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102 – December 2000

Successful Installation of the VIRMOS Laser Mask
Manufacturing Unit (MMU) at Paranal
1ESO; 2CNR – Istituto Fisica Cosmica “G.Occhialini”, Milano;
3Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, Marseille; 4CNR – Istituto di Radioastronomia, Bologna

The Mask Manufacturing Unit (MMU), to be used for deep and large field ob- (up to 15 per quadrant) are inserted dur-
one of the three main components of the servations. VIMOS is right now in the ing the day in the so-called Instrument
VIRMOS project, has been delivered and system test phase at the Observatoire Cabinets. Before the observations, the
successfully installed at Paranal Obser- de Haute-Provence and is expected to 4 cabinets are installed on the four
vatory at the beginning of August. The be delivered to the community in July channels of VIMOS. The Mask Ex-
MMU is a laser-based system, which 2001. NIRMOS is entering the manu- changer Unit is a device in the in-
will be used to cut the slit masks for the facturing phase. strument, which allows exchanging
VIMOS, NIRMOS and FORS2 spectro- The VIMOS field of view is split the masks remotely according to the
graphs. The unit also manages the se- in 4 quadrants of 7′ × 8′ each (8′ × observation programme. The MMU is
lection, storage and insertion of the 6′ for NIRMOS)
masks into dedicated cabinets. A batch and therefore, for
of masks has been manufactured on each, a slit mask
Paranal for a test with FORS2. The is needed for a
quality of the masks (position accuracy Multi-Object Spec-
and roughness of the slits) are fully com- troscopy observa-
pliant with the instrument specifications. tion. The masks

Figure 1: The laser
A consortium of French-Italian astro- cutting system as
nomical institutes is building three in- installed in the
struments for the VLT: VIMOS, NIR- MMU Laboratory at
MOS and the MMU. The whole is the Paranal. The invar
sheet on which the
so-called VIRMOS project [1]. VIMOS slits will be cut is
(Visible Multi-Object Spectrograph) and mounted and
NIRMOS (Near Infra-Red Multi-Object clamped on the X
Spectrograph) are focal reducer and – Y translation
spectrographs with imaging capability stage.

Table 1. Required specifications for the VIRMOS masks. The results after installation in Paranal are included.

Item Specification Test results in Paranal

Slit width 300 to 1000 µm ≥ 100 µm

Shape It shall be feasible to cut slits of arbitrary shapes, with the Any shape. Radius of curvature:
above-mentioned edge quality and slit width (degradation of > 2 mm. Same slit width and edge
30% acceptable) quality as above

Edge quality < 5 µm peak to peak 1.3 ± 0.3 µm

Absolute positional < 30 µm, including temperature variations between fabrication ≤ 15 µm

accuracy with respect and operation in VIMOS and NIRMOS
to the mask support frame

Speed > 7 m/h (1.9 mm/s) 6 mm/s

located in a laboratory in the Camp controlled by the instrument control the material occurs under a 16 bar
Area. From there the 4 Instrument software. compressed air jet. The laser system
Cabinets, loaded with the masks, are (manufactured by the German LPKF
transported by car to the telescope company) is also equipped with a dou-
in suitcases re-arranged for this pur- Description and Performance of ble close water circuit for the cooling of
pose. the MMU [3] the pumping lamp and with an air pres-
The FORS Consortium has retrofit- sured device for exhausting of the
ted in FORS2 a Mask eXchange Unit Figure 1 shows a picture of the laser- mask debris. The X – Y moving table al-
(MXU), which gives the possibility to cutting machine. An air pad X – Y trans- lows a position absolute accuracy bet-
place slit masks in the focal plane lation stage is mounted on the polished ter than 15 µm and can cut slits with a
of the telescope [2]. The multiplex surface of a very stable granite table of width down to 100 µm (0.17 arcsec on
capabilities of the instrument may be 2.5 tons. The 0.2 mm thick black coat- the sky). The shape of the slits can be
increased up to 200 targets per mask. ed invar sheets are mounted on the X – adapted to the observer needs, the
Up to 10 masks (produced by the Y table and they are flatted with an air width along the slit may even vary. The
MMU) can be stored in the unit. The clamping system. A 20 W pulsed (1.6 minimum radius of curvature of the slits
loading of the masks into the MXU is KHz) Nd – YAG (λ 1064 nm) laser is is 2 mm.
done manually during the day, but the mounted on top of the table. An ex- The physical size of each VIMOS
selection and exchange of the masks pander and objective lens focus a 40 mask is 305 × 305 mm but the useful
during the observations is remotely µm waist spot on the masks. Cutting of area is 244 × 279, which fits the detec-
tor field of view (7′ × 8′). Figure 2 shows
true to scale the 4 VIMOS quadrants
and the location of the masks. The dis-
persion direction of the spectra on the
CCDs is also shown.
Figure 3 gives a typical laser cut VI-
MOS mask showing, in addition to the
slits, the reference marks for high posi-
tion accuracy on the VIMOS focal
plane, the attaching holes for the han-
dling of the masks by the Mask
Exchange Unit, the holes for reference
stars and the identification code.
The main requirements on the masks
for VIMOS and NIRMOS are listed in
Table 1. It shows also the results ob-
tained at Paranal after installation. All
of them are better than the required
The number of slits per mask may be
greater than 200 when VIMOS is used
in low-resolution mode (R~200). Up to 5
slits can be drilled along the dispersion
without spectra overlapping. The high
cutting speed of 6 mm/s allows to pro-
duce up to 32 “low-resolution” masks (8
fields) in an 8-hour working time.
Since the spectroscopic observa-
tions through the masks have to be
done at the best observing conditions
(targets near the meridian), the direct
images of the fields to be taken by VI-
MOS to prepare the masks have to be
Figure 2: Distribution of the 4 slit masks on the focal plane of the VIMOS quadrants. Each recorded at the beginning of the night
mask is 305 305 mm. several weeks before the spectroscopy

Figure 3: Typical converted in “gerber” CAD compatible
VIMOS mask sam - format files. A final conversion is done
ple showing exam - by the LPKF-owned software to create
ples of straight and a file with the cutting commands. Once
curved slits (g),
square holes for
the masks are made, they are stored in
reference stars (h), the Storage Cabinet and from there, they
mechanical refer - are inserted into the cabinets, which
ences for high are installed into VIMOS (NIRMOS) for
position accuracy the spectroscopy observations.
on the Nasmyth
focal plane of the
4 masks (b, c) Installation and Operation
and identification
code (f).
A room in the General Storage build-
ing just in front of the Auxiliary
Telescope Hall (ATH) in the Camp Area
was built as the MMU Laboratory. All
necessary facilities like electricity, wa-
ter, pressurised air, LAN, telephone and
air condition were designed and imple-
mented in time by the Paranal Engineer
and Facility departments. Due to the
size and weight of the laser table, the
front wall of the MMU Laboratory
had to be removed for the installation
(Figure 4).
run. Also, masks for a large number of automatically, in a known order, the Two weeks were necessary to install
fields must be available to optimise and masks into the Instrument Cabinets. all the MMU components, interface
adapt to the scientific programme, the Once loaded, the Instrument Cabinets them and put all the system in opera-
optimal target position with respect to are transported from the MMU Labora- tion. Mr. A. Mueller from LPKF spent
the meridian and the required exposure tory to the telescope and mounted into three days to install, align, operate the
times. For this purpose, a hardware VIMOS (NIRMOS). laser, and to perform the first mainte-
and software system called Mask Three main software packages were nance protocol according to the
Handling System has been implement- built for the MMU. The Mask Handling Contract. On August 2 the first VIMOS
ed to control the identification, clas- Software provides a Graphical User mask was successfully produced in
sification and flow of the masks. The Interface for all masks handling func- Paranal.
cutting machine engraves a bar code tions excluding the manufacturing. It In the following days, the protocol to
at the bottom of the masks (Figure 3, records the storage order of the masks prepare the FORS-2 masks for the
(f)) for the identifications. in the Storage Cabinet, interfaces the MXU was completed mainly by A. M.
A Storage Cabinet was built to store Instrument / VLT software and acts as Aguayo and W. Hummel. All the neces-
the manufactured masks (Figure 5) be- front end for the LPKF file converter soft- sary masks for the test run with FORS
fore they are inserted in the Instrument ware. The Cut Manager Software is a 2 were produced.
Cabinets (the boxes that contain the GUI for the handling of mask files and The MMU, after additional check-ups
15 masks to be placed on the VIMOS is a front end of the LPKF cutting soft- and minor failures during this installa-
quadrants during the observations). Up ware. tion period, is now in operation and
to 400 masks may be stored (100 The mask preparation begins with ready to manufacture the observation
per VIMOS quadrant). A bar code laser the preparation of a file by the observer masks for FORS2 visitor observers as
system is used to keep track of the from direct images taken with VIMOS of November 2000 and early next year
masks in the Storage Cabinet. Finally, (NIRMOS) with the positions (in mm) of for VIMOS commissioning.
the so-called Instrument Cabinet Robot the slits. The files are sent to a PC in We want to thank the Paranal En-
(Figure 6), is a device to insert semi- the MMU Laboratory where they are gineering and Facilities Departments

Figure 4: Moving the 2.5-ton Laser Table inside the MMU Laboratory. Figure 5: The VIMOS Storage Cabinet. 400 masks may be stored
The wall had to be removed for this purpose. (100 per VIMOS quadrant).

led by P. Gray and J. Eschwey for their Figure 6: The
work in preparation to and during the Instrument Cabinet
commissioning of the MMU. Special Robot. The four
thanks go to P. Sansgasset, P. Robert, Instrument Cabinets
corresponding to
U. Kaberger, E. Bugueño, M. Tapia, G. the four channels of
Gillet and P. Mardones. VIMOS (or NIRMOS)
are inserted in the
References stand.
[1] Le Fèvre et al.: 2000, in Optical and IR
Telescope Instrumentation and Detectors.
Proc. SPIE 4008, 546.
[2] H. Schink et al.: 2000, in Optical and IR
Telescope Instrumentation and Detectors.
Proc. SPIE 4008, 175.
[3] Conti, G. et al.: 2000, Astronomy &
Astrophysics, submitted.

Email address:

First Astronomical Light with TIMMI2,

ESO’s 2nd-Generation Thermal Infrared Multimode
Instrument at the La Silla 3.6-m Telescope
1ESO, Garching bei München, Germany
2Astrophysikalisches Institut und Universitäts -Sternwarte Jena, Germany
3Physikalisch Technische Fakultät der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Technische Betriebseinheit, Jena, Germany
4Institut für Astronomie der Universität Wien, Austria
5Leipziger Straße 100, Jena, Germany

Introduction France (PI Pierre-Olivier Lagage). Germany, to build TIMMI2. This pro-
TIMMI, featuring a 64 × 64 gallium posal, reflecting ESO’s optical concept,
We report the first astronomical tests doped silicon array and mostly ger- was based on a modern cryostat
of TIMMI2 between October 6 and 11, manium refractive optics inside a cooled by a Closed Cycle Expansion
2000. A short overview of the project solid-nitrogen/liquid-helium dewar, was Cooler Machine and was also fea-
history and the project context is given. in constant use until its decommission- turing a polarimetric option (not avail-
This is followed by a basic description ing in 1999 (cf. Stecklum et al. 1999). able in TIMMI). Personnel cost and
of the instrument and its modes as well By then, the development of detectors capital investments could largely be
as a report on the achieved and pro- had progressed so rapidly, that the covered by funds raised by the
jected sensitivities. A more in depth instrument no longer appeared com- Institute in Jena. The PI in Jena was
technical description including first op- petitive. Hans-Georg Reimann. After some ne-
erational experiences will be given in In fact, in 1993 ESO joined a consor- gotiations, a Memorandum of Under -
one of the upcoming issues of The tium of French institutes to develop, standing was signed and the work be-
Messenger. As to the scientific interest based on the array used e.g. in TIMMI, gan in early 1996. The design sketch
of TIMMI2, readers are referred to, e.g., a next-generation device (cf. e.g. Lucas of ESO (see above) was first trans-
Käufl 1993. et al. 1994). Already the format of this formed into a FEM1 certified con-
device (128 × 192 pixel) suggested that ceptual design, both for the optics and
The TIMMI2 Project it would be desirable to build a new mechanics, by the company Jena-
camera, rather than trying to use the Optronik GmbH. Based on this work,
In 1992, when ESO commissioned new device in the existing set-up. Even the final design and the detail design of
the original TIMMI instrument, visiting larger arrays were announced by US the instrument were done at the
astronomers could use a modern com- suppliers. To that end ESO had devel- physics department of the FSU. To the
petitive instrument featuring imaging oped some basic ideas for the optics of extent that this was feasible, all me-
and low-resolution spectroscopy in the a next-generation instrument for the La chanical parts were manufactured in
wavelength region from λ P 5 µm to λ Silla 3.6-m telescope (cf. Käufl & De- the workshops of the FSU. In the
P 17.5 µm (cf. Käufl et al. 1992, 1994a, labre, 1994). course of the project, the group at the
1994b). Back in 1992, to the best of our As a result of the La Silla 2000 ques - FSU could enlist a team from the
knowledge, TIMMI was the only such tionnaire (see Anderson 1994) in The Sternwarte der Universität Wien for
instrument available as a common user Messenger 78, ESO received a pro-
instrument at any observatory. TIMMI posal from the Astrophysikalisches 1A representative mechanical design for the op-
was built under contract for ESO by Institut und Sternwarte of the Friedrich- tical bench was made and its flexure was modelled
the Service d’Astrophysique, Saclay, Schiller-Universität (FSU) in Jena, with the finite element method.

support, especially with the data-flow µm). With this for-
aspects of TIMMI2. Because of a mat, Nyquist sam-
concatenation of detrimental influ- pling of the dif-
ences, most notably delays in the fraction pattern of
delivery of the detector and the as- the telescope at λ
sociated electronics, the original sched- P 8 µm (i.e. a pix-
ule could not be kept. The instrument el scale of 0.3 arc-
could be shipped only end of April sec/pix) results in
2000 from Jena to La Silla. During a field-of-view of
the extended assembly and com- 72 × 96 arcsec2
missioning phase in May, the TIMMI2 compared to 19 ×
team took a short break to visit the up- 19 arcsec 2 for
per Elqui valley. On the way back, a se- TIMMI.
rious car accident occurred. The PI, Thus the focal
Hans-Georg Reimann was killed and length of the colli-
other members of the team were more mator and conse-
or less seriously injured (cf. The quently the size of
Messenger No. 100). the intermediate
Work on the project was resumed in pupil had to be
July, and in early August the full func- increased corre-
tionality of the instrument was estab- spondingly. TIM- Figure 1: Hans-Georg Reimann shortly before the accident during the
lished on the observing floor of the MI2 is equipped re-assembly of TIMMI2 on the 3.6-m telescope observing floor.
3.6-m telescope. End of September, with a spherical
the team reconvened and the instru- mirror (ƒ U 350 mm, used in an off-axis • Si-lens (f = 89.5 mm) for imaging
ment could be interfaced for the very configuration) which gives a beam di- with 0.3 arcsec/pixel at λ P 3–5 µm
first time with the telescope. ameter at the pupil stop of 10 mm. As • Ge-lens (f = 63.6 mm) for spec-
While TIMMI2 was under develop- the total length of the cryogenic optical troscopy with 0.45 arcsec/pixel at λ P
ment, the 3.6-m telescope underwent train in the dewar is of the order of 2.5 10 µm including the order sorting filter
fundamental improvements and an ex- × ƒcollimator, i.e. P 900 mm, a double fold • CdTe-lens (f = 47.8 mm) for spec-
tensive upgrade. In a first stage, the of the optical path was chosen. troscopy with 0.6 arcsec/pixel at λ P 20
image quality was substantially im- Therefore, between collimator and µm including the order sorting filter
proved (S. Guisard et al. 1997). It pupil stop, the optical axis passes a • the other positions are reserved for
should be noted that for an instrument folding mirror which has some power to technical/alignment purposes.
working at λ M 5 µm at a 4-m-class tel- compensate the astigmatism intro- All lenses used here are simple
escope, the performance in terms of duced from the off-axis operation of meniscus lenses and give basically for
S/N is basically proportional to the the spherical mirror. This arrange- all configurations a theoretical image
Strehl ratio. Equally beneficial for the ment is extremely simple and robust quality better than 0.5 arcsec. For more
performance of TIMMI2 was the deci- while generally w.r.t. optical quality su- details on the optical design see Rei-
sion to change the telescope control perior to the use of e.g. an off-axis mann et al. 1998 and 2000 or Dietzsch
system (TCS) to VLT standards. This parabola. & Reimann, 1998.
involved a complete rebuilding of the by The tests at the telescope have con-
The lens wheel has 8 positions:
then more than 20-year-old hardware firmed the theoretical image quality, i.e.
of the f35 chopping secondary/adapter • Ge-lens (f = 143 mm) for imaging TIMMI2 is for all practical purposes ei-
(cf. Moorwood & van Dijsseldonk 1985). with 0.2 arcsec/pixel at λ P 10 µm ther diffraction- or seeing-limited.
TIMMI2 can now be set up to execute • Ge -lens (f = 95.5 mm) for imaging TIMMI2 can be used in polarimetric
in a semiautomatic way complicated with 0.3 arcsec/pixel at λ P 10 µm mode. A, in principle, continuously ro-
exposure sequences (chopping, nod- • CdTe-lens (f = 143 mm) for imaging tating analyser can be inserted be-
ding, mosaic scans, etc.). Such se- with 0.2 arcsec/pixel at λ P 20 µm tween the internal folding mirror and the
quences may be essential for observ- cold pupil spot.
ing moderately extended objects (e.g.
Käufl 1995a,b). Cryostat

The TIMMI2 cryostat is extremely

TIMMI2 Technical Description simple: it consists of two short ISO-
standard stainless-steel tubes welded
Optics together under right angles. To the ex-
tent this was feasible, standard ISO-
TIMMI2, like its predecessor TIMMI, norm parts were used. To achieve good
or many other ESO instruments (e.g. vacuum and cryogenic performance, all
SOFI, EFOSC, FORS) is a focal reduc- inner surfaces were polished and gold
er with a collimated beam at the inter- plated. The optical bench consists of a
mediate pupil. An aperture wheel al- light-weighted aluminium structure sup-
lows for the selection of various field ported (and thermally insulated) by a fi-
masks or slits. Behind the intermediate bre-glass structure. The optical bench
pupil a lens/grism wheel (3 grism and P is enclosed by a radiation shield. Cool-
25 filter positions) is located. It is fol- ing of the instrument is achieved with a
lowed by an objective wheel. TIMMI2 is commercial 2-stage Gifford-McMahon
equipped with a Raytheon 240 × 320 Closed Cycle Cooler (supplied by
arsenic doped silicon blocked impurity Sumitomo Heavy Industries). The goal
band (BIB) array detector (cf. Es- of the cryogenic design was to have all
trada et al. 1998). The device has surfaces and components within the ra-
its peak quantum efficiency at λ P 10 Figure 2: Schematics of the TIMMI2 Optics. diation shield cooled well enough that
µm and can be operated over an ex- Primary mirror: off-axis spherical mirror; sec - the instrument remains for all practical
tended range (P 2 µm m λ m 28 ondary mirror: folding mirror. purposes (including medium-resolution

