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ASTRONET Infrastructure Roadmap

Commissioning of VLTI PRIMA

Dynamics of Cepheid stars
zCOSMOS 2nd data release
The Messenger
No. 134 – December 2008
The Organisation

The ASTRONET Infrastructure Roadmap:

A Twenty Year Strategy for European Astronomy

Michael Bode1
Guy Monnet 2
on behalf of the ASTRONET Roadmap
Working Group
An Infrastructure Roadmap
 iverpool John Moores University, UK
L for European Astronomy

The process followed by ASTRONET to

build a long-term strategy for European
astronomy is presented. The main
conclusions and priorities given in the
recently unveiled report on the Infra-
structure Roadmap for the next 20 years,
following the establishment of a Sci-
ence Vision last year, are summarised. – High energy, astroparticle and gravitational wave
These reports together hopefully repre- astrophysics
sent a blueprint for a bright future for
European astronomy.
– Ultraviolet, optical, infrared and radio astronomy

Astronomy is experiencing a golden era, – Sun, Solar System missions, laboratory studies
with recent epochal discoveries from ­­
the identification of the first exoplanets – Theory, computing facilities, virtual observatory
to the hunt for the still-unidentified dark
matter and the enigmatic dark energy. – Education, recruitment and training, outreach
Europe is presently at the forefront of
astronomy in essentially all areas, a quite
recent achievement that has been largely
gained by learning to cooperate on a
multilateral basis, especially through ESA
and ESO, although the backbone of both ground- and space-based facilities Figure 1. The broad coverage of the ASTRONET
Infrastructure Roadmap.
European astronomy remains the scien- and the whole astronomical domain from
tists and research programmes at the the Sun, and Sun–Earth connection, to
national level. Addressing the scientific the primordial Universe, with every con- is now being concluded with the public
challenges of the future now requires a ceivable observational means (photons, release of the final Infrastructure Road-
much higher cooperation level, based astroparticles and gravitational waves). map at the end of November 2008
on a long-term strategy underpinned by (
vibrant national communities; in short The strategic planning activity was con- ture-Roadmap-). This article presents the
a true European Research Area in astron- ducted in two successive steps. The process leading to the release of the
omy. In view of fierce, worldwide compe- first was the development with the com- Roadmap and its main results and con-
tition, it is also a must for Europe to be munity of an integrated Science Vision, cludes with a rough sketch of the imple-
a strong international partner in large glo- which identifies the key astronomical mentation steps ahead.
bal projects. questions that may be answered in the
next 20 years or so by a combination
To meet this challenge, a group of Euro- of observations, simulations, laboratory The Infrastructure Roadmap process
pean funding agencies created ASTRO- experiments, interpretation and theory.
NET (, a This step was concluded in September The process started in late 2006, led by
2005–2009 programme funded by the 2007 with the public release of the Sci- Michael Bode, with the help of Maria
European Commission to create a com- ence Vision ( Cruz (then at Liverpool John Moores Uni-
prehensive long-term plan for European -Science-Vision-), as reported in Monnet versity) and Frank Molster (Leiden Uni­
astronomy. The now much-enlarged et al. (The Messenger, 130, 2, 2007). The versity). It built on the Science Vision
­consortium comprises 29 agencies, rep- next step was to construct a Roadmap input, an analysis of the main scientific
resenting most of the astronomical re- that defines the required infrastructures questions, addressed under four broad
sources across Europe. The ASTRONET and technological developments, leading headings: (1) Do we understand the
playing field is equally broad, covering to a long-term implementation plan. This extremes of the Universe?; (2) How do

2 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

­ alaxies form and evolve? (3) What is the
g Feedback from the community a European-led project, with a decision
origin and evolution of stars? (4) How do on construction planned for 2010.
we fit in? In doing so, the Science Vision In preparation for the Infrastructure Road-
identified generic types of research infra- map symposium in June 2008, a first – The Square Kilometre Array (SKA),
structures required to answer key ques- draft of the Roadmap document was put a low frequency radio telescope being
tions under each heading. The aim of the online at the beginning of May 2008, developed by a global consortium
Infrastructure Roadmap was to define shortly followed by the opening of a web- with an intended European share of up
and prioritise the specific developments based discussion forum to get grass- to 40 %, to be built starting in 2012
needed to get the required observing roots community feedback. By the time in phases of increasing size, area and
capabilities and to set up a realistic plan the forum had closed on 4 July 2008, scientific power.
to reach these goals, taking into account around 50 astronomers had contributed,
the expected human and material re- often with extensive and multiple com- It was concluded that, although the E-ELT
sources. The ASTRONET Roadmap thus ments, to the building of the Roadmap. and the SKA are very ambitious projects
complements the European Strategy Fo- Their input has been taken into account requiring large human and finan­­cial re­­
rum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) by the Panels and the Working Group, sources, they can both be deliv­­ered via
selection of a number of infrastructure first in preparation for the symposium, an appropriately phased plan.
flagships over all sciences, but goes one then in the writing of the final document.
step further by tracing the future astro- Three other outstanding projects, but with
nomical landscape — adding smaller- The symposium was held on 16–19 June narrower fields and lower budgets, were
scale, but still much-needed, facilities, in Liverpool, United Kingdom. About grouped together on a separate list and
identifying promising research and devel- 300 participants from 34 countries are, in descending order of priority: (1) the
opment (R&D) areas and addressing the (22 EU member states, eight other Euro- 4 m European Solar Telescope (EST)
hard facts of implementation. pean states, four non-European states) to be built in the Canary Islands; (2) the
came for this crucial steering process. Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), a “true”
In a rather similar way to the Science General presentations on the status of high energy gamma-ray observatory; and
Vision, the Roadmap was developed pri- European Infrastructure analyses by (3) the proposed underwater neutrino
marily on scientific grounds by five ESFRI, ASTRONET and ASPERA, and detector, KM3NeT. In addition, a working
­specialist panels, supervised by a work- on the similar US decadal process, were group is being set up to study the case
ing group appointed by the ASTRONET presented on the Monday afternoon. for a wide-field spectrograph for massive
board. The first three Panels covered ob- After the Tuesday morning presentation surveys with an 8 m-class optical tele-
servational domains: high energy astro- of preliminary conclusions from the five scope. Finally the report stresses the need
physics, astroparticle astrophysics, and panels, each participant enrolled in one to enhance support for laboratory astro-
gravitational waves (Panel A); ultraviolet, of the panels for parallel intense discus- physics — including curation of Solar Sys-
optical, infrared and radio/mm astron­­- sions during the following day and a half. tem material returned by space missions.
omy (Panel B); solar telescopes, Solar This essential feedback ended with a 90
System missions and laboratory studies minute plenary discussion on Wednesday
(Panel C). Two other Panels considered afternoon. Revised Panel conclusions The Roadmap: space missions
respectively the parallel needs regarding were presented on Thursday morning,
theory, computing facilities, networks followed by concluding remarks from The Working Group and Panels independ-
and virtual observatories (Panel D); and Johannes Andersen, the ASTRONET ently agreed with ESA’s initial selection
the human resources including educa- chair. For more information, please look of Cosmic Vision missions, all recognised
tion, recruitment and training, public at the symposium pages (http://www. to be of high scientific value. The final
outreach and industrial impact (Panel E)., choice of missions by the standard ESA
Overall, over 60 European scientists were which, in particular, feature the detailed procedure, which tracks changes in mis-
directly involved in this effort. programme and all presentations. sion scope and cost and possible mergers
with, or replacement by, other European
The Working Group and Panels took into or international projects, is therefore
account existing national and interna- The Roadmap: ground-based projects broadly supported. Within this framework,
tional European strategic plans, including Roadmap priorities, including some non-
those of ESFRI, ESA and ESO. They also Among ground-based infrastructure pro- ESA missions, are as follows:
considered the worldwide context and, in jects, two emerged as clear top priori-
particular, the plans of our major inter- ties due to their potential for fundamental – Among the large-scale missions, the
continental partners. Close contacts were breakthroughs in a very wide range of gravitational-wave observatory, the
maintained with the astrophysical FP6 scientific fields, from planetary systems Laser Interferometer Space Antenna
infrastructure networks (OPTICON, Radio- (including our own) to cosmology: (LISA) and the International X-ray
­Net, EuroPlanet, and ILIAS) and with Observatory (XEUS/IXO) were ranked
our astroparticle “sister-net”, the AStro- –T
 he European Extremely Large Tele- together at the top. Next were the
Particle ERAnet, ASPERA. scope (E-ELT), a 42 m optical–infrared proposed Titan and Enceladus Mission
telescope being developed by ESO as (TandEM) and LAPLACE missions to

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 3

The Organisation Bode M., Monnet G., The ASTRONET Infrastructure Roadmap

the planets Saturn and Jupiter and their operated without overall coordination. benefits for society as a whole, far
satellites. One of these will likely be This is inefficient in the era of 8–10 m beyond astronomy itself. The Roadmap
selected in early 2009; it will then com- tele­scopes and ASTRONET has therefore identifies several initiatives to stimulate
pete with IXO or LISA for the next appointed a committee to review the European scientific literacy and provide
L-mission slot. ExoMars was ranked future role, or­­ganisation and funding of European science with the human
highly as well, just below TandEM/ the European 2–4 m optical telescopes resources it needs for a healthy future,
LAPLACE, but does not compete within the context of the Roadmap, and drawing on the full 500-million-strong
directly with the other science missions to report by September 2009. Reviews of population of the new Europe.
as it belongs to a different programme Europe’s existing mm–sub-mm and radio
(Aurora). The longer-term missions, telescopes will be undertaken shortly
­Darwin (search for life on “other Earths”), after, followed later by a review focusing The Roadmap: technology development
the Far InfraRed Interferometer (FIRI; on the optimum exploitation of our access
formation and evolution of planets, stars to 8–10 m class optical telescopes as Technological readiness, along with fund-
and galaxies), and the Probing Helio- we enter the era of the E-ELT. These ing, is a significant limiting factor for
spheric Origins with an Inner Boundary reviews will help Europe to establish a many of the proposed projects, in space
Observing Spacecraft (PHOIBOS; coherent, cost-effective complement of or on the ground, and key areas for
a close-up study of the solar surface) medium-size facilities. development are identified in each case.
were also deemed very important. However, astronomy also drives high
However, they still require lengthy tech- technology in areas such as optics and
nological development, so it was re- The Roadmap: theory, computing and informatics. Maintaining and strengthen-
garded as premature to assign detailed data archiving ing a vigorous and well-coordinated tech-
rankings to them at this stage. nological R&D programme centred on
The development of theory and comput- promising future facilities and in concert
– Among medium-scale investments, ing capacity must go hand-in-hand with with industry is therefore an important
­science analysis and exploitation for the that of observational facilities. Systematic priority across all areas of the Roadmap.
approved Horizon 2000 Plus astro­ archiving of properly calibrated observa-
metric mission GAIA was judged most tional data in standardised, internationally
important. Among proposed new recognised formats will preserve this Conclusions and perspective for the
projects in this category, the dark en- ­precious information obtained with public future
ergy mission EUCLID and the Solar funds for future use by other researchers,
Orbiter were ranked highest. Next, with creating a Virtual Observatory. The Vir- The Roadmap’s aim is to represent a
equal rank but different maturity, are tual Observatory will enable new kinds of community-based comprehensive plan
Cross-Scale (magnetosphere), Simbol-X multi-wavelength science and present that addresses the great majority of
(a non-ESA X-ray project), the PLAnetary new challenges to the way that results of the Science Vision goals. Its implementa-
Transits and Oscillations of Stars mis- theoretical models are presented and tion will maintain and strengthen the role
sion (PLATO; exoplanet transits) and compared with real data. Along with of Europe in global astronomy, as well as
SPICA (far-infrared observatory). Below other initiatives, the Roadmap proposes providing a much-needed tool in nego­
these is Marco Polo (near-Earth asteroid that a “virtual” European Astrophysical tiating international partnerships for the
sample return). Software Laboratory, (a centre without largest projects. In order to achieve this in
walls), be created to accelerate develop- a timely manner, given the stiff interna-
ments in this entire area on a broad front. tional competition, a budget increase of
The Roadmap: role of existing facilities order 20 % over the next decade will
be required, a somewhat tall order, but
In space, several current missions are The Roadmap: education, recruitment also a very cost-effective investment for
so successful that an extension of their and outreach Europe.
operational lifetimes beyond those al-
ready approved is richly justified on sci- Ultimately, the deployment of skilled peo- The context of the Roadmap has kept
entific grounds. In a constrained envi- ple determines what scientific facilities evolving while it was being developed, and
ronment, however, the selection of the can be built and operated as well as the will continue to do so. ASTRONET, in con-
missions that can be extended within scientific returns that are derived from cert with ESFRI, will monitor progress on
available funds should be based on the them. Recruiting and training the future implementing the proposals of the Road-
scientific productivity of the mission generation of Europeans with advanced map over the next 2–3 years, whether
and, for ESA-supported missions, the scientific and technological skills is small or large in financial terms. Finally, we
overall balance in the ESA programme. therefore a key aspect of any realistic foresee that a fully updated Roadmap will
roadmap for the future. be needed on a timescale of 5–10 years.
On the ground, the existing set of small Whether the Science Vision then needs to
to medium-size optical telescopes is Astronomy is a proven and effective be updated as well will depend on scien-
a heterogeneous mix of national and vehicle for attracting young people into tific and financial developments on the
common-user instruments, equipped and sci­entific and technical careers, with international scene in the meantime.

4 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Telescopes and Instrumentation
Two contrasting images of a section of the VLTI
interferometric tunnel. Upper: as it appeared ten
years ago. Lower: as it appears today filled by
four of the Delay Lines.
Credit: ESO/H. H. Heyer
Telescopes and Instrumentation

The VLTI PRIMA Facility

Gerard T. van Belle1 5

ESPRI (Exoplanet Search with PRIma) and ESO Paranal split into multiple shifts
Johannes Sahlmann1, 3 Consortium: Observatoire de Genève, and worked literally around the clock to
Roberto Abuter1 Sauverny, Switzerland; Max-Planck- assemble the complex instrument, care-
Matteo Accardo1 Institut für Astronomie (MPIA) Heidel- fully rationing out the limited resources of
Luigi Andolfato1 berg, Germany; and the Landesstern- lab space, subsystem availability and
Stephane Brillant 1 warte, Heidelberg, Germany sky time. Basically, we were just trying
Jeroen de Jong 2 not to step on each other’s toes. Two
Frédéric Derie 1 weeks after the first shipment, a further
Françoise Delplancke 1 The Phase Referenced Imaging and 18 crates arrived from our PRIMA part-
Thanh Phan Duc 1 Microarcsecond Astrometry (PRIMA) ners at the Geneva Observatory, along
Christophe Dupuy 1 instrument was recently delivered to with staff from Geneva and MPIA Heidel-
Bruno Gilli 1 the summit of Cerro Paranal and in- berg. In the end, over 30 individuals par-
Philippe Gitton 1 stalled as part of the Very Large Tele- ticipated directly in a delicately choreo-
Pierre Haguenauer 1 scope Interferometer (VLTI) infrastruc- graphed dance of optical instrumentation
Laurent Jocou 4 ture. PRIMA is designed to (i) provide in a space no larger than ESO Garching’s
Andreas Jost 1 phase-referenced interferometric imag- lobby. An underlying sense of purpose
Nicola Di Lieto1 ing at milliarcsecond scales, (ii) ena­ble and esprit de corps kept our efforts afloat
Robert Frahm 1 faint star science several magnitudes as we worked long days and nights, play-
Serge Ménardi 1 fainter than the current atmospheric ing out the endgame of more than eight
Sebastien Morel 1 limits of the VLTI, and (iii) provide astro- years of PRIMA development.
Jean-Michel Moresmau 1 metric measurements at the tens of
Ralf Palsa1 micro-arcsecond level. PRIMA has suc- As of the beginning of September 2008,
Dan Popovic1 cessfully seen first fringes and is cur- individual subsystems had been unboxed,
Ester Pozna1 rently (as of late 2008) undergoing initial installed and taken through their paces,
Florence Puech 1 commissioning tests. but the larger question of system integra-
Samuel Lévêque 1 tion was beginning to be considered. In
Andres Ramirez 1 the waning days of the PRIMA Big Bang,
Nicolas Schuhler 1 The PRIMA Big Bang and first fringes two of the VLTI’s auxiliary telescopes
Fabio Somboli 1 (ATs) were trained skywards (Figure 1),
Stefan Wehner 1 The thirty-plus crates of optics, electron- and the 1.8 m apertures were used to
The ESPRI Consortium 5 ics, mechanics, and other assorted thread light from a single star through the
­hardware and software of the Phase Ref- optical beam trains, delay lines, and into
erenced Imaging and Microarcsecond one of PRIMA’s fringe sensor units
ESO Astrometry (PRIMA) instrument arrived at (FSUs). On 3 September 2008 — a few
 ax-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische
M Cerro Paranal in mid-July from ESO days ahead of the ambitious Big Bang
Physik (MPE), Garching, Germany Garching, and the PRIMA Big Bang was schedule — twin beams of starlight from
Observatoire de Genève, Sauverny, underway. PRIMA’s assembly, integration HD 19349 (spectral type K0 iii; V = 5.2;
Switzerland and verification phase — better known K = 0.4) were recombined in FSU A, and
CNRS, Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de simply as “the Big Bang” — spanned the
l’Observatoire de Grenoble, France following seven weeks. Teams of engi-
neers and scientists from ESO Garching Figure 1. Nicola Di Lieto (ESO) working to configure
a PRIMA Star Separator out at AT4 during the PRIMA
Big Bang.

6 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

the telltale wiggle of interfering light was 
seen as the delay lines swept through 
the position of equal path length for each
aperture (Figure 2). Within a few days, 

this core element of the PRIMA system 
was not only sensing fringes on far dim-

mer stars, but achieving the more difficult
task of locking onto the fringes and 
actively tracking them (Figure 3). Inde- 
pendently, the PRIMA laser metrology
system was also successfully operated 
over an optical path of length 300 m, from 
the interferometry laboratory to two ATs

and back.

What is PRIMA?
Figure 2. First fringes for PRIMA, obtained on Fringe
Sensor Unit A on 3 September 2008, observing the
PRIMA is the last of the first generation of
star HD 19349 with two ATs separated by 32 m at
VLTI instruments, although its complexity VLTI stations G0 and G2.
and spot in the queue as the last of the
first lend it a flavour of being VLTI genera-
tion 1.5; expanded technical details on
PRIMA beyond the scope of this article   '#L* ' L
can be found in Delplancke et al. (2008). 

PRIMA is, put simply, two astronomical
interferometers in one. It is able to col- 

lect starlight in each of two telescopes

from not just one source but two, and
simul­taneously send these pairs of star- 
light beams to the interferometer back-
end. The K-band (2.2 μm) starlight from  &QNTO#DK@X
the first source is recombined in the VLTI  /G@RD#DK@X
laboratory to form interference fringes, 13.EERDS
while fringes are collected simultaneously  
on the second source.

However, PRIMA is also much more than 

two interferometers that just happen to
cohabit the same lab. At the telescopes, ./#"RS@SD
star separator (STS) units take the field 
observed by each telescope and split           
it, sending one source down one PRIMA 3HLDR
beam path and a second source down
the parallel one. A secondary interfero- tying them together at the nanometre Figure 3. By the end of the PRIMA Big Bang, fringes
level. These additional subsystems take from stars with K ~ 6 were not only being detected,
metric delay line, the differential delay line
but actively tracked. The upper panel shows the
(DDL, built by the ESPRI consortium), PRIMA out of the realm of simply achiev- phase delay (blue), group delay (red) and delay line
accounts for small pathlength differences ing contemporaneous fringes and em- offset (black) in microns of optical path delay as a
between the two sources due to their powers it with three unique capabilities function of time for star HD 206647 with ATs at VLTI
(see Figure 4). stations A0 and H0 for a separation of 96 m. The
slightly different positions on the sky, and
lower panel shows the optical path delay controller
allows fringes to be obtained simulta­ (OPDC) state during this time, with a high state (7)
neously from both sources. Each beam The first of these capabilities is PRIMA’s indicating fringe lock, low (1) a fringe search state,
combiner contains a laser metrology ability to measure astrometric angles and a middle state (5) reflecting a minor loss being
between two sources. When using an waited out.
gauge (PRIMET) that is injected at the
point of combination, travels backwards astronomical interferometer, knowledge
through the system to the STSs, and is of the geometry of the separation be-
retroreflected back from that point, moni- tween two telescopes (the “baseline”)
toring the pairs of telescope feeds and combined with a measurement of the

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 7

Telescopes and Instrumentation van Belle G. et al., The VLTI PRIMA Facility

of precision to be attained in measuring the sky using “phase referenced imag-

the astrometric angle between two ing”. Atmospheric turbulence corrupts the
sources. This technique was predicted to phase information relevant to the Fourier
be useful by Shao & Colavita (1992) and transform of the object image — without
demonstrated on an engineering basis by such corruption, it would be possible
the Palomar Testbed Interferometer (PTI; for a single-object interferometer to con-
Lane & Colavita, 2000); PRIMA will be the struct, point by point, the full Fourier
first instrument to offer this capability to components of the object image, and
the general astronomical community on a allow full image reconstruction. PRIMA
routine basis. is able to make object image phase
measurements by observing a science
Secondly, PRIMA can leverage the twin- object simultaneously with a reference
interferometer setup to observe sources star; the reference star in this case being
significantly dimmer than previously selected to have a null phase (i.e., be
­possible with single-source interferom- centro-symmetric). By making multiple
eters. By observing a bright source in observations over the course of a night,
one of the two channels of the system, and with multiple baselines on different
PRIMA can use this source not only nights, many Fourier phase components
2S@Q 2S@Q to track the atmospheric disturbances for for a science object can be built up, and
2DO@Q@SNQ 2DO@Q@SNQ the bright source itself, but to feed- an image can be reconstructed. This
forward the error correction signals to technique can be applied to faint targets
the secondary channel. The secondary as described in the previous paragraph.
#DK@X #DK@X channel can then be steered off to a
+HMD +HMD nearby, dim source, and interferometric These three capabilities make PRIMA
obser­vations can be carried out without extraordinarily special and an exciting
the atmosphere obfuscating the interfer- development for astronomical interferom-
ence fringes. In this fashion, PRIMA etry with either the ATs or the Unit Tele-
#HEEDQDMSH@K #HEEDQDMSH@K operates as an interferometric analogue scopes (UTs). Its astrometric capability
#DK@X+HMD #DK@X+HMD to single-aperture natural guide star is a unique new tool, and its faint source
adaptive optics: the bright source in this capabilities will allow astronomers to
case is not only being used to take out reach past the barrier of sensitivity that
the “corrugations” in the wavefronts of has plagued interferometers and examine
the individual apertures, but is also used faint targets with high angular resolution.
to remove pathlength errors that are
introduced by the fluctuating atmosphere
(commonly referred to as “piston” or Expected performance and limitations of
“fringe jitter”). To track the fringes, the PRIMA
bright source is limited to observations
no longer in duration than an atmos- As PRIMA operates, there are two major
pheric coherence time; however, the error limitations familiar to all astronomers:
Figure 4. Schematic of the PRIMA system for the signals from the bright source tracking the atmosphere, and the instrument itself.
VLTI, highlighting the major subsystems along the
can then be used to create a synthetic The atmosphere limits PRIMA in a
optical paths of the facility.
coherence time for the secondary source number of ways. As mentioned above,
that is significantly longer. The second the atmospheric coherence time is the
delay line setting can be used to estab- channel can then stare coherently at maximum time span allowed for attempt-
lish a position on the sky of the observed a significantly dimmer source and record ing to detect and track fringes on the
source. This is typically limited by the useful data. Again, this was demon- brighter of the two sources. This value is
atmosphere and, more importantly, the strated by the PTI (Lane & Colavita, 2003) typically about 10 ms for Paranal, which
instabilities of the optical system, which, and again, PRIMA will be the first instru- will limit the system (accounting for beam
for a widely distributed system like an ment to routinely offer this functionality to transmission losses, detector QE, and
interferometer, are considerable. How- all. In addition to feeding one of the two other system pitfalls) to sources of
ever, by observing two sources simul­ FSUs with a dim source, PRIMA has been roughly K = 8 on the auxiliary telescopes
taneously, and in particular, the instanta- designed to provide off-axis dim source (and correspondingly dimmer for UT
neous delay line settings for these two tracking to the existing VLTI instruments observations, roughly K = 11).
sources, this measurement may be done AMBER and MIDI.
in a differential sense. Many of the For the second, fainter source, the track-
dominant error terms become common Thirdly, the dual-object nature of the ing of PRIMA on the bright source allows
mode and drop out when using this interferometer can be used to construct a longer, synthetic coherence time to
approach, allowing unprecedented levels high resolution images of objects upon be provided, but only if the atmospheric

