement of an ESO Workshop
Open-House at ESO
On October 22, 1988, the science institutes in Garching again jointly organized an open-house day. With the help of many of the staff members, a well-defined path was established through the ESO Headquarters with demonstrations and exhibitions along the route.
Where is Phobos 1?
The Soviet spacecraft Phobos 1, launched in July this year and now en route to Mars and its major moon, was lost due to an incorrect ground control command. Many attempts were made to reestablish radio-contact, but unfortunately in vain.
Upcoming ESO Exhibitions
As reported in the last issue of the Messenger, ESO organized a special exhibition booth at the XXth lAU General Assembly in Baltimore (see photo). After the exhibitions in Malmö (Sweden) which is still running and another in Innsbruck (Austria) during NovemberOecember, the following are planned for next year:
Report on IAU Colloquium 112, on light pollution, radio interference and space debris (Washington, 13 to 16 August 1988).
Astronomers are the only minority concerned by this problem and thus have to lead the fight without expecting any help, apart from the lighting industry which recently discovered that computer alded design could help improving the efficiency of lighting equipments!
A 'Blinking' Satellite
50 years of RGU photometry.
Spaenhauer, A.; Trefzger, C. F.; Labhardt, L.; Gabi, S.
AA(Astronomisches Institut, Universität Basel, Switzerland) AB(Astronomisches Institut, Universität Basel, Switzerland) AC(Astronomisches Institut, Universität Basel, Switzerland) AD(Astronomisches Institut, Universität Basel, Switzerland)
Fifty years have elapsed since W. Becker (1938) proposed to use threecolour photometry for the study of stars which are too faint for spectral c1assification. He stressed that the choice of the passbands had to be guided by the properties of stellar radiation rather than by the properties of existing instruments. The three passbands were chosen such as to reflect the two basic characteristics of the visible spectral energy distribution of astar: a longwave colour index (G-R) as a measure of temperature and a short wave colour index (U-G) defined by two weil separated passbands measuring the UV-depression caused by line blocking and the Balmer depression.
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Labhardt, L., Buser, R., 1985: in IAU Symposium
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Labhardt, L., 1988: New Direclions in Spectropholometry,
AG. D. Philip, D. S. Hayes,
S.J. Adelman, eds., L. Davis Press,
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Geneve Serie G, Fase. 26.
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The Astronomy and Astrophysics Review
This new review journal will be started in 1989 to publish critical reviews of the worldwide astronomical literature that are reasonably complete and balanced. It will encompass all subjects in astronomy and astrophysics and boundary areas with other fields. Oevelopments in atomic, molecular, or particle physics directly relevant to astronomy may be included as weil as cosmic-ray physics, solar-system studies, and relevant computational procedures. All important fjelds will be reviewed periodically with the frequency a function of the level of activity. Within about six years, the collected volumes should present a view of the important developments in all of astronomy. The relatively rapid publication schedule aims at four issues per year.
The ESO VLT as fischertechnick-Model
The first fully steerable VLT has already been built! Early in 1988, the well-known German firm "fischerwerke" approached ESO with an interesting suggestion. Having read in the local press about the decision to build the VLT, one of their engineers thought that a model of the VLT, built with the "fischertechnik" building blocks, might become an eye-catching centre on the next toy-fairs in Germany.
Infrared emission from the sub-arcsecond vicinity of SN 1987A.
Chalabaev, A. A.; Perrier, C.; Mariotti, J.-M.
AA(CNRS, Observatoire de Haute-Provence, St-Michel-I'Observatoire, France) AB(Observatoire de Lyon, St-Genis-Laval, France) AC(Observatoire de Lyon, St-Genis-Laval, France)
The fireball in the LMC called SN 1987A offered an exceptional opportunity to study spatial structure of a supernova phenomenon. Obviously, special high angular resolution techniques at large telescopes had to be employed. The results of speckle interferometry in the visible spectral range, carried out at CTIO and AAT were reviewed by Meikle (1988). Here, we would like to present the results of speckle interferometry in the near infrared (xx 2-5 flm), carried out at the ESO 3.6-m telescope during May-August 1987. In contrast with the work in the visible range, mainly concerned with the ejecta (= 10 marcsec), the near IR speckle interferometry deals with the structure of the close environment of the supernova (= 100 marcsec). In particular, it addresses the interesting question whether this environment contained dust and thus provides a useful test of current models of the progenitor evolution. Indeed, some models suggest that the exploded blue supeergiant (BSg) Sk69° 202 has once been a red supergiant (RSg). Part of the dust, condensed around the progenitor during its RSg phase, could survive destruction by the fast and hot wind of the BSg (Chevalier, 1987; Renzini, 1987). The burst of supernova radiation at shock breakout with Lb - 1043_1044 erg · S-1 should heat this dust up to 1,000-2,000°K. The corresponding thermal emission should then appear as an infrared echo (Bode and Evans, 1979). The size of the dusty region was expected to be of the order of 10^17-10^16 cm. At Earth, the corresponding angular size of 0.1 -1.0 arcsec is weil within the possibilities of speckle equipment. Shortly after the announcement of the supernova, we began to study the feasibility of observations. Computer modelling showed that the IR echo, if it existed, could be resolved already during the first months following the arrival of the explosion light. Independently, Prof. L. Woltjer, ESO Director General at that time, reserved 5 nights in May 1987 at the ESO 3.6-m telescope for IR speckle observations. After an exchange of telexes, we were in a plane to Santiago.