Figure 3: Close view er control is preferred as it appears
from the top of the safer; hand-operation, however, is es-
TIMMI2 cold optical sential as it is the only means to handle
bench (baffles and non-standard or error situations.
shields partially re -
moved). Left and
The detector is read out with a com-
right in the picture mercial electronics system (IR-Ob-
the fibre-glass sup - serverTM) from Wallace Instruments. It
port structure and generates all clocks and voltages for
the solid parts of the readout and chopping. The system is
radiation shield can interfaced to a LINUX-PC.
be seen. To guide
the eye, the optical Computer System and Data Flow
path, starting on the
right at the aper -
ture/slit-wheel lead - As mentioned above, in the thermal
ing to the collimator IR, detectors work under extremely
and from there to the high flux conditions which force – to
folding mirror is indi - avoid saturation – rapid readout of the
cated. The folding detectors. In the case of the Raytheon
mirror sends the light 240 × 320 device in use in TIMMI2, 16
through the (encapsulated) polariser unit to the filter wheel, cold stop and lens wheel, then to Analogue-to-Digital Converters work in
the detector unit which is mounted to the back of the bench. The distance aperture/slit wheel
to collimator is P 350 mm. Three drive shafts are clearly visible, from left to right: filter-wheel,
parallel and generate of the order of 30
polariser movement and polariser insertion. Mbyte per second. Storage and distri-
bution of data at this rate is considered
undesirable. Therefore, an automatic
preprocessing pipeline has been devel-
spectroscopy or L-band imaging) limit- Telescope Interface and oped. The scope of this pipeline is in a
ed by the external background radiation Calibration first processing step to simply co-add
(for details on the calculation of back- the data and in a second step to apply
ground noise limited operation see e.g. TIMMI2 is interfaced to the f35 shift-and-add and cosmetic correction
Käufl et al. 1991)2. Typical tempera- adapter with a special interface plate al- to the data while performing a simple
tures are 70 K for the radiation shield, lowing for pupil alignment. Integrated consistency check (monitoring of aver-
40 K for the optical bench, 34 K for the into this plate is a wheel with 12 posi- age signal and variance). The scope
lens wheel and P 8 K for the detector tions allowing the insertion of a sky sim- and architecture are described in Relke
array. Temperatures are monitored with ulator, a flat-field source and spectral et al. 2000. The ultimate goal is to pro-
several PT-100 sensors for T M 30 K and calibrators (plastic sheets with narrow vide one frame conforming to the
2 Si-diodes for the detector area. The de- spectral features). ESO-DICB standards per target-instru-
tector temperature is actively controlled mental mode configuration, or, in other
with a commercial PID-controller. Electronics words, e.g. in imaging, the output of
Cooling down to operating conditions TIMMI2 shall be equivalent to a dark,
and starting with evacuation takes The TIMMI2 hardware is controlled bias, flat-field and bad-pixel corrected
typically 48 hours. Several strong via an Ethernet-IEEE488-bus interface. CCD-image. At this stage of the project,
heaters are mounted to the cold bench It is largely based on commercial elec- however, it was not yet feasible to try
to allow for baking during evacuation tronics. The motor positions are moni- the preprocessing pipeline.
(T m 50°C) and to speed-up the warm- tored by means of inductive sensors
ing-up at the end of operation. In case which may be complemented by micro- First Results
of target-of-opportunity observations, switches in the near future.
additional filtres can be added to the All functions (including the vacuum The first commissioning was limited
filter wheel with a minimum interven- pumps and the closed-cycle cooler) to 5 nights. After mechanical mounting,
tion. can be controlled either by computer within hours, the first images could be
For motorising the 5 cryogenic func- from a password-protected dialog box obtained. Various electronic and soft-
tions, all bearings and gears were de- in the user-interface or directly using ware problems, however, did not allow
signed and assembled according to the the corresponding front panel switches. to achieve acceptable performance
principles also in use in other ESO in- For general routine operation, comput- from the beginning. Because of the
frared instruments (ISAAC, SOFI). As a
thermal IR instrument is less critical
with respect to light-tightness of the
shields/baffles than a near-IR instru- Figure 4: The TIMMI2-
ment, the motors of TIMMI2 are located adapter assembly on
its way to the tele -
outside the vacuum vessel. For the scope. While TIMMI
drive shafts, ferro-fluidics sealed pene- could be hand-carried
trations are used. The penetrations at conveniently to the tel -
the radiation shield use an auxiliary escope, TIMMI2 needs
bearing which ensures adequate light a fork-lift and other
tightness and heat-sinking of the drive special tools. The met -
al hoses lead to the
shafts. closed-cycle cooler ex -
pansion machine at -
2 Readers not entirely familiar with this type of in-
tached to the top of the
vacuum vessel. The
frared instrumentation are reminded that the num- TIMMI2 cryostat is in -
ber of thermally emitted photons from telescope,
terfaced to the recy -
atmosphere and dewar entrance window exceed
by orders of magnitude those collected from the cled f/35 adapter by
astronomical source: e.g. while a 1 Jy source at 10 means of a special
µm will generate of the order of 107 photo-elec- alignment plate which
trons, the background generates of the order of holds also a wheel with
1010 photo-electrons per pixel(!) per second. calibration targets.

residual risk associated with mounting
of the TIMMI2 adaptor package with a
mass of P 400 kg, it was decided to use
the engineering rather than the sci-
ence-grade array for the first test.
Another risk was that due to potential
problems with the cable twist between
the Closed Cycle Cooler Compressor
and the instrument, the cooling ma-
chine could stall, which in turn could re-
sult in some contamination problems
associated with the induced warm-
ing-up. Fortunately, none of these prob-
lems occurred and the results of the
tests can be summarised as follows:
• The instrument mounting procedure
is safe and the interruption of the cool-
ing machine can be limited to P 60
minutes; this in turn implies that the in-
strument is in stable operating condi-
tions within 3 hours after mounting.
• The instrument works safely at least
up to zenith distances M 60°; the tech- Figure 5: Image of the LMC star-formation region N160A. This was one of the first integra -
nical position South, telescope horizon- tions on a scientifically interesting target with TIMMI2. The residual stripiness is due to
tal, can also be reached without any grounding problems. While in principle this could be easily removed by Fourier filtering of the
operational problems. data, the cause is understood and the ground-loop problem will be solved while this article
• The flexure between the guide goes into print. The insert shows at a magnified scale a typical point-spread-function.
probe CCD and the TIMMI2 optics is
less then 1 arcsec up to 2 airmasses.
• The internal camera background • The engineering grade array will Some Special Remarks
and detector dark-current is negligible be replaced with the science grade
for all scientific instrument modes. detector. At this point the detector will The first commissioning of TIMMI2
• The image quality is m 0.8 arcsec be carefully aligned with the instru- was originally foreseen earlier this year.
for λ m 13 µm and strictly diffraction lim- ment axis and the instrument orienta- During the preparation phase, part of
ited for longer wavelengths. tion in turn with the celestial co-ordi- the TIMMI2 team set out for what was
• The instrument sensitivity is within nates. planned to be a weekend trip to the up-
expectations.3 per Elqui Valley. On Saturday, May 27,
• The optics does not produce any During operation the following prob-
in the late afternoon, they suffered a se-
significant ghosts. lems occurred, which will be solved
rious car accident (cf. The Messenger
• The basic functionality of the largely in the near future:
100, p. 56). The PI of TIMMI2, Hans-
user-interface could be established. • Problems associated with the too Georg Reimann from the University of
high impedance of transient filters on Jena, was killed in the accident. While
Improvements and Outlook the detector board in the cryostat will be the team is reasonably satisfied with
resolved by modifying the filters as ap- the successful installation of the instru-
While the instrument configuration as propriate. ment, they are all sad that Hans-Georg
tested gave already acceptable results, • Line frequency pick-up problems is no longer with them. To the whole
the TIMMI2 team will try, before the ar- will be solved by opto-insulation of the team he had become a very close and
rival of the first visiting astronomers in chopping secondary interface; more- good friend. Without his initiative, the
mid-January 2001, to implement a vari- over the grounding scheme of the de- project would never have had its
ety of improvements, both to boost per- tector board will be re-examined. kick-off meeting, and the smooth exe-
formance and to make TIMMI2 more • Saturation problems in the Q-band cution of the project was rooted in his
robust: will temporarily be relieved by adding a equally optimistic and inspiring person-
• The mechanics of the polarisation neutral density filter until the final filters ality combined with his solid knowledge
will be slightly modified to reduce me- become available. in the field of astronomy and its associ-
chanical friction. • The vibrations introduced from the ated technologies.
• The inductive position sensors will Closed Cycle Cooler expansion ma-
be modified. chine produce some second-order arte- Acknowledgements
• The distance between Dewar en- facts. The immediate cure will be to re-
trance window and telescope focus will duce the CCC-head support resonance In 1996, the Phase-A Study and the
be increased. frequency by two, and in the coming pre-design (by Jena-Optronik GmbH,
• The signal preamplifiers in the months, the CCC-head will be support- Jena/Germany) of TIMMI2 was funded
read-out electronics will be modified. ed independently on the telescope ro- by the Thüringer Ministerium für Wis -
tator. senschaft, Forschung und Kultur as
3E.g., at λ P 12 µm with a 1-µm bandwidth fil-
With the above-mentioned improve- Project B503-95025. Subsequently,
ter, the limiting flux for point sources is P 40 mJy, ments implemented, TIMMI2 has the from January 1997 through December
10σ in 1 hour (elapsed time, including all over- potential to be the most sensitive and 2000, funding of the manufacturing, as-
head). The performance of TIMMI2 as it was test- advanced instrument of its kind. Par- sembly, and testing of the complete de-
ed is competitive with all other instruments exist- ticularly in view of the rapid develop- vice came from the Bundesministerium
ing, but TIMMI2 has by far the largest field of view.
Nevertheless, the TIMMI2 performance is a factor ment of this project, future observers für Bildung und Forschung, Verbund -
of 4 worse then the theoretical limit (BLIPperform- are invited to consult the TIMMI2 web forschung Astrophysik, under grant Nr.
ance, see e.g. Käufl et al. 1991). We are very con- page4. 05 3JN204. The contribution of the
fident that we can do a factor of 2 better (see sec-
tion Outlook below), and the implementation of the
Institut für Astronomie der Universität
relevant improvements hopefully will have taken 4 Wien was funded by the Austrian
place before this article goes into print. /timmi/index.html Ministry of Science and Transport and

by the Österreichische Nationalbank, VI): Now Diffraction Limited at 10 Microns data; in proc. of the ESO/ST-ECF work-
Jubiläumsfonds-Projekt Nummer 6876. at the f/35 Focus; The Messenger 90, shop on Calibrating and understanding
For the progress of the work, the skil- 9–11. NST and ESO instruments, ESO, ed. P.
H.U. Käufl, P. Bouchet, A. van Dijsseldonk Benvenuti p. 99–104.
ful support by our colleagues at the and U. Weilenmann, 1991; A Sky-Noise H.U. Käufl, 1995b; Observing extended ob-
ESO duty stations Garching, La Silla Measurement and its Implication for jects with chopping restrictions on 8m
and Santiago and at the Friedrich- Ground-Based Infrared Astronomy in the class telescopes in the thermal infrared; in
Schiller-Universität, Jena, was of great 10-µm Atmospheric Window; Experimen - proc. of the ESO/ST-ECF workshop on
help in all phases. Special thanks go to tal Astronomy 2,115–122. Calibrating and understanding HST and
H.U. Käufl, R. Jouan, P.O. Lagage, P. ESO instruments, ESO, ed. P. Benvenuti
the staff of the machine shop of the Masse, P. Mestreau and A. Tarrius, 1992; p. 159–164.
Physics Department of the Friedrich- TIMMI at the 3.6m Telescope; The C. Lucas, P. Pantiguy, D. Alloin, C.
Schiller-Universität who actually manu- Messenger 70, 67–70. Cesarsky, P.O. Lagage, H.U. Käufl, J.L.
factured the majority of the mechanical H.U. Käufl, 1993; Ground-Based Astronomy Monin, 1994; New 8-13µm Si:Ga/DRO
parts from raw materials, and to the in the 10 and 20µm Atmospheric Win- Hybrid Arrays for Very Large Telescopes;
Astro-Taller on La Silla. dows at ESO – Scientific Potential at Proc. of Infrared astronomy with arrays:
Present and in the Future; The Mes - the next generation, p. 425–428, ed. I.
senger 73, 8–12. McLean, Kluwer.
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E. Dietzsch and H.-G. Reimann, 1998; TIM- Camera/Spectrometer for ESO’s VLT, in Chopping Secondary at the 3.6m
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SPIE conference 3354 Infrared Astro- TIMMI: a 10 µm Camera for the ESO B. Stecklum, H.U. Käufl, A. Richichi, 1999;
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donk, H.U. Käufl, and J. Roucher, 1997; H.U. Käufl, 1995a; Acquisition, cleaning and
Image Quality of the 3.6m Telescope (part calibrating of ground based thermal IR Email address:

Exploring the Lyman Forest at z = 2 with UVES


1. The Signature of Neutral HI in bution of the baryonic matter and the jects known, reveal a wealth of struc-
the High-Redshift Universe conditions in the intergalactic medium tures, ranging from fluctuations of the
(IGM) over a wide range of redshifts, up diffuse IGM to the interstellar medium
The Lyman-α resonance line of neu- to z ~ 6. Observations of the “forest” of in protogalactic objects. The properties
tral hydrogen provides a sensitive Lyman-α absorptions along the lines of of the Lyman-α forest at different red-
probe to study the cosmological distri- sight to quasars, the most luminous ob- shifts constrain the cosmological pa-
rameters, such as the density of
baryons and the density parameter Ω,
and are the key to issues like the for-
mation of galaxies and large-scale
structure, the origin and properties of
the ionising radiation background. In
particular, it was early recognised by
Gunn & Peterson (1965) that, to avoid
producing a very large HI opacity at
wavelengths just below that of the
quasar’s Lyman-α emission line, a
strong photoionisation by the meta-
galactic UV background is necessary,
which at high redshift is produced by
the first generation of stars, which also
enrich the IGM with metals (also ob-
served in the form of absorptions).
Unlike most of the other astronomical
objects, Lyman-α absorbing “clouds”

Figure 1: An artistic view (thanks to Ed

Janssen) of how absorbing “clouds” distrib -
uted in the Universe leave their imprint in the
spectrum of a distant, background quasar,
which acts as a light beacon.

were first discovered at great distances
> 2) due to cosmological redshift and
(z ~
the near-UV atmospheric absorption.
Only in relatively recent times and with
the advent of the Hubble Space
Telescope (HST) has it been possible
to gain a limited (in sensitivity and res-
olution) access to the ultraviolet and
study nearby examples. The epoch
corresponding to redshifts between 1.5
and 2.5 is one of the most interesting,
characterised by an intense universal
star formation, though one of the most
difficult to study because the “signa-
tures” of luminous matter at these
reshifts (both stars and emitting gas)
fall mainly in the less accessible IR re-
gion. The key resonance absorption
lines like Lyman-α lie at these redshifts
in the UV region where, before UVES,
no efficient high-resolution spectro- Figure 2: The overall detection efficiency of UVES including the three reflections in the tele -
graph was in operation at very large tel- scope. No atmospheric absorption and no slit losses. The values have been derived from ob -
escopes. servations of spectrophotometric standards. The overall range is covered by two UVES ex -
posures in dichroic mode. The different symbols correspond to the spectral ranges covered
by the 4 different cross-disperser gratings (CD). The Blue arm of the spectrograph was used
2. A First Look at the IGM till 470 nm. Status as of November 2000, after the installation of the final CD4.
at z = 2 with the New Echelle
Spectrograph at the VLT,
UVES the spectrum of the QSO HE 0515-44 high-z Q0000-263 with an emission
is shown in Figure 3, in the range redshift zem = 4.127 and the HDF-S
UVES (Dekker et al. 2000) is the two- 310–326 nm. QSO, J2233-606, with an emission red-
arm echelle spectrograph, mounted on The data have been reduced with shift zem = 2.238. The resolution of the
one of the Nasmyth platforms of the the UVES pipeline (Ballester et al. two echelle spectra has been degraded
Kueyen telescope (UT2) of the VLT. In 2000) and analysed with the pack- to cover the full range between the
the instrument design phase it was de- age VPFIT (Carswell et al.: Lyman-α and Lyman-β emissions. It is
cided to go for a two-arm configuration impressive to see how fast the number
(UV-Blue and Visual-Red channels, to Voigt profiles are fitted to the absorption of absorptions (and the average opaci-
be operated in parallel with a dichroic lines (isolated and in groups) to derive ty) increases with increasing redshift.
beam splitter) to optimise the efficiency the redshifts z, the Doppler parameters The HI opacity, HI , can be defined as
especially in the extreme UV (close to b, and the column densities N. ƒλ = ƒc exp–τHI(λ), where ƒλ is the ob-
the atmospheric cut-off) and in the served flux at a wavelength λ and ƒc is
Near-Infrared (where IR array-based 3. The Evolutionary Properties the unabsorbed continuum level. We
instruments start to become competi- of the Lyman Forest can compute then the effective opacity
–τ –τ
tive with CCD-based ones). CCD de- eff as exp eff = < exp >, where < >
vices, gratings and coatings of optical 3.1 The opacity of the IGM and indicates the mean value averaged
materials for a variety of reasons can- the number density of over λ.
not be manufactured with a flat, max- Lyman- lines The new UVES results, together with
imised efficiency curve over the 300– data from the literature, show that the
1100 nm range. By splitting the range in Figure 4 shows the Lyman-forest evolution of the effective opacity follows
two, remarkable gains can be achieved normalised spectra of two QSOs: the pretty well an exponential law from z =
at the extreme wavelengths. The cur-
rent efficiency curve of UVES is shown
in Figure 2. The efficiencies below 400
nm and above 800 nm are considerably
higher than in the powerful echelle
spectrograph HIRES which has been
successfully in operation for a few
years now at Keck.
This advantage immediately offers
the possibility of obtaining new results.
The observations of the Lyman alpha
forest in the spectra of quasars at z =
1.5–2 is a good example of the pay-off
of the higher UV efficiency. Already dur-
ing commissioning and science verifi-
cation, QSOs at redshift around 2 were
extensively observed and the data are
now available from the ESO archive.
The analysis on the forest (Kim,
Cristiani & D’Odorico 2000) gives the
first detailed information on the IGM in
this redshift range.
To illustrate the extraordinary possi- Figure 3: The spectrum of HE0515-44 superposed with the Voigt profile fitted spectrum. The
bilities offered by UVES in terms of sen- residuals (the differences between the observed and the fitted flux) shown in the bottom part
sitivity and resolution, a small portion of of each panel are shifted by –0.25.

1.8 that now appears too high. This
suggests that the UV background im-
plemented in the simulations is not the
correct one: it was thought that at low
redshift QSOs are the main source of
ionising photons, and, since their space
density drops below z ~ 2, so does the
UV background. However, galaxies can
produce a conspicuous ionising flux
too, perhaps more significant than it
was thought, as shown by recent meas-
urements by Steidel et al. (2000). The
galaxy contribution, then, can keep the
UV background relatively high until at z
~ 1 the global star formation rate in the
Universe quickly decreases, determin-
ing the qualitative change in the num-
ber density of lines.

3.2 The temperature of the IGM

If the Lyman-α forest is in thermal

equilibrium with the metagalactic UV
background, the line width of the ab-
sorption lines, described by the b pa-
Figure 4: Comparison between the Lyman- forest of two QSOs: J2233-606 with an zem = rameter of the Voigt profile, is directly
2.238 and Q0000-263 with an z em = 4.127. The exponential increase of the number of lines related to the gas temperature of the
with increasing redshift is apparent. absorbing medium determined by the
balance between adiabatic cooling and
photoheating: b = 2kT/mion. In prac-
1.6 up to z ~ 5: eff (z) = 0.0034 ± crease with decreasing redshift, due tice, additional sources of broadening
0.0009 ( 1 + z) 3.35±0.17. to the reduced number of ionising exist, such as the differential Hubble
The number density of lines per unit sources, and this effect counteracts the flow across the absorbers, peculiar mo-
redshift is defined as Ν(z) = Ν0(1+z)γ, Hubble expansion. As a result, the evo- tions, Jeans smoothing. However, a
where Ν0 is the local comoving number lution of the number of lines slows lower limit to the line widths exists, set
density of the forest. For a non-evolving down. Up to date, numerical simula- by the temperature of the gas. Hence
population, γ = 1 and 0.5 for q0 = 0 and tions have been remarkably successful we can measure this cutoff and get the
0.5, respectively. Figure 5 shows the in reproducing the observed evolution temperature of the IGM. The situation is
number density evolution of the (see, for example Davé et al. 2000, slightly more complex because for a
Lyman-α forest in the interval NHI = Machaceck et al. 2000), leaving little photoionised gas, there is a tempera-
1013.64–16 cm–2. This range has been doubt about the general interpretation ture-density relation, i.e. the equation of
chosen to allow a comparison with the of the phenomenon. However, the state: T = T0 (1 + δb)γT –1, where T is the
HST sample at z < 1.5 of Weymann et same simulations predicted the break gas temperature, T0 is the gas temper-
al. (1998), for which a threshold in in the d /dz power law at a redshift z ~ ature at the mean gas density, b is the
equivalent width of 0.24 Å was adopt-
ed. The long-dashed line is the maxi-
mum-likelihood fit to the UVES and the Figure 5: The num -
HIRES data at z > 1.5: d /dz = (6.7 ± ber density evolu -
3.8) (1 + z)2.38±0.15. Interestingly, the tion of the Ly for -
HST data point at < z > = 1.6 (the open est. The column
triangle at the boundary of the shaded density range NHI
= 10 13.64–16 cm –2
area), which has been measured in the has been chosen
line-of-sight to the QSO UM 18 and to allow the com -
suggested to be an outlier, is now in ex- parison with the
cellent agreement with the extrapolated HST data of Wey -
fit from higher z. The UVES observa- mann et al. (1998),
tions imply that the turn-off in the evo- which are shown
lution does occur at z ~ 1.2, not at z ~ as open triangles.
1.7 as previously suggested. Down to z The filled symbols
~ 1.5, the number density of the forest are derived from
HE 0515–44 at
evolves as at higher z. < z > = 1.61, from
The evolution of the Ν(z) is governed J2233–606 at < z >
by two main factors: the Hubble ex- = 1.98 and from
pansion and the metagalactic UV back- HE 2217–2818 at
ground. At high redshift, the expansion, < z > = 2.13. The
which tends to increase the ionisation open circles, the
of the matter (the rate of recombi- star, and the dia -
nation is quadratically dependent on mond are taken
the density), and the UV background, from the HIRES data at similar resolutions by Kim et al. (1997), Lu et al. (1996), and Kirkman
& Tytler (1997), respectively. The horizontal error bars represent the z interval over which the
increasing or non-decreasing with de- number density was estimated. The vertical error bars represent the Poisson 1 error. The
creasing redshift, work in the same di- shaded area is the z range where UVES is extremely sensitive. The long-dashed line is the
rection and cause a steep evolution of maximum likelihood fit to the UVES and the HIRES data at z > 1.5. The UVES observations
the number of lines with z. At low red- indicate that the slope of the number density evolution of the Ly forest at z > 2.4 continues
shift, the UV background starts to de- at least down to z ~ 1.5 and that a change occurs at z ~ 1.2.

