ESO Science Newsletter November 2022
23 Nov 2022

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

Science Announcements

ALMA Update on the Recovery from Cyberattack

18 Nov 2022:

The Joint ALMA Observatory released the following statement today regarding a recent cyberattack that has affected ALMA services:

On October 29, 2022, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) suffered a cyberattack on its computer systems, forcing the suspension of astronomical observations and the public website. This event is under investigation by local authorities. The Computing team quickly isolated the Antennas and Correlator systems and the Science Archive data systems. However, communication and other operational clusters were affected, forcing ALMA to stop all observations. Since then, email communication has been restored safely, along with new collaboration tools that enable the staff to continue their regular work.

The Crisis Management Team has developed a full-recovery plan in consultation with cyber security officers from ESO/NAOJ/NRAO. Our highest priority is to work hard to resume observations before the end of the year.

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MUSE Analysis of Gas around Galaxies (MAGG) second data release

18 Nov 2022:

The second data release, the large program "MUSE Analysis of Gas around Galaxies project - MAGG" (ESO programme ID: 197.A-0384, PI: M. Fumagalli) provides the community with 28 high-quality VLT/MUSE cubes centred on bright redshift z~3-4.5 quasars (Lofthouse et al. 2020).

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Peer Review Under Review conference: The registration is open!

18 Nov 2022:

The Peer Review Under Review conference will take place at the Headquarters of the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany, from February 6 to 10, 2023. The conference aims at bringing experts from diverse environments to assess the current and future challenges, methodologies and other aspects of the peer review processes.

Registration is now open!

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Release of Period 111 telescope schedule and proposal evaluation outcome delayed

18 Nov 2022:

The web letters announcing the outcome of the proposal evaluation process and the La Silla Paranal Observatory schedule for odd semesters are usually released by the end of December. For P111, there is a foreseen delay of one month, moving the release of the web letters and the schedule to the beginning of February 2023. The Phase 2 deadline for submission of observing material for Service Mode observations will be shifted according to the envisaged web letters release. The deadline will be set four weeks after the P111 schedule announcement. The priority in the review of the submitted Phase 2 material will be given to the programmes with early targets to ensure the regular start of the P111 observing period on 1 April 2023.

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PyCPL - A New Python Interface to ESO Pipelines

16 Nov 2022:

All ESO data reduction pipelines are currently written in the C programming language using ESO's Common Pipeline Library (CPL) and the pipeline recipes are executed using either the Esorex command line tool, or the ESOReflex GUI. Recently, ESO released an early version of PyCPL that provides Python language bindings for CPL. This opens a new interface to the ESO pipelines.

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ESO Period 111 Proposal Submission Statistics

31 Oct 2022:

The deadline for proposal submission for Period 111 (1 April 2023 - 30 September 2023) was 27 September 2022: 824 valid proposals were submitted, with no Large Programme as P111 is an odd period.  On the VLT, the most requested ESO instrument was MUSE with a request of 231 nights, followed by X-Shooter with 194 nights. HARPS on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope was the most demanded instrument at La Silla (and fourth most demanded instrument overall), with 130 nights. The new instruments  ERIS  and NIRPS got requests of 77 and 97 nights respectively.

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Call for Proposals for development studies

28 Oct 2022:

ESO is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for development studies for ALMA upgrades, with a deadline for proposal submission on 24 January 2023 at 20:00 CET. Interested parties are encouraged to visit this page to request the proposal submission package. Studies can cover a wide range of topics. Proposals following the scientific priorities outlined in the ALMA 2030 roadmap are particularly encouraged, such as upgrades of the Intermediate Frequency (IF) bandwidth by a factor up to 4 compared to the current system. Proposals for new advanced data products are also solicited in this call.

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Upcoming ESO or ESO-related workshops

Exoplanets have become central to astrophysics. The formation and evolution of exoplanets can now be explored with instrumentation and observational techniques covering multiple physical scales and wavelengths. The composition and substructures of planet-forming disks can be observed directly, and we witness and characterise young proto-planets in formation. Planetary atmospheres, architectures and demographics can be systematically scrutinised to refine our understanding of the physical processes at play in the formation of giant and terrestrial planets, and in favorable conditions for the emergence of life. ESO facilities provide access to a large part of the electromagnetic spectrum to probe cold and hot phases, dynamics and interactions, close and distant environments, and the relations with the host star. Synergies between the ESO facilities have led to unique discoveries, e.g., the PDS 70 planetary system, and can successfully be used in synergy with space facilities, e.g., HST, CHEOPS, TESS, GAIA, JWST.

