Science Announcements

IRAF Support for ESO Tabular FITS Format 1D Spectra

Published: 23 Feb 2015

ESO one-dimensional (1D) spectra in tabular FITS format can now be displayed and processed with IRAF using the external package SPTABLE, thanks to a close collaboration between ESO and the IRAF developers. The popular IRAF ONEDSPEC package, including SPLOT, and the IRAF RV package are now able to process the 1D spectra from the spectroscopic ESO Public Surveys (PESSTO and Gaia-ESO), Large Programmes (ESSENCE, GOODS FORS2+VIMOS, and zCOSMOS) and internal data products (UVES ECHELLE, XSHOOTER ECHELLE and HARPS).

New Catalogue Release from the VISTA Magellanic Survey

Published: 18 Feb 2015

The VISTA Magellanic Survey (VMC) is releasing a new catalogue based on the Point Spread Function (PSF) photometry in three bands Y, J and Ks, in addition to the aperture matched catalogue, VMC Catalogue DR2, available since 7 January 2015. The PSF photometry catalogue is extracted from the deep tile images completed before October 2012. The VMC-PSF catalogue contains 12.7 million sources and covers an area of 7.5 square degrees in the LMC and 3.5 square degrees in the SMC. An extensive release description is available.

New VIDEO Survey Data Release in the XMM-LSS Field

Published: 18 Feb 2015

VISTA Deep Extragalactic Observations (VIDEO) is a deep near-infrared Public Survey which targets ~12 square degrees over the ELAIS-S1, the XMM-Newton Large Scale Structure (XMM LSS) and Extended Chandra Deep Field South (ECDFS) extragalactic fields. In this release (VIDEO-XMM DR3) a total of 560 individual single-OB tile images and the associated single-band source lists in the XMM LSS field are available, which have been reprocessed using version 1.3 of the VISTA reduction pipeline.

New Releases of Images and Catalogues from the VIKING and KiDS Surveys

Published: 17 Feb 2015

Both the VISTA Kilo-degree Infrared Galaxy Survey (VIKING) and the VST Kilo-Degree Survey (KiDS) are making their second data releases. The VIKING release covers all the highest quality data (images, weightmaps, single-band source lists) taken since the start of the survey in November 2009 up to September 2013. The KiDS release consists of coadded images, weight maps, masks and single-band source lists for 98 tiles that were completed between October 2012 and September 2013. The release also contains the associated multi-band source VIKING + KiDS catalogue of 17 million sources.

Response to User Poll

Published: 23 Jan 2015

The "ESO in the 2020s" Working Group thanks the user community for having taken part in the ESO Community Poll Shaping ESO 2020+ Together. The poll was launched on 19 December 2014 and closed in mid January. A total of 2534 responses were received from professional astronomers, including tenured and tenure-track researchers, post-docs and graduate students. Preliminary results were presented at the workshop ESO in the 2020s (ESO-Garching, 19-22 January). The complete set of results will be made public in the coming months.

Period 95 Phase 2 Deadline for VISIR Observations

Published: 22 Jan 2015

Following successful re-commissioning of the VISIR instrument in January 2015, Phase 2 observation preparation for successful Period 95 Service Mode users will open at the end of January. The deadline for VISIR Phase 2 submission is Monday, 2 March 2015, 12:00 CET. PIs and/or their Phase 2 delegates should follow the guidelines for Phase 2 preparation. The Phase 2 deadline for all other instruments is 5 February 2015.

Recommissioning of NACO

Published: 22 Jan 2015

After the NACO instrument was decommissioned from Nasmyth B of UT4 in August 2013 to provide space for MUSE, the instrument was re-mounted on UT1 at Nasmyth A in September 2014, in place of CRIRES, which is being upgraded. Since problems with the CONICA detector's wire connections could not be recovered during recommissioning, it was decided to replace the CONICA detector with the old ISAAC long wavelength detector, which is also sensitive from 1 to 5 μm and has very similar features and noise properties. During 4–12 January 2015, engineers and astronomers were able to re-commission NACO and return it to operations. The adaptive optics performance is nominal and all offered modes for Periods 94 and 95 have been tested and validated on-sky.

Approved VIMOS Public Spectroscopic Surveys: VANDELS and LEGA-C

Published: 21 Jan 2015

The last steps of the long process of evaluation of proposals for the ESO Public Spectroscopic Surveys have been completed, and two surveys have been approved with the VIMOS instrument on the VLT. These are VANDELS – A deep VIMOS survey of the CANDELS UDS and CDFS fields (PIs Ross McLure [Edinburgh] and Laura Pentericci [INAF-Rome]) and LEGA-C – The Large Early Galaxy Astrophysics Census survey (PI: Arjen van der Wel [MPIA]) in the COSMOS field.

Period 95 Proposal Allocation

Published: 20 Jan 2015

The 95th Observing Programmes Committee met on 18–20 November 2014. A total of 1094.1 (10-hour equivalent) nights of visitor and service mode observations were allocated on the VLT, VISTA, VST, the 3.6-metre, NTT and APEX telescopes.
On the VLT the balance between visitor and service mode in Period 95 was 35.4% and 53.2% (+ 11.4% fillers). New and ongoing Large Programmes on the VLT occupy 17.4% of the allocation, while the equivalent numbers on the 3.6-metre and NTT are 49.3% and 32.5% respectively. A 19.7 night allocation to the two Public Spectroscopic Surveys with VIMOS was made (see separate announcement).

New Release of Images and Photometric Catalogues from VMC Survey

Published: 20 Jan 2015

The VISTA Magellanic Survey (VMC) – one of the six public surveys current at the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) – aims at determining the spatially resolved star formation history and 3D geometry of the Magellanic system. The VMC survey is designed to reach stars below the oldest main-sequence turn-off and the multi-epoch strategy enables determination of accurate Ks mean magnitudes for variable stars. This release contains five new images for VMC tiles, two re-processed tiles and band-merged and multi-epoch photometric catalogues, as well as catalogues of known Cepheid stars and eclipsing binaries.

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