8 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

corrections are common mode. This be established to the required accuracy limits, the capabilities offered by PRIMA
limits the second source to a sky location by observations of stars with well known are exciting and enable unique science.
that is near the bright primary source astrometric positions, such as Hipparcos
— specifically within one isoplanatic angle. targets. The narrow-angle baseline is
For Paranal, the size of this angle in the determined through monitoring of the Science case for PRIMA
K-band for an evening of median seeing is system mechanical structure, and is a
roughly 10–20 arcseconds. As one might primary motivation for the PRIMET sub- The general science case that motivated
expect, as the primary–secondary on-sky system. However, PRIMET is unable to the development of PRIMA is discussed
angle decreases, the system performance monitor all of the beampath, in particular in Delplancke et al. (2003). A primary
improves, particularly in the area of deter- the telescope Coudé trains. Establishing driver for the astrometric aspect of PRI-
mination of the astrometric angle. Astro- a full solution for the narrow-angle base- MA’s functionality is the detection and
metric precision also benefits from having line problem remains an outlying chal- characterisation of extrasolar planets.
a bright secondary source, but likelihood lenge for the PRIMA team. Fortunately, At a distance of 10 parsecs, a star with
of finding a secondary source for use while this particular problem is an issue spectral type G2 orbited by a Jupiter-
as an astrometric reference increases as for PRIMA’s astrometric performance, it mass object in a Jupiter-like orbit shows
one searches deeper. Unfortunately, it does not impact the faint star science. an astrometric signal of about 1000 μas
becomes increasingly difficult to find dim (Figure 5) — clearly within the reach of
sources next to bright ones from existing Working within these limitations, we even PRIMA’s initial capabilities. These
surveys, due to saturation limitations. expect to be able to reach magnitudes of objects are, by design, particularly well
For example, sources at K = 6 in the K = 8 on the bright source in reasonable suited for PRIMA, since the star of inter-
2MASS and DENIS surveys tend to wash seeing conditions with the ATs, and push est is nearby and will have a significant
out all dimmer sources out to 30 arcsec- at least five magnitudes deeper with the apparent brightness, providing PRIMA’s
onds, unfortunately making these surveys companion faint source when a bright bright channel with a strong signal upon
unsuited for selecting bright–dim pairs source is phasing up the system. Syn- which to fringe track.
(although it is still quite useful for at least thetic coherence times at the PTI experi-
identifying the bright sources). ment of 1–2 seconds — some 100–200 Many of the extrasolar planets that are
times longer than the atmospheric coher- nearby have already been detected
The instrumental limitations are many, ence time — bear this expectation out through the efforts of teams using the
which is unsurprising in an instrument of as a reasonable one. Anecdotal evidence radial velocity (RV) technique. While this
this complexity. Of these, one that is fore- from early FINITO operations that even could be considered by some to be a
most in many people’s minds is that of longer synthetic coherence times are “scoop” of PRIMA’s opportunity to dis-
system vibration, which serves to smear possible under excellent seeing condi- cover new worlds, it in fact greatly expe-
out interference fringes by introducing tions will be explored to establish the full dites PRIMA’s ability to contribute signifi-
variations in system pathlength that are sensitivity envelope of the system. Initial cant astrophysical knowledge to the field.
too fast and/or large to be followed by the astrometric performance of the system, A major limitation of the RV technique
fringe tracker’s observations of starlight pending a solution to the narrow-angle is the uncertainty in planetary mass due
fringes. The PRIMET metrology system baseline problem, will be limited to the to the lack of knowledge of orbital inclina-
will operate to mitigate these effects by 50–100 μas level (an expectation also tion: RV is essentially a one-dimensional
monitoring the pathlengths through most supported by the previous work on the technique and has this limitation built-in.
the system, coherently preserving the topic). The fully operational system will PRIMA’s astrometry, by contrast, is an
precious starlight for the fringe tracker. have an ultimate limit of 10–20 μas, inherently two-dimensional approach that
although this will require not only near- has no such restrictions. As the field of
A second thorny instrumental issue is perfect operations, but also almost unre- extrasolar planetary science progresses
that of baseline knowledge. For astrome- alistically well-suited pairs of bright from the discovery phase to the more
try at the 10–30 microarcsecond (μas) sources with almost similarly bright sec- detailed characterisation phase, specific
level, the geometry of the two telescopes ondary astrometric reference sources sit- knowledge of the planetary masses will
relative to each other needs to be known uated well within an isoplanatic angle (of help open up the considerations of plan-
to an accuracy of roughly 50 μm over which there are no known examples in etary composition and structure that are
separations of 100–200 metres. This the southern hemisphere). Our expecta- now being pondered. The RV detections
problem separates out into two compo- tion is that, for a reasonable science pro- made to date provide a roadmap for
nents: the wide-angle baseline, which is gramme with a sample size of at least PRIMA to provide contributions to the
the average separation between the ten, the median performance limit of the field rapidly, while it begins the more
two telescopes during the observation, system (accounting for instrument, good lengthy process of exploring its own
and the narrow-angle baseline, which but not great atmospheric conditions, unique discovery space (Launhardt et al.,
is the differences in wide-angle baseline realistic source brightnesses, and realis- 2008).
seen by the primary and secondary tic observing times) will be 30–40 μas.
sources due to residual non-common It should be noted that recent results
paths and mechanical imperfections in Clearly, our goals are to push beyond probing the limits of large single-aperture
the system. The wide-angle baseline can these limits. However, even at these telescope astrometry are starting to push

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 9

Telescopes and Instrumentation van Belle G. et al., The VLTI PRIMA Facility

1985 1000


1990 0.001´

1975 2015 2005 1980



600 800 1000

Figure 5. Apparent astrometric signature of our Sun
as a function of time at a distance of 10 parsecs, interferometry. Galactic cores constitute Figure 6. Example faint source for observation with
exhibiting the astrometric reflex motion associated PRIMA. NTT/SOFI image of ESO 548-81. The object
with all of the Solar System planets. Jupiter domi- an obvious class of objects that is of con-
is a Seyfert 1 galaxy, too dim for direct fringe track­­-
nates, followed by Saturn and the other two gas siderable interest for high resolution > 10.5, but nearby there is a bright source
ing at K ~
giants. Earth’s signature is masked by the plot line observations. Fringe-tracking limitations (HD 23134, K = 6.02) that can be used to phase-up
width at the ≤1 μas level. have, until now, limited such work to the interferometer.
sources that could be self-referenced,
into the slightly coarser 100–200 μas serving as their own fringe tracking UTs, standard delay lines (DLs), tele-
regime (Lazorenko et al., 2007). However, source, but PRIMA will be able to side- scope visible-light tip-tilt tracking system
these experiments are limited to dense step this limitation through use of its faint (STRAP), Multi-Application Curvature
fields of stars of similar brightness, limit- source channel. The need for a nearby Adaptive Optics (MACAO) on the UTs,
ing their utility, particularly for extrasolar bright soure for fringe tracking is its own interferometer infrared tip-tilt tracking
planetary investigations (although they limitation, but a quick survey of the system (IRIS), variable curvature mirrors
are exciting new tools for exploring glob- appropriate catalogues shows it to be far (VCMs) on the delay lines and now also
ular clusters and other sufficiently dense less of a one than the previous limits (van part of the new star separator subsystem,
regions of the sky). Belle et al., 2008; see example in Figure the DL alignment subsystem, and when
6). Other object classes include young PRIMA is used with the UTs, vibration
Many other astrometric applications exist stellar objects (especially those that are control.
for PRIMA beyond just extrasolar planets. deeply embedded in dusty shells), aster-
Determination of parallax is possible oid shape mapping and density determi- Significant upgrades to the VLTI infra-
with proper selection of the secondary nation, imaging of evolved stars, and structure that benefit the existing instru-
reference star; deflection of starlight due possibly brown dwarf angular diameters. ments are a new, improved alignment
to general relativistic effects could be As with the astrometric possibilities, source MARCEL (which replaces the pre-
explored (e.g., as Jupiter passes close to many of the applications of PRIMA faint vious unit, Leonardo), and a new reflec-
one of two stars being fed into PRIMA); object mode await the creativity of the tive memory network (RMN) that features
orbits of small Solar System bodies could ESO community to exploit it in new and improved throughput and reduced
be tracked with unprecedented accuracy unexpected ways. latency times.
with PRIMA; dynamics of objects near
the Galactic Centre could be tracked with PRIMA-specific subsystems that arrived
accuracy beyond existing studies and Description of the system en masse during and in advance of the
additional applications surely exist that PRIMA Big Bang began with the Star
have not yet been considered. The PRIMA instrument has a sufficiently Separators (STSs). The STSs separate
expansive footprint upon the VLTI infra- the light of two astronomical objects with
For faint object and phased-referenced structure that we consider it to be more separations 1–60 arcseconds and feed it
imaging science, PRIMA opens up a of a facility than merely an instrument. into two parallel VLTI optical beam trains.
realm of phase space that, up until now, A significant component of PRIMA is the The STS compensates for field rotation,
had been off-limits to optical existing infrastructure, including the ATs, stabilises the beam tip-tilt and adjusts the

10 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

lateral and axial alignment of the pupil. facility was built at MPE laboratories in Relativity Analysis via VLT InterferometrY;
Chopping and/or counter-chopping on Garching with the aim of simulating the Eisenhauer et al., 2008) is specifically de­­­
the bright or faint source has also been VLTI and included FSUs, an optical path signed to operate in a PRIMA-like fashion,
implemented in the STS design; two units delay controller, PRIMET and in-house- but using not just two, but all four UTs
specific to the ATs and one for each of built delay lines. simultaneously to achieve 10 μas astrom-
the UTs have been built (Nijenhuis et al., etry on six baselines on faint (K ≥ 15)
2008). sources at the Galactic Centre. Such
Who is PRIMA? observations have the potential to probe
The Differential Delay Lines (DDLs) were highly relativistic motions of matter close
provided by the ESPRI Consortium and More than the collection of hardware to the event horizon of Sgr A*, the mas-
are responsible for providing slight delay and software mentioned in the previous sive black hole at the centre of the Milky
offsets between the primary and second- section, PRIMA is a partnership working Way.
ary sources. The DDLs consist of high towards the goal and rewards of dual-
quality cat’s eyes in vacuum, displaced beam interferometry. PRIMA includes For PRIMA itself, exciting discoveries lie
on parallel beam-mechanics by means significant contributions from both ESO ahead in the more immediate future. The
of two-stage actuation, with a precision Garching and ESO Paranal, and ESPRI new capabilities it provides to the VLTI for
of 5 nm over a stroke length of 70 mm. partners the Geneva Observatory, the both astrometry and faint object science
Over the full range, a bandwidth of about Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie in open up wide new frontiers in astronomi-
400 Hz is achieved (Pepe et al., 2008). Heidelberg, and the Landessternwarte cal interferometry. Experience has shown
Heidelberg; PRIMA also includes contri- that in such circumstances, the most
The Fringe Sensor Units (FSUs) are de­- butions from Leiden University, the Ecole interesting results come from unexpected
signed to provide high precision fringe Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the quarters.
phase measurements with a goal of Institute of Microtechnology of Neuchâtel
1 nm rms (corresponding to λ/2 000). To and MPE Garching; industrial partners
achieve this, careful calibration proce- on the PRIMA project include TNO and Useful PRIMA Jargon
dures were developed, with special Thales Alenia Space.
attention given to the achieved measure- Term Description
ment linearity and repeatability. The qual- ADRS Astrometric Data Reduction Software
ity of the FSU calibration is crucial in Schedule for PRIMA DDL Differential Delay Line
order to achieve the ultimate astrometric ESPRI Exoplanet Search with PRIma
accuracy (Sahlmann et al., 2008). Commissioning of PRIMA is scheduled to FSU Fringe Sensor Unit
occur throughout Period 82, covering PRIMET PRIMA Metrology
Central to successful FSU calibration four runs of roughly ten days each; P82 μas micro-arcsecond
is the PRIMA metrology subsystem observing will concentrate on simple sys- STS Star Separator
(PRIMET, Leveque et al., 2003), designed tem operations involving feeding only a
by ESO and the Institute of Microtech­ single star into the system. Optimisation
nology of Neuchâtel (IMT). The PRIMET of fringe-tracking algorithms will lead References
source, based upon a frequency- to fundamental system characterisation,
Delplancke, F. 2008, New Astronomy Review,
stabilised Nd–Yag laser, provided by IMT including night-to-night repeatability, 52, 199
and calibrated with the help of the Max- absolute visibility amplitude tests and Delplancke, F. et al. 2003, Ap&SS, 286, 99
Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, allows measurements of limiting magnitude. Eisenhauer, F. et al. 2008, SPIE Conference
Series, 7013
nanometre-level pathlength measure- Period 83 will have a similar set of com-
Elias, N. M. et al. 2008, in IAU Symposium,
ments to be attempted with an imper- missioning runs, but will expand testing Vol. 249, 119
fectly stable interferometer. The overall to full dual-star operations, with initial Lane, B. F. & Colavita, M. M. 2003, AJ, 125, 1623
complexity of PRIMA is carefully being tests of the astrometric observing mode. Lane, B. F. et al. 2000, SPIE Conference Series,
4006, 452
addressed from software standpoint with If successful, science verification obser-
Launhardt, R. et al. 2008, in IAU Symposium,
comprehensive operations software and vations will soon follow and PRIMA 248, 417
astrometric data reduction software (Elias astrometry will be released to the com- Lazorenko, P. F. et al. 2007, A&A, 471, 1057
et al., 2008; Tubbs et al., 2008) as well. munity thereafter. Leveque, S. A. et al. Proc SPIE, 4838, 983
Nijenhuis, J. et al. 2008, in SPIE Conference
Series, 7013
A further significant effort in support of Pepe, F. et al. 2008, SPIE Conference Series, 7013
PRIMA that has now been retired, Future of PRIMA and phase-referenced Sahlmann, J. et al. 2008a, in SPIE Conference
but bears special mention, is the Fringe imaging Series, 7013
Sahlmann, J. et al. 2008b, in IAU Symposium,
Tracking Testbed that was employed
Vol. 248, 124
extensively over the past two years to Already there are plans to expand the Shao, M. & Colavita, M. M. 1992, A&A, 262, 353
test the FSU and PRIMET subsystems scope of dual-beam interferometry at the Tubbs, R. et al. 2008, in IAU Symposium,
and remove the risk associated with them VLTI. In particular, the second generation Vol. 248, 132
van Belle, G. T. et al. 2008, in SPIE Conference
(Sahlmann et al., 2008). This testbed VLTI instrument GRAVITY (General
Series, Vol. 7013

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 11

Telescopes and Instrumentation

News on the Commissioning of X-shooter

Sandro D’Odorico In the first commissioning, the instrument be offered as of Period 84 (deadline for
ESO was mounted at the telescope with application 1 April 2009).
the UV-Blue (UV-B) and Visual-Red (V-R)
arms. The near-IR arm is still being The successful X-shooter commissioning
X-shooter is the high efficiency, single optimised in Garching and will be brought team on Paranal was composed of:
target (slit or mini-integral field unit [IFU]), to the telescope in the first quarter – H. Dekker (Project Manager and
intermediate resolution, high efficiency of 2009. The instrument was attached to System Engineer), S. D’Odorico (ESO
spectrograph built for the Cassegrain the telescope for the first time on 9 co-PI), M. Downing, J. L. Lizon, F.
focus of one of the UTs of the VLT (see November. Observations began on the Kerber, C. Lucuix, A. Modigliani, V.
Vernet et al., 2007). The instrument con- same night and continued for a further Mainieri and J. Vernet (Instrument
sists of three spectroscopic arms that ten nights. Over the whole run, a total of Scientist) from ESO Garching;
allow, in a single exposure, the spectral only about seven hours of observing time – R. Castillo, E. La Pena, E. Mason
range 310–2400 nm to be covered. was lost: four hours due to strong winds (Paranal Instrument Scientist) and A.
X-shooter is the first of the second gen­ and three hours for telescope–instrument de Ugarte Postigo from ESO Paranal;
eration VLT instruments to go to Paranal. software interface problems. The many – P. Santin and M. Vidali from INAF
SPHERE, KMOS and MUSE will follow observations have been used to test Trieste for the control software.
between 2010 and 2012. the functionalities of the instrument at the
telescope and to obtain sky data for
The instrument was built by a consortium instrument calibration. The observations References
of institutes in Denmark, France, Italy, will also be used to assess the perform- Vernet J. et al. 2007, The Messenger, 130, 5
the Netherlands and by ESO. The co- ance of the instrument and its data
principal investigators are P. Kjaergaard reduction pipeline — quickly, during the
Rasmussen (Copenhagen), F. Hammer commissioning time on Paranal, Figure 1. A view of X-shooter at the centre of the
(Paris), L.Kaper (Amsterdam–NOVA), and more systematically in the next few M1 cell of UT3 (Melipal). The UV-B and V-R spectro­
R. Pallavicini (INAF) and S. D’Odorico weeks. Preliminary results indicate graphs and CCD cryostats are visible on the sides of
(ESO). that the instrument meets most crucial the central backbone. The yellow counterweight
is substituting for the near-IR spectrograph that will
specifications (and exceeds a few). It will be installed in the first quarter of 2009.

Credit: A. de Ugarte Postigo/ESO

12 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Figure 2. Composite of B-, V- and R-band images of Figure 3. This 20-minute exposure of SN2008hg
the supernova SN2008hg in the spiral galaxy IC 1720 (mV ≈ 17.5) taken at full Moon gives a hint of the
taken with the X-shooter acquisition camera. capability of X-shooter. V-R and UV-B spectra of the
SN with emission lines of the nearby H ii region
(with the brightest highlighted in boxes) cover the
range from 310 to 1 000 nm. The spectra were taken
with slit widths of 1.2 and 1.3 arcseconds in the
V-R and UV-B ranges respectively in 1.4 arcsecond
seeing. The resolving powers are 6 000 and 4 000
approximately. Using narrow slits, the instrument can
reach resolutions of 14 000 and 9 000 in the V-R and
UV-B bands respectively.

Delicate manoeuvres in
the daylight. The 8.2 m
primary mirror of VLT
Antu (UT1) being
removed prior to alu-
minization in December
2005. The white screen
covering half of the
mirror prevents direct
sunlight from the open
dome door falling
onto the mirror during
removal from the tele-

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 13

Telescopes and Instrumentation

Report on the JENAM 2008 Meeting Symposium

Science with the E-ELT

Guy Monnet Session #1: E-ELT programme

Roberto Gilmozzi (ESO), the E-ELT Princi-
pal Investigator, presented the status
The symposium “Science with the of the present detailed design (Phase B)
E-ELT” was held at the Joint European of the facility. He first addressed all ELT
and National Astronomy Meeting projects worldwide in the global context
(JENAM) 2008 meeting. It featured pres- of planned space- and ground-based
entations on the development of a large facilities. This was followed with a
comprehensive E-ELT science case and summary status of the main aspects of
how it is driving the detailed design of the present project (site characterisation,
the facility, followed by talks addressing infrastructure, enclosure, telescope
topical observational domains in which mount, optics, control, maintenance and
the E-ELT should have a major scientific operations). He then discussed the most
impact. All presentations can be critical science drivers for the E-ELT
ac­cessed at (exoplanets, stellar archaeology, cosmol-
facilities/eelt/science/meeting/jenam08/ ogy and the unknown) and the corre-
EELT_JENAM08_Programme.pdf. sponding tech­nical challenges, in particu-
lar how to achieve superb image quality,
down to the diffraction-limit of the 42 m
The European Extremely Large Telescope aperture of the telescope, through wind
(E-ELT) project is presently in the midst and at­­mospheric turbulence correction,
of its three-year (2007–2009) detailed based on adaptive optics (AO), over the
Phase B design phase. This effort covers Figure 1. Poster for the Science with the E-ELT Sym- full working field of the facility.
the whole observing facility (infrastructure, posium.
enclosure, telescope) including feasi­bility The status of the Design Reference Mis-
studies within the ESO community for sion (DRM) was presented by Isobel
focal instruments and adaptive optics meeting was to explore “New Challenges Hook (Oxford University), who is respon-
modules (see Spyromilio et al., 2008, for to European Astronomy”. Quite naturally sible for the DRM. This development is
details). This phase will be concluded with within this framework, ESO and Opticon driven by the Opticon–ESO Science
a number of internal and external reviews jointly organised one of the nine JENAM Working Group (SWG) with the help of
in the first semester of 2010. The pro­- 2008 symposia, namely Symposium #1 the community. The goal is to produce a
posal for a decision on the subsequent on “Science with the E-ELT”. The Sympo- set of science proposals, with accompa-
construction phase is planned to be pre- sium was conducted in three sessions, nying simulations of the observing results
sented to the ESO Council in June 2010. on the afternoons of 8 and 9 September, taking into account the whole facility,
and in the morning of 10 September. including adaptive optics systems and
By mid-2008, the time was just ripe for Despite heavy competition from other instrumentation, leading to a quantitative
this Symposium to discuss and assess topical Symposia being held in parallel, assessment of the expected science
the main science goals for this major ob­­ attendance was good, with close to a output. This significant effort, covering
serving facility. JENAM 2008, as a gath- hundred participants. nine prominent science cases, involves a
ering of a significant fraction of European total of 17 proposals to be analysed in
astronomers, was a fitting location for A total of 22 presentations were delivered depth and four cases are well advanced
such an event and we are grateful to its at the Symposium. Six addressed the at this time. Preliminary conclusions point
organisers for their offer and continuous project status, and the remaining 16 its to a broad E-ELT science case with such
support in organising the meeting. Our scientific potential, either covering a sci- highlights as direct detection of super-
prime goals were to inform the commu- ence domain and the potential impact Earths, watching galaxies form, real-time
nity of the scientific perspectives opened of the E-ELT when equipped with suitable observation of the accelerating Universe,
up by such a facility and to elicit its feed- instrumentation, or alternatively focusing plus a strong discovery potential for new
back on the science goals and require- on one instrument presently under study science. Details on the DRM can be
ments, with the aim of making the E-ELT and covering its most important scientific found at
a powerful scientific tool for European uses. In that way, most scientific aspects eelt/science/.
astronomy in the coming decades. relevant to the E-ELT were covered in
depth. All presentations can be accessed Markus Kissler-Patig (ESO), E-ELT Project
on the web ( Scientist, showed how the science
The event facilities/eelt/science/meeting/jenam08/ requirements are driving the project. This
EELT_JENAM08_Programme.pdf). Here started as a generic process, with the
The 2008 JENAM was held on 8–12 Sep- follows a short summary in session publication of the 2005 Opticon–ELT sci-
tember 2008 at the University of Vienna, number order covering the scope and ence cases (Hook, 2005), and the
Austria. The unifying theme of this year’s main conclusions of the presentations. Opticon–ESO SWG then focused on the

14 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

E-ELT. The resulting report on the sci-
ence case and requirements released in
May 2006 established, in particular, the
need for a multi-purpose facility with a
large field-of-view and a built-in adaptive
optics capability. The SWG is now lead-
ing the project Design Reference Mission
(see previous presentation description).
The ESO E-ELT Science Office is in
charge of injecting the science require-
ments assembled by the SWG and
the ten instrument science teams into the
design phase. To enlarge the E-ELT sci-
entific base, the community is presently
being asked to help build a Design Refer-
ence Science Plan (DRSP) by providing
additional science cases through a web
interface at

Mark Casali, on behalf of Sandro spectrophotometric standards, especially Figure 2. An artist’s impression of the E-ELT during
D’Odorico, who is responsible for the ESO for the near-infrared (near-IR).
E-ELT instrumentation, covered the sta-
tus of the current instrumentation feasibil- spectral and polarimetric imager with the
ity studies. Eight instruments and two Session #2: Planetary systems and stellar potential to detect a substantial number
post-focal adaptive optics modules formation of self-luminous exoplanets, especially
are presently being studied by 36 research around hundreds of young stars, and
institutes across Europe with the goal The science case for EPICS, the E-ELT including nearby giant planets down to
of delivering full science cases, detailed planet finder, was put forward by Markus the mass of Neptune, as well as dozens
instrument requirements (including tele- Kasper (ESO) and Rafaele Gratton (INAF– of nearby rocky planets. The present
scope/observatory interfaces), consistent OAP, Italy) on behalf of the consortium. feasibility study, including the instrument
and feasible concepts, costs and con- The fundamental characteristics of the development plan, should be concluded
struction schedules. The complete list of instrument were briefly discussed as well by early 2010.
studies is given in Table 1 of Spyromilio as the hardware, software and observa-
et al., 2008. This huge community effort tional strategies envisioned to achieve the
is on track to provide, by the first quarter extreme contrast required to make large
of 2010, thoroughly studied, scientifically scientific inroads into the highly competi- Figure 3. An artist’s rendering of the three-planet
system around Gliese 581, as found from highly
powerful and technically feasible options tive field of exoplanet direct detection.
precise radial velocity measurements with the ESO
for the E-ELT first generation instrumen- EPICS is a near-IR, extreme contrast, 3.6 m HARPS spectrograph.
tation, which form an essential input for
the mid-2010 evaluation process and
anticipated decision to build the facility.