Bode, M.F., and Evans, A., 1979: Astron.
Astrophys., 73, 113.
Chalabaev, AA, 1987: in ESO Workshop on
SN 1987A, ed. I. J. Danziger, Garehing,
Chalabaev, A.A, Perrier, C., and Mariotti,
J.-M.: 1988a, in George Mason University
Workshop on SN 1987A, ed. M. Kafatos,
Fairfax, p. 236.
Chalabaev, A.A., Perrier, C., and Mariotli,
J.-M.: 1988b, Astron. Astrophys., in press.
Chevalier, RA, 1987: in ESO Workshop on
SN 1987A, ed. I.J. Danziger, Garehing,
Chevalier, RA., and Emmering, R.T., 1988:
Ap. J., 331, L 105.
Chevalier, R.A, and Fransson, C., 1987: Nature,
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Fransson, C., Cassalella, A, Gilmozzi, R,
Panagia, N., Wamsteker, W., Kirshner,
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Karovska, M., Nisenson, P., Papaliolios, C.,
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B. L., 1987: Nature, 329, 608.
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Renzini, A., 1987: in ESO Workshop on
SN 1987A, ed. I.J. Danziger, Garching,
Wampler, E.J., and Richichi, A., 1988: The
Messenger, No. 52, p. 14.
Woosley, S.E., 1988: Ap. J., 330, 218.
The ESO Schmidt Telescope
Schuster, H.-E.; West, R. M.
The ESO (R) half of the joint ESO/ SERC Survey of the Southern Sky will soon be finished. For more than 90% of the 606 fields, Atlas-quality plates have now been obtained. Reasonably good, but not quite optimal plates are available of another 5% of the fields and only for - 20 fields (3 %) has no acceptable plate yet been obtained. The Atlas production in Garching in also nearing the end; 22 shipments out of a total of 24 have been sent to about 200 customers. It is hoped that the last two shipments will become available in the course of 1989.
An update on the light echoes of SN 1987A.
The ring shaped light echoes found earlier this year around the supernova SN 1987A in the LMC (The Messenger 52, 13) have been under close monitoring ever since. The picture shows an artificially enhanced image of the rings as observed by H. Pedersen and J. Melnick on the nights 29th through 31 st of October 1988, using a CCO camera in the Gascoigne adapter at the prime focus of the 3.6-m telescope. The resolution is 0.58 arcsec per pixel and the seeing was about 1.2 arcsec. In order to enhance the contrast, the photo shows the ratio of averages of five 3-minute exposures in Sand V each.
Learning about young globular clusters.
Cayrel, R.; Tarrab, I.; Richtler, T.
Even after many decades of intensive investigation globular clusters still fascinate astronomers. Galactic globular clusters are "fossils" of the epoch of galaxy formation and sampies of a very early, but still reachable stellar generation. The situation is different in the Magellanic Clouds where globular-cluster- like objects with a wide variety of ages can be found. We see globular clusters which, judged by their stellar content, cannot be much older than 107 yr. Their integrated light is dominated by a slightly evolved upper main sequence. Therefore, they have often been referred to as "blue globular clusters". the question why such clusters are found in the Magellanic Clouds (and perhaps in some other galaxies like M33 and NGC 2403) and not in the Milky Way is certainly of significance for the general understanding of galaxy evolution (see lAU Symp. 126 for more information).
Alcaino, G., Alvarado, F.: 1988, Astron. J. 95,
Carney, B.W., Janes, K.A., and Flower, P.J.:
1985, Astron. J. 90, 1196.
Eggen, O.E.: 1987, Astron. J. 92, 393.
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1988, STScl preprint No. 292.