Figure 6: The b distribution of the Ly forest as a function of z. The
horizontal dashed line indicates a 20 km/sec bc value. The circles,
the pluses, the diamonds, the stars, the triangles and the squares are
from HE0515–44, J2233–606, HE2217–2818, HS1946+7658,
Q0302–003 and Q0000–263, respectively. There is an indication of
increasing bc with decreasing z at z ~ 3.7. At lower z, bc is not clear -
ly defined.

Figure 7: Evolution of the two-point correlation function with redshift

for Ly lines with column densities above NHI = 1012.7 cm–2. The
short-dashed and long-dashed lines represent the 1 and 2 confi -
dence limits for a Poissonian process.

baryon overdensity, ( b – b) / b and γT Studies of the correlation function of interpretation, however, it should not be
is a constant which depends on the ion- the Lyα forest have generally led to forgotten that a given column density
isation history (Hui & Gnedin, 1997). conflicting results even at similar z. corresponds to different overdensities
The equation of state translates into a Some studies find a lack of clustering at the various redshifts. In particular an
lower cut-off bc(NHI) in the NHI–b distri- (Sargent et al. 1980 at 1.7 < z < 3.3; absorber at z = 2 is dynamically analo-
bution. Rauch et al. 1992 at z ~ 3; Williger et gous to an absorber that has column
In Figure 6, the b distribution of the al. 1994 at z ~ 4), while others find clus- density several times higher at z = 3.
Lyα forest as a function of z is shown. tering at scales ∆v ≤ 350 km s–1
The cut-off Doppler (b) parameter (Cristiani et al. 1995, 1997 at z ~ 3; Hu 3.4 Voids and protoclusters
seems to be approximately constant et al. 1995 at z ~ 2.8; Kulkarni et al.
with bc ~ 18 km s –1 at 1.5 < z < 4, cor- 1996 at z ~ 1.9; Lu et al. 1996 at z ~ Voids, i.e. regions with a significant
responding to a reference temperature 3.7). Figure 7 shows the velocity corre- underdensity of absorption lines, are
of 2 · 104 K. Two possible features are lation strength at ∆v < 4000 km s–1. occasionally observed in QSO spectra
observed: a systematic increase of the Clustering is clearly detected at low (Dobrzycki & Bechtold 1991, Cristiani
b values from z ~ 4 to z ~ 3.5 – due to redshift: at 1.5 < z < 2.4 in the 100 km et al. 1997). The typical sizes observed
the HeII reionisation? (Schaye et al. s–1 bin we measure ξ = 0.4 ± 0.1 for so far are of the order of few tens co-
2000) and a region of higher-than- lines with logNHI M 12.7 cm–2. The am- moving Mpc. Figure 8 shows two voids
average Doppler widths at 2.2 < z < 2.4 plitude of the correlation at 100 km s–1 (of 54 and 43 Mpc) observed in the
that will be further discussed in the last decreases significantly with increasing spectrum of the object HE2217-2818.
subsection. redshift from 0.4 ± 0.1 at 1.5 < z < 2.4, The joint probability of finding two voids
to 0.14 ± 0.06 at 2.5 < z < 3.1 and 0.09 with a size larger than 40 comoving
± 0.07 at 3.5 < z < 4.0. A pattern of this Mpc in a random distribution of lines at
3.3 The clustering properties of type is predicted by the models of hier- z ~ 2 is of the order of 2 × 10–4. A third
the Lyman forest archical formation of structures, in the void of 61 Mpc is observed in the spec-

The Lyman-α forest contains infor-

mation on the large-scale distribution of
the matter and the simplest way to
study it is to compute the two-point ve-
locity correlation function, ξ(∆v). The
correlation function compares the ob-
served number of pairs (Nobs) and the
expected number of pairs (Nexp) from a
Figure 8: The spec -
random distribution in a given velocity trum of HE2217–
bin (∆v): ξ(∆v) = N obs(∆v)/ Nexp (∆v) – 1, 2818 with two voids
where ∆v = c (z2 – z1)/ [1 + (z2 + z1)/ 2], regions. The voids
z1 and z2 are the redshifts of two lines are indicated as A
and c is the speed of light (Cristiani et at z = 1.912 and B
al. 1997; Kim et al. 1997). at z = 2.218.

trum of HE0515-44. There are different and commissioning of UVES and UT2 Kim T.-S., Cristiani S., D’Odorico S., 2000,
ways to produce a void in the forest: a for the quality of the data used in this A&A submitted.
large fluctuation in the gas density of paper, obtained in the first weeks of op- Kirkman, D., Tytler, D., 1997, AJ, 484, 672.
the absorbers, an enhanced UV ionis- eration of the instrument. Kulkarni, V. P., Huang, K., Green, R. F.,
Bechtold, J., Welty, D.E., York, D.G.,
ing radiation from nearby QSOs, feed- 1996, MNRAS, 279, 197.
back from forming galaxies or AGN References Lu, L., Sargent, W.L.W., Womble, D.S.,
heating the proto-cluster gas. In partic- Takada-Hidai, M., 1996, ApJ, 472, 509.
ular Theuns et al. (2000) have shown Ballester P., Modigliani A., Boitquin O., Machacek M.E., Bryan G.L., Meiksin A.,
how a typical quasar sight-line inter- Cristiani S., Hanuschik R., Kaufer A., Wolf Anninos P., Thayer D., Norman M., Zhang
sects one protocluster per unit redshift. S., 2000, The Messenger, 101, 31. Y., 2000, ApJ 532, 118.
It is interesting to note that the void B in Cristiani, S., D’Odorico, S., Fontana, A., Rauch, M., Carswell, R.F., Chaffee, F.H.,
the spectrum of HE2217-2818 corre- Giallongo, E., Savaglio, S., 1995, MN- Foltz, C. B., Webb, J. K., Weymann, R. J.,
RAS, 273, 1016 Bechtold, J., Green, R. F., 1992, ApJ, 390,
sponds to a region of above-than-aver-
Cristiani, S., D’Odorico, S., D’Odorico, V., 387.
age Doppler parameter (see above), in- Fontana, A., Giallongo, E., Savaglio, S., Sargent, W. L. W., Young, P. J., Boksenberg
dicating that the gas in the void has 1997, MNRAS, 285, 209. A. Tytler, D., 1980, ApJS, 42, 41.
been heated. To give a definitive an- Davé R., Hernquist L., Katz N., Weinberg Schaye J., Theuns T., Rauch M., Efstathiou
swer about the nature of these voids, D.H., 1999, ApJ 511, 521. G., Sargent W.L.W., 2000, MNRAS, 318,
deep imaging and follow-up spec- Dekker, H., D’Odorico S., Kaufer A., Delabre 817.
troscopy are needed, in order to identi- B., Kotzlowski H., 2000, SPIE Steidel C.C., Pettini M., Adelberger K.L. as-
fy possible AGN and/or galaxies at the Proceedings 4008, 534. tro-ph/0008283.
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sibilities of the VLT. 1633. Williger, G.M., Baldwin, J.A., Carswell, R.F.,
Hu, E. M., Kim, T.-S., Cowie, L. L., Songaila, Cooke, A.J., Hazard, C., Irwin, M.J.,
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volved in the conception, construction A., 1997, AJ, 114, 1.
Email address:

The La Silla New Page

2p2 Team News


Personnel Movements (OBs) in the same way as the VLT, 3.6- ing 20-minute B-band exposures of 0.6
m and NTT telescopes. Thanks to the arcsec seeing. This impressive result
In September we welcomed new hard efforts of Tatiana Paz, Cristian demonstrates the significant gains that
team member Lisa Germany from Urrutia and Eduardo Robledo (of the La the recent work of Alain Gilliotte and
Australia. Lisa is a new ESO Fellow Silla Software and Communications Gerardo Ihle on the 2.2-m image quali-
and has interests in supernovae and Team), the several months of software ty have made. In the past, the 2.2-m
their use in cosmological distance de- writing in the lead-up to its first-test at has exhibited occasional astigmatism
terminations. the telescope paid off. During the under certain pointing conditions (2p2
September, however, was also a October test nights it was possible to Team Report, The Messenger No.
month for departures when we said move the telescope around the sky and 100). However, recent improvements to
goodbye to long-time team member execute sequences of short test expo- the fixed points on which the M1 mirror
James Brewer. James was a pivotal sures, using OBs. sits by the opto-mechanical teams on
member of the 2p2 Team since his ar- Much work is needed to refine and La Silla, have diminished these effects.
rival at ESO in 1996. He has returned test the code in the coming months, However, careful focus control is es-
to Canada to take up a position at the particularly in the way it communicates sential to take full advantage of these
University of British Columbia, in between the telescope, CCD controller improvements.
Vancouver, Canada. We wish him all and image acquisition software. Thus, On the same night, the WFI delivered
the best under northern skies. part of the challenge lies in coordinating 1.2-arcsec images at an airmass of 1.8,
At the start of November, Rene Men- the separate tasks of these systems, and closely followed the seeing meas-
dez formally took charge as Team which may be called upon many times ured by the DIMM seeing monitor.
Leader, replacing Patrick François, during a single sequence.
who will continue working with the Additional technical time in Novem- Telescope
team into early 2001. ber and December will be used to com- Information
plete the development and testing. In
First Stage of BOB-P2PP the meantime, a new Instrument Pack- Remember to consult the 2p2 Team
Software Installation age containing WFI-specific templates Web pages when you require any infor-
at the ESO/MPG 2.2-m for use in P2PP is undergoing revision mation about the ESO 1.52-m, Danish
The first commissioning period for and testing. 1.54-m or ESO/MPG 2.2-m telescopes.
the Broker for Observation Block (BOB) These are regularly updated with re-
software at the ESO/MPG 2.2-m took Sub-Arcsecond Images with the cent news postings and information for
place during October 7 to 16. This soft- Wide-Field Imager new observers. They can be visited at
ware will allow the 2.2-m to be con- On the night of October 19–20, the
trolled through observation blocks Wide-Field Imager (WFI) was produc- /2p2T/ .

A Study of the Activity of G and K Giants
Through Their Precise Radial Velocity;
Breaking the 10-m/sec Accuracy with FEROS
1Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik, Freiburg (Breisgau), Germany; 2European Southern Observatory
3Observatorio Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 4Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Tautenburg, Germany
5Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Padova, Padova, Italy
6Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brazil

1. Scientific Background giant stars and their progenitors. In par- ible stellar surface (as a result of stellar
ticular, when combining accurate dis- rotation), they will also induce variabili-
Asteroseismology is an indispensa- tances (e.g. from HIPPARCOS), the ty in the core of deep lines, as the Ca II
ble tool that uses the properties of stel- spectroscopic determination of the H and K, which are formed in the chro-
lar oscillations to probe the internal chemical composition and gravity along mosphere (see e.g. Pasquini et al.
structure of stars. This can provide a di- with the oscillation spectrum, the stellar 1988, Pasquini 1992). Since FEROS
rect test of stellar structure and evolu- evolutionary models will be required to allows the simultaneous recording of
tion theory. Precise stellar radial veloc- fit all these observations. This could the most relevant chromospheric lines,
ity (RV) measurements made in recent provide an unprecedented test bench it will be possible to test directly from
years have not only discovered the first for the theories of the stellar evolution. our spectra the rotational modulation
extra-solar planets, but have also un- Before this can be done, however, one hypothesis. In Figure 1, CaII K line
covered new classes of low-amplitude must derive the full oscillation spectrum spectra of one target star taken at dif-
variable stars. One such is represented (periods and amplitudes) for a signifi- ferent epochs are over-imposed: no ev-
by the K giant stars which exhibit RV cant number of giant stars. idence for strong variability in the line
variations with amplitudes in the range Although the short-period variations core is detected.
of 50–300 m/s (Walker et al. 1989, in giants can only arise from radial and The expected rotational periods for
Hatzes & Cochran 1993,1994 ab). This non-radial pulsation, the nature of the some giants are consistent with the ob-
variability is multi-periodic and occur- long-period RV variations is still open to served periods and some evidence for
ring on two time- scales: less than 10 debate. Possibilities include planetary equivalent-width variations of activity
days and several hundreds of days. companions, rotational modulation by indicators accompanying the RV varia-
In the most detailed study of a K gi- surface structure, or non-radial pulsa- tions have been found in two K giants
ant star, Merline (1996) found 10 pulsa- tion. Each of these hypotheses has a (Larson et al. 1993; Lambert 1987). If
tion modes with periods ranging from high astrophysical impact, and there the RV variations were caused by sur-
2–10 days in Arcturus. These modes are strong arguments to support each face inhomogeneities, then these
were equally spaced in frequency, the of them. would be large enough to be resolved
characteristic signature of p-mode os- When surface structures, such as ac- by future ground-based interferometry.
cillations analogous to the solar 5- tive regions and spots, move on the vis- These stars will thus make excellent
minute oscillations. The relatively large
number of modes that may exist in gi-
ant stars means that these objects may
be amenable to asteroseismic tech-
niques. Asteroseismology is one of the
next milestones in astrophysics, and
presently there are relatively few class-
es of stars on which these techniques
can be applied, so it is important when
more such objects are discovered.
Asteroseismology can be used to de-
rive such fundamental stellar parame-
ters as mass and radius. This is partic-
ularly useful for giant stars as these oc-
cupy a region of the H–R diagram
where it is difficult to obtain accurate
stellar parameters. Furthermore, the
evolutionary tracks of main-sequence
stars in the spectral range A-G, all con-
verge on the giant branch, so it is im-
possible to establish the nature of the
progenitor star only from these theoret-
ical tracks. Asteroseismology may play Figure 1: Ca II K line observations of one of the target stars. Observations taken in different
a key role in understanding the stellar nights are overlapped. In case of rotational modulation induced by surface inhomogeneities,
properties, structure, and evolution of the chromospheric core of this line will show detectable variations.

(2) its high effi- proaching that of other, state-of-art
ciency permitted techniques. We will outline our method-
the acquisition of ology in the data reduction and provide
data on a large some tips for the potential users.
sample of stars in
one night, and fi- 3. Pushing the FEROS
nally, Capabilities
(3) the radial
velocity accuracy Although not conceived explicitly for
of 23 m/s, which very accurate radial-velocity measure-
was shown during ments (original requirements were set
the commission- to an accuracy of 50 m/sec), FEROS
ing period (Kaufer has been equipped with a double-fibre
et al. 1999) was at system, where the second fibre can be
a level adequate used either for recording the sky or for
for the study of gi- obtaining simultaneous calibration
ant variability. We spectra to the science exposure (see
also were confi- Fig. 3, which shows a part of a frame
dent that the containing the stellar and simultaneous
FEROS perform- calibration spectra), following the tech-
ances could be nique pioneered by the Geneva group
improved with a with ELODIE and CORALIE (Baranne
targeted strategy et al. 1996).
Figure 2: H-R diagram for the 63 stars observed so far for our pre - and by upgrading By using a simple cross-correlation
cise radial velocity survey with FEROS. The sample well covers the
Red Giant Branch and the “clump” region.
the software and (Kaufer et al., 1999, see also FEROS
the data analysis. user manual) in the commissioning
As part of the time, it was shown that FEROS could
targets for VLTI observations (von der ESO time on FEROS we obtained in obtain a radial-velocity accuracy of 23
Lühe et al. 1996). Periods 64 and 65 a total of 5 full and 6 m/sec by observing every night the G
The non-radial g-mode oscillations half nights. An additional 12 half nights star HD10700 (Tau Cet), an object
seem unlikely, since these are not ex- were allocated as part of the Brazilian which has been demonstrated to have
pected to propagate through the deep time. Early in our programme, after sur- a radial velocity constant to better than
outer convection zone in these stars, veying only 27 stars, we had indications 5 m/s (Butler et al. 1996).
but nature is always full of surprises. that 80% of our target objects showed A “constant’’ star is extremely useful
Alternatively, these long-period varia- variations on the time-scales of a few to to estimate the long-term accuracy of
tions may represent more exotic pulsa- hundreds of days. This is consistent FEROS and to provide a standard for
tions such as toroidal modes. The plan- with the results of earlier, more limited optimising the radial velocity analysis.
et hypothesis is supported by these pe- surveys. Variability in G and K giants Demonstrating a lack of RV variability
riods being long lived (for more than 12 may indeed be ubiquitous. In Period 65 in a standard star would make us more
years) and coherent. In the case of the we could enlarge the sample which confident of our results on variable
star Aldebaran, the long-period RV vari- now consists of 63 stars covering a stars in the programme. For this pur-
ations were not accompanied by line- large fraction of the upper HR-diagram.
profile variations (Hatzes & Cochran The H-R diagram of the observed stars
1998). Although these seem to exclude is shown in Figure 2. From this figure it
rotations and pulsations, conclusive ev- is clear that the sample spans the
idence in support of the planetary hy- whole Red Giant Branch as well as the
pothesis has proved elusive. region of the “clump”. The targets were
selected on the basis of accurate HIP-
2. Observations PARCOS parallaxes in order to ensure
a reliable determination of the basic
K giant RV variability is still a largely stellar parameters. The high resolution
unexplored area. Not only is the nature and high S/N ratio of the FEROS spec-
of the long-period variations unknown, tra will also allow the spectroscopic de-
but a knowledge of the characteristics termination of effective temperatures,
of the short-period (p-mode) oscilla- gravities and metallicities. With such an
tions as a function of a giant’s position extensive data base it will be possible
in the H–R diagram is also lacking. to investigate the dependence of the ra-
For these reasons, in ESO Period 64 dial velocity variability on a wide variety
(October 1999 – April 2000), we started of stellar parameters, including the es-
an unprecedented survey of precise ra- timated stellar mass and evolutionary
dial-velocity measurements as a Euro- status. This is important for calibrating
pean-Brazilian collaboration aimed at theoretical evolutionary tracks.
obtaining a sample of about 100 G-K gi- While the scientific results of this sur-
ants and subgiants along the whole up- vey will require many more observa-
per part of the HR-diagram (see Fig. 2). tions and their full analyses, in this
We opted for using the FEROS spec- Messenger contribution we mostly con-
trograph (Kaufer et al. 1999), at the centrate on the data-analysis process
1.52-m telescope, because: in order to demonstrate the capabilities
(1) its large spectral coverage al- of FEROS.
lowed the observer to record simulta- We believe that our results (8.3-
neously fundamental lines like the H m/sec RV accuracy) are so encourag-
and K of CaII, suitable for investigating ing that they open a new possible use Figure 3: Portion of a FEROS frame show -
rotationally induced modulations (cf. of the FEROS spectrograph as a plan- ing the stellar spectrum and the simultane -
Section 1); et hunter with an RV accuracy ap- ous calibration Th-A spectrum.