Finally, Florian Kerber (ESO), E-ELT Cali-

bration Scientist, described the objectives
and methods pursued by ESO, with the
help of external partners, to ensure that all
E-ELT instrument observational data will
be properly calibrated and that adequate
pipelines will be available to transform raw
data into measurable and accurate quan-
tities expressed in physical units. He
stressed the importance of physical mod-
elling of the instruments to minimise the
statistical and systematic uncertainties
associated with the measuring process.
It is equally important to build a set of cali­
bration reference data such as accurately
known wavelength calibrators and faint

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 15

Telescopes and Instrumentation Monnet G., Report on the JENAM 2008 Symposium Science with the E-ELT

Hans Zinnecker (AIP–Potsdam, Germany)

with Fernando Comeron (ESO) and Mark
McCaughrean (Exeter University, UK)
covered infrared investigations of massive
star formation with the E-ELT through
diffraction-limited imaging and three-
dimensional (3-D) spectroscopy. Observ-
ing in the K-band and beyond up to
12 µm is essential to observe the early
stages of cluster formation, penetrating
as much as 200 magnitudes of visual
extinction. A combination of high defini-
tion imaging, astrometry and spatially
resolved radial velocities is required to
probe these extremely active dynamical
phases. As a complement to observa-
tions from the Atacama Large Millimeter/
submillimeter Array (ALMA), the E-ELT efficiency and radial velocity accuracy, Figure 4. Near-IR images of the Galactic starburst
region NGC 3603 at the VLT. Left: 0.4” seeing-limited
has the potential to provide clear scien- with a minimum 105 spectral resolution.
J, H, Ks composite image taken with ISAAC. Right:
tific breakthroughs in the field of massive He emphasised the unique science within Diffraction-limited K-band image obtained with the
star formation in dense environments. reach with such an instrument, including MAD adaptive optics demonstrator.
kinematics and metal content of Lyman-α
absorbers, early chemical nucleo-synthe-
Session #3: The stellar component sis and chemical enrichment in the inner identification of metal lines with CRIRES
Galaxy, spectro-astrometry of inner stel- to compare with optical data. Beyond
Rafael Rebolo (IAC, Tenerife, Spain) lar discs within ~ 1 AU, and detection of obtaining more accurate models, a very
showed the “unique and fascinating” atmospheric absorption features of Earth- useful by-product of these observations
impact of the E-ELT on the understanding like planets around low mass stars from will be the establishment of a set of tellu-
of the origin and evolution of stars and transit observations. ric line standards. Direct application to an
planets. The main research thrust aims ELT includes high precision determination
at: determining the initial stellar mass Norbert Przybilla (Sternwarte Bamberg, of the chemical composition of massive
function, including multiplicity; studying Germany) addressed the role of blue stars in the Local Group in diverse envi-
protoplanetary systems; establishing supergiants (BSGs) as tracers for the ronments (star formation regions, field
exoplanet demography and characteris- cosmic cycle of matter. BSGs emerge as stars, the Galactic Centre, etc.).
ing their global physical properties. The powerful tools for studying: (a) stellar
E-ELT will also be a powerful tool for atmosphere physics; (b) metallicity effects Chris Evans (UKATC, UK) presented the
investigating a large variety of objects on stellar evolution; (c) abundance gradi- case for spectroscopy of stellar popula-
(planets, moons and comets) in our Solar ents in field, group and cluster galaxies; tions with EAGLE, a near-IR spectrograph
System. All these programmes will and (d) the cosmic distance scale. Quan­ with deployable integral field units, cur-
require: (a) ultra-stable high resolution titative studies of extragalactic BSGs with rently under phase A study for the E-ELT.
spectroscopy in the optical (the CODEX an ELT require diffraction-limited, near-IR The stellar science case spans spectro-
instrument) and near-IR (SIMPLE instru- spectra at intermediate resolution. The scopic studies of obscured stellar clusters
ment) wavelength domains for indirect role of the VLT’s Cryogenic high-Resolu- and resolved stellar populations in and
detection of companions and planets; tion Infrared Echelle Spectrograph beyond the Local Group (galaxy archaeol-
and (b) a fully AO-equipped ELT providing (CRIRES) as a preparatory tool for ELT ogy), including the central regions of our
1–20 µm imaging and spectroscopy at science, through observations of Galactic Galaxy. The primary instrument require-
high angular resolution and high contrast BSGs in order to test stellar atmosphere ments imposed by the stellar cases are
(to be provided by the EPICS, HARMONI models and analysis methodology, was the inclusion of a high (R ~ 10 000) spec-
and METIS instruments) for direct planet strongly emphasised. tral-resolving-power mode, and the
detection and physical assessment. extension of the wavelength coverage
Maria Fernanda Nieva (MPA, Garching, bluewards of 1 µm to include the calcium
Ernesto Oliva (INAF–Arcetri, Italy) pre- Germany) and collaborators made the triplet region. The unprecedented primary
sented the status of the study of the case for near-IR high resolution spec­ aperture of the E-ELT, combined with a
E-ELT high spectral resolution, near-IR troscopy of OB stars with CRIRES at the large patrol field, modest multiplexing and
diffraction-limited spectrograph (SIMPLE) VLT as a pilot study for an ELT science excellent AO correction, will yield huge
on behalf of a recently assembled con- case. Their aim is to determine accurate gains in sensitivity and efficiency over cur-
sortium. The project features a wide atmospheric parameters and chemical rent facilities, leading to unique advances
wavelength coverage (0.8–2.5 µm), high abundances of Galactic OB stars from in studies of stellar populations.

16 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Giuseppe Bono (INAF–OAR, Italy) and physical structure of high redshift galax- Magnetic Fields: from Planets, to Stars
collaborators presented recent results on ies. Two cases were presented in detail and Galaxies) in November 2008.
crowded stellar photometry in Galactic in the talk, namely resolved stellar popu-
globular clusters with the VLT’s Multi- lations in galaxies up to the Virgo clus- One prominent E-ELT science case in
conjugate Adaptive optics (MCAO) Dem- ter distance and QSO hosts and environ- the DRM is the determination of the phys-
onstrator (MAD). Deep J and Ks images of ments at high redshift. A report with a ics and mass assembly of galaxies up
NGC 3201 were obtained over the 2’ x 2’ comprehensive scientific analysis is ex­­ to z ~ 6 from a survey of ~ 1000 galaxies
field with a spatial resolution (full width at pected soon. with a multi-object integral field spec-
half maximum) of 70–100 milliarcseconds. trograph (see report on the presentation
Simultaneous reduction of these near-IR by Evans above). Mathieu Puech (ESO)
images and Hubble Space Telescope Session #4: The Universe fabric presented in detail the simulation pipeline
(HST) optical images were performed with developed to assess quantitatively the
“classical” reduction packages. This gave Klaus Strassmeier (AIP, Potsdam, potential of the E-ELT for this case. This
a precise Colour Magnitude Diagram Germany) presented the ubiquitous role pipeline includes distant galaxy modelling
(CMD) down to 2 magnitudes below the of magnetic fields with examples of the and evaluation of the effects of the point
main sequence turnoff. Stars down to Sun–Earth magnetic connection and its spread function, thermal background and
0.1 M0 have been detected in the Galac- exoplanet version, stellar magnetic fields noise sources. From these detailed simu-
tic starbust NGC 3603 from Ks-band im­­ during core collapse, main sequence lations, the impact of telescope size, site
ages. The discovery space with an E-ELT and planetary nebula phases, and the still (thermal background and seeing) and
looks wide open, provided extensive open case of an Intergalactic Magnetic instrument characteristics (AO correction,
J-H-K calibrations down to ~ 19 magni- Field (IGMF) as a possible primordial pixel scale and spectral resolution) are
tude are obtained (see report on presen- seed. For the last example, the proposed being assessed. Finally, a provisional
tation by Kerber, above) together with a breakthrough with the E-ELT would be to strategy for an optimal survey able to suc-
vigorous effort to improve theoretical obtain high spectral resolution optical ceed in this science case was unveiled.
models and stellar diagnostics. and near-IR linear spectropolarimetry of
background quasars in order to measure Malcolm Bremer (Bristol University, UK)
Paolo Ciliegi (INAF–OAB, Italy) presented the Faraday rotation due to the IGMF. presented the state-of-the-art observa-
the Multi-conjugate Adaptive Optics This observation requires polarimetric tions and the impact of the future astro-
RelaY (MAORY) for the E-ELT on behalf of modulation at the E-ELT intermediate nomical large facilities on the exploration
the consortium. High system perform- focus, comparable to the upcoming of the early Universe during its first giga-
ance, in particular in terms of differential PEPSI instrument at the Large Binocular year. The James Webb Space Telescope
photometric precision and relative astro- Telescope (LBT). Feeding an optical and (JWST) will probably be the first to iden-
metric accuracy, is required to enable a near-IR spectrograph simultaneously tify the sources of reionisation, but full
prominent E-ELT science cases, such as would permit access to a wealth of spectroscopic confirmation will probably
deep CMDs of resolved stellar popula- objects from Solar System and extra- require an ELT equipped with an efficient
tions (see report on previous presenta- Solar System bodies to bright quasars. spectrometer working at a spectral reso-
tion), in conjunction with the near-IR More discussion of this topic will take lution of ~ 104 to explore the z ~ 6 inter-
MICADO imager (see next reported pres- place at the IAU Symposium 259 (Cosmic galactic medium (IGM) seen against
entation), to be achieved. These two
critical performance requirements are Figure 5. The cosmic
tapestry at z = 0
being evaluated by the MAORY consor-
(from the Millennium
tium with simulated, field-variable point Simulation).
spread func­­tions and simulated globular
cluster images. Final conclusions are
expected by the end of 2009.
31.25 Mpc/h
The science case for the E-ELT MCAO
Imaging Camera for Deep Observations
(MICADO), was presented by Renato
Falomo (INAF–OAP, Italy) on behalf of the
consortium. An advanced exposure time
calculator produces realistic simulated
sky images on which data analysis algo-
rithms are tested. Science cases cover a
rather wide range, from stellar dynamics
around the Galactic Centre, through
100 microarcseconds astrometry, to pho-
tometric evidence for supermassive black
holes in the centres of galaxies and the

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 17

Telescopes and Instrumentation Monnet G., Report on the JENAM 2008 Symposium Science with the E-ELT

‘bright’ background sources. ELTs will Figure 6. The ever-growing progress of the ELT sci-
ence case under the Opticon aegis, from Marseille in
be a key component in elucidating the
2003, to Florence in 2004 and back to Marseille in
detailed properties of the earliest gal­ 2006.
axies, in particular when used along
with complementary facilities such as
ALMA and the extended Very Large
Array (EVLA). The ELT requirement is
for spatially resolved, diffraction-limited
spectroscopy to achieve ~ 100 pc
spatial resolution, a capability that
should, in principle, be offered by the
current planned instrumentation.

Andreas Kelz (AIP, Potsdam, Germany)

discussed the need for ELT optical spec-
troscopic follow-up of space- and
ground-based imaging surveys. He pre-
sented the highly promising observing
potential of seeing-limited, modular, high-
multiplex spectrometers as the most
cost-effective and currently feasible
approach. Astrophysical examples from
the PMAS instrument at the 3.5 m Calar
Alto telescope. and from the VLT MUSE
and the Hobby–Eberly Telescope (HET) calibration, was assessed. A successful delineated the role played by Opticon
VIRUS 3-D spectrometers under con- detection of the redshift drift on the 42 m since 2002 in bringing out a united pan-
struction, were given. For the E-ELT, the E-ELT requires a total of about 4 000 European effort, first towards the design-
proposed concept features a modular hours of observing time spread over two independent FP6 ELT Design Study,
design built from seeing-matched, decades. then rallying around the E-ELT Project.
deployable, fibre integral field units and Opticon has played a major role in devel-
multiple, replicable, small-size spectrom- Wolfram Freudling (ESO), with Eric Emsel- oping, in close collaboration with the
eters. Optionally, photonic components lem (CRAL–Lyon, France) and A. Küpcü community, a comprehensive science
such as fibre Bragg OH suppressors, Yoldaş (MPE, Garching, Germany) investi- case for the E-ELT, including its first top
integrated photonic spectrographs, etc. gated the potential E-ELT scientific level science requirements. The impor-
(see Bland Hawthorn et al., 2006) can be impact on dynamical mass estimates of tance of the three “big questions” — the
incorporated. Such advanced photonic supermassive black holes (SMBH). physical meaning of dark energy, the
technologies are amongst the concepts Present day knowledge of these objects nature of dark matter and the ubiquity of
for the proposed ERASMUS instrument was summarised, followed by detailed life — and the potential E-ELT role in
study for the E-ELT. simulations of potential observations attacking these problems were empha-
with the E-ELT. Advances in this scientific sised in the talk. He concluded: “The
Joe Liske (ESO) presented the E-ELT field require a diffraction-limited 3-D E-ELT is an excellent and realistic project,
COsmological Dynamics EXperiment spectrometer at a spectral resolution of enjoying a strong and wide community
(CODEX) on behalf of the team. The aim ~ 1000–3 000. Preliminary results show support that the ESO design team must
of the instrument is to probe the accel­ that detection of relatively low mass retain. The community must continue
eration of the expansion of the Universe SMBHs in Virgo should require only ~ 15 active involvement and work for national
directly, one of the most fundamental minutes integration with 5–10 hours agency support, to raise the funds and
problems in cutting-edge physics, not required for the most massive SMBHs to approval by mid-2010.”
only astrophysics. This requires a high z ~ 0.3. ELTs clearly have the potential to
resolution optical spectrograph with open a new era for SMBH research, and
exceptional radial velocity (viz. wave- in particular to understand the processes References
length) stability of the order of 1 cm/s to of their formation and evolution better. Bland-Hawthorn, J. 2006, New Astronomy
detect the so-called redshift drift in the Reviews, 50, 237
Lyman-α forest spectra of ~ eighteen Hook, I. M. (Ed.) 2005, The Science Case for the
2 < z < 5 QSOs over a 15–20 year period Session #4: Conclusions European Extremely Large Telescope: The next
step in mankind’s quest for the Universe,
(Liske et al., 2008). The availability of
key instrument subsystems, in particular Gerry Gilmore (IoA, Cambridge, UK), Liske, J. et al. 2008, The Messenger, 133, 10
a laser frequency comb to provide the Opticon chairman, summarised the his- Spyromilio, J. et al. 2008, The Messenger, 133, 2
required ultra-stable wavelength tory of European involvement in ELTs and

18 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical Science
Credit: ESO/Davide De Martine

The spiral galaxy Messier 83 (NGC 5236) from a

Wide Field Imager colour composite. Exposures in
B, V, R and Hα filters were combined; see ESO PR
25/08 for details.
Astronomical Science

From the Dynamics of Cepheids to the Milky Way

Rotation and the Calibration of the Distance Scale

Nicolas Nardetto1,2,3 Cepheids are also an extremely valuable  

Pierre Kervella4 tool in investigations of just how our
Thomas Barnes 5 Galaxy, the Milky Way, rotates (Joy, 1939).
David Bersier6 Recently, the HST Key Project on the  
Andrei Fokin7 Extragalactic Distance Scale totally relied
Pascal Fouqué 8 on Cepheids to calibrate far-reaching  
Denis Gillet9 methods of distance measurement and
José Groh 2 to determine the Hubble constant
Stefan Kraus2 (Freedman et al., 2000). However, the  
Philippe Mathias 3 major uncertainty in the use of Cepheids
Antoine Mérand10 as standard candles continues to be the  

Florentin Millour2 accurate determination of the distance to  

Denis Mourard 3 the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This  

Alexander Stoekl11 distance provides the fiducial Cepheid  
period–luminosity relation and constitutes
the largest source of uncertainty in the  
Universidad de Concepción, Chile whole process of constructing the cos-
Max-Planck-Institut für mic distance ladder.
Radioastronomie, Bonn, Germany
Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, France Studying the dynamical structure of the
Observatoire de Paris, France atmospheres of Cepheids, together with  
McDonald Observatory, University of their close environment, is one of the
Texas, USA most fundamental ways to obtain con-  
Astrophysics Research Institute, straints on the rotation of the Milky Way
Liverpool John Moores University, UK and to improve the distance scale ladder.
Institute of Astronomy of the Russian In order to achieve these goals, high
Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia signal-to-noise (S/N), high spectral reso- 'DKHNBDMSQHB6@UDKDMFSGÄ
Observatoire de Toulouse, France lution and multi-epoch spectrographic
Observatoire de Haute Provence,France observations of Cepheids are required. Figure 1. HARPS spectral line profiles of ß Dor
10 (spectral resolution Q 120 000) together with an
11 analytic bi-gaussian (in red) at different pulsation
Observatoire de Lyon, France phases.
Probing the dynamical structure of the
atmospheres of Cepheids We extracted radial velocity and line
High precision spectroscopic measure- asymmetry curves for all selected lines of
ments of ten southern Galactic Cepheid In total, we have obtained 300 measure- all stars. Concerning the radial velocity,
stars with the High Accuracy Radial ments using the HARPS optical spec- the best method to use — when the S/N
velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) on trograph. Eight stars were observed with ratio allows it — is the first moment of
the 3.6 m telescope at La Silla has very high spectral and time resolution, the spectral line profile. The radial velocity
allowed detailed analysis of the dynami- combined with a high S/N ratio (around curve derived from this method is abso-
cal structure of their atmospheres and 300). In order to provide a dynamical lutely independent of the spectral line
close environment. The results have picture of the pulsating atmospheres of width and the rotation. This property is
consequences for the calibration of the the Cepheids, we carefully selected 17 extremely valuable for comparing the
cosmic distance scale, and show that spectral lines that are formed at different behaviour of different spectral lines of dif-
the rotation of the Milky Way is probably layers in the atmosphere. ferent Cepheids. We also derived the
simpler than previously thought. How- spectral line asymmetries with a very high
ever, a full understanding of the effect of The spectral line profile, in particular its precision, using a new estimator that
spectral line asymmetries still requires asymmetry, is critically affected by how we called the bi-Gaussian: two analytic
the development of dedicated models. the Cepheid atmosphere pulsates and by semi-Gaussians are actually fitted to the
the many phenomena involved: limb- blue and red part of the spectral line pro-
darkening; velocity gradients within the file respectively. The amount of asymme-
Since Henrietta Leavitt’s discovery of line-forming region; turbulence; rotation; try (as a percentage) is then given by
their unique properties in 1908 (Leavitt, and the relative motion of the line-forming the comparison of the half-width at half-
1908), the Cepheid class of pulsating region with respect to the corresponding maximum of each semi-Gaussian. This
supergiants has been used as a distance mass elements. When the line-forming definition was well suited to the data
indicator to probe the structure of our region moves relative to the background quality (see Figure 1). The last very impor-
Galaxy (Shapley, 1918) and to measure atmospheric structure, it will also move tant tool we considered was the corre­
the expansion of the Universe (Hubble, with respect to the background velocity lation curves between the radial veloci­­-
1929). When combined with velocity field. All these physical effects are also ties and the spectral line asymmetries
measurements, the properties of variable over the pulsation cycle. (Nardetto et al., 2006).

20 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Figure 2. Artist’s impression of the local neighbour-
hood of the Sun and its setting within our Galaxy, the
Milky Way. The figure shows the positions of the
eight Cepheid stars used in the investigation. After
the rotation of the Milky Way had been accounted
for, it seemed that the Cepheids were all ‘falling’
towards the Sun. New, very precise measurements
with the HARPS instrument have shown that this
apparent ‘fall’ is due to effects within the Cepheids
themselves and is not related to the way the Milky
Way rotates.

The rotation of the Galaxy

The motion of Milky Way Cepheids is

confusing and has led to disagreement
in the literature. If an axisymmetric rotation
of the Galaxy is taken into account,
Ce­pheids appear to ‘fall’ towards the Sun
with a mean velocity of about 2 km/s
(Figure 2). This residual velocity shift has
been dubbed the “K-term”, and was
first estimated by Joy (1939) to be – 3.8
km/s. Since then, the sample of stars
has in­­creased, as well as the precision
of the measurements, but the problem
has persisted. The measured radial velocity of a Ce­­pheid average values of the corresponding
reflects its motion in the Galaxy plus the asymmetry curves, which we called the
A debate has raged for decades as motion of its pulsating atmosphere. The γ-asymmetries (Figures 3a and 3b). Inter-
to whether this phenomenon was truly centre of mass velocity, or γ-velocity, estingly, for each Cepheid in our sample,
related to the actual motion of the defined as an average value of the radial we found a linear relation between the
Cepheids and, consequently, to a com- velocity curve, is generally used to de­­ γ-velocities of the various spectral lines
plicated rotating pattern of our Galaxy, termine the apparent velocity of the star and their corresponding γ-asymmetries.
or if it was the result of effects within the along the line-of-sight. While the cross- This result is actually easily understand­
atmospheres of the Cepheids. correlation method is generally used to able: the more asymmetric the line, the
derive the γ-velocity, we measured it larger the first moment of the spectral
The latest results by Pont et al. (1994) independently for each spectral line of line (as an absolute value). It also shows
are based on an N-body simulation for each star in our sample. Following the that the residual γ-velocities stem from
the Galaxy. They ran a simulation of over same definition, we measured the the intrinsic properties of Cepheids.
300 000 particles orbiting non-axisym-
metrically about the centre of a galaxy  
and computed what the observed radial  @  A


velocities would be from the Sun. They 

found a residual velocity shift of – 2.1 km/s.  
Figure 3. Radial velocities (a) and line asymmetries l
(b) are presented as a function of the pulsation l
phase for three spectral lines for the case of ß Dor: l l
(Fe i 489.6 nm [blue line]; Fe i 537.3 nm [red line]; l l 
Fe i 602.4 nm [green line]). Horizontal dashed lines                    
correspond to the average values of the interpolated
curves, respectively. In (c) velocity as a function of  
the line asymmetry, and the corresponding B C

(γ-asymmetry, γ-velocity) average values (crosses)


are shown for the three different lines. In (d) a gener- 

alisation of diagram (c) is shown for all spectral lines. 

The velocity-versus-asymmetry plots are not 
included for clarity. The upper values are without any   JLR

correction except for the Galactic Cepheid Database 
γ-velocity. The origin of the plot is then used as a l
physical reference for all spectral line γ-velocities of l l
the star (lower values). We find a correction of l l
– 2.4 km/s for ß Dor that is consistent with the K-term l  l     l l l      

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 21

Astronomical Science Nardetto N. et al., Dynamics of Cepheids in the Milky Way

Using these linear relations, we can pro-

vide a physical reference to derive the 5OTKR
centre of mass velocity of our stars: it 5Q@C
should be zero when the γ-asymmetry is
zero (Figures 3c and 3d). The corrections  
we found between our ‘calibrated’ veloci-

ties and the ones found in the literature   O
(from the Galactic Cepheid Database1), 5Q@C
range from – 0.2 to – 3.6 km/s. The aver-
age value (over the eight Cepheids) is  
–1.8 ± 0.2 km/s, which is consistent with
the K-term value.  

