The Messenger

The Messenger is ESO’s journal for science and technology. It serves as a link between ESO and its broad astronomical community by providing information about scientific, technical, and other developments. It also delivers relevant news about astronomy and astrophysics to a broader public, including policy-makers, government officials, journalists, teachers, and amateur astronomers, as well as to interested scientists from other fields.

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Issue 176
Messenger Issue 176

The Messenger Issue 176

Highlights include:

  • Ray, T., Callanan, P. et al.: Astronomy in Ireland
  • Cayrel, M., Cirasuolo, M. et al.: ELT – Where the Secondary Mirror Becomes a Giant
  • Fontana, A., Mason, C. et al.: KLASS – The Role of Low-Mass Galaxies from Cosmic Dawn to Cosmic Noon
  • Harrison, C., Arrigoni Battaia, F. et al.: ESO Science Ambassadors

Read the full PDF

Past Issues
Messenger Issue 191
2023Issue 191
Messenger Issue 190
2023Issue 190
Messenger Issue 189
2022Issue 189
Messenger Issue 188
2022Issue 188
Messenger Issue 187
2022Issue 187
Messenger Issue 186
2022Issue 186
Messenger Issue 185
2021Issue 185
Messenger Issue 184
2021Issue 184
Messenger Issue 183
2021Issue 183
Messenger Issue 182
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2020Issue 181
Messenger Issue 180
2020Issue 180
Messenger Issue 179
2020Issue 179
Messenger Issue 178
2019Issue 178
Messenger Issue 177
2019Issue 177
Messenger Issue 175
2019Issue 175
Messenger Issue 174
2018Issue 174
Messenger Issue 173
2018Issue 173
Messenger Issue 172
2018Issue 172
Table of Content No. 176 | 2019
The Organisation
Ray, T., Callanan, P. et al.
Astronomy in Ireland
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176....3R
Ray, T., Callanan, P., Chernyakova, M., Espey, B., Hanlon, L., O’Sullivan, C., Redman, M., Smith, N.
Astronomy has been very important in Ireland since ancient times. In the  Victorian era, the country had not only the largest reflector in the world, but also the largest refractor. Modern astronomical research is concentrated in various Irish universities as well as the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Astronomy is very popular among the public at large, and also as a means of promoting graduate uptake in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). After providing some historical background, we give a broad-brush review of astronomical research in the country with the intention of encouraging collaboration with Ireland, the newest member of the ESO family.

Cioni, M.
The ESO Users Committee: Giving Users a Voice
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176....8C
Cioni, M.
The Users Committee (UC) was introduced at ESO in 1978 and since its first meeting in September of that year it has assisted the Director General and the ESO management in improving the performance of the Organisation, including scientific access, operations and data management facilities, and other services related to the scientific products. The UC is an advisory body that represents European users of both La Silla Paranal observatory, including the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX), and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). It is the main channel of communication between the users and ESO. UC members’ engagement with specific activities has evolved over time in line with the development of ESO’s facilities and the expansion of the ESO community. This article provides information on the composition of the UC and details of its main activities, and highlights topics that have been discussed over the last decade.

Telescopes and Instrumentation
Cayrel, M., Cirasuolo, M. et al.
ELT – Where the Secondary Mirror Becomes a Giant
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...13C
Cayrel, M., Cirasuolo, M., Tamai, R., Haupt, C., Sqalli, O., Muller, M., Dierickx, P., Koehler, B., Marchet, F., Gonzalez, J., Tuti, M., ELT Team
The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is at the core of ESO’s vision to deliver the largest optical and infrared telescope in the world. Following on from our previous Messenger article describing the primary mirror (M1), here we focus on the secondary (M2) and the tertiary (M3) mirrors of the ELT, outlining the complexity and challenges involved, and the current manufacturing status.