The programme for this workshop is now available.

The accretion and ejection of material are the two dominant processes driving star formation and protoplanetary disk evolution. Accretion via circumstellar disks has a significant footprint on both protostellar evolution and the pre-main-sequence phase, while the specific accretion rates set boundaries on the resulting stellar masses as well as the lifespan of protoplanetary discs. On the other hand, the ejection of matter, in the form of outflows, winds and jets, is a ubiquitous phenomenon towards young accreting stars of ranging masses and evolutionary stages. Indeed, jets/winds can remove excess angular momentum and have a strong influence on the final mass a star can reach, and on the immediate environment where planets form (i.e, the protoplanetary disks).

This workshop proposes to gather the Chilean-based star formation community working in this field, in order to debate the state-of-the-art theories and observations targeting the accretion/ejection processes in star formation. The aim is to establish a platform for students and early-career scientists in the field in addition to a limited number of invited overview talks. There will be ample time for discussion and interaction between the participants, thus aiding the interchange of knowledge on the different observational and numerical techniques and wavelength coverages for a range of stellar masses (low to high) and evolutionary stages (embedded to PMS). Being held at the ESO/Vitacura campus, the workshop will take advantage of the local knowledge in instrumentation and observational techniques (ALMA, VLT(I)). The rationale is to exchange recent results on accretion-ejection in young stars, from low to high mass and from early to more evolved stages.

The workshop is aimed to host up to 30 on-site participants. 

Modeling the mechanisms, AGN or stellar feedback, that expel baryons from collapsed structures and trigger the baryonic exchange, represent at the moment the major strength but also the greatest weakness of our paradigm of galaxy formation and evolution. 

The workshop aims at reviewing the latest results of the X-ray and SZ data able to characterise the hot phase of the elusive intra-group and circum-galactic medium in low mass halos. eROSITA, particularly sensitive in the soft X-ray band, revealed to be a perfect “filament & group finding machine” and is providing exciting results in this respect. In addition, the large effort of dedicated upcoming deep XMM surveys of local groups and ongoing stacking analysis of existing SZ datasets will make possible to extend our knowledge of the hot gas in the viral and circum-galactic region as never before. Furthermore, the availability of IFU observations from ESO/MUSE, ESO/KMOS, KCWI, HST/COS, Alma data and LOFAR radio data will enable revealing the multiphase nature of the CGM and its interconnection with the halo gas on larger scale, and with the central AGN and galactic component on smaller scale. By reviewing such new results and by comparing them with the current predictions, the MMC workshop will create a clear picture of where we stand in our understanding of the interplay between AGN feedback and gas in the bulk of the virialised dark matter halo population.

Registration for this workshop has closed. 

Many aspects of modern peer review have not changed from its inception in the 18th century despite drastic changes in the scientific community. Specifically, contrary to the early days of peer review, it has become a significant challenge to identify experts that can effectively review the more and more specialized fields of science. The problem is exacerbated by the ever-rising number of researchers (having grown by 15% between 2014 and 2018 according to a UNESCO report) also seen through the staggering increase of publications and proposals (doubling every 14 years in astronomy). Some say that peer review has not adequately innovated as technology has advanced and the dissemination of publications has surged, creating a space for stagnant and biased reviews. In this workshop, we want to bring together experts from a large number of facilities (ESO, ESA, ALMA, Space Telescope, NASA, NOIRLab) to discuss the state of peer review and the ways forward for a digital and interconnected science community.

The workshop will be held at the ESO headquarters in Garching near Munich, from 6 to 10 February and will allow virtual as well as in-person participation. Registration is now open!

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory are jointly organising a symposium with the main goal of maximising the science impact of surveys conducted by both organisation’s facilities.  The aims of the symposium are to raise awareness across the respective communities of survey capabilities and to build liaisons in preparation for synergetic surveys, as well as for multi-wavelength follow-up programs. To achieve this, the symposium will have sessions focussing on planned surveys and current and upcoming survey facilities, including SKA pathfinder and precursor instruments as well as the SKA, and ESO’s optical, near infrared and mm facilities. It will cover a variety of research areas: the Galaxy and Solar System science, galaxies and galaxy evolution, EOR and the high-redshift Universe, and transients and time-domain science. In addition, ample time will be reserved for more focussed discussion sessions to forge synergies between different teams and develop plans for collaborative surveys and cross-facility follow-up programs.

The symposium will be held at the ESO headquarters in Garching near Munich (Germany, UTC+1), from 27 February to 3 March and will allow virtual as well as in-person participation.

Abstract submission deadline has passed, but registration is still open.