Science Announcements

Joint First and Second Data Releases of the X-SHOOTER Spectral Library (XSL)

Published: 06 Oct 2020

The X-SHOOTER Spectral Library project (XSL) aims to build a new, moderate-resolution stellar spectral library for use in stellar population modelling. Once completed the XSL will represent a significant improvement on current empirical stellar spectral libraries in terms of stellar parameters and wavelength coverage. The survey was conducted in two phases: a two-semester pilot survey (084.B-0869 and 085.B-0751) followed up by a Large Programme (189.B-0925), PI S.C Trager. The entire survey delivers spectra of a total of nearly 700 unique stars. The joint science spectra products from the first and second XSL data releases are now available to the community via the ESO archive.

2021 ESO Studentships

Published: 02 Oct 2020

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.

ALMA Starts the Process of Recovering the Telescope Array

Published: 01 Oct 2020

For six months, almost the whole ALMA site has been shut down with no power, water treatment, or running water. Only a single piece of key equipment, the hydrogen maser, is still powered and checked daily as one of the tasks of the ALMA Caretaker Teams, the teams who have ensured the safety and security of the ALMA Observatory through the shutdown. With the improving pandemic situation in Chile, ALMA is now scheduled to begin the long process of recovering the telescope array in the Atacama on October 1st, 2020, starting with preparation of the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF) at 2900 metres for the return of staff and contractors.

First Data Release of the SINFONI Survey for Unveiling the Physics and the Effect of Radiative feedback (SUPER)

Published: 30 Sep 2020

The first data release of the SINFONI Survey for Unveiling the Physics and the Effect of Radiative feedback (SUPER, Circosta et al. 2018; ESO Large Programme 196.A-0377, PI: Mainieri) is now available to the community on ESO Archive via the Science Portal or programmatically.

Virtual Guided Tour for Potential ESO Fellowship Candidates

Published: 29 Sep 2020

ESO is organising a virtual guided tour of the ESO sites to facilitate the interaction between recent ESO fellows in Chile and Germany and candidates interested in applying to the currently open programmes. If you are considering applying for a fellowship, ESO invites you to attend the tour on 29 September at 15:00 CEST/10:00 CLT to discover the sites and learn more about the life of fellows at ESO, tips for your application or ask any other questions you might have. 

APEX Resumes Science Operations in Minimal Mode

Published: 25 Sep 2020

Following the decision taken by ESO on Aug 28 of resuming minimal science operations, the APEX observatory staff has successfully executed the ramp-up plan that was conceived during the previous months. A small team of engineers and astronomers awakened the 12-m antenna and several of the scientific instruments that were unpowered or in stand by since the end of March, when operations had to be suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minimal Science Operations at Paranal and reopening of the Director's Discretionary Time

Published: 18 Sep 2020

The exceptional circumstances imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic led to the suspension of science operations at the La Silla and Paranal observatories, as well as at the APEX telescope, since the end of March. ESO has been closely monitoring the constraints imposed by the pandemic in Chile and has developed plans for a safe and progressive resumption of science operations at the observatories as soon as circumstances allow. Following a detailed assessment of the current situation and the logistic, technical, and safety constraints, as well as the capacity to guarantee the compliance with all measures needed to protect the health of its staff at all times, ESO is re-establishing a minimum level of science operations at the observatory sites. In addition, Director's Discretionary Time proposals can now be submitted again for the FORS2 and UVES instruments at the VLT.

ALMA Redesigns its User Experience

Published: 09 Sep 2020

While ALMA antennas are taking an unanticipated break - and while users are mining the ALMA archive, thinking of new projects and evaluating their past experiences with ALMA data and services offered since Cycle 0 - ALMA is launching a new global project to Redesign the User eXperience (RedUX). As part of RedUX, focus groups will be established to discuss specific aspects of the ALMA user experience. By volunteering to join a focus group, users can help shape the future of ALMA. Anyone interested in contributing to RedUX (and in receiving a small gift at the end of the exercise, as a token of appreciation for their contribution), can fill in this form.

ALMA Update

Published: 09 Sep 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic still continues to impact our lives in many ways around the world. The situation in Chile has slightly improved in the Santiago area but not yet improved in the northern area where the ALMA telescope is located. ALMA operations thus remain suspended and the timeline of resuming observations unfortunately remains uncertain. Detailed plans for the safe return to operations have been developed and regular reviews to consider starting the re-opening process of the Observatory have now started. ALMA is currently still in the Caretaker phase with small teams maintaining the safety of the ALMA equipment and infrastructure. As always, the top priority is the health and safety of all our staff.

ESPRESSO Commissioning Data Release

Published: 07 Sep 2020

The commissioning runs of ESPRESSO both in 1UT mode and in 4UT mode took place at the VLT between November 2017 and July 2019, addressing all the modes of the instrument and the outcome of the three scheduled technical interventions. The commissioning data have been released to illustrate the capabilities of the instrument. They include observations in the 4UT mode, exhibiting the power of the spectrograph with an equivalent collecting area of approximately 16m in diameter. The details of the observations are available at the ESPRESSO Commissioning webpage, which also provides access to the data.

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