Science Announcements

Online La Silla Paranal Users Workshop – Part III: Preparing the Phase 2 Observing Material

Published: 26 May 2021

ESO is organising the third part of the 2020/2021 La Silla Paranal Users Workshop. This year, the workshop consists of a series of online events, the first of which took place in early September 2020, followed by a second event in March 2021. At the end of July, just after the publication of the time allocation for P108, ESO will (virtually) host the third part of the workshop, focussed on the preparation and submission process of the Phase 2 material, the observing blocks.

Second Data Release from the MATISSE/OCA-ESO Project (AMBRE)

Published: 17 May 2021

The AMBRE collaboration between the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (OCA, Nice) and ESO has the goal to analyse the wealth of stellar spectroscopic data in the ESO science archive using the MATISSE parametrisation algorithm to derive stellar atmospheric parameters (Recio-Blanco et al., 2006, Worley et al. 2012, de Laverny et al. 2012). This data release provides stellar radial velocity, effective temperature, surface gravity, mean metallicity and enrichment in alpha-elements for about 6600 stellar objects observed between March 2000 and November 2010 using the VLT/UVES spectrograph.

A Message from the ESO Director General on the Occasion of the Conference Celebrating 50 Years of Catherine Cesarsky’s Career in Astronomy

Published: 13 May 2021

It is a great pleasure for me to congratulate, on behalf of the entire ESO community, former Director General Catherine Cesarsky (1999-2007) on the occasion of the 50 years since her PhD defense. This marked the beginning of a career of outstanding scientific achievements and leading contributions to the development of world-class astronomical observatories. Her period as ESO Director General saw the development of Paranal from early operations into a mature observatory, the beginning of ALMA construction, and the definition of the ELT project, to name just a few of the transformational highlights achieved by ESO under her leadership. Also during this period, five new Member States joined ESO. I am pleased to invite ESO’s community to join the online conference being organized by the French Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA), which will take place on 14 and 15 June 2021, to celebrate Catherine Cesarsky’s career thus far.

Xavier Barcons, ESO Director General

Olivier Chesneau Prize 2021 Awarded to Mathias Nowak

Published: 11 May 2021

The 2021 Olivier Chesneau Prize has been awarded to Mathias Nowak for his doctoral work entitled: "The 2017 conjunction of Beta Pictoris b: the Life and Death of PicSat, followed by a VLTI/GRAVITY observation of the re-emergence" that was successfully defended in 2019 at the Observatoire de Paris.

MAVIS Science Workshop, Online, July 5-9th, 2021

Published: 07 May 2021

MAVIS (MCAO Assisted Visible Imager and Spectrograph) is a forthcoming facility instrument for the ESO’s VLT AOF (Adaptive Optics Facility, UT4 Yepun) currently starting Phase B. With its unique parameter space, MAVIS is foreseen to cover broad science cases, from solar system objects to high redshift galaxies, as highlighted in the current MAVIS Science Case. This workshop aims at bringing together the scientific community and discussing the key science cases where MAVIS will have a strong impact due to its unparalleled capabilities, as well as identifying the areas where it will provide unique synergies with existing and forthcoming facilities such as ELTs and JWST. The workshop is an opportunity to engage the community and push forward the MAVIS project.  

First Data Release from the GALACTICNUCLEUS Survey

Published: 06 May 2021

The goal of GALACTICNUCLEUS survey (ESO Large Programme 195.B-0283, PI Rainer Schödel) is to build a single-epoch, high angular resolution (0.2”) source catalogue of the Galactic Centre in the near infrared band J,H,Ks. Data were acquired with HAWK-I between June 2015 and June 2018. They covered seven regions spread over the nuclear stellar disk, the inner Galactic bulge and the transition region between them, for a total area covered of about 0.3 deg2. The final catalogue includes accurate PSF photometry for 3.3x106 stars. The 5-sigma limiting AB magnitude for the different NIR bands are  J~22, H~21 and Ks~21. The released catalogue also provides absolute coordinates for all the sources.

Release of Pipeline-Processed ESPRESSO 1D Spectra Products

Published: 29 Apr 2021

ESPRESSO is a highly-stabilised fibre-fed echelle spectrograph that can be fed with light from either a single or up to four Unit Telescopes simultaneously. It is installed at the incoherent combined Coudé facility of the VLT. Nearly 2000 spectra obtained in all instrumental modes (HR, UHR, and MR) from the start of operations until March 2020 are now published via the ESO archive. The data consist of extracted, wavelength-calibrated and flux-calibrated 1-dimensional spectra with merged echelle orders. If several exposures on the same target are executed within the same observing template,  the extracted and flux-calibrated spectra of the single exposures are combined into a co-added spectrum with increased signal-to-noise ratio. The combined spectrum becomes the primary product, while the single spectra are made available as associated files. The reduced science spectra come with an associated set of ancillary information which are described in detail in the accompanying release description.

La Silla Paranal Update: Further Reduction of Operations Activities

Published: 20 Apr 2021

Due to the evolution of the pandemic situation in Chile, operational activities at Paranal have been further reduced as of April 16 and until at least May 7. Operations are now limited to two of the four UTs (baseline UT4 and one of UT123, according to operational and scientific requirements). No VLTI or survey telescope operations are taking place. La Silla remains operating only the NTT, and APEX in a 8/24hr scheme. Further information can be found in the La Silla Paranal Observatory News webpage.

ESO Period 108 Proposal Submission Statistics

Published: 19 Apr 2021

The deadline for proposal submission for Period 108 (1 October 2021 - 31 March 2022) was 25 March, 2021. 948 valid proposals were submitted, including 37 Large Programmes. On the VLT the most requested ESO instrument was MUSE with a request of 452 nights, followed by X-Shooter with 344 nights. HARPS on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope was the most demanded instrument at La Silla (and third most demanded instrument overall), with 265 nights.

Applications for ESO Studentships – First Annual Call

Published: 19 Apr 2021

The ESO research studentship programme provides an outstanding opportunity for PhD students to experience the exciting scientific environment at one of the world's leading observatories. ESO's studentship positions are open to students enrolled in a university PhD programme in astronomy or related fields. Students accepted into the programme work on their doctoral project under the formal supervision of their home university, but they come to ESO to work and study under the co-supervision of an ESO staff astronomer for a period of between one and two years.

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