plying some addi- better than 2.5 m/sec. This indicates
tional zero-point that the spectrograph can deliver excel-
offset corrections. lent RV performances.
The first four In order to determine the optimal
steps are easily spectral range to be used for computing
accomplished by the radial velocity, we checked the dis-
the FEROS re- persion of each order by cross-correlat-
duction in MIDAS ing the double Th-A(fibre 1 and fibre 2)
without the need with the Th-A mask prepared for FER-
for any major OS and the results are shown in Figure
modification. Our 4. Orders 7 to 34 may be suitable for
results testify the computing of accurate radial velocities
excellent work (note that the order numbering used in
made by the Hei- this work is the extraction order num-
delberg group in ber, not the real echelle order number).
the data reduction We mention that since the binary
package, which is template for the stars was originally
also suitable for prepared for the ELODIE spectrograph,
the stringent needs it covers only the wavelength range
of precise radial from 3600–6997 Angstrom correspon-
velocity studies. ding to the FEROS orders 7 to 31. A
From the three more extended mask covering also or-
Figure 4: Determining the orders to be used for computing the pre - extraction meth- ders 31–34 will be prepared, and the
cise radial velocity by cross-correlating Th-Aspectra from each fibre ods available, we addition of this signal may improve the
with the numerical Thorium template. prefer the stan- final RV accuracy.
dard extraction
pose one or two observations of mode with cosmic-ray elimination. 4. Computing the Radial
HD10700 were acquired on each night Moreover, it is important to have the Velocity
of our programme. wavelength rebinning done with a step
The analysis of the data is in princi- fine enough to avoid any spurious ef- To get the radial velocity variations,
ple straightforward and consists of the fects. In our case we use a rebinning we compute the difference of the cross-
following steps: step of 0.03 Angstrom. After spectra re- correlations of the two fibres order by
(1) Wavelength calibration with 2-fi- binning, cross-correlations with the ap- order. In addition, for each order a zero-
bre (“double”) Th-A exposures. Wave- propriate numerical masks (steps 5 and point offset is finally applied, consider-
length solutions are constructed using 6) are performed by using the TACOS ing the velocity difference between the
two 25-second exposures of a Th-A package, developed by the Geneva ob- two fibres in the double Th-A expo-
hollow cathode lamp in the “object-sky” servatory. sures. The results found so far are
mode. The required numerical masks have shown in the Figure 6 where the radial-
(2) Spectral extraction. The extrac- been prepared for FEROS by modifying velocity measurements of Tau Cet are
tion procedure has been implemented existing masks kindly provided by the shown: in 245 days spanning our ob-
in the FEROS reduction pipeline inte- Geneva observatory. The stellar mask servations, the rms around the constant
grated in MIDAS version 98 and 99. is based on a K giant spectrum. radial velocity is 8.3 m/sec.
Several extraction options are avail- In order to evaluate the FEROS in- This puts FEROS as a full member of
able. trinsic capabilities, the La Silla 2.2-m the select family of spectrographs ca-
(3) Removing the blaze function. This team kindly acquired a series of 10 pable of obtaining an accuracy below
is done by the FEROS package using Th-A spectra with the calibration lamp 10 m/s, a regime capable of detecting
Flat Fields (i.e. observations of spec- illuminating the two fibres; these spec- extra-solar planets.
trophotometric standards are not re- tra were cross-correlated with the Th-A This is quite remarkable, considering
quired). template mask, to investigate the that these performances are more than
(4) Rebinning of the spectra. The behaviour of the
spectra are rebinned order by order instrument. We
rather than using the merged spectrum need in fact to
normally produced by the FEROS on- evaluate within
line reduction pipeline. which limits the
(5) Order-by-order cross-correlation separation be-
of the object spectrum with an appro- tween the two fi-
priate stellar numerical mask. bres can be con-
(6) Order-by-order cross-correlation sidered constant.
of the calibration spectrum, which is A total of 50
called the “simultaneous Th-A”, with a Th-A exposures
numerical template. This template is were acquired for
based on a Th-A atlas that has been this purpose. The
modified for our own purpose. The result is shown in
modification takes into consideration Figure 5, where
the spectrograph resolution and line the shift: fibre 1-
blending, and is therefore instrument- fibre 2 cross-cor-
dependent. The whole Th-A spectrum relation is shown.
needs to be subdivided in small por- The results are
tions and each portion of the mask is extremely en-
“cleaned” by analysing the correspon- couraging and in-
dent cross-correlation function. dicate that the
(7) Radial-velocity calculation by two fibres “follow” Figure 5: Determining the FEROS calibration stability by checking the
subtracting the cross-correlations of the each other with shifts between fibre 1 and fibre 2. 50 Th-Aexposures have been tak -
stellar and calibration spectra and ap- an accuracy of en for this purpose; the results indicate and RMS of 2.3 m/sec.

of FEROS a num- We are also conscious that these
ber of tips on the performances could be improved; there
handling of the may be effects which we did not take
data. into consideration enough so far;
1. When rebin- among them we can foresee:
ning the wave- (i) Being interested in giants, our
length within the stellar mask spectrum is taken from
FEROS pipeline a K giant template, while Tau Ceti
DRS, if the com- (HD 10700) is a G dwarf. An ad-hoc
mand “REBIN/ mask for this star might already im-
FEROS” is used, prove the results.
this will apply the (ii) With the help from the Geneva
barycentric cor- observatory we will try to extend the
rection also to the star template to the red-part regions.
simultaneous Th- This may enable us to gain more infor-
A spectrum. This mation from the spectra.
should be cor- (iii) FEROS is not equipped with an
rected with the exposure meter, therefore we can not
next MIDAS re- accurately determine the median time
lease. of our observations (in terms of ac-
2. The FEROS quired photons); our observations are
Figure 6: Radial velocity of HD10700 (Tau Ceti) taken for determin -
ing the long-term accuracy of FEROS. After monitoring the radial ve -
spectra are auto- rather short (a few minutes), but this ef-
locity of this constant star for almost one year (245 days), we obtain matically correct- fect could become relevant in long ob-
an rms of 8.28 m/s of constancy. ed for barycentric servations, poor guiding and/or cloudy
correction. We nights.
use the MIDAS (iv) In our first observations we only
5 times better than the original specifi- commands “COMPUTE/PREC” and took two double Th-A exposures every
cations of the instrument. But mostly “COMP/BARY” for this purpose, but night. Several Th-A observations in the
considering that, thanks to its impres- these will be checked against more ac- middle of the observing run would be
sive efficiency and large spectral cover- curate methods. This step should be required to monitor any possible shifts
age, FEROS is already a quite unique done carefully in order to improve the during the night and to provide addi-
high-resolution spectrograph. results. It is also relevant to note that tional calibrations for the offset deter-
On the technical side, such a good the FEROS pipeline computes the mining in the radial velocity compu-
performance is somewhat unexpected barycentric correction reading the stel- tation.
since FEROS fibres are not equipped lar right ascension and declination from
with a light scrambler, and one could the 1.52-m telescope headers and it
image that the spectrograph pupil could takes the UTat the beginning of the ob- 6. Acknowledgement
suffer from small shifts or variable servations. In our experience, at this
asymmetries in the light distribution. In accuracy the 1.52-m telescope stellar We acknowledge the strong support
addition, FEROS is equipped with an co-ordinates (contained in the frame and help by Didier Queloz, Dominique
image slicer. While this device will help FITS headers) may not be accurate Naef and Francesco Kienzle in sharing
in scrambling the light, and therefore in enough; also the UT should be com- their time, experience and the TACOS.
mitigating the problem above, the light puted for the middle of the exposure. We also thank Emanuela Pompei,
is divided into two parts (half moons), 3. The real geographic co-ordinates Rolando Vega and Arturo Torrejon for
which will have a slightly different of the 1.52-m telescope should be used their assistance during the observing
wavelength solution. In principle, if the when computing barycentric correction. runs. The presence of J.S. at ESO was
relative illumination of the slices We have not developed a full auto- supported by the ESO DGDF2000 pro-
changes slightly from one observation matic procedure yet, which is supposed gramme.
to the next (remember that 8 m/sec cor- to enable comput-
responds to ~ 1/300 of pixel), this will ing the radial ve-
be enough to introduce additional noise locity shortly after
in the precise radial velocity measure- the MIDAS pipe-
ments. line reduction and
So far, in addition to HD10700, an- directly linked to
other star has been reduced: the K1 III the cross-correla-
giant HD18322, and the result is very tion process using
promising: as shown in Figure 7 the TACOS.
peak-to-peak radial-velocity variations Also, we found
are of ~ 200 m/sec and they are con- that in some ob-
sistent with a 40-day period (which is servations, one or
also shown in the same figure). We two of the se-
stress that due to the small number of lected orders de-
points the 40-day period we detect may part strongly on
be an alias of another period. More the expected solu-
sampling is needed to determine the tion and they need
period accurately. to be discarded.
This operation is
at the moment
5. Some Tips for Potential Users performed manu-
ally, and we need
Figure 7: Results of the radial velocity measurements of HD18322.
The real process, of course, is in to build an algo- Although there are still many data points missing (no observing runs
practice a bit more complex than de- rithm to select the between December 1999 and June 2000), we are able to show the
scribed in the previous section, and we good orders auto- variability of the star, which is consistent with a periodicity of about
would like to give to the potential users matically. 40 days and a peak-to-peak variation of about 200 m/s.

References Hatzes, A.P. & Cochran, W.D. 1994b, ApJ Pasquini, L., Pallavicini, R. Pakull, M. 1988,
432, 763. A&A 191, 266.
Baranne, A., et al., 1996, A&A Suppl Ser Hatzes, A.P. & Cochran, W.D. 1998, MNRAS Pasquini, L. 1992, A&A 266, 347.
119,1. 293, 469. von der Lühe, O., Solanki, S., Reinheimer,
Butler, R.P., et al. 1996, PASP 108, 500. Kaufer, A., et al. 1999, The Messenger 95, 8. Th. 1996, in IAU Symp. 176, Stellar
Hatzes, A.P. & Cochran, W.D. 1993, ApJ Larson, A. et al. 1993, PASP 105, 825. Surface Structure 147–163. Walker,
413, 339. Lambert, D.L. 1987, ApJS 65, 255. G.A.H., Yang, S., Campbell, B., and Irwin,
Hatzes, A.P. & Cochran, W.D. 1994a, ApJ Merline, W.J. 1996, ASP Conf. Ser. 135, p. A.W. 1989, ApJL 343, L21.
422, 366. 208.

Crowded Field Photometry with the VLT: the Case

of the Peculiar Globular Cluster NGC 6712
1European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany
2European Space Agency, STScI, Baltimore, USA
3Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Rome, Italy
4Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, Bologna, Italy

1. Introduction study that best illuminate the perform- 2. VLT Observations of

ance of this instrument combination for NGC 6712
The Hubble Space Telescope crowded field photometry that might be
opened up the exciting possibility of of interest to anyone contemplating do- NGC 6712 (α = 18h 53m 04.3″, δ =
carrying out very deep, high-precision ing this sort of work with the VLT in the –08º 42′ 21.5″) is a relatively metal
stellar photometry in very crowded future. Results from a preliminary study poor, small and sparse GC ([Fe/H] =
fields such as those routinely encoun- of this object using the VLT Test –1.01 and concentration ratio c = 0.9;
tered in the core of dense stellar clus- Camera during the UT1 Science Harris 1996) located in the midst of a
ters and galaxies. This capability has Verification period were reported in De rich star field at the centre of the
allowed, for example, the reliable de- Marchi et al. (1999). Scutum cloud (Sandage 1965), which
tection of stars all the way down to the
bottom of the main sequence (MS) at
the centre of nearby globular clusters
(GC) six or seven magnitudes below
the turn-off (TO) and well into the brown
dwarf substellar region of nearby star-
forming regions and of resolving the
evolved stellar populations in nearby
dwarf galaxies. Enormous progress in
our understanding of the age, distance,
star formation rates, and mass func-
tions of a large sample of stellar popu-
lations has been a direct result of the
last ten years of HST.
The advent of the VLT with wide-field
optical and IR cameras such as FORS
and ISAAC present us with a golden
opportunity to push further our quest for
good quality photometry of faint
sources in crowded fields. The potential
of very good and stable seeing coupled
with the huge collecting area of an 8-m
diameter telescope with wide field and
broad spectral coverage detectors cer-
tainly rivals and even surpasses, in
principle, even the exceptional HSTca-
pability in this endeavour. In order to
test these capabilities in practice, our
group proposed to study in depth a par-
ticularly interesting example of a crowd-
ed stellar environment namely the GC
NGC 6712.
We report here the preliminary re-
sults of our study of this cluster using
FORS1 and UT1 obtained with 12
hours of observations during Period 63. Figure 1: Locations of the four FORS1 fields on NGC 6712. The centre of the cluster is lo -
We emphasise those aspects of the cated at the origin of the co-ordinate system.

Figure 2: VLT-FORS1 high-resolution image (180s exposure) of the core of NGC6712 in the R band (field F1). The size of the image is
3.4 3.4 . North is up and East to the left.

is one of the highest surface-brightness 99% of its mass during its lifetime. If (Vesperini & Heggie 1997). For all the
regions with high space-density gradi- true, this implies that NGC 6712 was other clusters surveyed so far with HST
ents of the Milky Way (Karaali 1978). Its originally one of the most massive clus- in this mass range, the global MF in-
Galactic orbit forces it to penetrate ters in the Galaxy. creases steadily with decreasing mass
deeply into the bulge. With a perigalac- There are two peculiarities of this (Paresce & De Marchi 2000).
tic distance smaller than 300 pc, this seemingly inconsequential cluster that NGC 6712, therefore, could hold the
cluster ventures so frequently and so point to its being now only a pale re- key to a better understanding of the ob-
deeply into the Galactic bulge flection of its former glory. The first is servable effects of tidal interactions,
(Dauphole et al. 1996) that it is likely to the presence in the core of the well- and especially to learning more about
have undergone severe tidal shocking known high luminosity X-ray source the mechanisms leading to the dissolu-
during the numerous encounters with (X1850-086) with an optical counterpart tion of GC in the Galaxy and about the
both the disk and the bulge during its (Anderson et al. 1993). This is unex- possible variation of the cluster IMF
lifetime. The latest Galactic plane pected for such a loose cluster because with time. The specific objectives of our
crossing could have happened as late most clusters with such sources tend to study were twofold: (1) to obtain a more
as 4 · 106 year ago (Cudworth 1988), have a much higher central concentra- precise LF of the MS below the TO at
which is much less than its half-mass tion. The second is a clear and contin- various distances from the centre, so
relaxation time of 1 Gyr (Harris 1996). It uous drop of its global mass function as to evaluate the possible effects of
is precisely on this basis that Takahashi (MF) with decreasing mass starting al- mass segregation on the derived MF
& Portegies Zwart (2000) have sug- ready at the TO and continuing down to and to sample more of the cluster at or
gested that NGC 6712 may have lost the observation limit at ~ 0.5 M0 near the tidal radius to see whether or

not one could detect an excess of low- Figure 3:
mass stars ejected from the interior and Colour-
still lightly bound to the cluster; (2) to magnitude
study the evolved population above the diagram
of the
turn-off in greater detail than has been stars in
possible heretofore in order to deter- field F1
mine more precisely the hot star popu- (core) of
lation characteristics and the cluster NGC 6712
age and distance.
For this, we obtained deep images of
5 fields in the V and R bands, four of
which are located as shown in Figure 1.
The fifth field, used as a control field
(field F0), is located 42′ N of the cluster
centre and was imaged using the stan-
dard FORS1 resolution of 0.2″/pixel.
Because the level of crowding varies
considerably from the core of the clus-
ter out to its periphery, our observations
were carried out according to the fol-
lowing strategy: the fields covering the
external regions of the cluster were im-
aged at standard resolution (SR,
plate-scale 0.2″/pixel) with 4 900-s ex-
posures and cover an area of 46.2 ar-
cmin square each (6.8′ × 6.8′); they are
located respectively 5′ W (field F2), 8′
NW (field F3) and 11′ W (field F4) of the
centre of the cluster; to improve the
photometry in the central regions,
where the level of crowding is particu- Some of the raw R-band data, howev- to determine the transformations be-
larly high, we have covered it with im- er, had not been processed through the tween instrumental magnitudes and to
ages taken in the high resolution mode automated pipeline, and for them we translate local frame co-ordinates to a
of FORS1 (HR, plate-scale 0.1″/pixel) had to run standard IRAF routines fol- common co-ordinate system, with ori-
with 4 180-s exposures, with a field 3.4′ lowing the same recipe employed in the gin at the cluster centre. Typically,
× 3.4′ in size (field F1). To ensure a ho- ESO-VLT pipeline. Subsequent data re- about one hundred stars in each over-
mogeneous calibration and to trans- duction and analysis was done using lapping region were used to derive
form the co-ordinates into a common standard IRAF photometry routines such transformations. Only linear trans-
local system from the centre of the clus- (digiphot.daophot). formations were used to match star
ter out to the more external regions, Since our goal was to reliably detect measurements, with all magnitudes be-
each field has been selected so as to the faintest object in these images, for ing referred to those of the high resolu-
overlap with at least a neighbouring each field and filter we first created a tion field (F1). For stars in the overlap-
one. mean frame using all available applica- ping region, multiple magnitude meas-
In order to study the evolved part of ble frames and then ran the standard urements were averaged using appro-
the CMD above the turn-off where the digiphot.daofind routine on the average priate weights (which take into account
effects of saturation in the bright stars images so obtained to locate stars. the photometric quality of each field). At
would otherwise seriously compromise Typical values of the PSF-FWHM are the end of this procedure, a homoge-
the photometric accuracy, five 10-s B-, 0.3″ and 0.7″, respectively at high and neous set of instrumental magnitudes,
V-, R-band exposures, five 120-s low resolution. Although, in principle, colour and positions (referred to field
U-band exposures were taken for each we could have also averaged images in F1) were obtained for a total of 106,092
field. An additional 700-s HO exposure different filters, the presence of bad stars, in F1, F2, F3 and F4.
was obtained only in the central field columns in the R-band frames (usually Instrumental (F1) magnitudes were
F1. The long exposure (180 s) R-band due to heavily saturated pixels and finally transformed to the standard
image of this latter field covering the spikes of the bright stars) suggested Johnson system, using the stars in
core of the cluster obtained with 0.3″ not to follow this approach. With a de- common with the bright portion of the
seeing is shown in Figure 2. This image tection threshold set in the V and R CMD which has been properly calibrat-
gives a good idea of the level of crowd- bands typically at 3–5 δ above the local ed using ten photometric standard stars
ing encountered in this situation. All the average background level, we obtained in selected areas PG1528, PG2213,
data were taken in good seeing condi- two independent co-ordinate lists for PG2331 (Landolt 1992). Since we have
tions ranging from 0.3″ to 0.7″ in serv- each field (one per filter), which we then repeated exposures in each filter, the
ice mode. Images taken during the best fed to the PSF-fitting routine allstar to internal accuracy of our photometry has
seeing conditions in high resolution measure the instrumental magnitude of been estimated from the rms frame-to-
mode compare quite favourably with each object in each filter. We found that frame scatter of the instrumental mag-
existing archive short exposure images a Moffat function gave the best repre- nitudes. The resulting mean photomet-
taken with the WFPC2 camera on HST sentation of the shape of the PSF, both ric errors are very small (σ < 0.05) over
outside the core. at high and low resolution. the whole bright magnitude range (R =
The positions of the identified objects 13 to 21) covered by our short expo-
3. Data Reduction in each mean R and V-band image sure observations in all the filters while
were matched to one another, so as to they vary from 0.05 to 0.1 mag in the
Except for a small subset of the obtain a final catalogue containing only deep exposure observations of the MS
R-band images, we have adopted the the positions and magnitudes of the below the TO. Figure 3 shows the total
reduced and calibrated (i.e. bias-sub- stars common to both filters. CMD of the central region of NGC 6712
tracted and flat-fielded) data as provid- Objects lying in overlapping regions (field F1). The figure is obtained by
ed by the standard ESO-VLT pipeline. between two adjacent fields were used merging the deep (180-s long expo-

the same analysis contamination caused by field stars.
used for the origi- We have dealt with this correction in a
nal frames, with the statistical way by using the comparison
result being a cata- field FO, for which we have produced a
logue of matching CMD and assessed photometric incom-
objects, each char - pleteness precisely as we did for all
acterised by a posi- other fields. When it comes to measur-
tion and a pair of V ing the LF – our final goal – we subtract
and R-band mag- from the stars found in a given magni-
nitudes. Each of tude on the cluster CMD the objects de-
these 250 cata- tected in the same magnitude bin in an
logues (one per ar- area of equal size on the FO field.
tificial pair of im- Clearly, both numbers are corrected for
ages) was com- their respective photometric incom-
pared with the cat- pleteness before doing the subtraction.
alogue of input arti-
ficial stars: an artifi- 4. Data Analysis and
cial star was con- Interpretation
sidered detected
only when its final By applying the statistical field star
position and mag- subtraction described above, we dis-
Figure 4: Luminosity functions measured in fields F0 (dashed line) nitudes were found covered that stars located in fields F3
and F3 (solid line). to coincide with and F4 can be considered as belonging
the input catalogue to the field because all the objects in
within ∆x, ∆y ≤ 1.5 the CMD of these fields are statistically
sure) and the bright (10-s exposure) pixel, ∆ mag ≤ 0.3. This approach al- compatible with being field stars. We
data covering the core of the cluster. lowed us to build a map showing how show this in Figure 4, where we plot the
Especially for the deep images prob- photometric incompleteness varies with R-band LF, corrected for incomplete-
ing the faint end of the cluster MS, cor- position in our frames. Completeness ness, as measured in fields F3 and FO
rection for incompleteness clearly be- reaches the 50% level at V Q R Q 23 at (respectively solid and dashed line).
comes of critical importance. The cor- r = 70″ from the core, for example. The absence of any significant trend or
rection depends on the level of crowd- Inside this point, the level of crowding systematic departures of one function
ing in the observed fields and, there- and the large ensuing incompleteness with respect to the other (within 2σ)
fore, on their location with respect to would have resulted in a poor determi- confirms that there are no residual clus-
the cluster centre. In particular, an in- nation of the LF. Moreover, we did not ter stars at distances greater than ~ 5′
sufficient or inappropriate correction for include a region between r = 116″ and from the cluster centre.
crowding will result in the distortion of 150″ because the level of crowding A plot of the radial density profile de-
the stellar LF with a preferential loss of there is too high for the low resolution termined from our sample of stars
fainter stars and a relative increase of of the FORS1 camera at 0.2 ″/pixel and brighter than V Q 20 shown in Figure 5
bright and spurious objects. In our a standard seeing quality of FWHM Q confirms this result. The thick dashed
case, crowding is not the only source of 0.6″. line marks a typical King-type profile
incompleteness: the distribution in lumi- Finally, inspection of the CMD pre- with core radius rc = 55″ and tidal
nosity of the stars is also modified by sented in Figure 3 shows that the field radius rt = 5.1′, superposed to a plateau
the large number of hot pixels and bad contamination is particularly severe in of field stars. A tidal radius of ~ 5′ is ful-
columns affecting the original images. the region of NGC 6712. A reliable de- ly consistent with our finding of a statis-
To correct our photometry for incom- termination of the physical characteris- tically null cluster in Fields F3 and F4
pleteness, we ran artificial star tests on tics and especially of the LF of NGC and implies that it will always be very
both sets of frames (V and R) inde- 6712 requires that we account for the difficult to detect an excess of cluster
pendently, so as to be able to estimate low mass stars at
the overall completeness of our final or beyond the ti-
CMD. First, we applied the artificial star dal radius ejected
test to the mean R-band images: artifi - from the interior
cial stars in each given 0.5 magnitude and still lightly
bin were added randomly to the frames, bound to the clus-
making sure not to exceed a few per ter due to the very
cent (≤ 10%) of the total number of severe field con-
stars actually present in that bin so as tamination against
to avoid a significant enhancement of which these faint
image crowding. We then added an stars have to be
equal number of stars at the same po- detected.
sitions in the V-band frames and with a As a result of
magnitude such that they would fall on these findings, we
the cluster MS. It should be noted that considered all stars
we made the assumption that all artifi- lying in F3 and F4
cial stars were to lie on the MS since as field stars, thus
our intent was to verify the photometric improving the sta-
completeness of MS stars. This proce- tistical sample of
dure was repeated for all the bins of the field, and re-
each field’s CMD in both filters. To ob - defined the de-
tain a robust result, we simulated more contamination
than 200,000 stars in 250 artificial im- procedure above
Figure 5: Surface density profile of ~ 0.75 M0 stars. The thin line
ages for each field. shows a King-type profile with rc = 60 and r t = 300 , whereas the using as compari-
All pairs of V and R frames obtained thick dashed line shows the superposition of the latter on a plateau son field the
in this way were then subjected to of field stars of uniform surface density. whole catalogue

