ESO Science Newsletter December 2017
20 Dec 2017
VST image of star-forming region Sharpless 29

This newsletter is a summary of recent ESO Science Announcement items. Follow the links or visit ESO Science Announcements to read more.

Science announcements

Phase 2 for Observing Period 101

22 Dec 2017:

The allocation of ESO telescope time for Period 101 (1 April – 30 September 2018) is expected to be emailed in the week of 18 December 2017. With the release of the telescope schedule, preparation of Service Mode (SM) observations (Phase 2) starts. The deadline for the submission of the Phase 2 material for Period 101 observations is 1 February 2018.

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Workshop: Planning ESO observations of future gravitational wave events

18 Dec 2017:

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 31 January–1 February 2018

Understanding the nature and results of black hole and neutron star mergers has become a hot topic in astrophysics. The combination of gravitational wave and electromagnetic observations of GW170817/GRB 170817A have triggered new and interesting science projects. In particular, these observations involved more than 50 observatories and highlight the importance of coordination between different instruments and facilities. The timeline for observations of gravitational wave events spans from seconds to days and coordinated observations of any electromagnetic radiation is critical to obtain relevant information.

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LIGO-VIRGO Gravitational Wave GW170817: Reduced NACO Data

17 Dec 2017:

The detection of the gravitational wave source GW170817 by the LIGO-VIRGO observatory network on 17 August 2017 has resulted in one of the largest Target of Opportunity campaigns at ESO (see announcement). This new data release adds reduced NACO images in the L' filter, centred at 3.80 microns, to the previously released VISIR reduced frames and finds no detection of the gravitational wave source within the derived sensitivity limits.

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Workshop: Science with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment

15 Dec 2017:

Schloss Ringberg, Tegernsee, Germany, 11–14 March 2018

The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) 12-metre submillimetre telescope has been in operation for more than 12 years and has contributed to a wide variety of submillimetre astronomy science areas, from the discoveries of new molecules to deep imaging of the submillimetre sky. The telescope is currently undergoing a major upgrade to ensure reliable operations until at least 2022. In addition, a new suite of instruments is being commissioned, including new large cameras for wide-field continuum imaging and new heterodyne instruments highly complementary to ALMA. The conference venue at Ringberg Castle provides a unique setting for in depth discussions on new scientific results with APEX, synergies with other observatories, and the exploitation of the upcoming new APEX capabilities.

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Workshop: Submillimetre Single-Dish Data Reduction and Array Combination Techniques

14 Dec 2017:

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 15–16 March 2018

Single dish submm facilities provide an essential complement to ALMA interferometry data, but require a set of special observing techniques and data reduction software that are different from radio and mm facilities. In this ESO-Radionet workshop, we will train both novice and more experienced users on how to optimally analyse data from telescopes such as APEX. The combination of interferometer data using short baselines and single dish data is required for sources containing emission on spatial scales larger than the largest recoverable scales. However the ALMA observatory does not yet provide such merged data products, and is not planning to do so in the near future. In the workshop, we will introduce different combination techniques such as feathering and joint deconvolution.

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Workshop: La Silla Paranal Users Workshop – Getting Science Done with Your Observatory

12 Nov 2017:

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 12–14 March 2018

ESO's ground-based observatories located in Chile serve a very diverse astronomical community. The La Silla Paranal Observatory offers observations with a variety of telescopes, instruments and observing modes and a wide ranging level of user support. If you are a La Silla Paranal Observatory user and are interested in face-to-face contact with the various support services at ESO, this workshop is for you. The workshop will provide you with all the necessary knowledge to make the most out of ESO data and thereby provide a strong momentum to your science. Further details are available below and via the workshop website, which also has a preliminary programme.

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Workshop: Imaging of Stellar Surfaces

11 Nov 2017:

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 5–9 March 2018

There have been tremendous recent advances in observational techniques enabling resolution of the surfaces of stars other than the Sun. Current and planned VLTI instruments, SPHERE on the VLT and ALMA, as well as other interferometric facilities, have recently succeeded in resolving stellar surfaces. The workshop aims to bring together observers from different techniques and wavelengths, and theoreticians working on stellar atmospheres and stellar structure.

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Workshop: Take a Closer Look – The Innermost Region of Protoplanetary Discs and its Connection to the Origin of Planets

10 Nov 2017:

ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 15–19 October 2018

Recent discoveries of close-in planets around main sequence and even pre-main sequence stars raise a number of questions about the formation of planetary systems. Their formation and migration history must be directly linked to the conditions within the inner regions of their progenitor protoplanetary discs. These sites also play a key role in star-disc interactions. Studies probing this important region require the use of innovative techniques and a wide range of instruments.

This workshop will address a number of topics related to the inner disc, including the morphology and composition of the innermost disc regions, star-disc interaction, and theories that describe the evolution of the innermost disc regions and the formation of close-in planets.

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-Related Workshops

  • Atacama Large-Aperture Submm/mm Telescope (AtLAST)
    ESO, Garching, Germany, January 17–19, 2018

    ALMA is currently the world’s most sensitive telescope operating at 0.3 to 3 mm (and will soon be extended to 10 mm).  However, as an interferometer, its mapping speed for large areas is limited, with the largest angular scales limited to roughly an arcminute at 3 mm (and is even more stringent at shorter wavelengths). We invite the community to join us in a discussion of the scientific and technical considerations of an Atacama Large Aperture Submm/mm Telescope (AtLAST). 

  • ESO/NEON Observing School at La Silla
    Santiago and La Silla Observatory, February 18–March 2, 2018

    The ESO/NEON School is preferentially tailored to PhD students, advanced MSc's and early PostDocs. During two weeks of intense work the participants will have the chance to have hands-on experience of the full cycle from proposal preparation to data reduction. Students will have lectures on the basics of observing techniques and how to prepare observations for ESO telescopes in Santiago, and then go to the La Silla Observatory for three nights of observations with the NTT and Danish 1.54-metre telescopes.

  • Diversis mundi: The Solar System in an Exoplanetary context
    ESO, Santiago, Chile, March 5–9, 2018

    This workshop aims to bring together the solar system and exoplanet scientific communities to explore how their expertise and recent discoveries can complement each other. The discovery of exoplanetary systems with a large variety of architectures can teach us about the formation and history of our own solar system, and the deep understanding of our own environment can help us towards our search for life traces outside of the solar system. Various aspects will be covered including, the formation and architecture of planetary systems, small components of planetary systems, or planetary atmospheres and biomarkers.