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Astrophys. 80, 155.
Maeder, A and Meynet, G.: 1988, Astron.
Mateo, M.: 1988, Astrophys. J. 331, 261.
McClure, R. D., VandenBerg, D.A, Smith,
G. H., Fahlmann, G. G., Richer, H. B., Hesser,
J. E., Harris, W. E., Stetson, P. B., Bell,
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The nebular stage of nova GQ MUSCAE - Physical parameters from spectroscopic observations
Krautter, J.; Williams, R. E.
AA(Landessternwarte Koenigstuhl, Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany), AB(Observatorio Interamericano de Cerro Tololo, La Serena, Chile)
Observations conducted at irregular intervals during the nebular stage of nova GQ Muscae between 1984 and 1988 are discussed. The physical parameters of the expanding shell are determined, including electron density, the kinetic temperature at the gas in the expanding shell, chemical abundances, and the mass of the shell. A continuous increase of the ionization of the optical spectrum is observed from March 1984 to June 1988. It is suggested that the ionization is due to photoionization from a hot source. It is concluded that the observations verify the thermonuclear runaway model of the classical nova outburst.
Violent activity in the bright quasar 3C 273.
Courvoisier, T. J.-L.
AA(Observatoire de Geneve, Sauverny, Switzerland)
Observations of the optical variability in the bright quasar 3C 273 date from long before this source has been found to be a quasar. Almost a century of (mostly photographie) data are available (Angione and Smith, 1985) and display variations on many timescales longer than -10 days. In more recent years, a programme of multi-frequency observations of the quasar from the radio domain to the X-rays has been conducted. The first results of this programme have been described in the Messenger No. 45 (September 1986). In summary, we found variations by a factor - 2 in most observable spectral domains. The typical variability timescale was of the order of one month. The different components of the source varied at different epochs, showing little correlation between them. This complex variability pattern allowed to identify distinct components and showed that most of them must be emitted in regions not larger than about one light-month.
Angione R. J. and Smith H. J., 1985, Astron.
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Gomoretto G., Kaufmann P. and Abraham
Z., 1987, Astrophys. J. 315, L89.
Gourvoisier T. J.-L., Robson E. 1., Blecha A.,
Bouchet P., Hughes D. H., Krisciunas K.
and Schwarz H. E., 1988, Nature 335, 330.
UM 425: a new gravitational lens candidate.
Meylan, G.; Djorgovski, S.
AA(ESO) AB(CalTech, Pasadena, USA)
Since the first theoretical discussions more than 50 years ago on the phenomenon of light rays bent by intervening mass in the universe (Eddington 1920, Einstein 1936, Zwicky 1937 a, b), gravitational lensing has steadily grown to become one of the most active fields of research in extragalactic astronomy today. There are numerous theoretical investigations (Refsdal 1964, 1966, Turner et al. 1984, Blandford and Narayan 1986, Blandford and Kochanek 1987a, b), but the observations of good gravitationallens candidates are still rare. It is only during the last decade that a few quasar systems have been found in reasonable agreement with the gravitational lensing interpretation, viz., 0957 + 561 (Walsh et al. 1979), 1115 + 080 (Weymann et al. 1980), 2016 + 112 (Lawrence et al. 1983), 2237 + 030 (Huchra et al. 1985), 0142-100 (Surdej et al. 1987), and 1413+ 117 (Magain et al. 1988). In other possible cases, e.g., 2345+007 ryveedman et al. 1982), and 1635+267 (Djorgovski and Spinrad 1984), there has so far been no detection of lensing galaxies, and thus they should possibly be considered as genuine pairs of interacting quasars, similar to the probable binary quasar PKS 1145-071 (Djorgovski et al. 1987). Recently, so-called giant luminous arcs have been observed in a few clusters of galaxies. They are interpreted as segments of Einstein rings, created because of an almost perfect alignment of the lensing cluster potential weil with the lensed background object (Soucail et al. 1988, Lynds and Petrosian 1988). Blandford and Kochanek (1987) provide the most comprehensive and updated review on these subjects.
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Lawrence, C., Schneider, D., Schmidt, M.,
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Binary nuclei of planetary nebulae.
Acker, A.; Jasniewicz, G.
AA(Equipe "Populations Stellaires", Observatoire de Strasbourg, France) AB(Equipe "Populations Stellaires", Observatoire de Strasbourg, France)
About ten planetary nebulae have late-type central stars, which are too cool to ionize the nebula. This implies either the presence of a warmer companion (the true central star), or an unstable central star which was hotter in the past. These two phenomena - binarity and intrinsic variability -, which are physicalIy very different, may give rise to apparently very similar variations: same behavior for the radial velocity curve and/ or for the light curve. In addition, in both cases, spectral peculiarities can be observed, such as stellar emission lines, which can be explained by chromospheric activity of the star or by mass exchange in a close binary system.