Figure 6: position in the CMD closely resembles
Theoretical LF that of the UV-bright post-AGB star
as a function of found in M3 (vZ1128, see Buonanno et
distance as pre - al. 1994). Such objects are indeed very
dicted by the
rare in GC: only a few post-AGB stars
Michie-King have been found in GC due to their
model described short evolutionary lifetime of ~ 105 yr
in the text. (only 0.5 Post -AGB stars are expected
Boxes represent to be found in a typical ~ 105 L0 clus-
the observed LF ter). In order to check whether the posi-
in annuli A1 – tion of this star is consistent with the
A3, and in the hypothesis that it is a post-AGB star, we
Test Camera performed a qualitative comparison
with theoretical models. A ~ 12.5 Gyr
isochrone with appropriate metallicity
(Z = 0.004) from Bertelli et al. 1994 has
been over-plotted in the CMD of Figure
8 as a reference. It has been shifted to
fit the main loci in order to show the lo-
cation of the post-AGB track and the
subsequent cooling sequence. As can
be seen, the position of the UV-bright
star in the CMD nicely agrees with that
predicted by the theoretical cooling
Two out of the three faint UV-excess
stars (namely #10261 and #9774) are
located within the cluster core. Star
#9774 is star S identified by Anderson
for F3, F4 and F0 (r ≥ 5′). This result most of the field stars and the cluster et al. (1993) as the optical counterpart
also strongly implies that the field sequences appear clearly well defined. to the known luminous low-mass X-ray
around NGC 6712 is relatively uniform In particular, the large population of binary (LMXB). Its position is only ~ 1″
at our required level of accuracy there- blue straggler stars (BSS) is clearly vis- away from the X-ray source, in agree-
by fully justifying our confidence that ible together with a few blue objects ment with Anderson et al. (1993). Our
the field contamination at the position of present in the very central region of observations confirm that it is the bluest
the cluster is properly accounted for. NGC 6712 and lying outside the main object within ~ 15″ of the X-ray source′s
We, therefore, regarded only the F1 loci defined by the cluster stars. These nominal position, and for this reason it
and F2 fields as containing cluster include three faint and one bright blue remains the best candidate to be the
stars. Because of the richness of our stars. The peculiar blue colour of these optical counterpart to the LMXB. Star
sample, we investigated the variation of stars is confirmed by the (U, U – B) #10261 is the brightest object among
the LF as a function of distance on a CMD (Figure 8) where they are plotted the three faint UV sources in Figure 8.
scale smaller than the typical size of a as filled triangles. Moreover, it is the only object showing
frame. The bright star (#9620) located a clearcut Hα emission in the core of
The LF determined in annuli centred roughly at the HB level but significantly NGC 6712. The other two UV-excess
at 1.2′, 1.5′, 2′ and 2.25′ from the cen - bluer than the bluest HB stars is the stars have normal colour ((H – R) > –
tre and of average thickness ~ 0.1′ are most UV-bright object in the field. Its 0.1), and thus they are fully compatible,
shown in Figure 6 together with the
theoretical expectations of a Michie-
King multi-mass model at these dis- Figure 7: The
tances and, for comparison, at the cen- V, B-V CMD for
tre and at the tidal radius. The best fit is stars observed
obtained with a power-law global MF in the high-
resolution field
with an index of α Q 0.9. The key result after the statis -
here, then, is that the global MF of NGC tical decon-
6712 is indeed an inverted function, i.e. tamination from
one that decreases with decreasing field stars.
mass below ~ 0.8 M0. Although all
clusters whose LF has been studied in
the core show an inverted local MF
there (as a result of mass segregation:
see e.g. Paresce, De Marchi &
Jedrzejewski 1995; King, Sosin & Cool
1995; De Marchi & Paresce 1996),
NGC 6712 is the only known cluster so
far to feature an inverted MF on a glob-
al scale.
The field star decontamination proce-
dure was also applied to each of the
CMDs resulting from the brief expo-
sures in the central Field 1. Figure 7
shows the (V, B – V) CMD statistically
decontaminated for this field. Here the
result is quite good as the statistical de-
contamination successfully removes

this reason, we sue, the Standard Resolution (SR)
intend to further mode of FORS1 is useful only if the
exploit the sensi- seeing is very good (< 0.5″) and expo-
tivity of FORS1 sures are kept short enough to prevent
at UT1 to search severe saturation of the brightest red
for Hα- and UV- giants (about 200 s for NGC 6712 in the
excess from IB in R band). If this is not the case, the high-
a set of GC with resolution (HR) mode yields the best
moderate central results even for moderate seeing (<
density. The proj- 0.8″).
ect as a whole 4. In any kind of crowded field, if the
will finally shed seeing is good (< 0.6″), the SR mode
light on the for- should be avoided if field size is not an
mation and evo- issue. The SR mode is really useful
lution of IB (and only for sparsely crowded fields like
their progeny) in those in an open cluster or in the pe-
GC. riphery of a GC.
5. Registering dithered images is
5. Lessons very useful in correcting for hot pixels.
Learned 6. The data-quality flag that is acti-
vated at the level of 3% saturated pix-
Several les- els should be deactivated to allow the
sons were learn- image to pass through the pipeline pro-
ed from this exer- cessing so as not to waste time re-
cise concerning analysing the image afterwards (the
Figure 8: U, U – B CMD of NGC 6712 from FORS1-high-resolution im - the use of the pipeline software is not available to
ages. The bright blue object #9620 is plotted as a large filled triangle. VLT for crowded- users).
The three faint UV stars are plotted as open triangles. An isochrone
from Bertelli et al. (1994) is also plotted for reference. field photometry. Notwithstanding these difficulties,
Some of them our observations of NGC 6712 have
were already al- clearly shown that the VLT can be quite
within the errors, with the (H – R) luded to in the text but we summarise competitive with HST even in the case
colour of normal cluster MS stars. them here for clarity. The photometric of crowded fields provided the proper
UV-excess and Hα emission togeth- accuracy and completeness level de- combination of camera resolution, see-
er with X-ray emission are characteris- pend crucially on several factors: level ing and exposure time is adopted. In
tic signatures of interacting binaries of crowding especially of the bright this case, the large collecting area of
(IB). In fact, when a binary system con- stars, pixel size and seeing. Obviously, the VLT allows good photometric accu-
tains a compact object (like a neutron a delicate balance has to be found be- racy associated with more efficient and
star or a white dwarf) and a close tween these parameters which deter- flexible scheduling than possible with
enough secondary, mass transfer can mines the exposure time to limit the ef- HST.
take place: the streaming gas, its im- fect of saturation and the ultimate limit-
pact zone on the compact object and ing magnitude reached in each filter. In References
the presence of an accretion disk can general, we found that:
give such systems observational signa- 1. because of the high density of Anderson, S., Margon, B., Deutsch, E.,
tures which make them stand out bright objects, only very short expo- Downes, R. 1993, AJ 106, 1049.
above ordinary cluster stars. These sig- sures taken with the high-resolution Bertelli, G., Bressan, A., Chiosi, C., Fagotto,
natures include X-ray emission, signifi- (HR) mode of FORS1 and seeing bet- F., Nasi, E. 1994, A&AS, 106, 275.
cant radiation in the ultraviolet, Hα ter than 0.3″ yields acceptable results Buonanno, R., Corsi, C., Buzzoni, A.,
emission lines, X-ray emission, etc. In in the core of a GC with more than ~ 1 Cacciari, C., Ferraro, F., Fusi Pecci, F.
particular, Cool et al. (1995) have star/arcsec2. Consequently, only the 1994, A&A, 290, 69.
shown the efficiency of the Hα-emis- evolved part of the CMD of the core of Cool, A., Grindlay, J., Cohn, H., Lugger, P.
sion technique in pinpointing candidate a cluster can be studied with the Slavin, S. 1995, ApJ, 439, 695.
IB among the normal GC population. FORS1+UT combination. For deeper Cudworth, K.M. 1988, AJ 96, 105.
For this reason, we can consider star images in the core, HST and, possibly, Dauphole, B., Geffret, M., Colin, J.,
#10261 as a very promising IB. Inter- the CONICA+NAOS combination for Ducourant, C., Odenkirchen, M.,
estingly enough, the new IB discovered small fields would be preferred. Tucholke, H. 1996, A&A, 313, 119.
by us in the core of NGC 6712 is locat- 2. The FORS1+UT combination and De Marchi, G., Leibundgut, B., Paresce, F.,
ed only a few arcsec away from star seeing better than 0.5″ (routinely ob- Pulone, L. 1999, AA 343, L9.
#9774, the optical counterpart to the tained at Paranal) is the ideal combina- De Marchi, G., Paresce, F. 1996, ApJ, 467,
LMXB. tion to search for relatively faint objects 658.
Thus NGC 6712 turns out to harbour (U > 20) like the IB in the central region Harris W. 1996, AJ, 112, 1487.
in its core two unrelated IB systems a of moderate-density GC (log < 3) with Karaali, S. 1979, AAS, 35, 241.
few arcsec apart. This fact, coupled large core radius (rc > 1′). Our observa- King, I.R., Sosin, C., & Cool, A. 1995,
with a large BSS population and an in- tions show that the VLT can be used as ApJ,452, L33.
verted mass function, indicates an un- a complementary instrument to HST in Landolt, A. 1992, AJ, 104, 372.
usual level of dynamical activity for a efficiently searching for peculiar objects Paresce, F., De Marchi G. 2000, ApJ, 543,
GC of such a moderate density, sug- in the relatively large cores of moderate 870.
gesting again that, at some early density clusters. The HST/WFPC2 Paresce, F., De Marchi G., Jedrzejewski, R.
epoch, NGC 6712 was much more combination due to its peculiar shape 1995, ApJ, 442, L57.
massive and concentrated than now, and small field of view is not well adapt- Sandage, A., Smith, L.L. 1966, ApJ 144,
and its interaction with the Galaxy is ed to image clusters with large core 886.
driving it towards dissolution. radii. Takahashi, K., Portegies Zwart, S. 2000,
This result demonstrates the huge 3. Outside the core beyond about ApJ, 535, 759.
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population in moderate-density GC. For crowding is still high but less of an is- 898.

Revealing High-Redshift Galaxies: Results from
a New Damped Lyman- System Survey
1European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile
2SIRTF Science Center, Pasadena, California, USA; 3Royal Observatory Edinburgh, UK
4Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK; 5European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany
6Dept. of Astrophysics, University of Oxford, UK

1. Probing High-Redshift represents an unbiased census of the ing from current samples. Moreover,
Galaxies with Quasar neutral gas in the universe. Many of the Pei and Fall (1995) have shown that
Absorption Lines early DLA surveys have measured the dust is required in order for the models
redshift evolution of ΩDLA and found to reproduce many of the observed
Using quasar absorption lines as a that it decreases steadily from z ~ 3 to properties of DLAs, such as their mean
tool to probe matter in the line of sight z < 1 (Lanzetta et al. 1991; Lanzetta, metallicity. The presence of dust in met-
towards high-redshift quasars has Wolfe and Turnshek 1995; Wolfe et al. al-rich systems could also explain the
proved to be a powerful technique for 1995). Extending this work to higher paucity of DLAs with high Zn abun-
studying both galaxies and the inter- redshifts, Storrie-Lombardi, McMahon dances (Pettini et al. 1999) and the ap-
galactic medium (IGM) alike. High-res- and Irwin (1996) found evidence for a parent anti-correlation between metal-
olution echelle spectrographs such as turnover in ΩDLA beyond a z ~ 3 and licity and N(H I) (Prantzos and Boissier
UVES on the VLT can now deliver ex- also noted that there is an agreement 2000).
quisite data which probe the structure between the lowest ΩDLA point and the
and chemical enrichment of the high- measurement by Rao and Briggs
redshift universe with unparalleled ac- (1993) of the local HI mass densi- 2. A New DLA Survey Sample –
curacy. At somewhat lower resolution, ty inferred from 21-cm measurements Seeing Through the Dust
instruments such as FORS can provide (which is dominated by spirals). In ad-
an efficient means with which to dition, it has been pointed out (e.g. The strategy of this new survey for
identify the high column density sys- Lanzetta et al. 1999) that the mass of DLAs, which will indicate whether pre-
tems that are associated with distant H I in DLAs at z ~ 3 is approximately vious work has suffered from a dust
galaxies. Within the menagerie of sys- equal to that of luminous matter ob- bias, is to search for DLAs in a com-
tems that make up the quasar absorp- served at the present time, i.e. ΩDLA plete sample of radio-selected quasars.
tion line ‘zoo’, Damped Lyman Alpha (z ~ 3) ~ Ωstars (z = 0). Together, these All of these targets will be followed up
systems (DLAs) have the highest col- lines of evidence led to the interpreta- with optical spectroscopy, regardless of
umn densities and are traditionally de- tion that DLAs were the basic galactic their optical magnitudes.
fined as systems with neutral hydrogen building blocks assembling the major The survey described here is based
column densities N(H I) ≥ 2 × 1020 gas reservoirs for star formation at high on a complete sample of flat-spectrum
atoms cm –2. Although DLAs are redshift. radio sources from the Parkes Cata-
thought to be the progenitors of pres- This rather simple picture has been logue with flux densities at 2.7 GHz (11
ent-day galaxies, the precise nature of queried recently by work which has ex- cm) ≥ 0.25 Jy (Shaver et al. 1996). The
these absorbers at high redshift is still tended the search for DLAs to lower sample consists of all flat-spectrum (α
unclear. At low redshift, however, there redshifts. Using the HST, Rao and > –0.4, measured at 2.7 and 5.0 GHz)
is mounting evidence that DLAs are Turnshek (2000) have found evidence sources with declinations between
likely to represent a mixed morphologi- that ΩDLA remains approximately con- +2.5° and –80°, excluding low galactic
cal bag (Le Brun et al 1997), including stant from 0.5 < zabs < 3.5, evidence latitudes (| b | < 10°) and regions around
a significant population of LSBs that the situation is probably more com- the Magellanic Clouds. Accurate radio
(Bowen et al. 2000). plex than once thought. However, it is source positions for these 878 sources
The power law distribution of H I col- important to realise that the interpreta- were taken from the Parkes Catalogue
umn densities that extends from the low tion of this work is pivotal upon the where available and a combination of
N(H I) Lyα forest clouds that constitute assumption that DLA surveys afford a VLA and Australia Telescope measure-
the IGM up to DLAs implies that these fair representation of HI absorption ments otherwise. Source identification
high z galaxies seen in absorption are systems over a range of redshifts. Our and B-band magnitudes were deter-
relatively rare. Indeed, it has taken a view of the universe could be severely mined by cross-correlation with images
considerable investment over many blinkered if previous samples were obtained from either the COSMOS
years to establish the current database shown to be biased due to a selection Southern Sky Catalogue or taken at the
of known DLAs (e.g. Wolfe et al. 1986; effect that preferentially identifies a par- ESO 3.6-m telescope at La Silla. Low-
Lanzetta et al. 1991; Lanzetta, Wolfe ticular breed of absorber. resolution spectra (FWHM = 12–14 Å)
and Turnshek 1995). However, one of One factor that could cause such a were obtained for the 442 stellar identi-
the important consequences of this bias is the presence of dust in the in- fications (QSOs and BL Lacs) with the
power law distribution, ƒ (N) ~ N–1.5, is tervening galaxy population, which EFOSC on the ESO 3.6-m to determine
that although Lyα forest clouds are far would cause dimming of the back- redshifts.
more numerous, DLAs contain the bulk ground QSOs. Since almost all known For this survey, we have selected the
of the H I gas by mass. A measure of- DLAs at this time have been identified 66 QSOs with emission redshifts zem ≥
ten used to quantify the amount of neu- from optically-selected samples of 2.2. Optical spectroscopy is used to
tral gas in DLAs is ΩDLA, basically de - quasars, they are susceptible to such a identify DLAs with 1.8 ≤ zabs ≤ zem in all
fined as the mass of HI expressed dust bias. It has been shown by Fall of these targets, the faintest of which
as a fraction of the closure density and Pei (1993) that, based on the has a B = 24.0. Our strategy has been
of the universe. Since this quantity dust-to-gas ratios inferred by reddening to divide the sample into a 4-m sample
does not depend on the geometry or of background QSOs, up to 70% of (B < 20) and an 8-m sample (B > 20).
covering factor of the absorbers, it bright quasars at z ~ 3 could be miss- The former have been observed with

the ESO 3.6-m on La Silla at a typical
resolution of 7 Å FWHM and at the AAT
with a typical resolution of 3 Å FWHM
(see Ellison 2000 for more details),
whilst the latter will be observed with
FORS1 on the VLT.