Our observations show that this apparent

motion towards us almost certainly stems
from an intrinsic property of Cepheids.
This result, if generalised to all Cepheids,   
implies that the rotation of the Milky Way /DQHNCC@XR
is simpler than previously thought, and is
certainly axisymmetric (Nardetto et al., on line-forming regions that are formed Figure 4. The projection factor (p) used in the inter-
ferometric Baade-Wesselink (IBW) and infrared sur-
2008a). at high altitudes above the photosphere.
face brightness (IRSB) methods for determining the
Thus, radial velocities Vrad, which are distance of Cepheids includes a geometrical effect
The γ-asymmetries of spectral lines also derived from line profiles, include the inte- (see inset box), a velocity gradient within the atmos-
show a trend with the period of the star. gration in two directions: over the stellar phere and the relative motion of the line-forming
region with respect to the corresponding mass ele-
We investigated several physical explana- surface (weighted by the limb-darkening
ments. A relation was found between the projection
tions for these non-zero γ-asymmetries, effect), and over the atmospheric layers factor and the logarithm of the period. Red points are
such as velocity gradients or the relative (through velocity gradients in the thick- semi-theoretical (including the HARPS determination
motion of the line-forming region com- ness of the atmosphere). All these phe- of velocity gradients), while blue points are from
hydrodynamical models.
pared to the corresponding mass ele- nomena are currently merged into one
ments. However, none of these hypothe- parameter, generally considered as con-
ses seems to be entirely satisfactory to stant with time: the projection factor p,
explain the observations. Further numeri- defined as Vpuls = pVrad, where Vpuls different lines that are formed at different
cal investigations are required. is defined as the photospheric pulsation layers in the atmosphere, allowing us to
velocity. Then Vpuls is integrated with time measure velocity gradients. We found, for
to derive the photospheric radius varia- the first time, a period–projection factor
The distance scale calibration tion. The precision in the distance cur- relation Pp (Figure 4). This Pp relation is an
rently obtained with the IBW and IRSB important tool for removing a bias in the
Two methods have recently been used methods is a few percent; however, they calibration of the period–luminosity rela-
to calibrate the period–luminosity rela- remain strongly dependent on the projec- tion of Cepheids. We emphasise that if a
tionship for determining the distance of tion factor. constant projection factor is used (gener-
Cepheids (see, e.g., Kervella et al., 2004): ally p = 1.36 for all stars) to derive the
the infrared surface brightness method Based on hydrodynamical models for period–luminosity relation, errors of 0.10
(IRSB); and the interferometric Baade- δ Cep and l Car, we devised a new spec- on the slope and 0.03 magnitude on
Wesselink (IBW) method. The basic prin- troscopic method of determining the the zero-point of the period–luminosity
ciple behind these two methods is to projection factor. This method was then relation can be introduced (Nardetto et
compare the linear and angular size vari- applied to the stars observed with the al., 2007). Our semi-theoretical Pp relation
ation amplitudes of a pulsating star to HARPS spectrometer. We divide the pro- has been confirmed by Hubble Space
derive its distance through a simple divi- jection factor into three sub-concepts: (1) Telescope (HST) observations (Mérand et
sion. The caveat is that interferometric a geometrical effect; (2) the velocity gra- al., 2005; Fouqué et al., 2007).
or photometric measurements in the con- dient within the atmosphere; and (3)
tinuum lead to angular diameters corre- the relative motion of the ‘optical’ pulsat- Using this Pp relation in the IBW and IRSB
sponding to the photospheric layer, while ing photosphere compared to the corre- methods of distance determination,
the linear stellar radius variation is de­­ sponding mass elements. Both (1) and as well as HST parallaxes, Fouqué et al.
duced from spectroscopy, i.e., it is based (3) are deduced from geometrical and (2007) showed that the slope of the
hydrodynamical models, respectively, Galactic and LMC period–luminosity rela-
while (2) is derived directly from spectro- tions are similar. This result shows that
scopic observations by considering applying the well-determined LMC slopes

22 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

to distant galaxies of different metallicities 2"QT/ C Figure 5. Hα line profiles of short,
is warranted. However, metallicity effects     medium and long period Cepheids.
Time series of HARPS spectra are
are not excluded concerning the zero-  
interpolated to provide a two-dimen-
point of the period–luminosity relations,   sional map of the Hα profile in the
which still prevents us from determining [−250, 250] km/s velocity range. Dia-
the distance to the LMC directly. Using grams are given in the stellar rest
  frame with positive velocities corre-
the IBW and IRSB methods, our group
expects to determine the distance of 20 /G@RD   sponding to receding motion (red-
  shifted). The pulsation phase is indi-
Galactic Cepheids with a precision of 2 %   cated on the left edge of each panel
in the near future, and to calibrate the  
and on the right we quote the pulsa-
Galactic period–luminosity relation with an   tion phases corresponding to our
observations (data are duplicated over
error of less than 0.01 magnitude. Work   two pulsation cycles for clarity). For
in progress shows that a good precision     each star the colour bar indicates the
can be also obtained on the distance of l l    %KTW continuum-normalised flux.
LMC Cepheids using the IRSB method. 5DKNBHSXJLR
An accuracy on the distance modulus of
the LMC of 0.01 magnitude and 5 % on ’#NQ/ C
the Hubble constant are now conceivable.

The close environment of Cepheids

Another possible bias in the IBW and IRSB    

methods of determining the distance of
Cepheids is the presence of a circumstel-
lar envelope, which has been recently dis-    
covered by Kervella et al. (2006) and
Mérand et al. (2007). Such envelopes have
a signature in the Hα line profiles.    
­ l l    %KTW
The Hα line profiles were described for all
stars using a 2-D (wavelength versus pul- ("@Q/ C
sation phase) representation. For each    
star, an average spectral line profile
was derived, together with its first mo­­  
ment (γ-velocity) and its asymmetry  
(γ-asymmetry). Short period Cepheids
show Hα line profiles which closely follow  

the pulsating envelope of the star, while  

long period Cepheids show very complex  
line profiles and, in particular, large asym-
metries (Figure 5). We also confirmed  
a dominant absorption component with a
constant, almost-zero velocity in the stel-
lar rest frame for l Car. This component l l    %KTW
is attributed to the presence of a circum- 5DKNBHSXJLR
stellar envelope. For other Cepheids, the
central component is certainly too faint to
be observed in our spectra. reach about 20 % for long period Cep- sight up to −20 km/s (Nardetto et al.,
heids. Therefore, we suggest that 2008b). The most spectacular example of
Interestingly, we found a new relationship γ-asymmetries (or γ-velocities) corre- circumstellar material around a Cepheid
between the period of Cepheids and their sponding to metallic and Hα lines are the is the large light-scattering nebula of the
Hα γ-velocities and γ-asymmetries. How- result of different physical mechanisms. long period Cepheid RS Pup (Kervella et
ever, regarding the metallic lines, the Even if the γ-velocities of Hα line profiles al., 2008). Moreover, strong pulsational
γ-asymmetries of metallic lines are a few might be partially due to the dynamical compression of atmospheric layers and
percent and show a decrease with the structure of the Cepheid atmosphere, it shock waves have been observed in the
period of the Cepheid. In comparison, seems reasonable to also invoke some short period Cepheid X Sgr (Mathias et
γ-asymmetries measured for the Hα line possible mass loss from Cepheids with al., 2006), a star that is also part of our
profiles increase with the period and typical velocities projected on the line of HARPS sample, as well as RS Pup.

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 23

Astronomical Science Nardetto N. et al., Dynamics of Cepheids in the Milky Way

Prospects other classes of pulsating stars (such as rotation of our Galaxy. It represents key
RR Lyr, δ Scu, etc.). progress towards a truly accurate calibra-
While we found that the rotation of the tion of their distance scale. Exactly a cen-
Milky Way is likely to be simpler than pre- Although the hydrodynamical code for tury after the discovery of the period–
viously thought, the dynamical structure pulsating stars that we are using (Fokin, luminosity relation (Leavitt, 1908), the
of a Cepheid atmosphere is conversely 1991) reproduces the atmospheric veloc- pulsation mechanism of Cepheids is still
much more complex than their radial pul- ity gradients extremely well and provides a challenge to understand today, and
sation would indicate. For a better under- spectroscopic and spectro-interferomet- high resolution spectra are certainly part
standing of the γ-asymmetries, we gath- ric observables, it is not capable of of the key.
ered high resolution infrared spectra with describing very subtle and second order
VLT/CRIRES in order to sample different physical behaviour, like γ-asymmetries. References
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The Moon at 3 mm wavelength. The data used to

produce this image were taken with the European
ALMA prototype antenna as part of a test of the
continuum raster map observing mode at the ALMA
Test Facility in August 2008. The data acquisition
and reduction were all performed with the ALMA
software that is being prepared for use next year for
commissioning of the real ALMA hardware in Chile.

24 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical Science

STRESS Counting Supernovae

Maria Teresa Botticella1 Why count SNe? SNe Ia are widely believed to originate
Enrico Cappellaro2 from the thermonuclear explosion of
Marco Riello 3 A complete and coherent picture of the a carbon and oxygen white dwarf (WD) in
Laura Greggio2 formation and evolution of galaxies is a binary system, but the nature and evo-
Stefano Benetti2 a fundamental objective of observational lution of the binary system remain poorly
Ferdinando Patat6 astronomy. Star formation (SF) is one of constrained. Progenitor models are
Massimo Turatto 5 the main processes driving the evolution broadly classified as either: single degen-
Giuseppe Altavilla4 of galaxies. Individual young stars are erate (SD) in which a WD, accreting from
Andrea Pastorello1 unresolved in almost all nearby galaxies a main sequence or red giant companion,
Stefano Valenti1 even with the Hubble Space Telescope, grows in mass until it reaches a critical
Luca Zampieri2 but the integrated luminosity in the ultravi- limit and explodes; or double degenerate
Avik Harutyunyan7 olet (UV) continuum, nebular emission (DD), in which a close double WD system
Giuliano Pignata 8 lines such as Hα or [O ii] and the infrared merges after orbital shrinking due to the
Stefan Taubenberger9 (IR) continuum provides a direct, sensitive emission of gravitational wave radiation.
probe of these young massive star popula- The time elapsed from the birth of the
tion in the galaxies. Integrated light meas- binary system to the SN explosion (delay-
 ueen’s University Belfast, UK
Q urements in these wavelength ranges time) spans a wide range, from tens
INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di scale linearly with the current star forma- of millions of years to ten billion years or
Padova, Italy tion rate (SFR) and are used to investigate more. As a consequence the SN Ia rate
Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK the SF properties of galaxies. An alterna- reflects the star formation history (SFH)
INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di tive and complementary approach to trace of a galaxy according to the distribution
Bologna, Italy the SFR is based on direct observation of of the delay times.
INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di the death of some stars through SNe.
Catania, Italy SNe Ia can act as standard candles due
ESO There are two distinct types of explosion: to their significant intrinsic brightness,
INAF–Fundación Galileo Galilei, Canary core-collapse-induced explosion of short- ubiquity and homogeneity, and have pro-
Islands, Spain lived massive stars (CC SNe) and thermo- vided the first evidence for an accel­
Departemento de Astronomia, nuclear explosion of long-lived low mass eration of the expansion of the Universe.
Universidad de Chile, Chile stars (SNe Ia). Stellar evolution theory Understanding the mechanism that is
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, predicts that all stars more massive than responsible for this accelerating expan-
Garching, Germany eight to ten solar masses complete their sion, i.e., the nature and amount of dark
nuclear burning and develop an iron core energy, is one of the crucial next steps
that cannot be supported by any further for observational cosmology and requires
The rate of occurrence of supernovae nuclear fusion reactions, or by electron new searches for SNe Ia. Given the
(SNe) is linked to some of the basic degenerate pressure. The subsequent importance of SNe Ia as cosmological
ingredients of galaxy evolution, such as collapse of the iron core results in the probes, the questions whether SNe Ia are
the star formation rate, the chemical formation of a compact object, a neutron a homogeneous class of stellar explosion
enrichment and feedback processes. star or a black hole, accompanied by the and whether their properties evolve with
SN rates at intermediate redshift and high velocity ejection of a large fraction redshift require answers. In particular the
their dependence on specific galaxy of the progenitor mass. Due to the short investigation of the nature of the progeni-
properties have been investigated in the lifetime of progenitor stars (from a few tor star has become a critical issue. The
Southern inTermediate Redshift ESO tenths of a million to several tens of mil- analysis of the SN Ia rate as a function of
Supernova Search (STRESS). The rate lions of years), the CC SN rate is directly redshift, galaxy morphological type and
of core collapse SNe (CC SNe) at a red- proportional to the current SFR. Poor sta- colour is a powerful tool for investigating
shift of around 0.25 is found to be a tistics is a major limiting factor for using the nature of the progenitor stars, their
factor two higher than the local value, the CC SN rate as a tracer of the SFR possible evolution with redshift and their
whereas the SNe Ia rate remains almost both at low redshift, due the difficulty of connection with the environment.
constant. SN rates in red and blue gal- sampling large volumes, and at high red-
axies were also measured and it was shift, due to the difficulty of detecting and
found that the SNe Ia rate seems to be typing faint SNe. Moreover a significant Why STRESS?
constant in galaxies of different colour, fraction of CC SNe are missed by SN
whereas the CC SN rate seems to peak searches, since they are embedded in Progress in using the CC SN rate as a
in blue galaxies, as in the local Universe. dusty spiral arms or galactic nuclei, and SFR tracer and in investigating the nature
this fraction may change with redshift, if of SN Ia progenitors requires accurate
the amount and the average properties of measurements of SN rates at various
dust in galaxies evolve with time. As a cosmic epochs. To reduce the uncer-
consequence an appropriate correction is tainty in the estimates of SN rates, a sta-
required to estimate the intrinsic SN rate tistically significant SN sample and strict
from the number of discovered CC SNe. control of systematic effects, in particular

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 25

Astronomical Science Botticella M. et al., STRESS Counting Supernovae

Figure 1. An example of a SN candidate discovered of view of 0.5 square degrees mounted at Figure 2. An example of a SNorAGN candidate dis-
in the R-band. At the top are images of the same covered in the V-band (layout of images as in
the 2.2 m MPG/ESO telescope, is an
sky field acquired with a small offset of the telescope Figure 1). The variable source occurs near the galaxy
point­ing (jittered images). These images are acquired excellent example of this type of instru- nucleus. This candidate is actually an AGN and
to allow a better removal of cosmetic defects, cos- mental setup. New technological capabili- was also discovered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
mic rays, satellite tracks and fast moving objects. At ties have allowed the SN sample to be
the bottom left and centre are two images acquired
greatly enlarged, leading to the discovery collecting detailed information on the gal-
at different epochs (obtained stacking the jittered
images), with the difference image to the right. The of SNe up to redshifts greater than one. axy sample including their photometric
variable source appears projected on a galaxy and Despite this progress, measurements properties and dust content. In order to
shows a point-source-like profile in the difference of SN rates are still scant (in particular for preserve the link between SNe and their
CC SNe) and uncertain (for both SN parent galaxies, we measured SN rates
types). The main goal of almost all SN sur- by counting the events discovered
concerning dust attenuation, are neces- veys performed in the last few years has in a selected galaxy sample, rather than
sary. Since SNe are rare and transient been to investigate the expansion of the those detected in a given volume. This
events, deep observations of a large sky Universe and the properties of the dark approach involved the following steps:
field with a suitable time interval are energy using SNe Ia as standard candles. the selection of the galaxy sample and its
required to maximise the number of SNe The observing strategy of these searches characterisation; the detection and clas-
discovered. Early SN searches based was tuned to identify bona fide SN Ia sification of SN candidates; the meas­
on visual observations of nearby galaxies candidates before maximum light and urement of SN rates; the analysis of their
or photographic surveys with Schmidt confirm spectroscopic type only for these dependence on the colour of the host
telescopes were confined to the local candidates. As a consequence the SN galaxy; and their evolution with redshift.
Universe. Collecting data from five nearby sample collected by these surveys is seri-
SN searches (137 discovered SNe) and ously incomplete, so that the measure-
adopting an empirical correction for dust ment of the rate for SNe Ia is troublesome How to handle STRESS
attenuation, based on the morphological and for CC SNe nearly impossible.
type and inclination of SN host galaxies, STRESS is a multi-year project (from
it has been possible to estimate the SN STRESS was devised to improve SN rate 2000 to 2005) consisting of two related
rates in the local Universe as a function of determinations (Botticella et al., 2008). observing programmes: an imaging
both galaxy morphological type and col- The observing strategy was specifically programme, intended both to search for
ours (Cappellaro et al., 1999). designed to measure both CC SN and SN candidates and to obtain colour infor-
SN Ia rates at intermediate redshift, and mation for the monitored galaxies, and
Nowadays, by using panoramic detector the SN detection and classification proc- a spectroscopic programme to type SN
arrays mounted on medium-size tele- esses were tuned to collect an unbiased candidates and measure their redshift.
scopes, it has become possible to monitor and homogeneous sample of both SN The imaging programme was carried out
large sky fields and to sample an types. In addition, we aimed to investi- with the 2.2 m MPG/ESO telescope
adequate volume of the Universe with a gate the evolution of SN rates by compar- equipped with WFI in the V-band over the
reasonable amount of telescope time. The ing our estimates with those obtained first four years (Cappellaro et al., 2005),
Wide Field Imager (WFI), a mosaic camera in the local Universe and to relate the SN and in the R-band, targeting SNe at
consisting of eight CCDs with a field events to SF in the parent galaxies by higher redshifts in the last year (Botticella

26 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Figure 3. An example of a variable star discovered inspection. We classified as SN candi- Figure 4. An example of an asteroid discovered in the
in the V-band (layout of images as in Figure 1). The R-band (layout of images as Figure 1). The source
dates those sources with a stellar profile in
source shows a stellar profile on all images. shows up at a different position on the jittered images
the difference image that appeared pro- and thus as an irregular shape in the stacked image.
jected on a galaxy (see Figure 1), and as No source was visible in the image acquired one
et al., 2008). Spectra were acquired with SNorAGN candidates all those sources month before.
the Very Large Telescope (VLT) equipped detected within a radius of 0.5 arcsec from
with the FOcal Reducer and low disper- the host galaxy nucleus (Figure 2). (9 SNe Ia and 16 CC SNe), 33 SN candi-
sion Spectrograph (FORS1 and FORS2). dates and 28 SNorAGN candidates.
Sixteen sky fields were imaged on aver- We developed a database of information
age once every four months and spectro- about each detected variable source with For the selection of the galaxy sample and
scopic observations were scheduled a search engine to identify independent the measurement of galaxy properties
about one week after imaging observa- detections of the same source at different (colours, redshift, absolute luminosity) we
tions to secure SN candidate typing. epochs and in different filters. SN and used multi-band (BVRI) images obtained
SNorAGN candidates were cross- during the SN search programme. To pro-
SN candidates were identified by subtract- checked with all sources in the database duce a catalogue of the monitored galax-
ing images acquired at different epochs before spectroscopic typing. This allowed ies we selected all images with the best
using the Optimal Image Subtraction code us to clear the SNorAGN sample, iden­ seeing and sky transparency for each field
(OIS) in the Alard (2 000) package. The tifying AGNs by their long-term, irregular and band, stacked them, detected all
resulting image was searched for variable variability. sources on the resulting deep images and
sources (SN candidates — Figure 1; selected galaxies (43 283 in total) using
variable Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) Spectroscopic observations were planned the SExtractor classifier. The galaxy col-
— Figure 2; variable stars — Figure 3; and for all SN candidates and the remaining ours have been estimated by measuring
asteroids — Figure 4) using a source de­­ SNorAGN, but we could classify only 40 % flux in the same physical region (adaptively
tection code (SExtractor, Bertin & Arnouts, of the candidates because of limited scaled to the galaxy dimensions) in all
1996). There were often spurious sources telescope time allocation. At the end of bands. The galaxy redshift and the abso-
on the difference images due to imperfect STRESS we re-analysed all variable lute B-band luminosity were obtained by
removal of bright stars, cosmic rays and sources in the database to obtain a final comparing observed and predicted galaxy
hot or dead CCD pixels. To reject these classification. We also carried out a new colours as a function of redshift with a
artefacts and to obtain a first classification spectroscopic programme using FORS2 spectral energy distribution template fitting
of actual variable sources we used a cus- to obtain the redshift and to check for technique.
tom-made ranking program that assigns a signs of the presence of AGN in the host
score to each source based on several galaxies of those candidates without
parameters (magnitude, shape, position) spectroscopic typing. Combining informa- The results of STRESS
measured by SExtractor. The score was tion from the long-term variability, direct
tuned using a training dataset of known and host galaxy spectroscopy, we found Three basic ingredients are required to
events and extensive simulations. The final that 50 % of the variable sources originally estimate the SN rate in a galaxy sample:
selection of bona fide SN candidates, classified as SNorAGN were actually AGN. the number and type of SNe discovered;
about ten per image, was made by visual Our final SN sample consists of 25 SNe the time of effective surveillance of the

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 27

Astronomical Science Botticella M. et al., STRESS Counting Supernovae

sample in order to relate the detection is uncertain (and makes use of the galaxy Finally we compared the observed evolu-
frequency to the intrinsic SN rate (control luminosity as a mass tracer anyway), we tion of SN rates with the behaviour pre-
time); and a physical parameter, propor- chose to determine the rate in SNu. dicted by the cosmic SFH, assuming vari-
tional to the stellar content of each gal- ous SN progenitor models and different
axy, to normalise the rate. The SN rate at a given redshift is com- extinction scenarios. This comparison
puted as the ratio between the number provides interesting clues about the relia-
The control time is defined as the time of discovered SNe and the control time of bility of SN progenitor models and the
dur­ing which a SN occurring in a given the monitored galaxies at the given red- adequacy of the dust extinction correc-
galaxy can be de­­tected by the search, shift. Since our SN sample spans a wide tion of SN rates. We collected published
and depends on the shape of the SN light redshift range (0.06–0.6), we can obtain measurements of SN rates at intermedi-
curve, distance and dust extinction of some constraints on the evolution of ate and high redshifts that are in units of
the galaxy, instrumental setup, observing the rate. We adopted a power law para­ co-moving volume. To convert our meas-
strategy and detection technique of the meterisation for the redshift dependence urements from SNu to volumetric units,
SN search. The ef­­fect of dust attenuation of the SN rate with two free parameters: we multiplied the rates by the total blue
on the control time has been estimated by the rate at the weighted average of the luminosity density at the redshift of our
modelling SN and dust distributions in galaxy redshifts, with weights given by estimated rates. Since the blue luminosity
galaxies. In short, following the method the respective control time; and an evolu- density increases with redshift, the volu-
described in Riello & Patat (2005), we per- tion index. The best-fit values of the free metric SN rates evolve faster than the
formed Monte Carlo simulations where parameters were obtained by comparing rates in SNu. We found an increase of
artificial SNe were generated with a pre- the observed SN redshift distribution with a factor two at redshift z = 0.3 for SNe Ia,
defined spatial distribution function, and the expected one. and a factor of about three at redshift
were viewed from random lines of sight. z = 0.2 for CC SNe (see Figures 5 and 6).
Integrating the dust column density along Our results indicate that the SN Ia rate
the line of sight for each SN, we derived appears almost constant up to redshift The CC SN rate expected for a given SFH
the total optical depth and the relative z = 0.3, whereas the SN CC rate has depends on the mass range of the pro-
attenuation. Re­peating a number of simu- already increased by a factor of two by genitors, on the initial mass function (IMF)
lations, we obtained the expected distri- redshift z = 0.2. The different evolutionary describing the distribution of the stellar
bution of SN absorption. We considered behaviour of CC SN and SN Ia rates im­­ masses and on the correction due to dust
three possible scenarios for the amount plies that their ratio increases by a factor extinction. We assumed that the mass
of dust in a galaxy assuming different total of two from the local Universe to redshift of CC SN progenitors ranges from 8 to
optical depths along the galaxy rotation z = 0.25 (about three billion years ago), 50 M 0 and that the IMF has a Salpeter
axis (τ = 0 — no extinction, τ = 1 — thereby requiring that a significant frac- slope, with a turnover below 0.5 solar
stand­ard extinction, τ = 5 — high extinc- tion of SN Ia progenitors have a lifetime masses. Since there is a large scatter
tion). For CC SNe the control time was longer than three billion years. The esti- between the measurements obtained
estimated for each extinction scenario. mate of the SN rate evolution depends on with different SFR indicators, it is difficult
For SNe Ia we did not consider the high the correction applied for dust extinction. to obtain a consistent picture of the SFH.
ex­­tinction sce­­nario, since it is expected to For instance, the ratio between the CC We selected two representative pre­
occur, on average, in environments with SN rate at redshift z = 0.2 and that in scriptions for the SFH in the literature:
a smaller amount of dust. Monte Carlo the local Universe varies from 1.6 to 2.8, the piecewise linear fit of SFR measure-
simulations also allowed us to probe the depending whether a no extinction or ments from different tracers (Hopkins
most relevant parameters affecting the a high extinction scenario is assumed. & Beacom, 2006) and the linear fit to the
SN de­­tection efficiency. In each simula- However, the fact that the CC SN rate in­­ SFR measurements from the Hα emis-
tion, artificial SNe of different magnitudes creases faster than the SN Ia rate appears sion line (Hippelein et al., 2003). The
were added to an image that was then to be a robust result. measurements of CC SN rate confirm the
searched for variable sources using the steep increase with redshift expected
same software as in the actual search. We also investigated the dependence of with both SFHs (Figure 5). The evolution
The detection efficiency at a given magni- SN rates on galaxy colour, an indicator of predicted from the SFH based on Hα fits
tude was computed as the ratio between the stellar population and SFR. We split the CC SN rate measurements very well,
the number of discovered and injected our galaxy sample and the local galaxy while the SFH by Hopkins & Beacom
artificial sources. sample by Cappellaro et al. (1999) into requires higher CC SN rates both in the
blue and red sub samples, according to local Universe and at high redshift.
The normalisation parameter for SN rates the observed B-V colour and adopting
can be the galaxy mass or a mass tracer, the rest frame B-V colour of an Sa galaxy If we correct our measurements and the
e.g., the blue luminosity, in which case (B-V = 0.45) as a reference. The SN Ia local CC SN rate measurements accord-
the rate is expressed in SN per unit galaxy rate appears almost constant in galaxies ing to the high extinction scenario, we
mass (SNuM = 1SN/1010 MB /century), with different B-V colour, whereas the obtain an acceptable agreement between
or in terms of galaxy luminosity CC SN rate strongly increases from red the data and the predictions of the
(SNu = 1SN/1010 LB /century), respectively. to blue galaxies, both at redshift z = 0.25 Hopkins & Beacom SFH. However, this
Since the estimate of the galaxy mass and in the local Universe. correction requires an extremely high

28 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

dust content in galaxies, which needs to Figure 5. Comparison between the
core collapse (CC) SN and the SF rate
be confirmed with new accurate meas- 10 –3
evolution. Lines are selected star
urements in nearby and distant galaxies, 10 –1
formation histories from the literature.
and also requires a better estimate of The shaded area represents the 1σ

