Science Announcements

Data Release: Deep MUSE IFU Observations of Nearby Edge-On Galaxies

Published: 30 Sep 2019

Deep IFU data cubes are now released for a sample of eight nearby edge-on galaxies: ESO 157-49, ESO 443-21, ESO 469-15, ESO 544-27, IC 217, IC 1553, PGC 28308 and PGC 30591. These galaxies were observed with the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) integral field unit at the VLT with the aim of studying the formation mechanism of the thick discs in these objects. These deep science data cubes are characterised by long exposure times, typically three hours, and careful removal of the sky background from the target exposures rather than offset skies. 

Data Release: Fifth Data Release from VMC Public Survey

Published: 30 Sep 2019

The VISTA Magellanic Survey (VMC) led by Principal Investigator Maria-Rosa Cioni aims to determine the spatially resolved star formation history and the three-dimensional geometry of the Magellanic Cloud system. The sensitivity in Y, J and Ks filters has been designed to reach sources below the oldest main-sequence turn-off point of the stellar population and through the multi-epoch coverage to measure accurate Ks mean magnitudes for pulsating variable stars like RR Lyrae and Cepheids. Data Release 5 (DR5), published on 01 Aug 2019, provides the complete set of observations covering the Small Magellanic Cloud field (~40 square degrees), it also includes tiles from the bridge (~20 square degrees) and the stream (3 square degrees) for a total of 42 VMC survey tiles.

ESO/ESA Data Release: NACO and XMM Observations of the Galactic Centre

Published: 06 Sep 2019

Recent observations suggest that the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy is going through a special accretion event. In the framework of the ESA/ESO agreement, coordinated observations with the Very Large Telescope and the XMM-Newton observatory were taken on the night of 31 August 2019. This joint near-infrared and X-ray monitoring effort aims at constraining the physical processes that regulate accretion by supermassive black holes and the subsequent variability in the emission of radiation. To facilitate a prompt and broad exploration of this rich dataset, the ESO data collected with the NACO instrument have been made publicly available at the ESO Science Archive Facility (under Programme ID 2103.B-5061). Further, the XMM-Newton dataset is also publicly available at the XMM-Newton Science Archive.

Call for Proposals for Period 105

Published: 30 Aug 2019

The Call for Proposals for observations at ESO telescopes in Period 105 (1 April – 30 September 2020) has been released. Please consult the Period 105 document for the main news items and policies related to applying for time on ESO telescopes. All technical information about the offered instruments and facilities is contained on ESO webpages that are linked from the Call. The proposal submission deadline is 12:00 CEST 26 September 2019.

Call for Proposals for Period 105: Joint VLT-XMM Proposals

Published: 26 Aug 2019

By agreement with the ESA XMM-Newton Observatory, ESO may award up to 290 ksec (~ 80 hours) of XMM-Newton observing time. Similarly XMM-Newton may award up to 80 hours of ESO VLT observing time. Proposals that request different amounts of observing time on each facility should be submitted to the Observatory for which the greatest amount of time is required. This opportunity is offered yearly in odd periods, i.e., periods with a proposal submission deadline in September or October. Starting in Period 105, Target of Opportunity runs and "Triggered Observations" are possible via this cooperative programme, with some restrictions. Interested users should consult Section 4.9 of the Call for Proposals document.

ESO Fellowship Programme

Published: 24 Aug 2019

ESO’s prestigious postdoctoral fellowship programme in both Garching (Germany) and Santiago (Chile) offers outstanding early-career scientists the opportunity to further develop their independent research programmes. From exoplanets to cosmology, observational, theoretical and fundamental astrophysics, these are all areas where ESO Fellows can benefit from a highly dynamic scientific environment, at some of the most advanced ground-based telescopes in the world. Do watch ESOCast 165 to hear what current ESO fellows have to say about the fellowship programme.

2nd ESO-Australia conference: The Build-up of Galaxies through Multiple Tracers and Facilities

Published: 22 Aug 2019

Perth, Australia, 17–21 February 2020 

By 2020, the first major results will be obtained from a huge variety of “pathfinder” facilities that are operating with entirely new types of survey instruments. These pathfinders have the common aim of untangling galaxy evolution physics, and so it is important that first science results are communicated across various disciplines. This is the main purpose of the second Australia-ESO conference, allowing us to start serious conversations about the future coordination of next-generation galaxy evolution surveys. 

Data Release: Mapping the Milky Way bulge with VVV

Published: 20 Aug 2019

The Milky Way Bulge PSF Photometry project provides a comprehensive census of the stellar populations of the inner ~300 square degrees of the Galaxy, using J and Ks band observations obtained with VIRCAM on VISTA from the VVV ESO Public Survey. The main scientific product of this data release is a deep and accurate photometric catalogue of ~ 600 million sources that result from PSF-fitting on the J and Ks band images of the 196 survey tiles covering the Galactic bulge. The catalogue contains photometric completeness and reddening information. Imaging products and the respective single band source lists are also provided with the release. With a limiting magnitude of 21 in the J band and 20 in Ks, this new photometric catalogue allows studies of the stellar populations in the Milky Way bulge, as well as their stellar ages and star formation history. 

Data Release: First Data Release from Public Survey VINROUGE

Published: 19 Aug 2019

The primary goals of the Cycle 2 VISTA Public Survey "Vista Near infra-Red Observations Uncovering Gravitational wave Events" (VINROUGE) are to locate and characterise the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave discovered events. This is achieved through wide field, multi-filter (Y, J, Ks) imaging of the error regions with VIRCAM on VISTA. This first data-release (DR1) contains imaging and catalogues obtained during the follow-up of three gravitational wave triggers from the second LIGO/Virgo science run (O2). The triggers were two black hole mergers GW 170809 and  GW 170814, and the kilonova transient GW 170817. For the latter, the gravitational wave counterpart was detected and identified as a binary neutron star merger. The observations of the three different fields cover 17, ~ 27 and 3.5 square degrees, respectively.

NEAR Science Demonstration: Call for Proposals

Published: 28 Jul 2019

ESO, in collaboration with the Breakthrough Initiatives, has modified the Very Large Telescope mid-infrared imager (VISIR) to greatly enhance its ability to search for potentially habitable planets around both components of the binary Alpha Centauri, part of the closest stellar system to the Earth. Apart from this specific goal, a variety of science cases will benefit from the enhanced sensitivity and point spread function contrast. The community is invited to participate in this opportunity to carry out unique science and thus to demonstrate the scientific capabilities of this modified instrument. A Call for Proposals has been issued and the community is invited to submit proposals for the NEAR science demonstration using the new Phase 1 web interface.

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