Science Announcements

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.

Period 104 Telescope Allocation

Published: 04 Jul 2019

The 104th Observing Programmes Committee (OPC) met on 14-16 May 2019. Based on the committee's recommendations to the ESO Director General, a total of 1248 (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 Thursday 1 August, 2019; see the separate announcement for further details.

Phase 2 for Observing Period 104

Published: 04 Jul 2019

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 104 is 1 August 2019.

New Issue of The Messenger Online

Published: 03 Jul 2019

The latest edition of ESO's quarterly journal, The Messenger, is now available online. In issue 176 you will find out about Astronomy in Ireland, the work of the ESO Users Committee, Science Verification results using MUSE's Narrow Field Mode, and how KMOS is being used to study low-mass galaxies across several epochs of cosmic time. This issue also contains articles presenting science highlights from ALMA, an article from ESO fellows and students outlining their development of an outreach programme, reports from workshops, and a tribute to Gustav Tammann.

Data Release: The VVV Infrared Astrometric Catalogue (VIRAC) - version 1

Published: 01 Jul 2019

With this data release, the VISTA VVV survey (179.B-2002) publishes the VVV near-infrared Astrometric Catalogue (called VIRAC). This contains proper motions of stars measured during five years of observations (from 2010 to 2015). The catalogue contains ZYJHKs band-merged magnitudes (single epoch, wherein the Ks magnitude is a mean value) and proper motion measurements for 312 587 642 unique sources detected in the multi-epoch imaging campaign covering 560 deg2 of the Milky Way bulge and southern disc. VIRAC includes 119 million high quality proper motion measurements, out of which 47 million have statistical uncertainties below 1 milliarcsecond yr-1. The VIRAC photometric calibration and astrometric reference frame are both derived from the 2MASS Point Source Catalogue.

Call for Science Verification Proposals for ESPRESSO in 4-UT Mode

Published: 14 Jun 2019

The ESPRESSO 4-UT mode is a new capability offered at the VLT. The commissioning of this instrument mode is nearing completion, and an integral part of this process is Science Verification (SV). SV programmes include a set of typical scientific observations that should verify and demonstrate to the community the capabilities of the new instrument in the operational framework of the VLT Observatory. ESO encourages the community to submit highly challenging or risky science observations that will push ESPRESSO in 4-UT mode to its limits in order to better understand the performance parameter space and its constraints.

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