SNR (CC) (SN yr –1 Mpc – 3)

the fraction of obscured CC SNe that confidence level of our estimate of

SFR (M � yr –1 Mpc – 3)
CC SN rate evolution as deduced from
are missed in optical SN searches.
the likelihood fit. Circles show local
measurements by Cappellaro et al.
Alternatively we may consider the pos- (1999); squares are measurements by
sibility of a narrower range for the CC Botticella et al. (2008); the pentagon
SN progenitor masses: in particular, a 10 – 4 10 – 2
is the measurement by Cappellaro et
al. (2005), and the rhombi the meas-
lower limit of 10–12 M 0 would bring the urements by Dalhen et al. (2004). Filled
observed CC SN rates into agreement symbols are measurements obtained
with the SFH by Hopkins & Beacom. assuming a standard extinction cor-
Hopkins & Beacom 2006 rection. The lower open symbols are
On the other hand, estimates of the
Hippelein et al. 2003 measurements not corrected for
progenitor mass from the detections of extinction while the upper open sym-
stars in pre-explosion images seem to bols are measurements obtained
favour a lower limit of about 8–10 M 0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 adopting a high extinction correction.
(Smartt et al., 2008). This result illus- Redshift
trates that it is necessary to reduce the
uncertainties in the cosmic SFH and to Figure 6. SN Ia rate measurements in the
literature and predictions obtained by
apply a consistent dust extinction cor-
convolving the SFH of Hopkins & Beacom
rection both to SF and to CC SN rates in with various delay time distribution func-
SNR (Ia) (SN yr –1 Mpc – 3)

order to constrain the mass range of CC tions. The predicted paths are plotted as
SN progenitors. A comparison of the CC 10 – 4
lines with different types (see inset box
for key). The shaded area represents the
SN rate with other SFR tracers in the
1σ confidence level of our estimate of SN
same galaxy sample could shed light on Ia rate evolution as deduced from the like-
these issues. lihood fit. The circle is the measurement
of Cappellaro et al. (1999); the inverted
triangle from Madgwick et al. (2003); the
The cosmic evolution of the SN Ia rate is
leftward triangle for Hardin et al. (2000);
modulated by two critical ingredients: the Greggio 2005 (SD) the triangle for Blanc et al. (2004); the
SFH and the delay time distribution Greggio 2005 (DD close) rightward triangles for Neill et al. (2007);
(DTD). Different SFHs give different evolu- 10 – 5 Greggio 2005 (DD wide) the green square for Botticella et al.
(2008); the rhombi for Barris & Tonry
tionary paths (Blanc & Greggio, 2008), Mannucci et al. 2006
(2006); the small rhombus for Tonry et al.
but we have considered only the SFH by (2003); the pentagon for Neill et al. (2006);
Hopkins & Beacom. We estimated the 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5
the red square from Pain et al. (2002); and
evolution of SN Ia rate by convolving this Redshift the hexagons for Dahlen et al. (2004 ).
SFH with different formulations of the
DTD: three distributions related to differ- models. Measurements of the SN Ia rate the lack of spectroscopic classification of
ent SN Ia progenitor models and de­­ in star-forming and passively evolving SN candidates.
scribed by the analytical formulation of galaxies over a wide range of redshifts
Greggio (2005); the parameterisation by can provide more significant evidence
Mannucci et al. (2006), designed to about the progenitor models. References
address some specific observational Alard, C. 2000, A&A, 144, 363
constraints, regardless of the corre- Future wide-field SN surveys at ESO tele- Barris, B. J. & Tonry, J. L. 2006, ApJ, 637, 427
spondence with a specific progenitor scopes, such as SUDARE on the VLT Bertin, E. & Arnouts, S. 1996, A&A, 117, 393
scenario. All DTDs appear to predict a Survey Telescope (VST) equipped with Blanc, G. & Greggio, L. 2008, New A., 13, 606
Botticella, M. T. et al. 2008, A&A, 479, 49
SN Ia rate evolution consistent with the OmegaCam, will be able to discover thou- Cappellaro, E. et al. 1999, A&A, 351, 459
observations, with the exception of the sands of SNe and will enable accurate Cappellaro, E. et al. 2005, A&A, 430, 83
‘wide’ DD model, which appears too flat measurements of the SN rates, providing Dahlen, T. et al. 2004, ApJ, 613, 189
(see Figure 6). At the same time, with an unbiased census of the host galaxies. Greggio, L. 2005, A&A, 441, 1055
Hardin, D. et al. 2000, ApJ, 613, 189
the adopted SFH none of the explored A different observing strategy that con- Hopkins, A. M. & Beacom, J. F. 2006, ApJ, 651, 142
DTD functions are able to reproduce both sists of the frequent, long-term monitoring Hippelein et al. 2003, A&A, 402, 65
the rapid increase from redshift z = 0 to of a few selected sky fields (rolling Madgwick, D. et al. 2003, ApJ, 599, L33
z = 0.5 and the decline at redshift greater search), will allow us to detect SN candi- Mannucci et al. 2006, MNRAS, 370, 773
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evolution, it is difficult to discriminate first ric typing, based on the shape of the light Riello, M. & Patat F. 2005, MNRAS, 362, 671
between different DTDs and then curve and colour evolution, for all SN can- Smartt, S. et al. 2008, arXiv:0809.0403
Tonry, J. L. et al. 2003, ApJ, 594, 1
between different SN Ia progenitor didates will reduce the uncertainty due to

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 29

Astronomical Science

Swift, VLT and Gamma–Ray Bursts:

The Richness and Beauty of the Global View

Guido Chincarini1,2 spectroscopic data. Specifically, fast Very Large Telescope (VLT) pointing,
Raffaella Margutti1,2 we show how the exceptional dataset we needed not only a letter of intent from
Stefano Covino2 collected for the naked-eye burst the ESO Director General (DG), but also
Paolo D’Avanzo2 GRB 080319B, the brightest burst ever, a strategy. The Rapid Response Mode
Dino Fugazza 2 has proved very challenging for current (RRM) was born: in this mode a VLT
Cristiano Guidorzi 2 theoretical models. The final aim is instrument is able to set on the target and
Jirong Mao2 the understanding of the physical proc- start acquiring data less than seven min-
Alberto Moretti2 esses that make such phenomena the utes after an alert. This is a fantastic
Milvia Capalbi 3 true beacons at the edge of the Universe. technical and organisational achievement
Giancarlo Cusumano4 by ESO. Essential for obtaining early
Valerio D’Elia 5 data of objects characterised by a rapidly
Massimo Della Valle 6,7 How it happened declining luminosity, the RRM gives the
Fabrizio Fiore 5 community the potential to understand
Vanessa Mangano4 Heritage, know-how, creativity and or­­ the early physics of these events, with the
Emilio Molinari 2 gan­­isation. Our previous experience with final aim of using GRBs as beacons at
Matteo Perri 3 BeppoSAX and the related optical follow- the edge of the Universe. The primary
Patrizia Romano4 up from the ground, taught us that we need was to secure GRB redshifts, a task
Ruben Salvaterra1 needed a very fast re-pointing of the that has been fulfilled effectively by the
Filippo Zerbi 2 spacecraft, multi-wavelength coverage various European teams with ESO as
Sergio Campana 2 and high sensitivity instruments. These lead player on the scene (45–50 % of
Paolo Giommi 3 goals were achieved in the design of the GRB redshifts have been obtained with
Adriano Guarneri 9 Swift satellite (Gehrels et al., 2004), where ESO observations, see, e.g., Fynbo et al.,
Luigi Stella 5 on-board decision-making successfully 2007).
Gianpiero Tagliaferri2 substituted for human intervention. But all
Elena Pian11 of this would be completely useless with- Figure 1. Organisation of GRB follow-up: ASI Science
Eliana Palazzi 8 out a fast and efficient communication Data Center (ASDC) staff are involved in GRB science
while the Malindi ground station is responsible for
Silvia Piranomonte 5 system, able to deliver data and informa- satellite duties and for the Swift-XRT (X-Ray Tele-
Angelo Antonelli 5 tion all over the world. A gamma-ray scope) data analysis software. MISTICI (Multiwave-
Luca Salotti 3 burst (GRB) explodes: in a few seconds length Italian Swift Team with International Co-Inves-
Alberto Fernandez Soto10 the Swift team has provided the astro- tigators) and CIBO (Consorzio Italiano Burst Ottici)
are the optical follow-up groups. Economic support
nomical community with the accurate comes mainly from ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana)
position of the event, allowing ground- and MIUR (Ministero dell’Istruzione Università e
Università Milano Bicocca, Milano, Italy based telescopes to collect photons Ricerca). The unique architecture of the ESO follow-
2 up related to the Swift Mission was organised also
INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di coming from the remote corner of the
thanks to the collaboration of the Directors General
Brera, Milano, Italy Universe where a giant explosion has just Riccardo Giacconi and Catherine Cesarsky and the
ASI Science Data Center, Frascati, Italy occurred. From the very first Swift unique technical contribution of Roberto Gilmozzi
INAF–Istituto di Astrofisica e Fisica meetings we realised that to achieve very and Jason Spyromillio.
Cosmica di Palermo, Palermo, Italy
INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di
Roma, Monteporzio-Catone, Italy
INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di
Capodimonte, Napoli, Italy REM
INAF–Istituto di Astrofisica e Fisica ESO
Cosmica di Bologna, Italy
Università di Bologna, Italy
Observatorio Astronomico de
Universitad de Valencia, Spain
INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di IASF_PA
Trieste, Italy IASF_MI Co-Pls INAF

In this paper we emphasise the role of

ESO in the optical follow-up of gamma-
ray burst light curves and the impor- MISTICI
tance of early observations via rapid
response mode. We describe some of
the best short gamma-ray burst obser-
vations ever and illustrate the need for

30 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

GRB 050724 GRB 071227 GRB 050709

l*D5 l*D5 l*D5
l*D5 l*D5




But there was another requirement: management, we show the follow-up Figure 2. Top panels, from left to right: VLT observa-
tions of the host galaxies of the short GRBs,
the Swift UVOT (Ultra-Violet/Optical Tele- organisation in Figure 1. This organisa-
GRB 050724, GRB 071227, and GRB 050709. Bottom
scope) instrument is not sensitive to tion, and the will to make it work, is what panels: prompt high energy emission coming from
wavelengths longer than 650 nm, and we made and currently makes the research the same bursts; note the broad soft bump following
considered it crucial to have observations successful. In the following we will the early short spike. GRB 050709 is a HETE (High
Energy Transient Explorer) burst, the other two come
reaching out to the near-infrared. Fol­ only discuss a few open issues and con-
from Swift.
lowing some in-house discussions and centrate on a few results among many.
early interactions with Catherine Cesarsky,
the then ESO DG, we decided on a new occur in late-type galaxies, but never
concept for a robotic telescope in Chile Morphology and progenitors in early-type galaxies. The prototype host
on the ESO territory: the REM (Rapid Eye of an LGRB is a young, blue, metal-poor
Mount) was born. Funded by the Italian Morphology in any species, class of and subluminous (about 0.1 L*) galaxy,
MIUR, this telescope provided the oppor- objects or natural phenomena is with high specific star formation rate, but
tunity to collect unprecedentedly early the result of heritage and of the mecha- low mass. In contrast, SGRBs seem
information on GRBs. Later a symbiotic nisms generating them. As in other to span galaxies of various morphologies
telescope, the TORTORA (Telescopio cosmic objects, GRB morphology (GRBs (see Figure 2); the model in this case
Ottimizzato per la Ricerca di Transienti are classified into long [LGRB] and is that of a hot and dense torus of
Ottici Rapidi) was added to this unit. This short [SGRB] types according to the dura- 0.01–0.3 M0 that is accreted onto a stellar
telescope — the result of a Russian– tion of the high energy initial event) mass black hole (BH). The high energy
Italian collaboration — may be limited in is a consequence of the different progeni- in­volved, (1046 –1050 erg after correcting for
sensitivity, but has the advantage of a tors, host galaxies and various physical the jet opening angle) implies rather large
very large field-of-view and of spectacular mechanisms at work. LGRBs are likely accretion rates that call for an equally
time resolution. The latter was of great due to the collapse of very massive stars efficient cooling mechanism: neutrino
advantage for the “naked eye burst”, (M > 20M0), as testified by their associa- cooling is the first candidate. While the
GRB 080319B. tion with core collapse supernovae (SN). occurrence of the jet is likely related to the
No SN explosion has ever been observed asymmetry of the model, it still remains
This short account gives a feel for how in connection with SGRBs, which are unclear how and if the late engine activity,
organised and synchronised the Swift believed to originate from the merging of testified by the presence of flares, might
and the Italian teams are. For a full ap­­ compact objects (neutron stars or black be related to the duration of the primary
preciation of what we believe is a unique holes, see, e.g., Nakar, 2007). LGRBs burst and to the viscous and gravita­­tional
model of working collaboration and instabilities of the disc.

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 31

Astronomical Science Chincarini G. et al., Swift, VLT and Gamma–Ray Bursts








Figure 4. The GRB 080319B prompt emission is
shown. In blue, the optical data collected by
    TORTORA; in red, the gamma-ray component
3HLDRHMBD&1!C@XR (15–150 KeV) detected by Swift BAT (Burst Alert

Figure 3. R-band light curve of the short polarisation information: fast reaction possible after the burst, and then follow-
GRB 070707 afterglow. Either a smoothly joined bro-
from an 8–10 m telescope is therefore ing the light curve evolution with multicol-
ken power law (dashed line) or a pulse function (dot-
ted line) gives an equally acceptable fit. After ten days crucial. The best-sampled SGRB after- our observations down to the limits of the
the flux levels off at the host galaxy contribution. glow optical light curve comes from telescope sensitivity.
GRB 070707, from ESO–VLT observations
Nature does not fit into any particular (Piranomonte et al., 2008): the light
classification scheme. In particular, the curve displays an initial slow decay that The naked eye burst GRB 080319B
simple long–short dichotomy hides be­­comes significantly steeper, beginning
a more complex reality: how do we ac­­ one to two days after the explosion, “The simplicity offers us the possibility
count for the broad and soft emission and later levelling off at R = 27.3 (see to enter a rich field of physical processes
following, in some cases (see, e.g., Figure Figure 3). This is most likely the HG emis- and to challenge our understanding,
2), the primary short pulse? This pattern sion level, the faintest yet detected for leading us to a beautiful variety of observ-
requires a rather long-lasting activity of an SGRB. Unfortunately, due to the low able effects.” R. Sunyaev
the central engine, a different progenitor signal-to-noise ratio, spectroscopic
model and perhaps a new classification observations did not reveal any line fea- The extremely bright GRB 080319B is a
scheme. What we do know is that in ture or edge able to constrain the red- showcase for the role of follow-up obser-
all these cases — and for SGRBs in par- shift, so that only an upper limit (z < 3.6) vations. The data from the ESO facilities
ticular — optical observations are funda- can be inferred from the lack of Lyman provide an example of the key observa-
mental. Such observations enable direct limit suppression down to 420 nm. tions of this burst, while the international
information to be gained on the host collaboration demonstrated how sharing
galaxy (HG) morphology, on the interstel- As with a number of other SGRBs, the data, ideas and expertise often leads
lar medium properties and the progenitor nearly unconstrained redshift of to unique and rapid results. The Italian
parent population; then indirectly we GRB 070707 remains an important handi- robotic telescope REM was pointing
constrain the jet structure and the physi- cap. These strong limitations bias and at GRB 080319A at the time it received
cal mechanisms at work, with the final constrain our knowledge: not only do we the alert for GRB 080319B. It automati-
aim of understanding the nature of the not know clearly the nature of the pro- cally started slewing to the new target,
central source that powers these explo- genitors and of the physical processes at but TORTORA with its wide field of view
sions. This raises the question of whether work, but we are still unable to say and high time resolution, happened to
we really need the VLT and the RRM? whether these merging events originate be imaging the burst location from before
in galaxies or in extragalactic globular the time of explosion. This observation,
The answer is unequivocally, yes, since clusters. The SGRB research field is cur- the first of this quality since GRBs were
we have no optical spectrum of an SGRB rently one of the most intriguing; progress discovered, revealed that the optical flux
to date. Moreover, we need high reso­ can only come by setting on the target was too bright to be the extrapolation
lution spectroscopy, fast photometry and with large optical telescopes as soon as of the high energy (0.3 keV–1.16 MeV) tail.

32 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

The observations also showed some l  l 
Figure 5. Broadband light
curve of GRB 080319B,
temporal coincidence of the bright optical
including radio, NIR, optical,
flash and the gamma-ray emission. The   l  UV, X-ray and gamma-ray
prompt optical flux profile is broadly flux densities. Data have


correlated with the gamma rays, sharing 
been renormalised for
 l  graphical purposes.
a comparable duration, rise and decay
times, with the first half brighter than the   l
second. A visual inspection of Figure 4 L@F
suggests a delay of a few seconds in the !

arrival times of the optical photons with
respect to the gamma rays. A possible 1
 Qel   l
interpretation invokes the former being
produced by synchrotron radiation, which (l
 7 Q@X  l
is initially self-absorbed (thus explaining
the later rise of the optical flux), while the ! 3
latter are up-scattered photons via syn-  l                
chrotron self-Compton (SSC). But there 3HLDEQNL&1!R
is an aspect missing: relativistic electrons
up-scatter the low energy photons turn-
ing them into gamma-ray photons (first exploited for the observation of this GRB relativistic nature of GRB fireballs. From
inverse-Compton, IC) while the same (D’Elia et al., 2008). We were able our multicolour observations we were
electrons will further scatter these high to observe the spectrum just 8 minutes able to firmly es­­tablish that late engine
energy photons, kicking them into the 30 seconds after the trigger, at a time activity, as exemplified by the X-ray flares,
TeV range (second IC). This emission when the magnitude was R ~ 12, obtain- does not affect the optical light curve in
could be detected by Cherenkov ground- ing the best ever signal-to-noise, high the same way: at 800 s after GRB, when
based telescopes (e.g. MAGIC) or, at resolution spectrum of a GRB afterglow. both the NIR and X-ray light curves are
lower energies, by the Fermi satellite. We caught the absorbing gas in a highly decaying regularly, the spectral energy
excited state producing the strongest distribution is described by a synchrotron
Following the first phases, REM and Fe ii absorption line ever observed. More spectrum, so no SSC need be invoked.
TORTORA had to hand the baton on to to the point, we witnessed the local
larger telescopes and in particular to the effects caused by the GRB explosion, Multi-wavelength follow-up is therefore
VLT, which then allowed the community enabling the study of the evolution of the crucial both at early and late times.
to follow the event down to very faint interstellar medium (ISM) parameters.
magnitudes. The Swift X-ray telescope A few hours later the optical depth of the
(XRT) was gathering data at the same lines was reduced by factors of 4–20 and Towards new challenges
time. As is apparent from Figure 5, this the optical UV flux by a factor of ~ 60.
burst shows a completely different Wavelength coverage and spectral reso-
behaviour in the optical and the X-ray GRB 080319B does not show any kind lution are key ingredients for under­­
ranges, suggesting that they must stem of plateau or flares in either the X-ray standing the different aspects of an astro-
from different emitting regions. A possi- or the optical light-curves. While affecting physical process. At the same time,
ble explanation requires the action of a about half of the GRB X-ray light-curves, an accurate temporal analysis of the GRB
two-component jet: a, highly relativistic flares seem to be sporadic events light curves represents a powerful tool
jet with a very narrow opening angle at optical wavelengths, a spectral range for obtaining a deeper insight into the
(0.2 degrees) pointing to the observer that where statistics are currently lacking, physics underlying these explosions. The
is responsible for the prompt gamma especially at later times. The power of fireball model is able to account for
emission via internal shocks, and coaxial multi-wavelength observations is testified the vast majority of the observations, but
with a wider jet (opening angle 4 degrees). by GRB 060418 and GRB 060607A for other models are not ruled out. In particu-
In this picture the afterglow is the result which we have contemporary REM near- lar, we would like to stress that the mag-
of the forward and reverse shocks from infrared (NIR) and XRT X-ray data. netar model, where the jet is Poynting
both the narrow and wide components. The early X-ray light curves of both events flux dominated and the small baryon
While this model is not unique and has a show several, intense flares superim- loading is naturally explained, has not yet
few caveats, it is the most likely interpre- posed on a smooth power-law decaying been fully investigated (Lyutikov &
tation — a product of the joint efforts continuum. On the other hand, the flaring Blandford, 2004). The determination of
of a worldwide collaboration (Racusin et activity, if any, is much weaker at NIR the relevant time scales in different wave-
al., 2008). frequencies: the NIR curve is very smooth length ranges could help in distinguishing
with peaks at 153 s and 180 s for between competitive models, while
The power of the VLT/UVES (Ultraviolet GRB 060418 and GRB 060607A respec- the accurate study of the time variability
and Visual Echelle Spectrograph) rapid tively. This implies an initial bulk Lorentz could reveal particularly interesting
response mode has also been fully factor of 400, confirming the highly information on the source that powers this

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 33

Astronomical Science Chincarini G. et al., Swift, VLT and Gamma–Ray Bursts

%D (( Ä

%D (( Ä




kind of explosion. More specifically, the for the application of this technique to the Figure 6. UVES spectra of GRB 080319B around the
Fe ii 2374 Å (left panel), and Fe ii 2396 Å (right panel)
details of the time structure are invaluable prompt gamma-ray emission and the
transitions. Black lines refer to the first epoch
footprints of the original mechanism at study of GRB 080319B high energy data spectrum (8 minutes 30 seconds after the Swift
work, being determined by a combination shows the evolution of the characteristic trigger); red lines refer to the second epoch spectrum
of intrinsic properties (cooling mecha- time scale of variability from 0.1 s at the (1.9 hours after the GRB event); green lines refer
to the third epoch spectrum (2.9 hours after the GRB
nism, jet profile, energisation, etc.) and of beginning of the emission up to 1 s at the
extrinsic properties (viewing angle ef­­ end of the prompt event. Moreover, an
fects, intervening absorption). Investiga- energy-resolved analysis reveals that the
tion of these details calls for high time res- variability time is strongly energy depend- powers the bursts — is still elusive.
olution, multi-wavelength observations. ent. The same kind of analysis could The new Fermi mission will certainly add
be applied to high time resolution optical a wealth of information, owing to the
GRBs are aperiodic short-term events, data. GRB 080319B showed the extraor- spectacular high energy coverage. The
with a temporal structure that represents dinary importance of high time resolution coupling with Swift will provide unique
a challenge for standard temporal analy- multi-wavelength observations: it was broadband spectroscopic information,
sis techniques: while a fraction (about the simultaneity of high time resolution settling the long-lasting question about
15 %) of the gamma-ray prompt emission optical and gamma-ray observations that the mechanism for the prompt radiation
consists of a single smooth pulse, the gave us the unprecedented opportunity (synchrotron or SSC). Furthermore, within
vast majority appear to be the result of to study the underlying emission mecha- a few years, LIGO (Laser Interferometer
the random superposition of a number nism in detail. High time resolution optical Gravitational Wave Observatory), Virgo
of emission episodes. A pulse decompo- observations, able to record the flickering and other facilities will open up the new
sition of the entire light curve is often behaviour of the light curve, are therefore observational window of gravitational
difficult and in bright bursts the pulses of primary importance. This was under- waves. Their detection will constitute the
are often blended, while in most dimmer stood even at the time of the REM design; real proof of the collapse of massive
bursts the low signal-to-noise prevents however, contrary to earlier expecta­­- stars, SNe and the merging of relativistic
any kind of pulse-by-pulse study. For this tions, most afterglows are already faint a objects. In the meanwhile VLT and
reason we decided to develop a com- few minutes after the explosion, so that the other extremely large telescopes will
pletely different kind of analysis. we soon realised that it would be very dif- drive human knowledge on towards new
ficult to collect good quality data (except challenges.
A modified version of power spectrum of course for GRB 080319B-like events,
analysis in the time domain, formerly where brightness and luck played a major
developed by Li (2001), has been applied role). The implications are that large area References
to the prompt and afterglow emission robotic telescopes are fundamental. Chincarini, G. et al. 2003, The Messenger, 113, 40
of GRBs: unlike the Fourier transform, D’Elia, V. et al. 2008, ApJ, in press
this technique is suitable for studying the Fynbo, J. et al. 2007, The Messenger, 130, 43.
root-mean-squared (rms) variations of Prospects Gehrels, N. et al. 2004, ApJ, 611, 1005
Li, T.-P. 2001, Chinese Journal A & A, 1, 313
a completely aperiodic signal at different Lyutikov, M. & Blandford, R. 2004, ASPC, 312, 449
time scales. This method has the advan- We have described a few of the many Nakar, E. 2007, PhR, 442, 166.
tage of being completely model-inde- interesting results obtained for GRBs. Piranomonte, S. et al. 2008, A&A, 491, 183
pendent. GRB 080319B is a showcase The final goal — the real source that Racusin, J. L. et al. 2008, Nature, 455, 183

