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 181
Messenger Issue 181

The Messenger Issue 181

Highlights include:

  • Leibundgut, B., Anderson, R. et al.: ESPRESSO Science Verification
  • Lundgren, A., De Breuck, C. et al.: An Era Comes to an End: The Legacy of LABOCA at APEX
  • Evans, C., Lennon, D. et al.: The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey
  • Bayliss, D., Wheatley, P. et al.: NGTS — Uncovering New Worlds with Ultra-Precise Photometry

Read the full PDF

Past Issues
Messenger Issue 192
2024Issue 192
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
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Messenger Issue 185
2021Issue 185
Messenger Issue 184
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Messenger Issue 183
2021Issue 183
Messenger Issue 182
2021Issue 182
Messenger Issue 180
2020Issue 180
Messenger Issue 179
2020Issue 179
Messenger Issue 178
2019Issue 178
Messenger Issue 177
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2018Issue 174
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Table of Content No. 181 | 2020
Leibundgut, B., Anderson, R. et al.
ESPRESSO Science Verification
ADS BibCode: 2020Msngr.181....3L
Leibundgut, B., Anderson, R., Berg, T., Cristiani, S., Figueira, P., Lo Curto, G., Mehner, A., Sedaghati, E., Pritchard, J., Wittkowski, M.
ESPRESSO Science Verification took place at the end of August and the beginning of September 2019. It was spread over two visitor-mode nights, requiring seven hours of observations taken in service mode. The weather conditions (strong winds and poor seeing conditions) and some telescope problems (failure of guide cameras) hampered the first two nights and additional time was granted to finish the top-ranked programmes. In response to the call for ESPRESSO science verification, 16 proposals were submitted, 10 of which were scheduled for a total of 25 hours of observations. A slight oversubscription of the available time was planned to allow for the prevailing atmospheric conditions. The seven top-ranked programmes were fully completed.

Lundgren, A., De Breuck, C. et al.
An Era Comes to an End: The Legacy of LABOCA at APEX
ADS BibCode: 2020Msngr.181....7L
Lundgren, A., De Breuck, C., Siringo, G., Weiß, A., Agurto, C., Azagra, F., Belloche, A., Dumke, M., Durán, C., Eckart, A., González, E., Güsten, R., Hacar, A., Kovács, A., Kreysa, E., Mac-Auliffe, F., Martínez, M., Menten, K., Montenegro, F., Nyman, L., Parra, R., Pérez-Beaupuits, J., Reveret, V., Risacher, C., Schuller, F., Stanke, T., Torstensson, K., Venegas, P., Wiesemeyer, H., Wyrowski, F.
It was 13 years ago, in May 2007, when the Large APEX Bolometer Camera (LABOCA) was commissioned as a facility instrument on the APEX telescope at the 5100-m-high Llano de Chajnantor. This 870-µm bolometer camera, in combination with the high efficiency of APEX and the excellent atmospheric transmission at the site, has offered an unprecedented capability in mapping the submillimetre continuum emission in objects ranging from the Solar System and star-forming regions throughout the Galactic plane, to the most distant galaxies. As the operation of LABOCA is soon coming to an end to make space for a new array of continuum detectors, we present an overview of the challenges, lessons learned and science impact that it has generated. To date, LABOCA has produced the most papers of any APEX instrument and compares favourably with many VLT instruments.

Petry, D., Stanke, T. et al.
ALMA Data Quality Assurance and the Products it Delivers – The Contribution of the European ARC
ADS BibCode: 2020Msngr.181...16P
Petry, D., Stanke, T., Biggs, A., Díaz Trigo, M., Guglielmetti, F., Hatziminaoglou, E., van Kampen, E., Maud, L., Miotello, A., Popping, G., Randall, S., Stoehr, F., Zwaan, M.
From its inception, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) was intended to be accessible to all astronomers, including those who are more used to carrying out their research at other wavelengths. Since the beginning of science observations in September 2011, ALMA has therefore applied a comprehensive Quality Assurance (QA) process to the observed data before delivering them to the principal investigators (PIs). This huge investment, unique for a ground-based (non-survey) observatory of this calibre, results in fully calibrated datasets as well as high-quality images that allow the PIs to assess the quality of their data upon delivery and that provide an advanced starting point for the scientific analysis. In this article we provide a summary of the purpose and status of ALMA QA, a brief description of the QA process and the resulting ALMA data products, and a discussion of how the ALMA user profits from them.