3. Preliminary Results

Observations for the 4-m sample

have now been completed and resulted
in the identification of 10 DLAs towards
48 QSOs. Figure 1 shows an example
of a DLA found towards one of our
targets (left panel) and the DSS find-
ing chart for the QSO with overlaid Figure 1: An example of one of the survey targets, B1354-107. In the left panel, a section of
radio contours (right panel). The re- the AAT spectrum is shown, the broad absorption trough that is the signature of a DLA is
maining 18 targets which constitute clearly visible. The dashed line shows a fit to the DLA profile, with log N(H I) = 20.4. In the
the 8-m sample will be observed this right panel is a DSS image of the QSO overlaid with NVSS radio contours.
semester (Period 66) with FORS1 on
the VLT. Clearly, these faint targets rep-
resent the important sight lines which QSOs. Since we can discount the pos- ples, which would then give only a
will determine whether previous magni- sibility that this is merely a colour effect partial view of metal enrichment in
tude limited surveys suffer from a dust caused by redshift (the S1 sample high-redshift galaxies. As tracers of
bias. shows no trend of B magnitude versus large matter overdensities, the space
With the termination of 4-m observa- zem), we conclude that this result is con- density of DLAs reflects the fraction
tions, the survey is currently complete sistent with the presence of a dust bias. of matter that has collapsed into
down to B = 20 and therefore does not In order to improve the statistics, S3 bound structures at a given redshift.
represent a major improvement over has been supplemented with DLAs This fact has been used by Peacock et
previous samples. In fact, somewhat found in the LBQS (Wolfe et al 1995) al. (1998) to constrain the initial spec-
encouragingly, we determine that ΩDLA which also has a limiting magnitude of trum of density fluctuations on small
for our 4-m sample is consistent with approximately B = 19. The LBQS+S3 scales (< 1 Mpc) and has been shown
previous estimates from surveys with point in Figure 2 remains significantly to be a sensitive test of current theories
similar magnitude limits, ΩDLAh100 = 1.8 lower than S2. of structure formation (Gardner et al.
× 10–3 (q0 = 0.5). In addition, we find This is still just a tantalising hint that 1997).
that the number of DLAs per unit red- a dust bias may be affecting the selec- However, proof will come with the ex-
shift also agrees with previous work, tion of high redshift DLAs, but one ecution of the 8-m VLT sample due to
n(z) = 0.25 for 〈zabs〉 = 2.32. However, which has far-reaching possibilities. be completed with FORS1 in March
an interesting departure emerges when DLAs play a key role in our under- 2001. Only with an 8-m-class telescope
the 4-m sample (hereafter S1) is split standing of chemical evolution and can intermediate resolution spec-
by magnitude into S2 (B ≥ 19.0) and S3 structure formation at high redshifts, troscopy of such faint targets be re-
(B < 19.0). As can be seen in Figure 2, work which assumes that we can alised. The VLT/FORS is poised to re-
although the error bars are still large sample high- z galaxies in an unbiased solve this crucial issue and determine
due to limited statistics (7 DLAs in S2 way. For example, Pettini et al. (1997, once and for all the extent to which our
and 3 in S3), there appears to be more 1999) have used the Zn abundance view of high-redshift DLAs is biased by
HI in systems found towards faint to trace the chemical enrichment of dust.
DLAs as a function of redshift
but have failed to find a sig-
nificant increase in metallicity References
with time. This surprising re-
sult may be an indication Bowen, D., Tripp, T., Jenkins, E., 2000, as-
that metal-rich, and therefore tro-ph/0011134.
dusty, DLAs are under-repre- Ellison, S., 2000, PhD thesis,
sented in current DLA sam- sellison/astro.html
Gardner, J., et al., 1997, ApJ, 486, 42.
Fall, S.M., Pei, Y.C., 1993, ApJ, 402, 479.
Lanzetta, K., et al., 1991, ApJS, 77, 1.
Figure 2: Possible evidence for a Lanzetta, K., Wolfe, A., Turnshek, D., 1995,
dust bias in DLA surveys. ApJ, 440, 435.
Coloured circles show the value Le Brun, V., et al., 1997, ABA, 321, 733.
of DLA for the 3 sub-samples de - Peacock, J., et al., 1998, MNRAS,
fined for the new survey de - 296,1089.
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resents the results for our full Pettini, M., et al., 1997, ApJ, 486, 665.
4-m sample (S1), complete down Pettini, M., et al., 1999, ApJ, 510, 576.
to B = 20 and is consistent Prantzos, N., Boissier, S., 2000, MNRAS,
with previous determinations
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from magnitude limited samples
Rao, S., Briggs, F., 1993, ApJ, 419, 515.
(black squares, Rao and Turn -
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3D Structure and Dynamics of the Homunculus of
Eta Carinae: an Application of the Fabry Perot,
ADONIS and AO Software
aEuropean Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany
bUniversitàdi Bologna, Dipartimento di Astronomia, Bologna, Italy
cOsservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, Italy

1. Summary measurements on this “Spike”. The the astrometric motion of the two
Doppler velocities or red shifts of the Bullets, as well as measure the astro-
Eta Carinae is an extremely massive clumps in this “Spike” indicated very metric or Plane-of-the-Sky (PoS) mo-
and highly evolved member of the high velocities. Later Weis et al. 7 again tion of the individual knots or clumps
Carinae starburst region. It has under- observed the Spike and other similar within Spikes. In addition, it was possi-
gone numerous eruptions over the past features about eta Carinae. The mo- ble to measure the motion of the com-
millennium. In 1841, a giant eruption tions along the spikes have the remark- ponents of the other Spikes and many
ejected several solar masses or more able and unique property that the ve- other such Bullets were discovered that
of material. Most of this material is cur- locities increase towards larger dis- were moving at a velocity that implied
rently in the dusty nebula denoted as tances from the star7. At the time that that they, like the original Bullets and
the “Homunculus”. we measured the astrometric motion of the clumps within the original Spike,
In an initial article (The Messenger the Homunculus in the WFPC2 im- were emitted in 1841, at the same time
No. 101, September 2000, p. 24), we ages1, it was difficult to measure the as- as the clumps that compose the
presented results on the 3-dimensional trometric motion of Spike. However, a Homunculus. Most of the results pre-
structure and dynamics of the nebula. later review of the images following sented here address the Spike #1 with
In addition to the smoothly distributed some special processing techniques the 2 bullets at its tip (Fig. 1). Very de-
light from the nebula, there are sharp found that there were two very faint, tailed results have also been obtained
spikes or “jets” extending far beyond barely resolved objects at the head of on spike #2. As we shall discuss, the
the Homunculus and very small con- the Spike1. The astrometric measure- diameters of these Bullets and the
densations or “bullets”. ments on these two “Bullets” could be Spikes are unresolved in the Planetary
This second article presents new re- performed and they were found to Camera images, so they have a diam-
sults on these features obtained as an be moving at almost 1% the speed of eter of less than the extended solar
application of two new software pack- light (i.e. 3000 km/sec. This led to system. Comparison with the diameter
ages developed in the frame of the PA- the application of the special capa- of stellar images indicates that these di-
PAO programme (The Messenger No. bilities of the STARFINDER pro- ameters (FWHM) are 100 AU or less in
100, June 2000, p. 12). gramme, that has been developed in a the direction perpendicular to the long
The first is STARFINDER (The Mes - joint programme between University of axis of the Spike. By comparing the
senger No. 100, June 2000, p. 23) that Bologna and ESO2, 3 . The STARFIND- plane-of-the-sky (PoS) velocity compo-
has been developed for use with AO ER programme is especially adapted to nent (i.e. the astrometric velocity) with
data (as well as other types of data) by perform astrometric and photometric the line-of-sight (LoS) velocity compo-
ESO and Emiliano Diolaiti of the measurements on
University of Bologna3. The second is adaptive optics ob-
LINEPHOT developed at ESO by B. servations of tar-
Svensson5 and S. Tordo. In order to get fields in which
test the performance of these software there is a large
packages for astrometric applications, contamination with
we require observations in which there background radia-
is significant and known relative motion tion. Using this pro-
of the objects in the field. In the short gramme, we were
life of the PAPAO2 programme, the col- able to re-deter-
lection of such data has not been feasi- mine the earlier
ble. Therefore, we have conducted measurement of
these tests on observations of eta
Carinae obtained by WFPC2 IDT on
the Hubble Space Telescope1. We also
present results of observations ob-
tained by D. Currie with VLT FORS1.
Figure 1: HST im -
2. Spike (or “Jets”) and Bullets age of the southern
edge of the nebula
David Malin obtained colour images of Eta Carinae, the
Homunculus, with
of eta Carinae and the surrounding
Malin Spike #1 and
nebula using the Anglo-Australian its 2 bullets at the
Telescope4. John Meaburn6 noticed a end. The 2 brighter
peculiar red Spike in this image, and spikes are diffrac -
performed a series of spectroscopic tion effects.

elements of the Spikes, with no compo-
nent beyond the Bullets. This starts to
give us information to address the
physics of the generation and dynamics
of these remarkable objects.
The similarly detected results ob-
tained for Spike #2 illustrate the con-
trast in the apparent and physical prop-
erties of the different Spikes that sur-
round eta Carinae. The lengths differ by
almost a factor of two. Spike #1 is
rather “knotty” while Spike #2 is rela-
tively smooth. Spike #1 shows a num-
ber of small bends, while Spike #2
shows a single large bend, and the rest
of the motion is straight. Spike #1 has a
leading bullet, while Spike #2 does not.
In both cases, the width of the Spike is
beyond the resolving power of the tele-
scope/camera/atmosphere at the time.
Figure 2: Astrometric motions (on the plane Figure 3: Line-of-sight velocity of the clumps
of the sky) of knots and clumps which com - divided by the distance from the star plotted Finally we wish to address the width
pose spike #1. Abscissa: distance from cen - as a function of the distance from the star. of the original Spike (Spike #1) and
tral star in arcsec. Ordinates: velocity, in pix - The velocity increases with distance from Spike #2. Discussion in the literature ei-
el per year, divided by radial distance in arc - the star6, 7. ther states or implies that these fea-
sec. By combining the astrometric and spec - tures were well resolved. However, the
troscopic data, one obtains a consistent pic - LINEPHOT programme allows a much
ture in which all the clumps in the spike left have developed a programme, LINE- more quantitative consideration of this
the star about 165 years ago, that is in 1841. PHOT, to fit the peak intensity, the width issue. The major portions of the Spikes
The point at 28.4 is a (stationary) back -
and central position of the Spike with a are essentially unresolved by FORS1
ground star.
Gaussian function along a line that is and by the WF camera. In order to ob-
orthogonal to the long dimension of the tain a better estimate for the width (or at
Spike. We have separately estimated least a better upper limit), we apply the
nent (i.e. the Doppler velocity) we can the various parameters describing the LINEPHOT procedures to the images
determine that the angle from the line of background nebulosity, in order to re- obtained in the Planetary Camera of
sight is about 65 degrees from the line duce their influence on the parameters HST. The result is that the Spikes are
of sight. of the Spike4. The results of such an essentially unresolved, with the resolu-
The PoS motion was detected by us- analysis applied to our WFPC2 image tion of the telescope empirically deter-
ing pairs of images of eta Carinae that (HST Proposals 1138, 2887, 5239, mined by the measurement of stellar
were recorded using the WFPC2 on the 7253 by Westphal, and the IDT) is images, i.e., about 100 milli-arc-sec-
HST in 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995 and shown in Figure 4. A similar analysis of onds (mas). This value was determined
1997. Positional measurements of the the FORS1 data from the VLT (VLT using a nearby star from the same
clumps or knots in these images, using Proposal 63.I-0619(A) by Currie, et. al.) frame, and using our same LINEPHOT
STARFINDER, have been used to de- is shown in Figure 5. In both of these programme. (Spike #2 is especially
rive the astrometric velocities of the bul- figures, the uppermost plot shows the smooth). That indicates a width of less
lets and of the clumps that compose the total brightness of the Spike (peak in- than 50 mas, or less than 120 AU. In
Spikes. In Figure 2, the astrometric ve- tensity times twice the Gaussian width). particular, the widths of the Spikes are
locity (PoS) measurements for Spike The second plot shows the position of essentially unresolved from their emer-
#1 are plotted as a function of the dis- the centroid of the Gaussian, more pre- gence out of the glare of the central star
tance to the central star (in the PoS). In cisely, the component of the position to their tip. Thus the Spikes are very
Figure 3, the Doppler velocities (i.e. that is orthogonal to the Spike, illustrat- thin features that have a (length)/
LoS) of Spikes #1 and #2, determined ing the deviations from straight-line mo- (width) ratio of over 600.
by spectroscopic measurements of the tion. Finally the last curve shows the Analysis of the FORS1 images have
Spikes7, 8 , are plotted as a function of width of the Spike, where the width of a also resulted in the discovery of several
the PoS distance from the central star. stellar image in the same frame, ob- new Spikes that have a very high red-
The relatively uniform values of the tained with the same fitting programme, shift, such that neither the locally emit-
linear expansion rates (i.e. the veloci- is shown by the dashed line. ted nor the locally reflected radiation
ties/distances) imply a relatively The HST and the FORS1 observa- was admitted by the Hα or the [NII]
smooth linear increase in the velocity tions were conducted in narrow-band filters on HST. The FORS1 images also
with distance. In addition, there is very filters at the wavelength of the Hα emis- allow a rough red shift determination
little spreading of the ejecta. The me- sion or slightly longward. In this region, and thus a classification of the Spikes,
chanics of the generation and propaga- we are seeing primarily the 6583 local- as well as a guide for interpreting the
tion of such features is unknown. ly emitted, blue-shifted [NII]6583 radia- spectroscopic measurements. Data re-
Finally, this in turn implies that each of tion, with a small component (i.e. at the duction and analysis is continuing on
the clumps was ejected from the central edge of the filter band pass) of locally the other Spikes, as well as the many
star at the same time in different direc- emitted, blue-shifted Hα emission. In Bullets that have been found in the outer
tions, again a phenomenon for which addition, there would be expected to be regions beyond the Homunculus.
the physics is not understood. some components of the Hα radiation
In the past, the direct analysis of emitted by the central star and scat- 3. Conclusions: Adaptive Optics
properties of width and straightness for tered by the dust contained in the Operation and Data
the Spikes have been confused by the Spike. Recent observations on the Reduction Techniques
changes in brightness along the Spikes FORS1 instrument on the VLT at
and the existence of non-uniform nebu- Paranal, taken at the wavelength se- In conclusion, we have demonstrated
losity surrounding the Spike. To allow lected for maximum sensitivity show that the very large velocities of the
the extraction of this information, we that the Bullets are indeed the leading Spikes and Bullets indeed represent

Figure 4: Intensity, position and width of Spike #1 as obtained with Figure 5: Same as Figure 4, but from LINEPHOT applied to H im -
LINEPHOT applied to HST/WFPC2 images taken through an H fil - ages taken with VLT/FORS1. Date of the observations: 1999. The
ter, and all plotted as a function of distance from centre. Upper plot: small differences with Figure 4 are mostly due to the difference in an -
intensity (i.e. peak values times width); middle plot: position of the gular resolution and filter band-pass.
centroid as compared to a straight line, i.e. deviation from straight -
ness; lower plot: width (dashed line: width of a star). Date of the ob -
servations: 1997.

actual physical motions of clumps of adaptive optics data have intrinsic pho- Velocity”. Eta Carinae at the Millennium,
material. The individual clumps, both in tometric errors that are significantly ASP Conference Series, Vol. 179. 1999
terms of the astrometric and spectro- larger than the basic limitations im- J.A. Morse, R. M. Humphries, and A.
scopic velocities, move in a manner to posed by the photon noise in the target, Damineli, eds.
indicate that all of the elements of the the skirts or wings of nearby objects, 2Currie, D.G.; E. Diolaiti; S. Tordo; K.

Spikes were emitted in 1841. We have and the sky and the read noise. An un- Naesgarde; J. Liwing; O. Bendinelli; G.
also shown that the Bullets are the lead- known portion of this is due to errors in Parmeggiani; L. Close; D. Bonaccini.
ing elements of these strange structures, the flat fielding. Addressing and solving (1999) “ESO Photometric and Astrometric
that is, there is no fainter extension of these issues can either greatly improve Analysis Program for Adaptive Optics”
the Spike that lies beyond the bullets. the science that can be obtained from Astronomical Data Analysis Software and
The width of the Spikes and the diame- AO data, or can result in a significant Systems - IX 3–6 October 1999.
ter of the Bullets are less than 120 AU. reduction in the telescope time re- 3Diolaiti, E.; D.G. Currie; S. Tordo; K.

The astrophysical results presented quired to achieve a given science goal. Naesgarde; J. Liwing; O. Bendinelli; G.
here and in article I have been made As we proceed with the AO systems on Parmeggiani; L. Close; D. Bonaccini.
possible by the combination of the the 8–10-metre-class telescopes, this “ESO Photometric and Astrometric
unique capabilities of ADONIS, the will become an even more critical issue. Analysis Program for Adaptive Optics”,
WFPC2 of the Hubble Space Tele- We wish to thank the 3.6-metre team Astronomical Data Analysis Software and
scope and the FORS1 instrument on at La Silla for support in the ADONIS Systems - IX 3–6 October 1999.
the VLT. This programme also shows observations, the FORS1 team at 4

the importance of the auxiliary instru- Paranal, and NASA and the Space /aat032.html (David Malin Image Showing
mentation on an AO system, specifical- Telescope Institute for the HST Obser- Spike).
ly the Fabry-Perot Interferometer and vations. We also wish to thank David 5 Svensson, B. (2000) “3-D Structure of the

the Coronographic Occulting Spot. Malin for a high-resolution image of his eta Carinae Nebula and the Configuration
The final point concerns the data re- discovery image of the spikes and bul- of the Hyper-Velocity Jets”, Masters
duction and analysis methods that are lets in eta Carinae. Thesis, Lulea University of Technology,
used, and that are discussed in con- Sweden.
siderably more detail in The Messenger References 6Meaburn, J; P. Boumis, J.R. Walsh et. al.

No. 100, p. 12, and in other papers2, 3, 1966 MNRAS 282, 1313.
and references therein. Present meth- 1 Currie,D.G. and D.M. Dowling. (1999) 7Weis, K.; W. Duschl and Y-H. Chu (1999)

ods of data reduction and analysis for “Astrometric Motion and Doppler A&A 349, 467.

The Second NEON Observing Euroschool
The Network of European Observatories in the North (NEON) is pleased to announce its second observing school,
sponsored by the European Community, which will take place at

Observatoire de Haute-Provence (France)

from July 9 to 21, 2001
The school is organised jointly and alternately by Asiago Observatory (Italy), Calar Alto Observatory (Germany-Spain)
and Haute-Provence Observatory (France), with additional tutorial assistance from ESO.
The purpose of the school is to provide opportunity to gain practical observational experience at the telescope, in ob-
servatories with state-of-the-art instrumentation. To this end, the school proposes tutorial observations in small groups of
3 students, under the guidance of an experienced observer, centred around a small research project and going through
all steps of a standard observing programme. Some complementary lectures will be given by experts in the field.
The school is open to students working on a PhD thesis in Astronomy and which are nationals of a Member State or
an Associated State of the European Union. The working language is English. Up to fifteen participants will be selected
by the Organising Committee and will have their travel and living expenses paid, if they satisfy the EC rules (age limit of
35 years at the time of the Euro Summer School).
Applicants are expected to fill in an application form (available on the Web site), with a CV and description of previous
observational experience, and to provide a letter of recommendation from a senior scientist familiar with the work of the
applicant. The application deadline is March 31, 2001.

Secretary of the school:

Mrs. Brigitte RABAN at IAP 98bis,
Bd Arago, F-75014 PARIS

Further instructions and practical details will be found on the school Web site, which is hosted by the European
Astronomical Society at:
You will also find on this site a description of the activities in the previous school, hosted in 2000 by the Calar Alto
Observatory. Over 60 applications were received for this first edition of the NEON school, almost all of high quality, and
it was a difficult (and painful) task for the Selection Committee to extract the “happy few”! The others are really encour-
aged to apply again for the next edition!
The school was a success, thanks to the enthusiasm of the participants, to the dedication of the tutors and lecturers,
and to the efforts of the local staff (the Director, R. Gredel, even provided good weather!).
After some lectures on basics of observations (Telescope Optics and Imaging by C. Barbieri; Photometry by H. Röser;
Spectroscopy by M. Dennefeld), the very diverse scientific topics selected for the observations, all at the forefront of re-
search, brought the students into the hard reality!
A. Pizzella (Padova) guided his group into “Tracing the dark matter in spiral galaxies”, by measuring rotation curves
and deriving photometric profiles in galaxies of various spiral types. S. Pedraz (Calar Alto) looked with his students into
the radial variation of the stellar content in dwarf galaxies and compared it with model predictions. P. Prada (Calar Alto)
searched for substructures in the halo of nearby galaxies, using on-off interference-filter imaging in prominent emission
lines to detect PNe or regions of star formation. A. Pasquali (ST-ECF) and F. Comerón (ESO) joined their forces (and
their groups) to investigate a star-forming region in Cygnus OB2, making a systematic IR map, discovering new clusters
and following the most interesting objects in spectroscopy. And P. Leisy (ESO) helped many of the students to survive
within the intricacies of MIDAS.
But the unforeseen, scientific actuality added other required observations and boosted the general interest: during the
first night, the 2.2-m was requisitioned to follow spectroscopically the transit of an extrasolar planet in front of HD209459.
Several tens of spectra were obtained and accumulated, in the hope to show a change in spectral shape of the parent
star. During several nights also, Asteroid 140 SIWA was monitored photometrically to add points to the light curve and try
to figure out what was the rotation period of this asteroid, target of the Rosetta mission. And, finally, the last night, the dis-
covery of SN2000cw by the Lick SN search group gave an opportunity to the Neon school to observe spectroscopically
this target of opportunity and to announce in an IAU Circular that it was a SNIa close to maximum.
Therefore, many important aspects of observations were covered by the school and gave hopefully a good incentive
to the students to continue on that track. Indeed, several of the projects started there will continue in collaboration and
lead to publications, and fellowship applications have also been written! No doubt this is partly due also to the nice at-
mosphere surrounding the school: cheerful tutors, helpful staff and a joyful director, Spanish food, proximity of the sea…
and excitement to see beautiful objects in a clear sky. Despite the hard work, the life of an observer may after all be a
good choice…
Co-ordinator of the NEON School