34 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical Science

The zCOSMOS Data Release 2: the “zCOSMOS-bright

10k-sample” and structure in the Universe out to redshifts
of order unity
Simon Lilly (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) very large number of galaxies and surrounding intergalactic medium (IGM)
and the zCOSMOS team* quasars over the whole redshift range through starburst-driven winds or from
0 < z < 3.5, using the VIMOS spec- energy injection from AGN, may provide
trograph. This allows the environment a feedback onto the properties of the gal-
The global COSMOS project is aimed at of galaxies to be characterised on all axies. Major mergers of galaxies, which
understanding the evolution of galaxies scales from that of the immediate group almost certainly play a very large role in
and active galactic nuclei, and in par­ environment, 100 kpc, up to the the morphological transformation of gal-
ticular the role of the galactic environ- 100 Mpc scales of the cosmic web. The axies, and possibly also in the control
ment in that evolution. It is built around second public data release, DR2, of of their star formation rates, will occur at
observations of a single equatorial approximately 10 000 zCOSMOS spec- very different rates in different environ-
1.7 deg2 field corresponding to trans- tra, took place via the ESO Science ments because of the different number
verse dimensions of 100 x 100 Mpc2 at Data Archive in October 2008. This arti- densities and velocity dispersions of the
high redshift. The COSMOS field is cle describes the current status of galaxies. Even a purely internal re­­
emerging as the premier extragalactic the project and in particular of this so- arrangement of material within galaxies
survey field, and is currently the object called “10k-sample”, and our recon- through dynamical instabilities may have
of study of large observational pro- struction of large-scale structure in the been triggered by nearby neighbours.
grammes on most of the major obser- Universe out to z ~ 1. In the richest environments, the intraclus-
vational facilities around the world. The ter medium may strip out material from
zCOSMOS programme on the VLT is galaxies, while close, high speed ‘fly-bys’
securing spectroscopic redshifts for a There are many reasons to suspect that may also have transformational conse-
the environment plays a major role quences, even in the absence of mergers.
in driving the evolution of galaxies and Finally, the overall time scale for the
active galactic nuclei (AGN). In the local, growth of large-scale structure in the
* Katarina Kovac1, Christian Knobel1, Angela Iovino2, present-day Universe, clear trends are Universe via gravitational instability is set
Vincent Le Brun3, Christian Maier1, Vincenzo
seen between many galaxy properties, by the amplitude of the density field on
Mainieri4, Marco Mignoli 5, Pawel Kampczyk1, Marco
Scodeggio 6, Gianni Zamorani 5, Olivier Ilbert7, such as their star formation rates and large scales. No doubt all of these proc-
Mara Salvato8, Pascal Oesch1, Marcella Carollo1, structural morphologies, and different esses play a role, but their relative impor-
Thierry Contini 9, Jean-Paul Kneib 3, Olivier Le Fèvre 3, measures of the environment of galaxies. tance is not known. Even in the present-
Alvio Renzini10, Sandro Bardelli 5, Micol Bolzonella 5,
These were first quantified over twenty day Universe, there is controversy as
Angela Bongiorno11, Karina Caputi1, Graziano
Coppa5, Olga Cucciati2, Sylvain de la Torre 3, Loic de years ago by Alan Dressler, and have to the scale on which the environmental
Ravel3, Paolo Franzetti 6, Bianca Garilli 6, Fabrice now been seen clearly in the large-scale signature is present — solely on the
Lamareille 9, Jean-Francois Le Borgne 9, Roser Pello9, local surveys of the Sloan Digital Sky scales below 1 Mpc characteristic of a
Yingjie Peng1, Enrique Perez Montero9, Elena
Survey (SDSS). Broadly speaking, gal­ single dark matter halo, or also on larger
Ricciardelli10, John Silverman1, Masayuki Tanaka4,
Lidia Tasca3, Laurence Tresse 3, Daniela Vergani 5, axies in higher density environments scales indicating a role also for the larger
Elena Zucca5, Umi Abbas 3, Dario Bottini 6, Peter are, today, less actively forming stars and cosmic web of structure.
Capak8, Alberto Cappi 5, Paolo Cassata3, Andrea more often have spheroidal ‘early-type’
Cimatti12, Martin Elvis13, Marco Fumana 6, Luigi
structures rather than ‘late-type’ disc- Looking to larger distances, and thus
Guzzo2, Gunther Hasinger11, Alexei Leauthaud14,
Dario Maccagni 6, Henry McCracken15, Pierdomenico dominated morphologies, than galaxies observing the Universe at earlier epochs
Memeo 6, Baptiste Meneux11, Cristiano Porciani16, in lower density parts of the Universe. directly, and establishing when and how
Lucia Pozzetti 5, David Sanders7, Roberto The actual physical cause of these ef­­ these observed relations are established
Scaramella17, Claudia Scarlata 8, Nick Scovile 8
fects is however far from clear, and the should go a long way to resolving these
basic question of the relative importance questions. For many of the physical proc-
ETH Zurich, Switzerland of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ in controlling esses listed above, it is the environment
INAF Osservatorio Brera, Italy galactic development is far from settled. on the scale of galaxy groups that is
LAM Marseille, France
suspected of being most relevant. In the
INAF Osservatorio Bologna, Italy There is no shortage of plausible mecha- standard ΛCDM (Lambda Cold Dark
INAF IASF Milano, Italy nisms whereby the galactic environment Matter) paradigm for cosmological struc-
Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii, could influence the evolution of a par­ ture formation, these environments have
Honolulu, USA
ticular galaxy: on the one hand, the accu- undergone strong evolution since red-
Caltech, California, USA
CNRS Université de Toulouse, France mulation of material via the hierarchical shifts z ~ 2 and environmentally-driven
Universita di Padova, Italy assembly of dark matter haloes and the evolution may plausibly therefore be the
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, accretion of gas, whether through cooling cause of the dramatic decline in galactic
Garching, Germany
of shock-heated gas or through cold activity over this same period.
Universita di Bologna, Italy
Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, mass flows out of the cosmic web, must
USA depend on the immediate environment Unfortunately, environmental information
University of California, Berkeley, USA of the system in question; on the other on distant galaxies has been very limited
Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France
hand, the effects of interactions with the up until now. This is mostly because
University of Bonn, Germany
INAF Osservatorio di Roma, Italy of limited sample sizes, and the small size

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 35

Astronomical Science Lilly S. et al., The zCOSMOS Data Release 2

and sparse sampling of the deep extra- with sufficient velocity accuracy (about The vast majority of redshifts are, of
galactic survey fields. The COSMOS sur- 100 km/s) to efficiently map the environ- course, very secure, but some are un­­
vey (Scoville et al., 2007) was de­­signed ments of galaxies down to the scale avoidably less reliable, and a few are little
to remedy both of these, by bringing to of galaxy groups out to redshifts z ~ 1. better than guesses. For some, we can-
bear on a single large field all of the tech- The second part, zCOSMOS-deep, will not offer even a tentative redshift identifi-
niques, that have been developed over consist of about 10 000 spectra of higher cation. To get the best science out
the last decade or more, to study distant redshift galaxies, colour-selected to of such a large and well-defined sample,
galaxies over a wide range of redshifts. have redshifts in the 1.4 < z < 3.0 range, and to enable their use by others, it is
The COSMOS field is about 600 times and lying in the central 1 deg2 region of essential to characterise the reliability of
larger than the famous Hubble Deep the COSMOS field. the redshifts, and to understand any
Fields, and about thirty times larger than biases present in the set of objects for
each of the two Great Observatories After the first two zCOSMOS observing which usable redshifts are secured
Origins Deep Survey (GOODS) fields. seasons in 2005 and 2006, about a — failures cannot be simply thrown away.
In addition to the initial imaging with the half of the zCOSMOS-bright observations To deal with this, every redshift meas­
Hubble Space Telescope (HST), COSMOS had been completed, yielding a total urement is assigned its own individual
is now also quite unique in the breadth of over 10 500 spectra from which redshift ‘Confidence Class’. This is already
and depth of the imaging data that have measurements have been made, or the result of ‘reconciling’ two independent
been assembled using large amounts attempted — the so-called “10k-sample” reductions of the observational data at
of observing time on the X-ray satellite (Lilly et al., 2008). This sample was two (of the six) zCOSMOS institutes. This
observatories XMM-Newton and Chandra, released, with the help of the ESO Exter- duplication catches most of the potential
with the ultraviolet Galaxy Evolution nal Data Products Group, to the wider problems in the reduction process. The
Explorer (GALEX) and infrared Spitzer science community via the ESO Science Confidence Class scale varies from Class
space telescope, and, on the ground, Archive ( 0 (no redshift) up to Class 4 (very secure),
with the Subaru, the Canada France eso-data/data-packages/zcosmos-data- with an additional Class 9 which desig-
Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and the release-dr2/) on 1 October 2008. It is nates ‘one-line’ redshifts, with various
UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) optical/ being used by the zCOSMOS team for a additional modifiers to reflect details such
infrared telescopes. At longer wave- number of science investigations that are as whether the target is an AGN, or
lengths, the Very Large Array (VLA) radio now at various stages of the publication whether it was observed serendipitously
telescope and various millimetre-wave process. in a slit targeted at another object (see
facilities have also observed the field. In Lilly et al., 2008, or the DR2 release notes
the future, the COSMOS field will be the In the meantime, further observations for details). We then need to quantify the
major focus of the very deep UltraVISTA have taken zCOSMOS-bright almost to reliability of each of these classes. Our
infrared imaging survey at ESO. completion, with only a handful of the team has approached this in two ways.
180 spectroscopic masks remaining to
zCOSMOS provides the crucial ‘third- be observed at the start of next year. First, repeat spectra for over 600 objects
dimension’ to COSMOS by measuring We therefore anticipate constructing the have been taken through a variety of
accurate redshifts for large numbers of final “20k sample” after these observations different pathways. These repeat spectra
galaxies in the COSMOS field. are completed in 2009. Observations of are processed blind to the first reduction,
zCOSMOS-deep were phased later in providing an invaluable check as to
the programme, but are now over 50% whether the same redshift is found the
zCOSMOS at the VLT complete. Hopefully, observations for this second time around. With the simplifying
part of the survey should also be com- assumption that the chance of getting
zCOSMOS is a major project (ESO pleted by the end of the 2009 observing the same wrong redshift twice is negligi-
Large Program 175.A-0839) that is using season. ble, we can construct a simple proba­
600 hours of observing time with the bilistic measure of the reliability. Our most
VIMOS spectrograph on the VLT UT3, secure Class 3 and 4 redshifts, which
spread over five observing seasons The zCOSMOS-bright 10k-sample form the bulk of the sample, are indeed
2005–2009. It consists of two parts (see highly repeatable, > 99.8%. With the
Lilly et al., 2007, for details): The first, A great deal of effort by the team has lower reliabilities, we find that generally
“zCOSMOS-bright”, obtains spectra of gone into ensuring the high quality of the we were conservative: Class 2, intended
about 20 000 galaxies selected to have zCOSMOS data products. In particular, to be only 75% reliable is in fact con-
IAB < 22.5 across the full 1.7 deg2 of the a redshift survey like zCOSMOS produces firmed 92% of the time, and even our
COSMOS field. zCOSMOS-bright was redshift identifications with a range of Class 1 ‘guesses’ are correct in 70% of
designed to yield a high and fairly uniform reliabilities, simply because of the faint- cases. The repeat spectra also yield
sampling rate (about 70%), with a high ness of the galaxies and because we are an empirical measure of the velocity accu-
success rate in measuring redshifts pushing the limits of what is possible. racy of our redshifts, which comes out to
(approaching 100% at 0.5 < z < 0.8), and be 110 km/s or ∆z = 0.00036 (1 + z).

36 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Figure 1. Comparison of photometric and spectro-
 scopic redshifts of zCOSMOS-bright galaxies, as

 "K@RR described in the text. Note that Class 9 redshifts are
those based on a single emission line, which there-
fore have two alternative redshifts based on either a
  [O ii] 3727 Å or Hα 6563 Å identification. A “1” pre-
ceding the Class (e.g. 4 → 14) indicates a broad line
AGN, indicated by red points on the figure.

This powerful two-way complementarity
between spectroscopic and photometric

redshifts is a unique feature of COSMOS

and zCOSMOS, and allows us to produce
a spectroscopic catalogue with high
 accuracy redshifts and very high fidelity.
Figure 3 shows the distribution of red-
"K@RR "K@RR shifts in the 10k-sample. The richness of
the redshift structure in the distant
  Universe is immediately apparent, with
structures spanning the range from
about 100 km/s, up to the 20 000 km/s
(∆z ~ 0.05) for the largest voids and over-

  Reconstruction of the density field

to z ~ 1

We further exploit the complementarity of

 spectroscopic and photometric redshifts
             when we construct the overall galaxy
2ODBSQNRBNOHB1DCRGHES density field in the COSMOS field out to
redshifts z ~ 1. This is central to our
scientific goal to determine the role of the
Secondly, we also use independent red- and the consistency with the photo-z to environment in driving galaxy evolution
shifts that are estimated solely from the within ∆z = 0.08 (1 + z). As well as con- and is already being used as the basis of
colours of the galaxies, (photo-z). These firming the empirical calibration of our several papers in an advanced state of
are based on the unparalleled richness of spectroscopic reliability, this suggests preparation.
the photometric data available in the three things: first, we can use the photo-z
COSMOS field. We examine the consist- to indicate which of our less reliable red- The density field, presumably a continu-
ency with our spectroscopically estimated shifts are very probably right and which ous distribution of dark matter, must
redshifts, which is shown in Figure 1, are probably wrong — information that we be reconstructed using the discrete loca-
and find that there is generally a very good capture as a further decimal place modi- tions of relatively sparse galaxies, which
consistency: Comparison with our most fier to the Confidence Class of individual inevitably introduces a smoothing into
reliable redshifts shows that there is a redshifts; second, we can use the photo-z any reconstruction of the density field.
floor of about 3% photo-z ‘failures’, but themselves to estimate the redshifts of The minimum physical scale of this
otherwise an impressively small statistical those galaxies for which we have failed to smoothing depends on the number den-
dispersion of about ∆z = 0.01 (1 + z) measure the redshift, thereby quantifying sity of the tracer galaxies. There are
in redshift (Ilbert et al., 2008). The failures the biases in the final spectroscopic sam- of course many more galaxies with only a
can probably be traced to unavoidable ple — this is shown in Figure 2; finally, we photo-z measurement than galaxies with
problems with the photometry, such as could, though we haven’t yet done this, a much more accurate spectroscopic
close pairs of galaxies or areas of the sky go back to the spectra of these failures redshift. Currently only one galaxy in
close to bright stars. However, as we and search again for a new spectroscopic three with IAB < 22.5 has been observed
then look at our less reliable redshifts, we redshift identification in the narrow red- in zCOSMOS-bright, and this will not get
see an excellent correspondence shift range indicated by the photo-z. much above 60% even when the full
between the spectroscopic confirmation survey is finished. Recognising that these
rate described in the previous paragraph photo-z galaxies nevertheless have very

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 37

Astronomical Science Lilly S. et al., The zCOSMOS Data Release 2

accurately determined locations in the Figure 2. (Left) Fraction of spectra yielding a

successful spectroscopic redshift measurement
(x,y) plane of the sky, we have developed 22 as a function of redshift (derived from the photo-z
a new algorithm (ZADE, see Kovac et al., for the remainder) and IAB magnitude. Notice how
2008, for details) which seeks to combine the success rate stays high in the key redshift
the redshift accuracy of the spectroscopic range 0.5 < z < 0.8 all the way to the limiting
depth of the survey.
redshifts with the increased numbers, 21
leading to greater spatial ‘resolution’ in
the density field, of a photo-z sample. This
is done by modifying the probabilistic

redshift distribution P(z) for each of the 20

individual photo-z using the spectroscopic
redshifts of nearby galaxies, making use
of the fact that galaxies are clustered in
the Universe. 19

One advantage of the new approach is

that the complex selection function of the 18
10k sample, especially the currently, 0.0 0.5 1.0
highly non-uniform, spatial sampling on z
Figure 3. (Below) Redshift distribution of extra-
galactic objects in the zCOSMOS-bright 10k
the sky, is automatically taken into
sample with secure redshifts, binned in intervals
account. Extensive tests of the algorithm Δz = 0.001, which is larger than the redshift
have been made against mock cata- 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 uncertainty by a factor of three at z = 0 and of
logues that have been generated from Success Rate two at z ~ 1. Despite the large transverse dimen-
sion of the survey, the redshift distribution shows
large-scale cosmological simulations
structure on all scales from the velocity resolu-
(Kitzbichler et al., 2007), and on which tion up to Δz ~ 0.05.
we impose the different zCOSMOS selec-
tion functions. These tests have shown 
that the ZADE approach allows a
much better reconstruction of the density
field than traditional weighting methods,
with very little systematic bias and with
improved statistical accuracy. By using
this new approach of combining spectro-
scopic and photometric redshifts,

plus the use of a smoothing scale that is
adapted to the local density of galaxies,
we can achieve a spatial resolution in
the density field that extends down to
1 h –1Mpc, or below, even at the highest


Figure 4 shows the resulting density field

throughout the COSMOS cone out to a
comoving distance of 2 400 h –1Mpc (cor-
responding to z = 1), giving us a unique
view of large-scale structure in the distant
Universe. The density field has been
normalised to the average density of gal-
axies to show the over-density δ, and 
the different cones in Figure 4 show iso-
density surfaces for four different values
of δ. Again a rich hierarchy of structure is
revealed, showing variations on scales up
to at least ∆z = 0.05.


38 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

bOl   bOl   bO



Figure 4. The galaxy density field reconstructed number, by luminosity or by stellar mass). groups in redshift surveys. We have ex­­
from the zCOSMOS 10k sample using the ZADE
These are all described in detail in Kovac tensively tested these against the
algorithm to include about 30 000 galaxies with pho-
tometrically estimated redshifts. The maximum et al. (2008) and will soon be released at zCOSMOS mock catalogues, which re­­
comoving distance of 2 400 Mpc corresponds to a produce the complex selection function
redshift z = 1. The cones show, from left to right, of the actual survey, and for which we
iso-density surfaces corresponding to underdensi-
know the host dark matter halo for each
ties of δp = -0.823, δp = – 0.667 and overdensities
of δp = +1.5, 3, 5 and 10 respectively. Because A large catalogue of galaxy groups and every galaxy. By optimising against
the density field is locally projected to avoid the to z ~ 1 these very realistic mock catalogues,
effects of peculiar motions, the equivalent physical we have a very good idea of the statisti-
over­d ensities are significantly higher, approximately
The density field described above is cal properties of our group catalogue,
δ ~ 3, 7, 13 and 35 for the four rightmost cones.
inevi­tably on rather large scales, above in terms of ‘purity’ and ‘completeness’
one comoving Mpc. We may also be — the probabilities that our detected
There are many detailed choices for interested in the smaller-scale structure groups are real and that a given real
exactly how to construct a density field, of individual galaxy groups — which group is detected, respectively — and
and different ones may be best suited we define to be galaxies moving within the analogous ‘interloper fraction’ and
to some particular science applications. the gravitational potential well of a single ‘completeness’ for individual galaxy
Accordingly, we have generated many virialised dark matter halo. zCOSMOS members of the groups. Compared with
such density reconstructions, each with is well suited to this, having a relatively previous practices in the literature, we
different choices of tracer galaxies (flux- high sampling rate compared with other find that we can improve the fidelity of the
or volume-limited samples of galaxies), of surveys (this will be especially true of the group catalogue by introducing a multi-
smoothing kernels of different geometries final 20k sample). pass scheme in which we progressively
(cylindrical or spherical) and scales (fixed alter the group-finding parameters to
size or adaptive), and of how the tracer Numerous algorithms have been devel- optimally find smaller and smaller groups,
galaxies are weighted (by straight oped in the literature to identify galaxy and by comparing and combining two

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 39

Astronomical Science Lilly S. et al., The zCOSMOS Data Release 2

ŮY  ŮY  Figure 4. Four representative zCOSMOS groups at

0.6 < z < 1. In the complete 10k sample there are
151 groups with four or more members and another
649 with two or three members. Group members are
circled in red. Other galaxies with spectroscopic
redshifts that are not in the group are circled in blue.


different approaches — the linking length further 649 groups with two or three scales. Figure 5 shows a selection of a
based “friends-of-friends” method and a member ‘groups’. The zCOSMOS group few of these groups at redshift z > 0.5.
Voronoi–Delauney tessellation approach. catalogue is already one of the largest, The zCOSMOS group catalogue is
and certainly the best defined, catalogues described in detail in Knobel et al. (2008)
Already with the 10k sample, we have of galaxy groups at high redshift. and will soon be released (see http://
been able, with these improvements, to
achieve, despite the currently quite At low redshifts, z ~ 0.3, about a third of
inhomogeneous sampling, an impres- the galaxies in the 10k sample can be
sively high fidelity in our group catalogue assigned to a group. This falls to about References
— significantly better than others in 15% at redshift z ~ 0.8, partly because Ilbert, O. et al. 2008, arXiv:0809.2101, to appear
the literature at these redshifts. The group the higher redshift galaxies are brighter, in ApJ
catalogue will continue to improve with and therefore only intrinsically richer Kitzbichler, M. G. & White, S. D. M. 2007,
the doubling of the number of spectro- groups will be detected as a group, and MNRAS, 376, 2
Knobel, C. et al. 2008, ApJ, submitted
scopic redshifts that will be in the future also because there are fewer groups Kovac, K. et al. 2008, ApJ, submitted
20k sample. Already we have identified even at a fixed richness, because of the Lilly, S. J. et al. 2007, ApJS, 172, 70
151 groups with four or more spectro- hierarchical growth of structure on these Lilly, S. J. et al. 2008, ApJS, submitted
scopically confirmed members and a Scoville, N. Z. et al. 2007, ApS, 12,

40 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical News
Two pictures taken at Paranal during
the filming of the recently-released
James Bond film Quantum of Solace.
Upper: film crew on the roof of the

Credit: QUANTUM OF SOLACE / © 2008 Danjaq, United Artists, CPII., 007 TM and related James Bond Trademarks, TM Danjaq
Residencia. Lower: the director of
the film Marc Forster (centre) flanked
by Daniel Craig (James Bond) and
Mathieu Amalric (Dominic Greene).
Astronomical News

Preparing for the ESO Public Surveys with VISTA and VST:
New Tools for Phase 2 and a Workshop with the Survey PIs

Magda Arnaboldi1,3 public surveys, and report on the ESO 16 000

Jörg Dietrich1,3 workshop with the survey principal inves-
Evanthia Hatziminaoglou1,3 tigators (PIs) as an example of ESO’s
Wolfgang Hummel1,3 commitment to the support of the first 12 000
Gaitee Hussain1,3 survey Phase 2.
Mark Neeser1,3
Marina Rejkuba1,3
8 000
Thomas Bierwirth1 Challenge of Phase 2 for public surveys
Fernando Comeron1
Dario Dorigo1 The ESO public surveys on the near-
Jim Emerson 2 infrared 4 m telescope VISTA (Emerson et 4 000
Paulo Nunes1 al., 2006) and the optical 2.6 m telescope
Francesca Primas1 VST (Capaccioli et al., 2005) are ambi-
tious projects that range from those with 0
very wide area coverage with short expo-
ESO sures, like the Vista Hemisphere Survey Number of OBs per Year
School of Mathematical Science, Queen (VHS) survey that aims to cover the whole
Mary University of London, UK & VISTA southern hemisphere, to deep surveys Figure 1. Average number of OBs scheduled in
service mode per year over the last two years
Consortium concentrating on small areas, but going
3 (including carry-overs and large programmes) on
The ESO Survey Team very deep. Typical examples of the latter the 4 UTs and the comparison with the estimated
are the UltraVISTA and the VISTA Deep average number of VISTA OBs in one year. The
Extragalactic Observations (VIDEO) histogram does not include the VST OBs.
New Phase 2 tools are described survey; for an overview of the six VISTA
to support service mode operations for and the three VST public surveys
large public surveys. A workshop was see Arnaboldi et al. (2007). Both wide Phase 2 tools
held with the principal investigators and and deep surveys are similar in terms of
selected team members of the VISTA the total amount of observing time, The generation of thousands of OBs
and VST surveys to introduce the new although their observing requirements, can be simplified when we separate the
tools. e.g., seeing, sky transparency, moon geometry of the surveys, i.e., where to
illumination and RA range, may be com- point on the sky, from the observation
plementary. The size of survey projects strategy, e.g., how many filters, epochs
Outline has a strong influence on their operations. and their order of execution. Both ESO
and the VISTA consortium have been
Observational astronomy is in an era of The unit observation at ESO telescopes developing the necessary new capabili-
surveys, with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey is called the Observing Block (OB), and ties within the ESO P2PP (Phase 2
(SDSS), UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey the total execution time of an OB is Proposal Preparation tool) and the SADT
(UKIDSS), Panoramic Survey Telescope limited to one hour. The current number (Survey Area Definition Tool) specifically
& Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS), of OBs prepared, submitted and sched- for the preparation and support of the
SkyMapper and the Large Synoptic uled in service mode annually for all the ESO public surveys. These survey prepa-
Survey Telescope (LSST) to name only a VLT instruments on the 4 Unit Telescopes ration tools are currently being optimised
few of the major projects. All of these (UTs), including carry-over and large pro- for VISTA operations, expected to start
are large investments in survey systems, grammes, is shown in Figure 1. in early 2009. Subsequently they will be
ranging from dedicated telescopes and upgraded to support VST operations.
instruments to data distribution. The goal In VLT service mode operations we cur-
common to all these projects is to target rently schedule 3 000–5 000 OBs per In preparing observations for public sur-
new science in a vast variety of fields year per telescope on average. Based on veys, users will have to define the geome-
and serving broad communities. The the Public Survey Management Plans try of the survey areas using SADT. The
VISTA and VST public surveys are ESO’s submitted by the survey PIs, the ex­­ output from SADT will then be imported
response to these new demands. pected number of OBs estimated by the into the new P2PP for surveys, version 3.1,
ESO Survey Team (EST) is three to five to prepare valid OBs.
In the scheme of ESO service mode times larger. Furthermore, since there are
operations, the public surveys represent only six programmes on the VISTA tele- SADT: The Survey Area Definition Tool is
a challenge because they require the scope, then for Phase 2 each survey a utility developed by the VISTA Consor-
definition of several thousands of observ- team must prepare more than 1000 OBs tium that allows users to define areas to
ing blocks that need to be managed, per semester. Clearly the current manual be covered by surveys executed with
scheduled and executed in the most effi- editing of parameters in each OB is either VIRCAM at VISTA or OmegaCam at
cient way. In this article we present the not up to this task, and therefore ESO and the VST according to a number of crite-
new Phase 2 tools being developed to the VISTA consortium have developed ria. SADT determines the central coordi-
support the service mode operations for new tools to support the survey Phase 2. nates of the different pointings required