Astronomical Science
Evans, C., Lennon, D. et al.
The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey
ADS BibCode: 2020Msngr.181...22E
Evans, C., Lennon, D., Langer, N., Almeida, L., Bartlett, E., Bastian, N., Bestenlehner, J., Britavskiy, N., Castro, N., Clark, S., Crowther, P., de Koter, A., de Mink, S., Dufton, P., Fossati, L., Garcia, M., Gieles, M., Gräfener, G., Grin, N., Hénault-Brunet, V., Herrero, A., Howarth, I., Izzard, R., Kalari, V., Maíz Apellániz, J., Markova, N., Najarro, F., Patrick, L., Puls, J., Ramírez-Agudelo, O., Renzo, M., Sabín-Sanjulián, C., Sana, H., Schneider, F., Schootemeijer, A., Simón-Díaz, S., Smartt, S., Taylor, W., Tramper, F., van Loon, J., Villaseñor, J., Vink, J., Walborn, N.
The VLT-FLAMES Tarantula Survey (VFTS) was an ESO Large Programme that has provided a rich, legacy dataset for studies of both resolved and integrated populations of massive stars. Initiated in 2008 (ESO Period 82), we used the Fibre Large Array Multi Element Spectrograph (FLAMES) to observe more than 800 massive stars in the dramatic 30 Doradus star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud. At the start of the survey the importance of multiplicity among high-mass stars was becoming evident, so a key feature was multi-epoch spectroscopy to detect radial-velocity shifts arising from binary motion. Here we summarise some of the highlights from the survey and look ahead to the future of the field.

Bayliss, D., Wheatley, P. et al.
NGTS — Uncovering New Worlds with Ultra-Precise Photometry
ADS BibCode: 2020Msngr.181...28B
Bayliss, D., Wheatley, P., West, R., Pollacco, D., Anderson, D., Armstrong, D., Bryant, E., Cegla, H., Cooke, B., Gänsicke, B., Gill, S., Jackman, J., Loudon, T., McCormac, J., Acton, J., Burleigh, M., Casewell, S., Goad, M., Henderson, B., Hogan, A., Raynard, L., Tilbrook, R., Briegal, J., Gillen, E., Queloz, D., Smith, G., Eigmüller, P., Smith, A., Watson, C., Bouchy, F., Lendl, M., Nielsen, L., Udry, S., Jenkins, J., Vines, J., Jordán, A., Moyano, M., Günther, M.
The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) is a state-of-the-art photometric facility located at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. NGTS is able to reach a precision of 150 ppm in 30 minutes, making it the most precise ground-based photometric system in the world. This precision has led to the discovery of a rare exoplanet in the “Neptune Desert” (NGTS-4b), the shortest-period hot Jupiter ever discovered (NGTS-10b), and the first exoplanet recovered from a TESS monotransit candidate (NGTS-11b). It has also allowed NGTS to characterise exoplanet candidates transiting very bright stars (V < 10) from the TESS mission, and to make coordinated observations in support of VLT programmes.

Astronomical News
Beccari, G., Boffin, H.
The ESO Cosmic Duologues
ADS BibCode: 2020Msngr.181...34B
Beccari, G., Boffin, H.
On 26 April 1920, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis engaged in a debate on the scale of the Universe which became known as the Great Debate. That event continues to be seen as an exemplary way of addressing controversies, particularly in astronomy. While, after 100 years, many (if not all) of the scientific questions raised during the Great Debate have been answered, it is a common feature of research that as one question is answered new and often unexpected questions show up. Inspired by these considerations, ESO decided to commemorate the Great Debate with a series of events called the ESO Cosmic Duologues.

Dennefeld, M.
A History of the Magellanic Clouds and the European Exploration of the Southern Hemisphere
ADS BibCode: 2020Msngr.181...37D
Dennefeld, M.
The Magellanic Clouds were known before Magellan’s voyage exactly 500 years ago, and were not given that name by Magellan himself or his chronicler Antonio Pigafetta. They were, of course, already known by local populations in South America, such as the Mapuche and Tupi-Guaranis. The Portuguese called them Clouds of the Cape, and scientific circles had long used the names of Nubecula Minor and Major. We trace how and when the name Magellanic Clouds came into common usage by following the history of exploration of the southern hemisphere and the southern sky by European explorers — which ultimately led to the founding of ESO.

Cioni, M., Romaniello, M. et al.
Report on the ESO Workshop “A Synoptic View of the Magellanic Clouds: VMC, Gaia, and Beyond”
ADS BibCode: 2020Msngr.181...43C
Cioni, M., Romaniello, M., Anderson, R.
The year 2019 marked the quincentenary of the arrival in the southern hemisphere of Ferdinand Magellan, the namesake of the Magellanic Clouds, our nearest example of dwarf galaxies in the early stages of a minor merging event. These galaxies have been firmly established as laboratories for the study of variable stars, stellar evolution, and galaxy interaction, as well as being anchors for the extragalactic distance scale. The goal of this conference was to provide fertile ground for shaping future research related to the Magellanic Clouds by combining state-of-the-art results based on advanced observational programmes with discussions of the highly multiplexed wide-field spectroscopic surveys that will come online in the 2020s.

Gendron-Marsolais, M., Jones, M.
Fellows at ESO
ADS BibCode: 2020Msngr.181...49E
Gendron-Marsolais, M., Jones, M.

Personnel Movements
ADS BibCode: 2020Msngr.181...51E