Acker, A., Jasniewicz, G.: 1985. Astron. Astrophys.
143, L 1.
Feibelman, W.A., Aller, L. H.: 1983, Astrophys.
J. 270, 150.
Grewing, M., Bianchi, L.: 1987, lAU Symp.
No. 131, Mexico.
Jasniewicz, G., Acker, A.: 1986, Astron. Astrophys.
160, L 1.
Jasniewicz, G., Acker, A.: 1988, Astron. Astrophys.
Mendez, R. H., Gathier, R., Niemela, V. S.:
1982, Astron. Astrophys. 116, L5.
Rolh, M., Echevarria, J., Tapia, M., Garrasco,
L., Rodriguez, L.F.: 1984, Astron. Astrophys.
Brey 73 - A multiple Wolf-Rayet star
Testor, G.; Llebaria, A.; Debray, B.
AA(Paris, Observatoire, Meudon, France), AB(CNRS, Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale, Marseille, France), AC(CNRS, Laboratoire d'Astronomie Spatiale, Marseille, France)
CCD images of the WR star Brey 73 were obtained with a 2.2-m telescope in October, 1987. The CAPELLA software package for profile fitting photometry (Debray et al., 1988) was used. The results show that Brey 73 is an aggregate of 11 components. The apparent and absolute magnitudes of the aggregate are determined.
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AA(Hamburger Sternwarte, Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany), AB(Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge)
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Bettoni, D.; Galletta, G.
AA(Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Italy) AB(Dipartimento di Astronomia, Universita di Padova, Italy)
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Comet Tempel 2 Turns On
West, R. M.
Earlier this year, observers all over the world began to observe Comet Tempel 2, a prime object for the NASA Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby mission (CRAF) in 1993. This short period comet (P = 5.29 years) was first observed in 1873 and has since been seen at no less than 18 apparitions.
First infrared images with IRAC.
Moorwood, A.; Finger, G.; Moneti, A.
AA(ESO) AB(ESO) AC(ESO)
Following its installation and first test in July, a second test of the new infrared array camera has just been completed at the 2.2-m telescope. Having returned after the official deadline we have not had time to prepare a very detailed artic1e for this Messenger. We nevertheless wanted to take this opportunity to show a selection of images illustrating the kinds of results being achieved in the various camera modes and also to draw the attention of potential users to a problem with the detector which has developed since the Announcement for period 43 was issued.
ESO Image Processing Group: MIDAS Memo
The astrometrie package is currently being developed. Coordinate transformations as weil as usual coordinate projections can be performed on tabular format. The plotting package has been extended with commands to draw coordinate grids in different geometrie projections. Also, some basic commands have been added to increase the flexibility of the package. For the same purpose the SET/PLOT command is enhanced: the user now has full control over the size of the plot symbols and can produce publication quality plots. In the ASSIGN/PLOT, SEND/PLOT and SET/PLOT an option has been built in to produce plots on a PostScript laser printer (see below).
MIDAS benchmarks of work-stations.
Grosbøl, P.; Banse, K.; Guirao, C.; Ponz, D.; Warmels, R.
AA(ESO Image Processing Group) AB(ESO Image Processing Group) AC(ESO Image Processing Group) AD(ESO Image Processing Group) AE(ESO Image Processing Group)
The number of computer systems on which MIDAS can be used has increased substantially with the introduction of the portable version. MIDAS is now available for both VAX/VMS and UNIX systems. This opens the possibility of using a large number of workstations which offer many interesting features for astronomical image processing such as high performance per cost unit, integrated display options and good interactive response.
MIDAS models interstellar/intergalactic absorption lines.
Pierre, M.; Ponz, D.
Most of the current tools available in MIDAS, as weil as in other image processing systems for Astronomy, are dedicated to the first step of data reduc- . tion which is to eliminate the instrumental signatures from the observations. This is clearly the main priority for such a system and continuous development is going on to support all the instruments available at La Silla. Very little effort has been dedicated to the complementary problem, the development of analysis tools to bring physical interpretation closer to the observed data. This article describes a new MIDAS context CLOUD - that allows such an analysis, namely, to model the absorption of interstellar or intergalactic clouds as observed in spectroscopic data.
Christian Perrier Recieves Award
Christian Perrier Receives Award
A Celestial Riddle...?
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