42 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

+ 01:00:00

+ 00:00:00

– 01:00:00

– 02:00:00

– 03:00:00

Figure 2a. Left: Survey Area Definition Tool (SADT) – 04:00:00

command GUI window displaying the definition of a
survey with three areas. Right: View of the survey
19:20:00 19:16:00 19:12:00 19:08:00 19:04:00 19:00:00 18:56:00 18:52:00 18:48:00

to cover the field according to the specifi-

cations, as well as ancillary guide star P2PP: The Phase 2 Proposal Preparation normal programmes. The use of the new
information to allow acquisition and guid- tool has been in use with ESO telescopes P2PP for surveys will be extended to
ing. The output of SADT is a file to be in­­ since 1997 and has evolved since then normal programmes on the VLT and other
gested by P2PP that contains all the target to adapt to both operational and user- telescopes in the future.
information needed for the preparation friendliness needs, as they have been
of the OBs with which the survey will be identified, and to provide enhanced func- To prepare observation blocks for VISTA
executed. tionality. P2PP development continues, and VST surveys, the survey definition
and it is currently focused on specific generated by SADT is given as input
The IR detectors in the VISTA focal plane requirements set by the ESO public sur- to P2PP. Then P2PP combines the survey
are not contiguous, so a single sky expo- vey programmes with the survey tele- definition with ‘parent’ OBs, i.e., OBs
sure has large gaps between the areas scopes, VST and VISTA on Paranal. How- where exposure times, filters, dithering
covered by the detectors, also known ever, most of these new functionalities patterns and observing constraints are
as “pawprints”. To make an image with- and enhancements to P2PP will be of use set, but which lack pointing information.
out gaps several (minimum six) pawprints for all service mode users of ESO tele- The parent OBs can be a single OB, or
with position offsets must be combined scopes, including those conducting mulitple OBs, which are then structured
so as to cover the gaps and form a filled
“tile”. In order to survey a given area,
the positions of the tiles that VISTA should
+ 01:00:00
observe must be defined and for each
pawprint in each tile suitable candidate
guide stars and active optics (aO) stars
+ 00:00:00
must be pre-selected, ready for use when
the observation is made. This procedure
ensures that the survey speed is not lim-
– 01:00:00
ited by frequent operator intervention.

In Figures 2a and 2b, we show the SADT

– 02:00:00
command GUI and reproduce an image
of the plot window, showing the three
areas defined for a given survey. Figure 2b
– 03:00:00
shows the pawprints and the tiles defined
for this survey.
– 04:00:00

Figure 2b. Pawprints (black contours) and tiles (red

squares) computed for the survey area defined in
Figure 2a. 19:20:00 19:16:00 19:12:00 19:08:00 19:04:00 19:00:00 18:56:00 18:52:00 18:48:00

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 43

Astronomical News Arnaboldi M. et al., Preparing for the ESO Public Surveys with VISTA and VST

Figure 3. The main P2PP GUI showing the view for

Obs/Calib blocks. Figure 4. The main P2PP GUI showing the Schedule

into an observing strategy. The observing – Concatenation of OBs: In some cases consider, for instance, the case of a
strategy may require grouping OBs with the OBs should be executed con­ survey of several target fields to be ob­­
different priorities, chains of OBs, or secutively, with no other observations served through several different filters,
a time sequence of OBs. The new version in between. This has been implemented with each field and filter specified in
of P2PP allows the implementation in the P2PP for surveys within the a single OB. Depending on the science
of these different observing strategies via new ‘concatenation’ container. The goals of the programme it may be
the scheduling containers defined as concatenation container consists of two desirable to complete the observations
time-links, concatenations and groups of or more OBs that must be executed of a given field in all filters before pro-
OBs. In Figure 3 we show the P2PP back-to-back without breaks, regard- ceeding to the next field or, conversely,
main GUI and describe the scheduling less of the order of execution. In a con- to observe all fields in a given filter
containers. catenation, once an OB fails, the whole before proceeding to the next filter. The
concatenation must be repeated. group scheduling container allows any
– Time-linking of OBs: It may be a require- such strategies to be implemented.
ment that certain OBs must be exe- – Definition of groups of OBs: At present
cuted within precise time windows, it is possible to assign an execution In Figure 4 we show the P2PP GUI where
rather than any time when the external priority to each OB, so that the operator the user can set group priorities and
conditions (phase of the Moon, seeing, is aware of those with a higher scientific time-link constraints. Once the parent OBs
transparency, etc.) would allow their importance, when the time comes are defined in P2PP, the user can import
execution. The following types of time- to decide which observations to execute the target fields produced by SADT
dependencies can be recognised: for a given programme. It has, neverthe- and then the parent OBs are replicated
absolute time constraints, e.g., an OB less, been recognised that such a sim- and combined with each tile (or pawprint)
must be executed at specific dates that ple priority scheme is sometimes insuffi- defined in the survey area. The result
can be prede­termined (an example is cient to define the observing strategy of will be a large series of OBs stored in the
the observation of a binary star at a a more complex programme. This is ESO OB repository and made available
precise phase of its period), or relative especially true for surveys containing for execution.
time links, implying that an OB must be large numbers of target fields observed
executed within a time interval after the in a number of instrumental setups. In
execution of a previous OB, but not such cases the need for a prioritisation Workshop with the survey PIs
necessarily at a fixed date. Examples of scheme, at a level above the individual
this latter are monitoring observations OB, which can take into account The Phase 2 tools for public surveys were
of a variable source at roughly constant the past execution history of the pro- presented to the survey teams during
intervals. gramme, becomes clear. One can a two and a half day workshop held at

44 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical News

ESO, Garching on 15–17 September, goals and the connection between the exchange and feedback for further opti-
2008. The PIs of the ESO public surveys VISTA and the VST public surveys, the misation of the tools. On the third day the
were invited to attend the workshop, three VST PIs were also invited to join programme for VISTA science verification
together with two additional team mem- the corresponding VISTA teams for the was presented to the survey teams, fol-
bers who would then be in charge of the Phase 2 preparation exercise. lowed by a discussion on the science
preparation of the Phase 2 submission. goals of the surveys and the readiness of
More than 30 astronomers from both The Survey Phase 2 workshop included a the individual survey teams for the start
VST and VISTA survey teams attended presentation of the VST and VISTA status, of these challenging projects.
the Phase 2 workshop. an overview of the survey telescope op­­
erations and the presentation of the
During the workshop, each team was Phase 2 tools. The second day was de­­ References
trained with the new survey Phase 2 tools voted to a demonstration of the Phase 2 Arnaboldi, M. et al. 2007, The Messenger, 127, 28
installed on ESO computers, and invited to tools, SADT and P2PP, followed by tuto­ Capaccioli, M., Mancini, D. & Sedmak, G. 2005,
prepare OBs for the Phase 2 submission, rials organised by the ESO Survey Team The Messenger, 120, 10
equivalent to the first year of survey obser- (EST). This interaction allowed a fruitful Emerson, J., McPherson, A. & Sutherland, W. 2006,
The Messenger, 126, 41
vations. Given the overlap in scientific

Announcement of the Workshop

The E-ELT Design Reference Mission and Science Plan

26–28 May 2009, ESO Garching, Germany

As part of the FP7 funded “E-ELT Pre­ Office at ESO to present and discuss the
paratory Phase” programme, ESO will results of the DRM simulations. Details
host a three day workshop on the E-ELT and first results of the DRSP will also be
Design Reference Mission (DRM) and the presented and discussed.
Design Reference Science Plan (DRSP).
The aim is to bring together members of
the community, various instrument study For further details and registration please
teams, members of the E-ELT Science refer to
Working Group and the E-ELT Science eelt/science/drm/workshop09/.

Announcement of the Workshop

Imaging at the E-ELT

29 May 2009, ESO Garching, Germany

Also as part of the FP7 funded “E-ELT and alternatives for wide field imaging at
Preparatory Phase” programme, ESO will the E-ELT. This workshop will take place
host a one day workshop on the specific immediately after the workshop on the
topic of “Imaging at the E-ELT”. The E-ELT Design Reference Mission and Sci-
aim is to bring together members of the ence Plan (see above).
community currently working on wide
field imagers on 4–8 m-class telescopes
and on topics related to imaging at the For further details please contact
ELT. The goal is to explore synergies with Dr. Magda Arnaboldi (

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 45

Astronomical News

The ESA–ESO Working Group on Galactic Populations,

Chemistry and Dynamics

Catherine Turon1 Working Group, whose report is pre- The context

Francesca Primas2 sented in this article, was decided during
James Binney3 the third ESA–ESO bilateral meeting that In this context, a few remarks should be
Cristina Chiappini4 took place on 25–26 October 2006 at highlighted:
Janet Drew5 ESO, with the mandate to focus on Gaia/
Amina Helmi 6 ground synergies in the domain of Ga­­ – the volume and quality of data that
Annie Robin7 lactic science. The Working Group was Gaia will provide will revolutionise the
Sean G. Ryan 5 constituted in April 2007 and is com- study of the Galaxy even more than
posed of Catherine Turon (Chair), Franc- Hipparcos revolutionised the study of
esca Primas (Co-Chair), James Binney, the Solar Neighbourhood;
GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, France Cristina Chiappini, Janet Drew, Amina
ESO Helmi, Annie Robin and Sean G. Ryan. – there is a need for very large statistically-
University of Oxford, UK A few colleagues also made some further significant samples to undertake many
Observatoire de Genève, Switzerland contributions to the report. Three meet- of the dynamical, kinematic and compo-
and INAF Trieste Observatory, Italy ings were held in Garching with the ef­­ sitional studies of the Galaxy, and
University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK ficient support of the ST-ECF, particularly surveys are ideal tools in this respect;
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, Wolfram Freudling, Bob Fosbury and
Groningen, the Netherlands Britt Sjoeberg. The beautiful cover was – it will be important to develop the capa-
Observatoire de Besançon, France designed by the ESO Education and bilities to cover what Gaia will not, such
Public Outreach Department, based on as high resolution spectroscopic follow-
the painting Origine della Via Lattea by up for a large number of targets selected
ESA and ESO initiated a series of Work- Jacopo Tintoretto (1518–1594) and an from Gaia data, medium resolution
ing Groups to explore synergies be­­ artist’s impression of the Milky Way (from spectroscopy for a large number of
tween space- and ground-based instru- a NASA/JPL–Caltech press release). selected faint stars for which no spec-
mentation. The work of the fourth of troscopic data will be obtained from
these Working Groups, described in this Since the original motivation for this Gaia, or achieving wide wavelength cov-
article, focuses on Galactic stellar popu- report was a desire on the part of ESO erage in photometry and spectroscopy;
lations, their chemistry and dynamics, and ESA to consider projects that would
and identifies a set of top questions that complement the Gaia mission in the – advances in infrared (IR) astronomy will
future missions and/or ground-based domain of Galactic science, the panel’s allow us to tap the benefits of infrared
facilities will help to answer. Its mandate expertise is based primarily in stellar wavelengths for astrometric, spectro-
was to focus on Gaia/ground synergies and dynamical astronomy and the WG scopic and photometric observations
in the domain of Galactic science. The mostly concentrated on Galactic stellar of the obscured Galactic Bulge and the
major recommendations are for ESA com­ponents and on optical observations. central region of the Galaxy;
to guarantee the expected tremendous The main goal of Galactic science is to
capabilities of Gaia, for ESO to consider understand the formation and further – stellar population science needs access
the construction of highly multiplexed evolution of our Galaxy, and to identify to visible (including blue) spectra of
spectrographs for follow-up and com- the processes that have shaped, and stars in the Galaxy, and not just to the
plementary observations of selected which continue to shape, its stellar popu- infrared (IR) that is favoured for much
Gaia targets, and for ESA and ESO to lations and gas content. This implies cosmological work;
consider jointly ways to give European obtaining a consistent picture of the
astronomers a lead in the exploitation structure, the dynamics and the chemical – proper interpretation of such a huge
of the Gaia catalogue. characteristics of the different Galactic mass of data demands significant
populations and, when possible, the improvements to underlying theory,
comparison with the observations made modelling and analysis techniques.
As part of the bilateral cooperation be­­ on nearby galaxies in the Local Group,
tween the two organisations, the Execu- where mean chemical characteristics are
tives of ESO and ESA decided “to identify different from those in our own Galaxy. The top questions in Galactic science
potential synergies within their future
projects”. ESA and ESO therefore initiated This work was especially timely given the Much has been learned about the various
a series of Working Groups (WGs) to planning currently being undertaken components of the Galaxy since the early
explore synergies between space- and for Gaia by ESA, with a launch foreseen by 1940s when Walter Baade introduced
ground-based instrumentation in some the end of 2011, and the impending first- the concept of stellar populations, but we
key scientific areas of astronomy. The first light of dedicated survey telescopes in the still have a fragmentary picture of how
three Working Groups dealt with Extra­ optical and near-infrared by ESO (VISTA the Galaxy was assembled and sub­
solar Planets (Perryman et al., 2005), the by the end of 2008 and VST in 2009). sequently evolved. Only the concomitant
Herschel–ALMA Synergies (Wilson & Moreover, in the future E-ELT era, new availability of high quality data on dis-
Elbaz, 2006) and Fundamental Cosmol- utilisation of 4- and 8-metre telescopes tances, kinematics, ages, physical
ogy (Peacock et al., 2006). The fourth and instrumentation can be envisaged. parameters and element abundances for

46 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

sufficiently large samples of stars from
each of the Galaxy components would
have a profound impact on our views
of how the Galaxy formed and evolved. It
is, in particular, crucial to obtain observa-
tions at various distances from the Ga­­
lactic Centre and various distances from
the Galactic Plane, from the Galactic
Bulge out to the external parts of the Disc
and the halo, including stars in all kinds
of substructures such as OB clusters and
associations, globular clusters and

The first and main task of the Working

Group has been to review the state-of-
the-art knowledge of the Milky Way
galaxy, to identify the future challenges,
and to propose which tools (in terms
of facilities, infrastructures, instruments,
science policies) would be needed to
successfully tackle and solve the remain-
ing open questions. In Section 3 of the
report we examine the current state of
our knowledge in Galactic science: the
main structures of the Galaxy; the con­
tinuing process of star formation that
strongly shapes its present-day proper-
ties; the dynamics of stars that are the
clue to determining the mass distribution
in the Galaxy, connecting the kine­matics
of each population with its spatial distri-
bution and relating the present orbits of
stars to the orbits on which they were
born; the basic astrophysical parameters
(ages, kinematics and chemical abun-
dances) from which stellar evo­lution can
be inferred. Finally, at the end of Section
3 we sketch the current picture of how
the Galaxy was assembled from its build-
ing blocks. Which stars form and have been formed Figure 1. The front cover to the 4th ESA–ESO Work-
ing Group Report, designed by the ESO Education
where? What is the mass distribution
and Public Outreach group, is shown. A detail from
In Section 4 of the report we describe throughout the Galaxy? What is the spiral the painting of Jacopo Tintoretto is blended with an
how the Galaxy can be used as a labora- structure of our Galaxy? How is mass artist’s impression of the Galaxy. Jacopo Tintoretto
tory in which to study the processes that cycled through the Galaxy? How univer- (1518–1594) was a Venetian painter of the Italian
Renaissance, renowned for his dramatic use of light,
shape galaxies, and to constrain theo­ sal is the initial mass function? What is
shadows and bright colours. The painting is the
retical models of galaxy formation and the impact of metal-free stars on Galaxy Origine della Via Lattea showing how the Milky Way
evolution. In the course of Sections 3 and evolution? What is the merging history was created from the milk of Hera. Zeus, wishing
4, we identify a number of limits on of the Galaxy? Is the Galaxy consistent to immortalise his baby Heracles, born from a mortal
woman, Alcmene, held him to the breast of Hera,
our current knowledge, and hint at future with ΛCDM? Then we consider the top
who was sleeping. She suddenly awoke and pushed
work that would overcome these. These open questions for each of the main away the unknown infant. The milk spurting towards
issues are brought into sharp focus components of the Galaxy. In Section 6 heaven became the Milky Way, while some drops
in Section 5, where we identify the top we review ground- and space-based fell downwards giving rise to lilies. The painting is
currently located in the National Gallery, London.
remaining questions, and suggest how facilities that have played and/or will play
The artist’s impression of the Galaxy was designed
possible solutions might be provided a major role in achieving our scientific to illustrate new observations from NASA’s Spitzer
by investment in new facilities, planned goals. Detailed recommendations of the Space Telescope revealing that the Galaxy might
and yet to be planned. In that section, Working Group are drawn together in have only two major arms of stars rather than four
as was previously believed (see http://www.spitzer.
we first identify the eight top global ques- Section 7.
tions, related to the Galaxy as a whole:

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 47

Astronomical News Turon C., ESA–ESO Working Group on Galactic Populations, Chemistry and Dynamics

Recommendations number (40 000–100 000) of particu- c) Infrared multiplexed spectrograph

larly interesting stars selected from on an 8 m-class telescope. ESO
Europe has led the way in Galactic re­­ Gaia observations. There are two should consider improving the ca­­
search as regards astrometry and spec- aspects to this recommendation: pabilities of current VLT multiplexed
troscopy and is on the brink of taking spectrographs for a larger field of
the lead in photometry: ESA’s Hipparcos – Follow-up observations. Gaia will be a view and at IR wavelengths.
mission pioneered space astrometry fantastic tool to select well-defined and
and paved the way for the ambitious Gaia unbiased samples of targeted stellar 3. For ESA and ESO jointly:
mission, which will perform the first paral- populations. High resolution spectros-
lax survey down to magnitude V = 20 in copy (in the blue for the halo and thick – Calibration of Gaia instruments. ESA
parallel with a complete characterisation disc stars, in the red and with more and ESO should jointly facilitate obser-
of each observed object; ESO’s innova- fibres for the thin disc and Bulge) will vations with ESO telescopes that
tive telescopes (NTT and VLT) coupled to provide detailed abundances. are required for the calibration of Gaia
leading capabilities in the construction instruments.
of multi-object spectrographs have yielded – Complementary observations. Medium
detailed stellar abundances of faint resolution spectral observations will – European leadership in the exploitation
stars; ESO is about to start massive pro- provide radial velocities and metallici- of Gaia data. ESA and ESO should
grammes of optical/near-IR photometry ties for selected samples of stars jointly consider ways to give European
with two dedicated survey telescopes fainter than V = 16.5, not measured by astronomers a lead in the exploitation
(VISTA and VST). This observational work the Radial Velocity Spectrometer (RVS) of the Gaia catalogue and facilitate
is backed by unique European expertise on-board Gaia. follow-up observations on a “targets to
in modelling stars and galaxies (stellar be specified later” basis.
atmospheres, stellar and galactic evolu- The recommended instruments are as
tion, population synthesis, dynamics, etc.). follows:
Other recommendations
The opportunities for European science a) Blue multiplexed spectrograph on a
are tremendous if we make strenuous 4 or 8 m-class telescope, with more 1. For ESA:
efforts to capitalise fully on these assets. than 100 fibres, high blue sensitivity
This involves taking both full advantage (signal-to-noise, S/N ~ 30–40) – Prepare for the future of astrometry.
of the instrumentation that we have and and high resolving power
planning new facilities. Particular atten- (20 000–30 000), to measure detailed a) Infrared astrometry would be the
tion has to be paid to the optimisation of abundances in 20 000–50 000 halo, ideal complement to Gaia, which is
synergies between Gaia and ground- thick-disc and outer thin-disc stars. not able to observe deeply in the
based observations, especially with the This could be either on a dedicated Galactic Centre, the Bulge and parts
present or potential ESO instruments. 8 m-class telescope with field of of the Disc because of heavy extinc-
view (FOV) ~ 0.5 deg2, or on a dedi- tion and crowding. The ideal instru-
The major recommendations from this cated 4 m telescope with ment would achieve an astrometric
Working Group are as follows: FOV ~ 2.5 deg2. accuracy of 10 μas down to magni-
tude 17 in the 0.9 μm z-band. A first
1. For ESA to make maximum effort to b) Infrared highly multiplexed spectro­ step in this direction might be a col-
guarantee the expected tremendous graph to be placed on a dedicated laboration with the Japanese project
capabilities of Gaia (accuracies and 4 m-class telescope, with AO correc- JASMINE (10 μas astrometric accu-
limiting magnitudes for the astrometric, tion, massive multiplexing (> 500 racy for stars brighter than z = 14).
photometric and spectroscopic as­­ fibres), S/N ~ 20–30, high resolving
pects of the mission). Only if these power (20 000–30 000) and large b) Microarcsecond accuracy astrome-
requirements are fulfilled can the satel- field of view. This instrument would try in the optical (better than 4 μas).
lite provide the promised revolution in obtain detailed abundances and This is the requirement for resolving
our knowledge of the Galaxy by unveil- radial velocities for 20 000–50 000 the internal motions of the outer
ing populations through the study of obscured Bulge, thin-disc stars. globular clusters and dwarf galaxies
chemistry and dynamics. A lower resolution mode (R ~ 4000) of the Local Group, for which Gaia
would also be perfect for fainter will provide only mean motions. This
2. For ESO to consider facilities (construc- targets, not observed by the RVS on capability would also enable us
tion of new highly multiplexed wide board Gaia. ESO may also consider to obtain direct distances to extra-
field spectrographs or improvement of collaboration with teams starting galactic stellar candles.
the capabilities of existing instruments) the development of such instruments
for medium to high resolution spec­ (APOGEE in the USA; WINERED
troscopic observations of a large in Japan; UKIDNA or HERMES in

48 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

– Asteroseismology. This is a major tool 3. For ESA and ESO jointly: b) Galaxy formation. The diverse instru­­
to complement Gaia with respect ments considered for the E-ELT
to age determination. ESA should en­­ – Observation of the fine structure of the are in their definition phases and it
courage the community to prepare ISM. Support proposals to use ALMA/ is appropriate to explore fully the
for a next-generation mission, which Herschel observations to study the fine possible synergies between E-ELT
would sample all stellar populations of structure of the interstellar medium and JWST instruments in order
the Galaxy. (ISM). to explore in detail the whole Galaxy
and its outskirts, in particular the
– UV spectroscopy. UV wavelengths are – Enhance the European scientific return Terra Incognita behind the Galactic
now only accessible through the from large Galactic surveys by sponsor- Centre.
Hubble Space Telescope (HST). ESA ing actions that would optimise the per-
should support the longevity of formance of the European astronomical As a conclusion, ESA and ESO are pro-
Hubble, with a substantial share of its community in mining these data: viding European astronomers with unique
observing time being devoted to UV instruments, opening the way to
instruments, and support the use a) Workshops on modelling and theory ex­tremely high accuracy space astrome-
of COS, the new UV spectrograph to for stellar interiors and atmospheres; try and innovative ground-based tele-
be installed on HST during the fourth stellar evolution including that of scopes, equipped in particular with first-
Servicing Mission. massive stars and binaries; stellar class spectrographs. The main
population synthesis; galactic recommendation of this report is for the
2. For ESO: dynamics and specific models of two organisations jointly to organise vig-
Galactic populations; the interstellar orously the exploitation of synergies
– Spectrograph on the E-ELT. ESO medium and the distribution of dust between Gaia and ground-based obser-
should consider a spectrograph with and gas in the Galaxy. vations, and consider ways to give Euro-
very high resolving power pean astronomers a lead in the exploita-
(40 000–70 000) on the E-ELT to ob­­ b) Fellowships, aimed at both improv- tion of the Gaia catalogue.
serve abundances of stars (Population ii ing the underlying theory and mod-
and iii stars, F- and G- dwarfs, etc.) elling and developing high perform-
across the whole disc and far from the ance analysis techniques. References
Solar vicinity (Bulge, outer Halo). Peacock, J. A. et al. 2006, ESA–ESO Working Group
– Further ESA–ESO Working Groups: Report on Fundamental Cosmology
– Near-IR photometric survey. It would Perryman, M. et al. 2005, ESA–ESO Working Group
be very valuable for the Southern a) Star formation in various environ- Report on Extrasolar Planets
Wilson, T. L. & Elbaz, D. 2006, ESA–ESO Working
Galactic Plane area as well the inner- ments. This topic will have a strong Group Report on The Herschel–ALMA Synergies
most regions of the Galaxy to have full impetus with the start of the ESO
near-IR coverage. The different VISTA public surveys of the Galactic Plane,
surveys will be an important first step the launch of Herschel, and the pro- Links
in this direction, but their final goals gressive and massive enhancement Spitzer release:
might be different. ESO should closely of sub-mm observations with ALMA. Media/releases/ssc2008-10/release.shtml
follow the sky and wavelength coverage Working Group Report:
of these surveys, and eventually invest coordination/eso-esa/galpops.php
extra observational efforts to ensure To request a printed copy of the report, please con-
total coverage. tact Britt Sjoeberg (

L’Harmonie des Spheres Harmonices Mundi from Joannes Kepler,

CD of Organ Music for IYA2009 a Dialogo from Vicenze Galilei (father
of the astronomer), a fugue by the
Music of the Spheres is the title of a CD famous astronomer William Herschel,
by the French astrophysicist Dominique Jupiter from Gustav Holst’s The Planets,
Proust. As well as being a regular variations on the chorale How bright is
ob­server at La Silla and Paranal he has the morning star from Johann Sebastian
given organ concerts at Santiago, Bach and other pieces. The CD has
Valparaiso, La Serena as well as at La been produced with the support of the
Silla. AMA2009 (Année Mondial de
l’Astronomie) committee and is available
The CD contains 12 organ pieces on request from Dominique Proust
directly inspired by astronomy, including ( Benefits
the planetary harmonic scale of the will be donated to a charitable association.

