Science Announcements

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.

Minimal Science Operations to be Resumed at Paranal, APEX and La Silla

Published: 28 Aug 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 has concluded that it will be able to re-establish a minimum level of science operations at the observatory sites in the coming weeks.

First Data Release of the Fornax Deep Survey (FDS)

Published: 27 Aug 2020

The first data release of the Fornax Deep Survey with VST (FDS, Venhola et al., 2018, A&A, 620, 165) is now available on the ESO archive. The data release consists of 97 high quality images (and of the corresponding weight maps) obtained by stacking u’, g’, r’, and i’-bands data collected with OmegaCAM on the VST from February 2013 to November 2017.

Suspension of P107 Call for Proposals Confirmed

Published: 05 Aug 2020

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the La Silla Paranal Observatory has resulted in the loss of virtually all the observing time allocated in Period 105 (April-September 2020), and the timescale for a full resumption of science operations remains unclear at the moment due to the uncertain evolution of the pandemic. Following the Special Announcement issued on 24 July and the finalization of the time allocation process for Period 106 (October 2020-March 2021), ESO has completed an in-depth analysis of the detrimental effects that the loss of the observing time will have on the commitments made for Large Programmes and other high-priority programmes in both Periods 105 and 106, its foreseen impact on the science time expected to be available in the forthcoming Period 106, and the amount of time that will be required for technical work to be rescheduled once the observatory resumes normal operations. The conclusions of this analysis clearly show that the time available for new programmes in Period 107 will be extremely reduced with respect to previous periods. For this reason the ESO Director General, following discussions with the Council President, the Chair of the Scientific and Technical Committee, and the Chair of the Users Committee, has confirmed the decision to suspend the Call for Proposals for Period 107.

Period 106 Telescope Allocation

Published: 04 Aug 2020

The 106th Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met online on 29-30 June 2020. Based on the committee's recommendations to the ESO Director General, a total of 2688 (8-hour equivalent) nights of Visitor Mode and Service Mode observations were allocated on the VLT/VLTIVISTAVST, the 3.6-metre, and NTT, and APEX telescopes. The submission deadline for Phase 2 Service Mode observations is 3 September 2020; see the separate announcement for further details.

Phase 2 for Observing Period 106

Published: 04 Aug 2020

With the release of the telescope schedule, the preparation of Service Mode (SM) observations (Phase 2) starts. The deadline for the submission of the Phase 2 material for Period 106 observations is 3 September 2020.

ESO Fellowship Programme

Published: 03 Aug 2020

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.

Update on La Silla Paranal Observatory

Published: 03 Aug 2020

Due to the evolving situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in Chile, all ESO observatories continue in a  safe state with no science operations taking place. Visitor mode runs until September 10 have been cancelled. Users have been informed individually by ESO.

Online La Silla Paranal Users Workshop – Part I: Optimising data exploitation

Published: 03 Aug 2020

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 7-8 September 2020

ESO will organise the second edition of the La Silla Paranal Users Workshop as a series of online events, the first of which will take place in early September. If you are a La Silla Paranal Observatory user and are interested in the most up-to-date information, learning how to use the ESO Science Archive Facility, reducing ESO data or "face-to-face" contact with ESO experts working on various support services, this first instalment of the workshop is for you.

ALMA Update

Published: 27 Jul 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the lives of ALMA staff and users around the world. Although in some of the ALMA regions the situation is slowly improving, in other regions, including Chile, the evolution of the outbreak remains highly uncertain. Because of the on-going situation in Chile, ALMA operations unfortunately remain suspended. ALMA staff continue to monitor the situation very carefully and work on the development of detailed plans for the return to operations, which will be initiated when the situation allows. ALMA will keep updating the user community on the developments.

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