Leibundgut, B., Bacon, R. et al.
MUSE Narrow Field Mode Adaptive Optics Science Verification
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...16L
Leibundgut, B., Bacon, R., Bian, F., Kakkad, D., Kuntschner, H., Selman, F., Valenti, E., Vernet, J., Vogt, F., Wylezalek, D.
The Narrow-Field Mode (NFM) on the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) uses laser tomography to correct for atmospheric turbulence at optical wavelengths. Science verification of this new mode of the MUSE instrument took place in September 2018. The science verification observations were obtained in service mode. Out of 37 submitted proposals, 16 observing programmes were scheduled for a total of 43.5 hours of observations. The allocation assumed a seeing better than 0.8 arcseconds, i.e., the required atmospheric conditions to achieve effective adaptive optics correction. Some of the top priority programmes could not be executed because the reference stars were too faint to provide sufficient low-order adaptive optics corrections. As shown by the first results presented here, the NFM will enable advances across a range of scientific areas, for example, characterising substellar/planetary mass objects, globular clusters, and active galactic nuclei.

Montenegro-Montes, F., Torstensson, K. et al.
Orion-KL Observations with the Extended Tuning Range of the New SEPIA660 APEX Facility Instrument
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...20M
Montenegro-Montes, F., Torstensson, K., Parra, R., Pérez-Beaupuits, J., Nyman, L., Agurto, C., Azagra, F., Cárdenas, M., González, E., MacAuliffe, F., Venegas, P., De Breuck, C., Bergman, P., Gunawan, D., Wyrowski, F., Stanke, T., Belitsky, V., Fredrixon, M., Meledin, D., Olberg, M., Strandberg, M., Sundin, E., Adema, J., Barkhof, J., Baryshev, A., Hesper, R., Khudchenko, A.
During Science Verification of the new SEPIA660 facility receiver at APEX, we carried out a shallow line survey of the archetypal Kleinmann-Low Nebula in the Orion star forming region (Orion-KL). These observations cover the tuning range towards the band edges, which has recently been extended beyond ALMA Band 9 specifications. At these frequencies, atmospheric transmission is very low but still sufficient to detect bright lines in Orion-KL. We present the collected spectra and compare with surveys from the literature, demonstrating the capabilities of the instrument.

Cantalloube, F., Dohlen, K. et al.
Peering through SPHERE Images: A Glance at Contrast Limitations
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...25C
Cantalloube, F., Dohlen, K., Milli, J., Brandner, W., Vigan, A.
Various structures are visible within Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument (SPHERE) images that are not always straightforward to interpret. In this article we present a review of these features and demonstrate their origin using simulations. We also identify which expected or unexpected features are limiting the contrast reached by the instrument and how they may be tackled. This vision paves the way to designing a future upgrade of the SPHERE instrument and the next generation of high-contrast instruments such as those planned for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).

Astronomical Science
Fontana, A., Mason, C. et al.
KLASS – The Role of Low-Mass Galaxies from Cosmic Dawn to Cosmic Noon
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...33F
Fontana, A., Mason, C., Girard, M., Treu, T., Jones, T., Dessauges-Zavadsky, M., Morishita, T., Pentericci, L., Schmidt, K., Wang, X.
The KMOS Lens-Amplified Spectroscopic Survey (KLASS) is an ESO Large Programme that uses the KMOS infrared spectrograph to investigate the role of low-mass galaxies at several epochs of cosmic time. KLASS has targeted galaxies behind massive clusters, using gravitational amplification and stretching to observe galaxies that are intrinsically very faint. By pushing KMOS to the limits of its capabilities, we have obtained new constraints on the timescale of the reionisation process, finding that the intergalactic medium was almost completely neutral at a redshift of around 8, and that turbulence plays a major role in shaping low mass galaxies at intermediate redshifts (0.5 < z < 2).