Success for “Physics on Stage” Festival in Geneva
Can you imagine how much physics
is in a simple match of ping-pong, in
throwing a boomerang, or in a musical
concert? Physics is all around us and
governs our lives. But who is going to
maintain these technologies and devel-
op new ones in the future? Recent sur-
veys show a frightening decline of in-
terest in physics and technology among
Europe’s citizens, especially school
children. Fewer and fewer young peo-
ple enrol in physics courses at Europe’s
universities while scepticism towards
science and technology is spreading
and causing great concern among gov-
ernments and educators.
This is the background for several
current initiatives that aim at raising the
public awareness of science in Europe.
With the European Science and Tech-
nology Week, the European Commis-
sion has become an increasingly active
partner in this important process, sup-
porting a range of projects to stimulate CERN photographer Laurent Guiraud caught this symbolic act at the “Physics on Stage”
public interest in science. The flagship Festival in Geneva. In the front row: Commissioner Philippe Busquin, Member of European
Parliament Christian Rovsing, CERN Director General Prof. Luciano Maiani.
project of this year was the “Physics on
Stage” Science Teaching Festival, the
final, high point of the year-long pro- But “Physics on Stage” was more than General of CERN, Dr. Catherine Ce-
gramme of that name (cf. The Mes - stunning experiments and pure fun. In sarsky, Director-General of ESO, and
senger No. 99, p. 46, March 2000). 13 workshops around carefully selected, Mr. Christian Rovsing, member of the
This unique project was organised central themes related to the current European Parliament and of its
jointly by CERN, ESA and ESO, in col - problems, the many delegates were con- Committee on Industry, External Trade,
laboration with the European Physics fronted with a wide spectrum of issues, Research and Energy. The distin-
Society (EPS) and the European As- ranging from science teaching in pri- guished guests moved around within
sociation for Astronomy Education mary and secondary schools, the deli- the fair area, witnessing experiments,
(EAAE) and was supported by the EC. cate balance between addressing the discussing many different issues with
It took place at CERN during the week topics of the day versus teaching basic the participants, speaking to school
of November 6–10, when about 550 concepts, woman and physics, the role children in remote areas of the conti-
physics educators, government offi- of the European organisations in the nent via webcam and obviously enjoy-
cials and media representatives from context of science teaching and, not ing the exciting and cordial atmos-
more than 25 European countries came least, a dedicated attempt to describe phere. In addition to the current mem-
together to show how fascinating and in quantitative terms the magnitude ber countries of the European Union,
entertaining physics can be. There and effect of the current disenchant- the participation of several candidate
were also overseas visitors, including ment with science, and physics in par- countries provided welcome opportuni-
Chilean representation at ESO’s ini- ticular. ties for information and contacts.
tiative. The resulting reports, including a se- “Physics on Stage” was clearly a
Each of the delegates to the festival ries of well-defined recommendations, unique event. Nothing like it has ever
had been selected in the course of the will be made publicly available as soon happened in terms of international ex-
year by “Physics on Stage” National as possible. With input from all corners change, collaboration and presentation
Committees in each of the countries. of Europe and representing the out- of state-of-the-art science and technol-
Mostly through national competitions, come of intensive discussions among ogy education methods and means. It
these committees had identified the participants with a broad range of back- is therefore not surprising that Europe’s
most outstanding projects for promot- grounds, this will be useful and inter- leading intergovernmental science or-
ing science in their area which were esting reading for all related parties, in- ganisations, ESA, CERN and ESO, as
then presented at the Geneva Festival. cluding the makers of European educa- organisers of this very successful proj-
The colourful centrepiece of this week tional policies. ect, are looking for ways to maintain the
was the Physics Fair. Like in a real mar- Already in the preparation phase, momentum now gained, through new
ketplace, each country had its own “Physics on Stage” had attracted the joint projects in the field of public un-
stand where delegates could show their vivid interest of the teaching communi- derstanding of science.
projects, programmes or experiments ty. By the time of the festival, “Physics ESO is producing an 18-min video
and at the same time gain inspiration on Stage” had also caught the attention about the Festival that will become
from the exhibits of other countries. of European decision-makers. High- available in early January 2001. Full in-
Other important elements of the ranking politicians from several coun- formation about the outcome, including
meeting were plenary presentations and tries (including Spain and the UK) visit- the complete workshop reports and
ten most impressive, staged perform- ed the meeting in its early phases. On recommendations, etc., will be placed
ances. Here art and science came to- November 9, Philippe Busquin, Euro- at the “Physics on Stage” Festival web-
gether to offer strong and persuasive pean Commissioner for Research, site at:
communication about physical con- spent a full day at the event, together
cepts as well as scientific controversies. with Prof. Luciano Maiani, Director- Announcements/2000/PhysicsOnStage/

UK Announces Intention to Join ESO
(Taken from ESO Press Release 23/00 – 22 November 2000)

Summary announced by the UK government to- in discoveries that push back the fron-
day, will enable UK astronomers to pre- tiers of knowledge – and the UK econ-
On November 22, the Particle Phys- pare for the next generation of tele- omy will also benefit through the provi-
ics and Astronomy Research Council scopes and expand their current tele- sion of highly trained people and the re-
(PPARC), the UK’s strategic science in- scope portfolio through membership of sulting advances in IT and commercial
vestment agency, announced that the the European Southern Observatory spin-offs”.
government of the United Kingdom is (ESO). Prof. Mike Edmunds, UCW Cardiff,
making funds available that provide a The uplift to its baseline budget will and Chairman of the UK Astronomy
baseline for this country to join the Eu- enable PPARC to enter into final nego- Review Panel which recently set out
ropean Southern Observatory (ESO). tiations for UK membership of ESO. This a programme of opportunities and
The ESO Director General, Dr. Ca- will ensure that UK astronomers, to- priorities for the next 10 to 20 years
therine Cesarsky, and the ESO Com- gether with their colleagues in the added that “this is excellent news
munity warmly welcome this move to- ESO member states, are actively in- for UK science and lays the foun-
wards fuller integration in European as- volved in global scale preparations for dation for cutting-edge research over
tronomy. “With the UK as a potential the next generation of astronomy facil- the next ten years. British astronomers
member country of ESO, our joint op- ities. Among these are ALMA(Atacama will be delighted by the Government’s
portunities for front-line research and Large Millimeter Array) in Chile and the rapid and positive response to their
technology will grow significantly”, she very large optical/infrared telescopes case”.
said. “This announcement is a clear now undergoing conceptual studies. Speaking on behalf of the ESO
sign of confidence in ESO’s abilities, ESO membership will give UK as- Organisation and the community of
most recently demonstrated with the tronomers access to the suite of four more than 2500 astronomers in the
construction and operation of the world-class 8.2-metre VLT Unit Tele- ESO member states , the ESO Director
unique Very Large Telescope (VLT) on scopes at the Paranal Observatory, as General, Dr. Catherine Cesarsky, de-
Paranal. Together we will look forward well as other state-of-the-art facilities at clared: “When ESO was created in
with confidence towards new, exciting ESO’s other observatory at La Silla. 1962, the UK decided not to join, be-
projects in ground-based astronomy.” Through PPARC the UK already par- cause of access to other facilities in the
It was decided earlier this year to ticipates in joint collaborative European Southern Hemisphere. But now ESO
place the 4-m UK Visible and Infrared science programmes such as CERN has developed into one of the world’s
Survey Telescope (VISTA) at Paranal. and the European Space Agency (ESA), main astronomical organisations, with
Following negotiations between ESO which have already proved their value top technology and operating the VLT
and PPARC, a detailed proposal for the on the world scale. Joining ESO will at Paranal, the largest and most effi-
associated UK/ESO Agreement with consolidate this policy, strengthen ESO cient optical/infrared telescope facility
the various entry modalities will now be and enhance the future vigour of in the world. We look forward to receiv-
presented to the ESO Council for ap- European astronomy. ing our UK colleagues in our midst and
proval. Before this Agreement can en- work together on the realization of fu-
ter into force, the ESO Convention and ture cutting-edge projects.”
associated protocols must also be rati- Statements Joining ESO was considered a top
fied by the UK Parliament. priority for UK astronomy following a
Commenting on the funding an- community report to the UK Long Term
nouncement, Prof. Ian Halliday, PPARC’s Science Review, which set out a pro-
Research and Key Technologies Chief Executive Officer, said that “this gramme of opportunities and priorities
new funding will ensure our physicists for PPARC science over the next 10 to
According to the PPARC press re- and astronomers remain at the fore- 20 years. The report is available on the
lease, increased funding for science, front of international research – leading web at URL:

The VLT Weighs the Invisible Matter in the Universe

(Taken from ESO Press Release 24/00 – 1 December 2000)

Summary “dark” (invisible) matter in the Universe, would stop the current expansion of the
as seen in 50 different directions from Universe.
An international team of astron- the Earth. They find that, within the un- This fundamental result is based on
omers1 has succeeded in mapping the certainty, it is unlikely that mass alone the powerful, but challenging method of
“cosmic shear”. It depends on very ac-
1 The team consists of Yannick Mellier (Principal (University of Bonn, Germany); Bhuvnesh Jain curate measurements of the apparent,
Investigator [PI], Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris (John Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA); Fran- weak distortion and preferential orien-
[IAP] and Observatoire de Paris/DEMIRM [OP- cis Bernardeau (Service de Physique Theorique, tation of images of distant galaxies.
DEMIRM], France); Ludovic van Waerbeke (co-PI, C.E. de Saclay, France); Thomas Erben (Max-
IAP); Roberto Maoli (IAP, OP-DEMIRM and Uni- Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Garching, Germany,
This effect is caused by deflection of
versity La Sapienza, Rome, Italy); Peter Schneider IAPand OP-DEMIRM), and Bernard Fort (IAP). the light from those galaxies by the

large mass concentrations in the
Universe it encounters on its way to us.
The larger these masses are, the larg-
er are the apparent image distortions
and the more pronounced are the align-
ments of neighbouring galaxy images.
The new analysis was made possible
by means of unique observational data,
obtained under excellent conditions
with the the ESO 8.2-m VLT ANTU tel-
escope and the multi-mode FORS1 in-
strument at the Paranal Observatory.

The VLT Observations

An international team led by astron-

omers at the Institut d’Astrophysique de
Paris used for the first time the VLT to Figure 1: The figure shows an example of the mapping of the dark mass distribution in one
probe the mass density of dark matter of the 50 sky fields observed with the VLT and FORS1. To the left is the original image, a 36-
in the Universe, by means of weak min exposure in a near-infrared wavelength band. To the right is the reconstructed map of the
gravitational lensing effects. The team mass (a “mass photo”) in this direction, based on an analysis of the weak shear effect seen
in the field; that is, on the measured elongations and directions of the axes of the galaxy im -
selected 50 different sky fields which
ages in this field. The brighter areas indicate the directions in which there is most mass along
were then observed in service mode by the line of sight. The circle in the left photo surrounds the images of a distant cluster (or group)
the ESO staff at the Paranal Obser- of galaxies, seen in this direction. Note that there is a corresponding concentration of mass
vatory. in the “mass photo”; this is obviously the mass of that cluster. The mass reconstruction map
Long exposures of these fields were shows the (mostly) dark matter responsible for the cosmic shear found on the small scales,
made with the FORS1 instrument (in its now measured with the VLT.
imaging mode) on the VLT 8.2-m ANTU
telescope and only during nights with
the very best observing conditions. In duce spectacular gravitational arcs ob- sky fields alone. The final result, in
fact, 90% of the fields have image qual- served in some rare clusters of gal- terms of the inferred mass density of
ity better than 0.65 arcsec, guarantee- axies, cf. the VLT images of CL2244-0 the Universe, only emerges when
ing a superb basis for the subsequent ( “adding” all of the 50 observed fields.
study. 1998/phot-46d-98-preview.jpg) and Abell Making the reasonable assumption that
370 ( the distribution of galaxies and dark
rel/pr-1998/phot-47c-98-preview.jpg). matter in space is similar, the new in-
Clumps of Dark Matter Much weaker lensing effects (by less vestigation shows that the total matter
massive objects) are in fact present density is less than half of what is
The unprecedented quality of these everywhere in the Universe, but they needed to stop the current cosmic
data enabled the astronomers to meas- are not easy to detect. This was the ef- expansion. The new result also sup-
ure the shapes and orientations of the fect the astronomers searched for. It ports the existence of a non-zero “cos-
images of more than 70,000 galaxies manifests itself as a small stretching in mological constant” (vacuum energy),
with very high precision. After a careful a particular direction of the images of all already indicated by supernova obser-
statistical analysis, they were able to galaxies that are located behind the gra- vations.
demonstrate that the distant galaxies vitational lens. This phenomenon may In the ongoing quest for establishing
are not randomly oriented on the sky – then be observed as an alignment of gal- the first true mass map of the Universe
they show a a certain degree of align- axies in that particular sky area. The ex- from the gravitational lensing effects
ment over substantial sky areas (to dis- istence of the lens and its overall mass caused by this mass, the VLT has now
tances of several arcmin). The as- and extension can then be determined, demonstrated its great potential with
tronomers refer to this as a coherent albeit with some uncertainty only. bravura. The light collecting power and,
orientation. It can only be explained by not least, its excellent image quality
gravitational lensing effects produced provides what is likely to be the best ob-
by clumps of dark matter in space, dis- An Important Contribution to serving configuration for this very chal-
tributed along huge “filaments”. Figure the Map of the Universe lenging research programme. It was
1 demonstrates this, by means of the also made possible because of the op-
VLT exposure (left) and the deduced Thanks to the large light collecting portunity to use the VLT Service Mode
mass distribution in the same direction, power of the VLT and the superb quali- during which ESO staff astronomers at
based on these measurements (right). ty of the present images, the team suc- Paranal are responsible for carrying out
ceeded in detecting large-scale, weak the actual observations, at the moment
lensing effects in the Universe, in a of the very best atmospheric conditions.
The Weak Lensing Effect large number of different (and thus in-
dependent) directions. Moreover, the More Information
The gravitational lensing effect was analysis of this large data sample en-
predicted by Einstein’s theory of gener- abled the astronomers, for the first The research described in this Press
al relativity at the beginning of the 20th time, to set limits to the overall mass Release is reported in a research arti-
century. When the light of a distant gal- density of the universe, by means of the cle (“Cosmic Shear Analysis in 50
axy passes close to a concentration of gravitational lensing by large-scale Uncorrelated VLT Fields. Implications
matter in space, it will be (more or less) structures. It turns out that their results for Omega-0 and sigma-8.”), submitted
deflected, due to the effect of the field are in remarkable agreement with the by the team to the European journal
of gravity of this matter. The observed current constraints obtained by other “Astronomy and Astrophysics”. Note
image of the galaxy is therefore dis- cosmological considerations. also the related article in the The
torted. Very strong gravitational lens- This kind of investigation is rather dif- Messenger No. 101, p. 10–14, Sep-
ing effects (by very heavy objects) pro- ficult and cannot be based on individual tember 2000).


International Staff KEMP, Robert (UK), Application Software Designer
MEYLAN, Georges (CH), Astronomer
MICHEL, Alain (F), Optical Engineer
(October – December 2000) RITE, Charles (Brazilian), EIS Associate
SCHIRMER, Michael (D), EIS Associate
ARRIVALS TOKOVININE, Andrei (Russian), Associate
VAN BEMMEL, Ilse (NL), Student
EUROPE VAN ECK, Sophie (B), Fellow
ALMAGRO GARCIA, Susana (E), Secretary/Adm. Employee VIARD, Elise (F), Student
ARSENAULT, Robin (CDN), Optical Engineer/Physicist VIEZZER, Rodolfo (I), Associate
BONNET, Henri (F), Optical Engineer/Physicist
DI FOLCO, Emmanuel (F), Coopérant CHILE
HUMMEL, Wolfgang (D), Astronomical Data Quality Control HÖÖG, Torbjörn (S), Mechanical/Electrical Engineer
JERAM, Bogdan (Slovenian), Software Engineer
KASPER, Markus (D), Optical Engineer/Physicist
PANCINO, Elena (I), Student
PRIMAS, Francesca (I), User Support Astronomer
RAHMER, Gustavo (RCH), CCD System Engineer
ROMANIELLO, Martino (I), User Support Astronomer Local Staff
CHILE (October – November 2000)
BILLERES, Malvina (F), Fellow
DELSANTI, Audrey (F), Student
DOUBLIER, Vanessa (F), Operations Staff Astronomer ROBINSON, William, Mechanical Engineer, Santiago
FAURE, Cécile (F), Student RIQUELME, Miguel, Instrumentation Techinician, Paranal
GALLIANO, Emmanuel (F), Coopérant

EUROPE RAHMER BASS, Gustavo, Optical Detector Engineer, Paranal
BENOIST, Christophe (F), EIS Associate ROJAS, Roberto, Ing. Ejec. en Computación, Paranal
CLOSE, Laird (CDN), Adaptive Optics Instrument Scientist URRUTIA, Cristian, Human Interface Programmer, La Silla

Scientific Preprints ESO Workshop Proceedings Still

(October – December 2000) Available
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of New Galactic Globular Clusters. A&A. available and may be ordered at the European Southern
1394. L. Vanzi, L.K. Hunt, T.X. Thuan, Y.I. Izotov: The Near-Infrared Observatory. Some of the more recent ones are listed below.
View of SBS 0335-052. A&A.
1395. F. Primas, M. Asplund, P.E. Nissen, V. Hill: The Beryllium No. Title Price
Abundance in the Very Metal-Poor Halo Star G 64–12 from 50 Handling & Archiving Data from Ground-based
VLT/UVES Observations. A&A. Telescopes. Trieste, Italy, April 21–23, 1993.
1396. E. Scannapieco and T. Broadhurst: The Role of Heating and M. Albrecht & F. Pasian (eds.) DM 35.–
Enrichment in Galaxy Formation. ApJ.
1397. S. Mei, D. Silva, P.J. Quinn: VLT Deep I-Band Surface 51 Third CTIO/ESO Workshop on “The Local Group:
Brightness Fluctuations of IC 4296. A&A. Comparative and Global Properties”. La Serena,
1398. D.A. Erasmus and M. Sarazin: Forecasting Precipitable Water Chile, 25–28 January 1994. M. Albrecht and
Vapour and Cirrus Cloud Cover for Astronomical Observa- F. Pasian (eds.) DM 35.–
tions: Satellite Image Processing Guided by Synoptic Model
Dissemination Data. SPIE 4168 - Barcelona - 25–29 Septem- 52 European SL-9 Jupiter Workshop. February
ber 2000, p. 1. 13–15, 1995, Garching, Germany. R. West and
1399. R. Tüllmann, R.-J. Dettmar, M. Soida, M. Urbanik, J. Rossa: H. Böhnhardt (eds.) DM 80.–
The Thermal and Non-Thermal Gaseous Halo of NGC 5775.
53 ESO/ST-ECF Workshop on “Calibrating and
understanding HST and ESO instruments”,
1400. C. Lidman, F. Courbin, J.-P. Kneib, G. Golse, F. Castander, G.
Garching, Germany. P. Benvenuti (ed.) DM 60.–
Soucail: Exploring the Gravitationally Lensed System HE
1104–1805: VLT Spectroscopy of the Lens at z = 0.729. A&A. 54 Topical Meeting on “Adaptive Optics”, October
1401. F. Comerón: A Gould-Belt-like Structure in M 83. A&A. 2–6, 1995, Garching, Germany. M. Cullum (ed.) DM 80.–
1402. R. Siebenmorgen and E. Krügel: The Protostellar System
HH108MMS. A&A. 55 NICMOS and the VLT.A New Era of High Reso-
1403. J. Vernet et al.: Radio Galaxies at z ~ 2.5: Results from Keck lution Near Infrared Imaging and Spectroscopy.
Spectropolarimetry. A&A. Pula, Sardinia, Italy, May 26–27, 1998 DM 20.–
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56 ESO/OSA Topical Meeting on “Astronomy with
Star Formation in the Halo of NGC 253. A&A.
1405. P. Petitjean, R. Srianand, C. Ledoux: Molecular Hydrogen and Adaptive Optics – Present Results and Future
the Nature of Damped Lyman-α Systems. A&A. Programs”. Sonthofen, Germany, September
1406. H.W.W. Spoon et al.: The Obscured Mid-Infrared Continuum 7–11, 1999. D. Bonaccini (ed.) DM 100.–
of NGC 4418: a Dust- and Ice-Enshrouded AGN. A&A. 57 Bäckaskog Workshop on “Extremely Large Tele-
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of Coherent Orientations of Quasar Polarization Vectors on T.Andersen, A. Ardeberg, R.Gilmozzi (eds.) DM 60.–
Cosmological Scales. A&A.