Barthel, P., Versteeg, J.
ALMA Resolves the Stellar Birth Explosions in Distant Radio-Loud Quasars
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...37B
Barthel, P., Versteeg, J.
Far-infrared photometry with the Herschel Space Observatory has found many examples of ultra-luminous dust emission at around 40 K in the host galaxies of high-redshift, radio-loud 3C Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). The dust heating could have its origin in the central black hole activity or extreme circumnuclear starbursts, or both. We have used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Cycle 3 to study the dust morphology on the kiloparsec scale in a sample of these AGN, and present the results for three well-known distant quasars: 3C298, 3C318, and 3C454. After correction for the non-thermal radiation at 1 mm, the observations imply a starburst origin for the cool thermal dust emission, and a symbiotic physical relationship with the AGN-driven radio source.

Astronomical News
Primas, F., Hainaut, O. et al.
The New ESO Phase 1 System for Proposal Submission
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...41P
Primas, F., Hainaut, O., Bierwirth, T., Patat, F., Dorigo, D., Hoppe, E., Lange, U., Pasquato, M., Sogni, F.
On 1 April 2019 ESO released its new Phase1 system (p1) for the submission of Director’s Discretionary Time (DDT) observing proposals for the period between April and September 2019 (Period 103). The p1 interface will be extended to all types of observing proposals in the Period 105 Call for Proposals, which will be released in September 2019. This represents the first part of a broader overhaul of the ESO Phase 1 system that also entails a significant modernisation of the Observ-ing Programmes Committee peer review process and associated tools. Here we highlight the main features of the new user interface for proposals submission.

Zafar, T., De Breuck, C. et al.
Report on the ESO Workshop "Linking Galaxies from the Epoch of Initial Star Formation to Today"
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...48Z
Zafar, T., De Breuck, C., Arnaboldi, M.
We report on the first joint Australia–ESO conference since the start of the Strategic Partnership. The conference was supported by ESO, the Australian Academy of Science (under a research grant from Elizabeth & Frederick White), the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the Independent Research Fund Denmark, Macquarie University, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS), and Astronomy Australia Limited. The scientific organising committee (SOC) took several measures to tackle unconscious bias while preparing an exciting programme with good gender balance and greater representation from early career researchers. We detail our approach here with the aim of helping organisers of future conferences.

Harrison, C., Arrigoni Battaia, F. et al.
ESO Science Ambassadors
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...50H
Harrison, C., Arrigoni Battaia, F., Moorcraft, L.
The Science Ambassador project, initiated by ESO Fellows from Garching and Vitacura, is designed to disseminate information about ESO’s activities by sending scientists to visit countries across Europe and Chile. The primary goals are: (1) to raise awareness of ESO’s mission and its telescopes, with a focus on the Extremely Large Telescope; (2) to transmit the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre experience to schools and the general public; and (3) to promote opportunities at ESO for early-career researchers. The project also provides a long-term legacy through training of local educators and donation of resources.

Corral-Santana, J., Agliozzo, C. et al.
Fellows at ESO
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...54E
Corral-Santana, J., Agliozzo, C., Anderson, R.

Leibundgut, B.
Gustav Andreas Tammann (1932–2019)
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...58L
Leibundgut, B.

Personnel Movements
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...59E

Siebenmorgen, R., Boffin, H. et al.
Report on the ESO Event "20th Anniversary of Science Exploration with FORS"
ADS BibCode: 2019Msngr.176...44S
Siebenmorgen, R., Boffin, H., Derie, F.
About 50 scientists belonging to the “Friends of FORS” family convened at the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre to celebrate 20 years of successful science exploration with FORS1 and FORS2. Scientific highlights from these instruments were discussed, covering various research areas rang-ing from interstellar bodies entering our Solar System, to the detection of exo- planets and biomarkers, interstellar medium dust polarisation, binary star velocities, galaxy dynamics, high-redshift galaxies near the re-ionisation epoch, and transient astronomical events such as supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, and gravitational waves. In addition to reviewing the amazing scientific achievements from the FORS instruments, a specific goal of the conference was to discuss ways in which to foster the high scientific impact of the instrument in the future. Various suggestions from the ESO community for upgrading the instrument were presented and discussed.