M E S S E N G E R I N D E X 2 0 0 0 ( No s . 9 9– 1 0 2)
TELESCOPES AND La Silla under the Milky Way 100, 31 Hopp, K. Jäger, M. Kümmel, D. Meh-
INSTRUMENTATION H. Jones: 2p2 Team News 102, 12 lert, C. Möllenhoff, A. Moorwood, H.
Nicklas, S. Noll, R. Saglia, W. Seifert,
Successful Commissioning of UVES at DATA MANAGEMENT S. Seitz, O. Stahl, E. Sutorius, T. Szei-
Kueyen 99, 1 AND OPERATIONS fert, S. Wagner, B. Ziegler: The FORS
S. D’Odorico: UVES at Kueyen: Bright Deep Field 100, 44
Prospects for High-Resolution Spec- N. Devillard: Astronomical Image Resam- R. Maoli, Y. Mellier, L. van Waerbeke, P.
troscopy at the VLT 99, 2 pling 100, 48 Schneider, B. Jain, T. Erben, F. Bernar-
R. Hanuschik and P. Amico: VLT Pipeline P. Ballester, A. Modigliani, O. Boitquin, S. deau, B. Fort, E. Bertin, M. Dantel-Fort:
Operation and Quality Control: FORS1 Cristiani, R. Hanuschik, A. Kaufer, S. Cosmic Shear with ANTU/ FORS1: An
and ISAAC 99, 6 Wolf: The UVES Data Reduction Pipe- Optimal Use of Service Mode Observa-
B. Leibundgut, B. Pirenne, M. Albrecht, A. line 101, 31 tion 101, 10
Wicenec and K. Gorski: Access to VLT R. Falomo, J. Kotilainen, A. Treves: VLT/
Data in the ESO Archive 99, 12 REPORTS FROM OBSERVERS ISAAC Images of Quasar Hosts at z ~
M. Sarazin: Chile Astroclimate, a Bian- E. Tolstoy, J. Gallagher, L. Greggio, M. 1.5 101, 15
nual Update 99, 13 Tosi, G. De Marchi, M. Romaniello, D. C. Lidman, A. Goobar, R. Pain: Type Ia
R. Heald and R. Karban: ESO Demon- Minniti and A. Zijlstra: Imaging With Supernovae, Cosmology and the VLT
stration Project with the NRAO 12-m UT1/FORS1: The Fossil Record of 101, 18
Antenna 99, 14 Star-Formation in Nearby Dwarf Gal- F. Courbin, C. Lidman, I. Burud, J. Hjorth,
O. Hainaut and the NTT Team: News from axies 99, 16 P. Magain, G. Golse, F. Castander:
the NTT 99, 15 M. Franx, A. Moorwood, H.-W. Rix, K. Lensed Quasars: A Matter of Reso-
New Pictures from Paranal Observa- Kuijken, H. Röttgering, P. van der lution 101, 20
tory 99, 15 Werft, P. van Dokkum, I. Labbe and G. D. Currie, D. Le Mignant, B. Svensson, S.
R. Gilmozzi and P. Dierickx: OWL Con- Rudnick: FIRES at the VLT: the Faint Tordo, D. Bonaccini: 3D Structure and
cept Study 100, 1 InfraRed Extragalactic Survey 99, 20 Dynamics of the Homunculus of Eta
D. Currie, D. Bonaccini, E. Diolaiti, S. R.P. Mignani, P.A. Caraveo and G.F. Big- Carinae: an Application of the Fabry-
Tordo, K. Naesgarde, J. Liwing, O. nami: Optical Observations of Pulsars: Perot, ADONIS and AO Software. I.
Bendinelli, G. Parmeggiani, L. Close: the ESO Contribution 99, 22 Motions in Homunculus 101, 24
The ESO Photometric and Astrometric P. Rosati, C. Lidman, R. Della Ceca, F. Kerber, R. Palsa, J. Köppen, T. Blöcker,
Analysis Programme for Adaptive S. Borgani, M. Lombardi, S.A. Stan- M. R. Rosa: Unlocking the past of
Optics 100, 12 ford, P.R. Eisenhardt, G. Squires, R. Sakurai’s Object Using FORS/VLT
E. Diolaiti, O. Bendinelli, D. Bonaccini, L. Giacconi and C. Norman: The ROSAT 101, 27
Close, D. Currie, G. Parmeggiani: Star- Deep Cluster Survey: Probing the J. Setiawan, L. Pasquini, L. Da Silva, A.
Finder: a Code to Analyse Isoplanatic Galaxy Cluster Population out to z = Hatzes, O. von der Lühe, A. Kaufer, L.
High-Resolution Stellar Fields 100, 23 1.3 99, 26 Girardi, R. de la Reza, J.R. de
D. Bonaccini, W. Hackenberg, R.I. Da- P. Møller: Spectral PSF Subtraction I: The Medeiros: A Study of the Activity of G
vies, S. Rabien, T. Ott: VLT Laser SPSF Look-Up-Table Method 99, 31 and K Giants Through Their Precise
Guide Star Facility: First Successful P. Møller, S.J. Warren, S.M. Fall, P. Ja- Radial Velocity; Breaking the 10-m/sec
Test of the Baseline Laser Scheme kobsen and J.U. Fynbo: SPSF Sub- Accuracy with Feros 102, 13
100, 27 traction II: The Extended Lyα Emission F. Paresce, G. de Marchi, G. Andreuzzi,
C. Cesarsky: Successful Completion of of a Radio Quiet QSO 99, 33 R. Buonnanno, F. Ferraro, B. Paltrinieri,
an Ambitious Project – A Midwinter B. Leibundgut, J. Sollerman, C. Kozma, L. Pulone: Crowded Field Photometry
Night’s Dream 101, 1 C. Fransson, P. Lundqvist, F. Ryde and with the VLT: the Case of the Peculiar
J.G. Cuby, C. Lidman, C. Moutou: ISAAC: P. Woudt: The Late Phase of SN Globular Cluster NGC 6712 102, 17
18 Months of Paranal Science Opera- 1998bw 99, 36 S.L. Ellison, L. Yan, I.M. Hook, M. Pettini,
tions 101, 2 J.-M. Conan, T. Fusco, L. M. Mugnier and P. Shaver, J.V. Wall: Revealing High-
Message to the ESO Community: F. Marchis: MISTRAL: Myopic Decon- Redshift Galaxies: Results from a New
Opening of the VLT Visitor Focus volution Method Applied to ADONIS Damped Lyman-α System Survey
101, 8 and to Simulated VLT-NAOS Images 102, 23
G. Avila, G. Conti, E. Mattaini, L. Chiap- 99, 38 D. Currie, D. Le Mignant, B. Svensson, S.
petti, D. Maccagni, E. Sant’Ambrogio, A New Look at the Sombrero Galaxy Tordo, D. Bonaccini: 3D Structure and
O. Le Fèvre, G. Vettolani, M. Saïsse: 99, 45 Dynamics of the Homunculus of Eta
Successful installation of the VIMOS H. Pedersen, J.-L. Atteia, M. Boer, K. Beu- Carina: an Application of the Fabry
Laser Mask Manufacturing Unit (MMU) ermann, A.J. Castro-Tirado, A. Fruch- Perot, ADONIS and AO Software. II.
at Paranal 102, 1 ter, J. Greiner, R. Hessman, J. Hjorth, Spikes and Bullets 102, 25
H.U. Käufl, N. Ageorges, E. Dietzsch, J. L. Kaper, C. Kouveliotou, N. Masetti,
Hron, H. Relke, D. Scholz, A. Silber, M. E. Palazzi, E. Pian, K. Reinsch, E. Rol, OTHER ASTRONOMICAL NEWS
Sperl, M. Sterzik, R. Wagner, U. Wei- E. van den Heuvel, P. Vreeswijk, R.
lenmann: First Astronomical Light with Wijkers: Gamma-Ray Bursts – Pushing Portugal to Accede to ESO 100, 51
TIMMI2, ESO’s 2nd-Generation Ther- Limits with the VLT 100, 32 C. Waelkens: The Observing Programmes
mal Infrared Multimode Instrument at D. Rigopoulou, A. Franceschini, H. Committee – an Evolving Process
the La Silla 3.6-m Telescope 102, 4 Aussel, C.J. Cesarsky, D. Elbaz, R. 101, 37
S. Cristiani, S. D’Odorico, T.-S. Kim: Ex- Genzel, P. van der Werf, M. Dennefeld: M. Dennefeld: The Second NEON Ob-
ploring the Lyman forest at z = 2 with ISAAC on the VLT Investigates the serving Euroschool 102, 28
UVES 102, 8 Nature of the High-Redshift Sources R. West and C. Madsen: Physics on
of the Cosmic Infrared Background Stage 102, 29
THE LA SILLA NEWS PAGE C. Madsen and R. West: Success for
100, 37
H. Jones: 2p2 Team News 100, 29 R. Häfner: The Deep Eclipse of NN “Physics on Stage” Festival in Geneva
M. Sterzik, M. Kürster: News from the 3.6- Ser 100, 42 102, 29
m Telescope 100, 30 I. Appenzeller, R. Bender, A. Böhm, N. UK Announces Intention to Join ESO
2p2 Team News 101, 9 Drory, K. Fricke, R. Häfner, J. Heidt, U. 102, 30

The VLT Weighs the Invisible Matter in ESO Studentship Programme 99, 47 Personnel Movements 100, 55
the Universe. Shapes and Orientations Personnel Movements 99, 47 Tragic Car Accident Involves ESO Em-
of 76,000 Distant Galaxies 102, 30 Scientific Preprints 99, 47 ployees 100, 56
Scientific Preprints (March–June 2000) Scientific Preprints (July–September
ANNOUNCEMENTS 100, 52 2000) 101, 39
K. Kjär: About The ESO Messenger 100, 53 Personnel Movements 101, 40
CERN, ESA and ESO Launch “Physics A Challenge for Engineers and Astronom- Advertisement 102, 29
On Stage” 99, 46 ers 100, 54 Staff Movements 102, 29
ALMA Science Advisory Committee ESO Fellowship Programme 2000/2001 Scientific Preprints (October – December
99,46 100, 55 2000) 102, 30

A Perot, ADONIS and AO Software. II. TIMMI2, ESO’s 2nd-Generation Ther-
Spikes and Bullets 102, 25 mal Infrared Multimode Instrument at
I. Appenzeller, R. Bender, A. Böhm, N. the La Silla 3.6-m Telescope 102, 4
Drory, K. Fricke, R. Häfner, J. Heidt, U. K. Kjär: About The ESO Messenger 100,
Hopp, K. Jäger, M. Kümmel, D. 53
Mehlert, C. Möllenhoff, A. Moorwood, S. D’Odorico: UVES at Kueyen: Bright
H. Nicklas, S. Noll, R. Saglia, W. Prospects for High-Resolution Spec- L
Seifert, S. Seitz, O. Stahl, E. Sutorius, troscopy at the VLT 99, 2
T. Szeifert, S. Wagner, B. Ziegler: The N. Devillard: Astronomical Image Resam- B. Leibundgut, B. Pirenne, M. Albrecht, A.
FORS Deep Field 100, 44 pling 100, 48 Wicenec and K. Gorski: Access to VLT
G. Avila, G. Conti, E. Mattaini, L. M. Dennefeld: The Second NEON Ob- Data in the ESO Archive 99, 12
Chiappetti, D. Maccagni, E. serving Euroschool 102, 28 B. Leibundgut, J. Sollerman, C. Kozma,
Sant’Ambrogio, O. Le Fèvre, G. E. Diolaiti, O. Bendinelli, D. Bonaccini, L. C. Fransson, P. Lundqvist, F. Ryde and
Vettolani, M. Saïsse: Successful instal- Close, D. Currie, G. Parmeggiani: Star- P. Woudt: The Late Phase of SN
lation of the VIMOS Laser Mask Manu- Finder: a Code to Analyse Isoplanatic 1998bw 99, 36
facturing Unit (MMU) at Paranal 102, 1 High-Resolution Stellar Fields 100, 23 C. Lidman, A. Goobar, R. Pain: Type Ia
Supernovae, Cosmology and the VLT
B E 101, 18

S.L. Ellison, L. Yan, I.M. Hook, M. Pettini, M

P. Ballester, A. Modigliani, O. Boitquin, S.
Cristiani, R. Hanuschik, A. Kaufer, S. P. Shaver, J.V. Wall: Revealing High- C. Madsen and R. West: Success for
Wolf: The UVES Data Reduction Pipe- Redshift Galaxies: Results from a New “Physics on Stage” Festival in Geneva
line 101, 31 Damped Lyman-α System Survey 102, 29
D. Bonaccini, W. Hackenberg, R.I. 102, 23 R. Maoli, Y. Mellier, L. van Waerbeke, P.
Davies, S. Rabien, T. Ott: VLT Laser F Schneider, B. Jain, T. Erben, F. Bernar-
Guide Star Facility: First Successful deau, B. Fort, E. Bertin, M. Dantel-Fort:
Test of the Baseline Laser Scheme R. Falomo, J. Kotilainen, A. Treves: VLT/ Cosmic Shear with ANTU/ FORS1: An
100, 27 ISAAC Images of Quasar Hosts at z ~ Optimal Use of Service Mode Observa-
C 1.5 101, 15 tion 101, 10
M. Franx, A. Moorwood, H.-W. Rix, K. R.P. Mignani, P.A. Caraveo and G.F.
C. Cesarsky: Successful Completion of Kuijken, H. Röttgering, P. van der Bignami: Optical Observations of
an Ambitious Project – A Midwinter Werft, P. van Dokkum, I. Labbe and G. Pulsars: the ESO Contribution 99, 22
Night’s Dream 101, 1 Rudnick: FIRES at the VLT: the Faint P. Møller: Spectral PSF Subtraction I: The
J.-M. Conan, T. Fusco, L. M. Mugnier and InfraRed Extragalactic Survey 99, 20 SPSF Look-Up-Table Method 99, 31
F. Marchis: MISTRAL: Myopic Decon- P. Møller, S.J. Warren, S.M. Fall, P.
volution Method Applied to ADONIS G Jakobsen and J.U. Fynbo: SPSF
and to Simulated VLT-NAOS Images R. Gilmozzi and P. Dierickx: OWL Subtraction II: The Extended Lyα
99, 38 Concept Study 100, 1 Emission of a Radio Quiet QSO 99, 33
F. Courbin, C. Lidman, I. Burud, J. Hjorth,
P. Magain, G. Golse, F. Castander: H P
Lensed Quasars: A Matter of F. Paresce, G. de Marchi, G. Andreuzzi,
Resolution 101, 20 R. Häfner: The Deep Eclipse of NN
Ser 100 42 R. Buonnanno, F. Ferraro, B. Paltrinieri,
J.G. Cuby, C. Lidman, C. Moutou: ISAAC: L. Pulone: Crowded Field Photometry
18 Months of Paranal Science Opera- O. Hainaut and the NTT Team: News from
the NTT 99, 15 with the VLT: the Case of the Peculiar
tions 101, 2 Globular Cluster NGC 6712 102, 17
D. Currie, D. Bonaccini, E. Diolaiti, S. R. Hanuschik and P. Amico: VLT Pipeline
Operation and Quality Control: FORS1 H. Pedersen, J.-L. Atteia, M. Boer, K. Beu-
Tordo, K. Naesgarde, J. Liwing, O. ermann, A.J. Castro-Tirado, A. Fruch-
Bendinelli, G. Parmeggiani, L. Close: and ISAAC 99, 6
R. Heald and R. Karban: ESO Demon- ter, J. Greiner, R. Hessman, J. Hjorth,
The ESO Photometric and Astrometric L. Kaper, C. Kouveliotou, N. Masetti, E.
Analysis Programme for Adaptive stration Project with the NRAO 12-m
Antenna 99, 14 Palazzi, E. Pian, K. Reinsch, E. Rol, E.
Optics 100, 12 van den Heuvel, P. Vreeswijk, R.
D. Currie, D. Le Mignant, B. Svensson, S. J Wijkers: Gamma-Ray Bursts – Pushing
Tordo, D. Bonaccini: 3D Structure and Limits with the VLT 100, 32
Dynamics of the Homunculus of Eta H. Jones: 2p2 Team News 100, 29
Carinae: an Application of the Fabry- H. Jones: 2p2 Team News 102, 12
Perot, ADONIS and AO Software. I.
Motions in Homunculus 101, 24 K D. Rigopoulou, A. Franceschini, H. Aus-
S. Cristiani, S. D’Odorico, T.-S. Kim: Ex- F. Kerber, R. Palsa, J. Köppen, T. Blöcker, sel, C.J. Cesarsky, D. Elbaz, R. Genzel,
ploring the Lyman forest at z = 2 with M.R. Rosa: Unlocking the past of Saku- P. van der Werf, M. Dennefeld: ISAAC
UVES 102, 8 rai’s Object Using FORS/VLT 101, 27 on the VLT Investigates the Nature of
D. Currie, D. Le Mignant, B. Svensson, S. H.U. Käufl, N. Ageorges, E. Dietzsch, J. the High-Redshift Sources of the
Tordo, D. Bonaccini: 3D Structure and Hron, H. Relke, D. Scholz, A. Silber, M. Cosmic Infrared Background 100, 37
Dynamics of the Homunculus of Eta Sperl, M. Sterzik, R. Wagner, U. Wei- P. Rosati, C. Lidman, R. Della Ceca, S.
Carina: an Application of the Fabry lenmann: First Astronomical Light with Borgani, M. Lombardi, S.A. Stanford,

ESO, the European Southern Observa- P.R. Eisenhardt, G. Squires, R. Giac- M. Sterzik, M. Kürster: News from the 3.6-
tory, was created in 1962 to “… establish coni and C. Norman: The ROSAT Deep m Telescope 100, 30
and operate an astronomical observatory Cluster Survey: Probing the Galaxy
in the southern hemisphere, equipped Cluster Population out to z = 1.3 99, 26 T
with powerful instruments, with the aim of E. Tolstoy, J. Gallagher, L. Greggio, M.
furthering and organising collaboration in S Tosi, G. De Marchi, M. Romaniello, D.
astronomy …” It is supported by eight
countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Minniti and A. Zijlstra: Imaging With
M. Sarazin: Chile Astroclimate, a Bian-
Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden UT1/FORS1: The Fossil Record of
nual Update 99, 13
and Switzerland. ESO operates at two Star-Formation in Nearby Dwarf
J. Setiawan, L. Pasquini, L. Da Silva, A.
sites. It operates the La Silla observatory Galaxies 99, 16
Hatzes, O. von der Lühe, A. Kaufer, L.
in the Atacama desert, 600 km north of Girardi, R. de la Reza, J.R. de
Santiago de Chile, at 2,400 m altitude, Medeiros: A Study of the Activity of G W
where several optical telescopes with di- C. Waelkens: The Observing Programmes
and K Giants Through Their Precise
ameters up to 3.6 m and a 15-m submil-
Radial Velocity; Breaking the 10-m/sec Committee – an Evolving Process
limetre radio telescope (SEST) are now
in operation. In addition, ESO is in the Accuracy with Feros 102, 13 101, 37
process of building the Very Large
Telescope (VLT) on Paranal, a 2,600 m
high mountain approximately 130 km
south of Antofagasta, in the driest part of
the Atacama desert. The VLT consists of
four 8.2-metre and three 1.8-metre tele- Contents
scopes. These telescopes can also be
used in combination as a giant interfer- TELESCOPES AND INSTRUMENTATION
ometer (VLTI). The first and the second
8.2-metre telescopes (called ANTU and G. Avila, G. Conti, E. Mattaini, L. Chiappetti, D. Maccagni,
KUEYEN) are already in regular opera- E. Sant’Ambrogio, O. Le Fèvre, G. Vettolani, M. Saïsse:
tion, and the third and the fourth tele- Successful installation of the VIMOS Laser Mask Manufacturing
scopes (called MELIPAL and YEPUN)
have already delivered pictures of excel- Unit (MMU) at Paranal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
lent quality. Over 1200 proposals are H.U. Käufl, N. Ageorges, E. Dietzsch, J. Hron, H. Relke, D. Scholz,
made each year for the use of the ESO A. Silber, M. Sperl, M. Sterzik, R. Wagner, U. Weilenmann: First
telescopes. The ESO Headquarters are Astronomical Light with TIMMI2, ESO’s 2nd-Generation Thermal
located in Garching, near Munich, Ger-
many. This is the scientific, technical and Infrared Multimode Instrument at the La Silla 3.6-m Telescope . . . 4
administrative centre of ESO where tech- S. Cristiani, S. D’Odorico, T.-S. Kim: Exploring the Lyman forest at
nical development programmes are car- z = 2 with UVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
ried out to provide the La Silla and Pa-
ranal observatories with the most ad- THE LA SILLA NEWS PAGE
vanced instruments. There are also ex- H. Jones: 2p2 Team News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
tensive astronomical data facilities. In
Europe ESO employs about 200 interna-
tional staff members, Fellows and REPORTS FROM OBSERVERS
Associates; in Chile about 70 and, in ad-
dition, about 130 local staff members. J. Setiawan, L. Pasquini, L. Da Silva, A. Hatzes, O. von der Lühe,
A. Kaufer, L. Girardi, R. de la Reza, J.R. de Medeiros: A Study
The ESO MESSENGER is published of the Activity of G and K Giants Through Their Precise Radial
four times a year: normally in March, Velocity; Breaking the 10-m/sec Accuracy with Feros . . . . . . . . . . 13
June, September and December. ESO
also publishes Conference Proceedings, F. Paresce, G. de Marchi, G. Andreuzzi, R. Buonnanno, F. Ferraro,
Preprints, Technical Notes and other ma- B. Paltrinieri, L. Pulone: Crowded Field Photometry with the VLT:
terial connected to its activities. Press the Case of the Peculiar Globular Cluster NGC 6712 . . . . . . . . . . 17
Releases inform the media about partic- S.L. Ellison, L. Yan, I.M. Hook, M. Pettini, P. Shaver, J.V. Wall:
ular events. For further information, con-
tact the ESO Education and Public Revealing High-Redshift Galaxies: Results from a New Damped
Relations Department at the following Lyman-α System Survey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
address: D. Currie, D. Le Mignant, B. Svensson, S. Tordo, D. Bonaccini: 3D
Structure and Dynamics of the Homunculus of Eta Carina: an
Application of the Fabry Perot, ADONIS and AO Software.
Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2 II. Spikes and Bullets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
D-85748 Garching bei München
Tel. (089) 320 06-0
Telefax (089) 3202362 M. Dennefeld: The Second NEON Observing Euroschool . . . . . . . . . 28 (internet) C. Madsen and R. West: Success for “Physics on Stage” Festival in
Geneva . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
messenger/ UK Announces Intention to Join ESO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
The VLT Weighs the Invisible Matter in the Universe. Shapes and
The ESO Messenger: Orientations of 76,000 Distant Galaxies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Editor: Marie-Hélène Demoulin
Technical editor: Kurt Kjär ANNOUNCEMENTS
Printed by A Challenge for Astronomers, Software Engineers, Electrical/
J. Gotteswinter GmbH Mechanical Engineers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
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Personnel Movements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
D-80807 München Scientific Preprints (October – December 2000) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Germany ESO Workshop Proceedings Still Available . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
ISSN 0722-6691 MESSENGER INDEX 2000 (Nos. 99–102) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34