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 49

Astronomical News

Report on the Workshop

Interstellar Medium and Star Formation with ALMA:

Looking to the Future. A Workshop to Honour Tom Wilson
held at Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, Spain, 16–17 June 2008

Jesus Martin-Pintado A significant number of those mentioned Parkes work constituted the main body of
Departamento de Astrofisica Molecular, were PhD students and postdocs, who his thesis.
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones are Tom’s scientific grandchildren.
Científicas, Madrid, Spain Tom then moved to MPIfR and started to
Following Tom’s suggestion, the emphasis work with the new 100 m radio telescope
was on the future of molecular astrophys- at Effelsberg in Germany. Using the
In June 2008, a group of friends and col- ics, rather than a review of his career. 100 m telescope Tom made the transition
leagues of Tom Wilson gathered in Thus most of the programme was de­­voted from studying H ii regions to observing
Madrid to honour his scientific career in to future studies of interstellar matter molecular clouds, mainly in the centi­metre
a workshop on ALMA organised by three and star formation in the Milky Way and in wavelength lines of ammonia and formal-
of his PhD students. The workshop was external galaxies. The organisers also dehyde. Most of Tom’s students were
devoted to reviewing recent progress in decided that Tom’s students would act as basically trained on molecular line obser-
our understanding of the main topics chairpersons of the sessions to give vations related to the field of star forma-
of research that Tom has pursued during short introductions, recounting anecdotes tion. Tom continued working on recombi-
his career: the physics and chemistry and personal experiences from their nation lines from H ii regions and one of
of the interstellar medium and how stars professional or personal relationship with the most innovative works in this field was
form. Specific topics included H ii re­­ Tom. The presentations from the work- the venture with Robert Rood (the dinner
gions, molecular clouds, clumps, cores, shop, which are available online at speaker, Tom Bania and later Dana Balser)
outflows and masers in Galactic and included two to detect the hyperfine line of ionized 3He.
extragalactic environments, mainly from kinds of talks. The first were given
an observational perspective. by Tom’s old friends and colleagues, who Bernard Burke stressed that big radio
looked back on Tom’s life, relating anec- telescopes became Tom’s métier and he
dotes and also presenting their view of was involved in the commissioning of
Introduction future areas of research to be done with big radio telescopes operating from centi-
ALMA. The second kind were given by the metre to short sub-millimetre wavelengths:
Last December our colleague and friend younger generation of students, many of the 100 m telescope at Effelsberg (Ger-
Tom Wilson celebrated his 65th birthday. them Tom’s scientific grandchildren; these many), the Institut de Radio Astronomie
During his fruitful career he has made were mainly concerned with providing Millimetrique (IRAM) 30 m at Pico Veleta
important contributions to the understand- perspectives on ALMA’s contribution to (Spain) and the 10 m Heinrich Hertz tele-
ing of the physical and chemical proper- their research area. scope at Mt. Graham (Arizona, USA). All
ties of the interstellar medium and the of Tom’s students will always remember
processes leading to star formation. In the The after-dinner speech on 16 June was him as ready to go at any time to observe
last five years, while at ESO, Tom has given by Professor Robert Rood, who or commission receivers and backends
helped to realise the Atacama Large Mil- gave an extended talk about Tom Wilson’s at the 100 m telescope. His typical re­­
limeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). To career. sponse in these cases was, “We will take
honour him, his former students Christian the telescope time, please sign up for the
Henkel (Max-Planck-Institut für Radios- Dienstwagen to go to Effelsberg.”
tronomie, MPIfR), Jesus Martin-Pintado Tom’s scientific career
(Consejo Superior de Investigaciones In recent years, Tom has been heavily
Científicas, CSIC) and Rainer Mauers- The workshop started with a summary of involved in the realisation of the ALMA
berger (ESO) organised a two day work- Tom’s career by Professor Bernard F. through key positions at ESO (European
shop entitled “Interstellar Medium and Star Burke, Tom’s thesis adviser. He described ALMA Project Scientist and Deputy
Formation with ALMA: Looking to the the first steps in Tom’s career as a PhD Director). The workshop continued with
Future”. The workshop was organised by student in MIT, when he had also just ar­­ technical and scientific presentations on
the Departamento de Astrofisica Molecu- rived at MIT. He mentioned three of Tom’s the potential of ALMA.
lar (DAMIR) and held on 16–17 June on the main virtues: persistence, change and
campus of the CSIC in Madrid. Support transition, all of which are fundamental to
for the workshop was provided by CSIC, success in astronomy and astrophysics; Status of ALMA and the synergy with
ESO and RadioNet. he noted that Tom has shown the ability to Herschel
handle all of them. Tom started his thesis
by surveying a catalogue of H ii regions The anticipated performance of ALMA
Scientific programme and attendance in the northern sky in recombination lines and the current status of the project were
with the Green Bank 140-foot telescope. described by Richard Hills, the ALMA
Sixty people attended the workshop. Most Tom also joined Peter Mezger in an exten- Project Scientist. At the time of the work-
of the attendees were Tom’s friends, col- sion of this project to survey recombina- shop eight antennas were already at the
leagues and former PhD students. Unfor- tion lines from southern H ii regions Operations Support Facility; these will
tunately, not all of those invited could with the Parkes 210-foot radio telescope. be delivered to ALMA after a series
come; many were prominently mentioned Both surveys were great successes. The of tests. As one can imagine, the activity
by Tom and others in their pres­entations. is frantic, with equipment being delivered

50 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

and tested. In addition to the antennas,

Credit: Sergio Martin (CfA)

the two antenna transporters were also
undergoing testing. Pere Planesas pre-
sented a visual tour of ALMA and the site.
He showed a number of beautiful pictures
of the landscape and the current status
of construction. The synergies between
the Herschel Observatory and ALMA were
discussed by José Cernicharo.

The molecular interstellar medium

Studies of the chemical complexity and

the structure of the molecular interstellar
medium (ISM) will play a central role
in ALMA. John Bieging described the role
of large-scale mapping of the structure
of the molecular clouds to understand the
impact of massive stars and their evolu-
tion. The large-scale, very high angular cores of molecular clouds by accreting Figure 1. Workshop participants collected around
Tom Wilson (jacket and tie in the front row, 6th from
resolution images of dust and line emis- material onto protostellar cores. However,
the right).
sion will allow scientists to study the origin we do not understand in detail the kine-
and the role of turbulence in the fragmen- matics and dynamics of this process;
tation of molecular clouds. neither the formation and collimation of Massive star formation: masers, star clus-
outflows nor the eventual evolution of ters and H ii regions
Alain Baudry showed the great potential of circumstellar discs to form planetary sys-
the ALMA correlator in searching for tems, asteroids and comets. Presumably Massive star formation has been one of
new molecules in the ISM. Molecular magnetic fields play an important role, but the central themes in Tom’s career
abundances vary with evolutionary state, this is not understood at present. and ALMA will provide images with the
as different species appear and disap- required angular resolution and sensitivity
pear, for example by depletion onto dust Frédéric Gueth presented recent results of to study the formation of stellar clusters
grains. A plethora of molecular species molecular outflow observations with high and also the individual stars in clusters.
can be used as tracers of the complex angular resolution obtained with the IRAM There were a number of talks covering
physics and chemistry and the ability interferometer and argued that ALMA topics from molecular excitation in mas-
to model these processes with high spatial will be able to see central regions in young sive star-forming regions to the properties
resolution was identified as an essential stellar objects, providing images of the of hot cores associated with intermediate
complement to ALMA observations. Eric complex structure and kinematics of the mass protostars in clusters. Karl Menten
Herbst reviewed chemical models, show- outflowing and accreting material. summarised the results obtained from
ing how molecular abundances vary with Stephane Guilloteau presented the poten- imaging maser emission from different
the evolutionary state of star formation tial of ALMA for understanding the forma- molecular species in massive star-forming
in molecular clouds. Aina Palau discussed tion and evolution of circumstellar discs. regions. Al Wootten also reported the
the intriguing behaviour of nitrogen- ALMA will provide a complete view of results of high angular resolution imaging
bearing molecules in molecular clouds the physical conditions, the kinematics of water masers and thermal emission
with intermediate mass star formation. and the chemical evolution of circumstellar from other molecules. Both stressed the
Finally Javier Rodriguez-Goicoechea pre- discs by imaging with very high angular importance of the longest baselines in
sented the chemical effects observed resolution several lines of a large number ALMA to use maser emission to trace the
in photodissociation regions generated by of molecules. The gaps predicted to smallest scale structures in these regions.
UV radiation from massive stars. occur in circumstellar discs as a result of
planet formation can be imaged directly Mayra Osorio presented model predic-
by ALMA. Josep Miquel Girart discussed tions for dust and molecular emission from
Low mass star and planet formation the expected role of magnetic fields in high mass protostars and Carlos Carrasco
star formation. He presented images of Gonzalez showed recent inteferometric
Turning to low mass star formation it was dust polarisation obtained with the (VLA and Combined Array for Research
noted that the processes leading from Sub-mm Array (SMA) and compared the in Millimeter-wave Astronomy, CARMA)
molecular clouds to stars cannot be fol- results of low mass versus high mass images of the molecular outflows and
lowed in detail at present. Progress star formation. The expected hourglass discs in the stellar cluster of NGC 2071.
depends on new instrumentation, espe- shape of the magnetic field is found in Izaskun Jimenez-Serra presented high
cially ALMA. Stars form in the central both cases. an­­gular resolution images of the

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 51

Astronomical News

Cep A HW2 region and showed that a Extragalactic molecular astrophysics of the ultraluminous galaxy Arp 220 and
cluster of intermediate mass stars is being concluded that active galactic nuclei
formed. ALMA will enable a series of advances in (AGN) activity dominates the output, in
the field of galaxy formation and evolution, contrast with previous models that
Studies of H ii regions were presented by particularly at early epochs. Galaxy favoured star formation as the dominant
Dan Jaffe and James Moran. Dan pre- number counts will be extended to the mechanism.
sented observations of the kinematics in faintest sources in every ALMA band. The
compact and ultracompact H ii regions spatial and redshift distribution of these Sergio Martin and Daniel Espada argued
using the [Ne ii] emission line at 12.8 µm. sources, as well as their luminosity func- that detailed chemistry of star formation in
The kinematics are inconsistent with the tions, will become measurable, as ALMA nearby galaxies and in the Galactic Centre
predictions that the exciting stars are mov- will not be confusion-limited in any of its will be a major topic for ALMA, as will
ing with high velocities; a disc geometry bands. It will excel as a follow-up instru- be the relationship between the chemical
explains the evolution of very young H ii ment for large-area surveys with bolome­ complexity and the dominating activity
regions better. Jim Moran presented the ter arrays, both in resolving continuum in galactic nuclei (AGN or starbursts).
results of SMA observations of the recom- emission and in measuring redshifts from Based on a model of molecular emission,
bination line maser in MWC 349. The molecular lines. In this context, Pierre Cox Sergio proposed that the power source
kinetics of the disc around this young presented the new results of the molec­ular in Arp 220 could be due to a burst of mas-
massive star is not fully consistent with emission at high redshift and Paola sive star formation (now in the protostar
Keplerian rotation. Although MWC 349 is Andreani discussed the star formation phase), similar to the hot core phase in
far in the north, ALMA can provide images at high redshifts in obscured sources Galactic star-forming regions.
with enough resolution to discriminate be­­ detected by the Spitzer satellite, stressing
tween kinematical disturbances produced the potential of ALMA for understanding
by gas spiralling toward the star from gas the nature of the power sources. Dennis Links
ejected from the disc of this source. Downes presented recent high angular Workshop contributions:
resolution imaging of the continuum

Award of the Ioannes Marcus Marci Medal to Tom Wilson,

Associate Director for ALMA
Tom Wilson, who has been at ESO since de arcu coelesti deque collorum appar-
2004, first as ALMA Project Scientist and, entium natura ortu et causis. I. M. Marci
after 2006, as ESO Deputy Director, was died in Prague in 1667.
awarded the renowned Ioannes Marcus
Marci Medal of the Czechoslovak Spectro- Since 1977, the I. M. Marci Medal for out-
scopic Society at a ceremony in Prague. standing achievements in the field of
Previous medallists include T. W. Hänsch, spectroscopy has been awarded annually
the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Physics. by the Spectroscopic Society of Ioannes
Marcus Marci. This is a non-profit organi-
Ioannes Marcus Marci was born in 1595 sation for scientific, educational and tech-
in Lanškroun, on the border of the former nical workers with the aims of promoting
provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, cur- and fostering advancement in the field of
rently in the Czech Republic. In 1627 he spectroscopy.
was appointed Professor of Medicine at
Charles University, Prague, later Dean The ceremony took place on 3 Septem-
of the Faculty of Medicine and Rector of ber 2008 in the Prague City Hall Audito-
Charles University. He was also a private rium, a historic lecture hall in central
physician to the Emperor Ferdinand iii. Prague. Tom presented a lecture on the
The results of his research activity have “Current Status and Scientific Potential
been collected in 16 scientific books. of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submil-
His most important contributions in the limeter Array” and he and Terry A. Miller
field of physics were his studies of the (Ohio State University) were awarded
refraction of sunlight by a prism and the the Ioannes Marcus Marci Medal for
explanation of the origin of the rainbow, their contributions to different areas of
collected in his work, Thaumantias. Liber spectroscopy.

52 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical News

Report on the Conference

Optical Turbulence — Astronomy meets Meteorology

held at Nymphes Bay, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy, 15–18 September 2008

Elena Masciadri 3. P
 redict 3D maps of optical turbulence range weather forecasts recently. A new
INAF, Osservatorio Astrofisico di to optimise flexible scheduling of sci- challenge for meteorology recently ap­­
Arcetri, Florence, Italy entific programmes and instruments. peared on the horizon: Mesoscale Data
Assimilation. This consists of a network
4. C
 orrect wavefront perturbations pro- of surface stations and an assimilation
“A European boost to a strategic research duced by atmospheric turbulence. system with a resolution of a few kilome-
field on which the success of the ELTs tres. Such a system is mandatory to
relies.” Many of the most challenging scientific improve the ability of mesoscale models
programmes to be carried out with in reconstructing the unresolved physical
ground-based telescopes and aiming to parameters (such as the OT) evolving at
The spatial resolution of current and enhance our understanding of the spatial and temporal scales smaller than
future ground-based telescopes is lim- Universe require excellent turbulent con- the resolution of the General Circulation
ited by the optical turbulence of the ditions to be successful. The competi­ Model2 and to improve the accuracy of
atmosphere. An interdisciplinary con- tiveness of ground-based astronomy with meteorological weather forecast models
ference of astronomers, meteorologists respect to space-based astronomy is that extend over limited surface areas.
and atmospheric physicists to consider strictly related to our ability to identify and How this can be set up in remote regions
the study, characterisation and correc- predict temporal windows of favourable of the Earth, such as those that are
tion of atmospheric turbulence is atmospheric conditions in the most accu- typically of interest to astronomers, is an
reported. rate way. New and sophisticated Adaptive important question.
Optics (AO) techniques, assisted by
either natural or laser guide stars (such as This international conference was aimed
An international conference, “Optical Multi-Conjugate AO [MCAO], Ground- at all these topics. The meeting was pro-
Turbulence — Astronomy meets Meteor- Layer AO [GLAO] and Laser Tomographic moted and organised by Elena Masciadri,
ology” (see AO [LTAO]), are intended to optimise the Team Leader of the ForOT Project3, and
otam-08) was held at Nymphes Bay, correction of perturbed wavefronts over was a milestone in a long-timescale pro-
Alghero in Sardinia to bring together different fields of view, but, to achieve this gramme begun a few years ago. ForOT
researchers from different fields, including optimisation of efficiency, they will also is actively involved in studies relating to
astronomers, physicists and meteorolo- require a detailed knowledge of the verti- turbulence characterisation for astronom-
gists, to discuss the consequences of cal distribution of the OT (and not simply ical applications, employing measure-
the new era of ground-based astronomy integrated values). This new generation ments as well simulations with mesoscale
from the point of view of optical turbu- of AO requires a detailed understanding of atmospheric models (Masciadri, 2006).
lence, taking account of the main chal- the connections between the turbulence The conference was sponsored by the
lenges and critical points. The meeting spectrum and the shape of the point- European Community, which contributed
was an experiment, with the aim of fos- spread function (PSF) over the entire field most of the funding through the ForOT
tering new types of collaborations that of view. Some specific topics, such as Project, but additional contributions were
enhanced interdisciplinary and cross-field the precise nature and role played by the provided by ESO and INAF (Italy).
interactions. spatial coherence outer scale in high
angular resolution (HAR) techniques and The original intention of the conference
Optical turbulence (OT) is one of the the turbulence spectrum features in non- was to attempt to link the two communi-
main causes limiting the spatial resolution Kolmogorov regimes, are still active ties of astronomers and meteorologists.
attainable in ground-based visible and research topics at the frontiers of the the- This step is fundamental to guaranteeing
infrared astronomical observatories. It is ory in this field. the success of dedicated systems con-
certainly one of the principal obstacles ceived for the prediction of the optical
to be overcome in achieving the potential From the meteorological side, Operational turbulence (seeing and related integrated
performance of the next generation Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) astroclimatic parameters, such as isopla-
of ground-based astronomy facilities, the systems at medium and mesoscale range natic angle, wavefront coherence time,
Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs). The might play an important role for ground- etc.) above astronomical sites using meso­­
success of these facilities strongly based astronomy over the next few scale atmospheric models. The reason
depends on our ability to: decades. 4D-Var Assimilation Data1 em­­ is simple. We need to apply an investiga-
ploying satellite measurements has tive tool developed in meteorology
1. Characterise optical turbulence at greatly improved the quality of medium (atmospheric models) to do science (the
astronomical sites from a qualitative as
well as a quantitative point of view.
In meteorology, Assimilation Data is the procedure
that provides the distribution in space and time  eneral Circulation Models (GCMs) are models that
2. Improve our knowledge of the mecha- of the status of a set of variables supposed to extend over the whole Earth and are used for
nisms that produce and develop opti- describe the atmosphere in a given volume. The weather forecasting.
cal turbulence. accuracy of this description depends on the nature
and density of the observations (such as radio-  he ForOT Project (see
soundings, satellites, etc.) and is fundamental for is funded by a Marie Curie Excellence Grant (FP6
better description of the initialisation of a model. Programme) — MEXT-CT-2005-023878.

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 53

Astronomical News Masciadri E., Optical Turbulence — Astronomy meets Meteorology

characterisation of optical turbulence) in Figure 1. Conference Poster.

the astronomical field. This is a classic
example of problem solving by a multidis-
ciplinary approach between disciplines
that use different languages, different based on the measurements of the wave-
strategic approaches and investigative front angle-of-arrival statistic (Julien
tools. Borgnino) were also discussed. Most of
these instruments have been employed
The challenge for astronomers is to be in recent years to characterise the first
aware just how much the success of the kilometre above several astronomical
next generation of ground-based astron- sites (Mt. Graham, Mauna Kea, Paranal,
omy facilities will depend on numerical Cerro Tololo), providing fundamental
predictions of the atmosphere. This is a results for the optimisation of many of the
discipline that requires long timescales, GLAO systems that are under feasibility
so it is important not to ask the impossi- study for existing facilities.
ble of the current models and to optimise
the work of astronomers and meteorolo- On the topic of surveys, we highlight the
gists to make clear the achievable chal- conclusions of the extended site-testing
lenges and to work together to attain campaigns made by the Thirty Meter
them in the shortest time and most effi- Telescope (TMT) group on a set of pre-
cient way. As a first step in this direction, selected sites around the world
on the last day of the conference, a spe- (Matthias Schoeck) and the presentation
cial session was dedicated to an open of preliminary results of a cross-correla-
discussion moderated by the scientists tion analysis between the results of many
managing some of most powerful current Subsequent sessions were dedicated to different optical instruments performed,
astronomical ground-based facilities, the characterisation of turbulence from at Paranal in December 2007 as part of
those leading operational forecasting sys- measurements. The number and type of the FP6 ELT Design Study (Marc Sarazin).
tems and members of research groups optical instruments to measure the verti- Once more, the spatial coherence outer
developing atmospheric models and data cal distribution (vertical profilers) has sud- scale was confirmed to be a key astrocli-
assimilation systems. denly increased in recent years and many matic parameter for astronomical sites
of them are conceived to monitor dedi- (Aziz Ziad).
Around 60 specialists (from instrumenta- cated regions of the troposphere. One of
tion, atmospheric modelling and theory, the most interesting developments is the On the meteorological side, a very com-
AO simulations and systems) met in proliferation of vertical profilers dedicated prehensive description of a couple of
Sardinia to highlight their new results with to measuring and characterising the OT European mesoscale atmospheric mod-
around 45 oral presentations and 10–15 with high vertical resolution near the els, such as Meso-Nh (Non-hydrostatic
posters. A considerable number of surface. From a typical resolution of the Mesoscale atmospheric model) and
meteorologists attended the event (with order of 1 km (typical of Generalised AROME (Applications of Research to
a strong participation from the Centre Scidar [GS]), we have moved on to Operations at MEsoscale) were presented
National de Recherches Meteorologiques resolving thinner vertical slabs of up to a by Christine Lac, as well as the American
(CNRM), Meteo France, Toulouse) with few tens of metres. Concepts on which Weather Research and Forecasting
presentations covering all the key topics the instruments are based, and/or results (WRF) model (Jordan Powers). A highlight
related to the numerical prediction of the obtained in first site-testing campaigns was the description (Pierre Brousseau)
atmosphere. The conference proceed- were presented for the solar and lunar of the state of the art of the Data Assimi-
ings will be published by Imperial College scintillometers called SHABAR (solar lation systems employed for mesoscale
Press and edited by E. Masciadri and M. SHAdow BAnd Ranger) by Beckers, for models. As explained previously, the
Sarazin. a lunar scintillometer by Paul Hickson, for performance of such models strongly
SLODAR (SLOpe Detection And Ranging) depends on our ability to set the initial
by Richard Wilson and Tim Butterley; conditions in the most detailed way pos-
Main conference results HVR–GS (High Vertical Resolution sible (that is, on the Assimilation Data).
— Generalised SCIDAR) and LOLAS
The conference started with a general (LOw LAyer SCIDAR) were presented by Concerning the dynamical and optical
introduction by two Emeritus Professors. Masciadri and Remy Avila, representing turbulence simulations, considerable
Jacques Beckers introduced the topic two different ways of improving the reso- progress has been made in the last ten
of optical turbulence in high angular reso- lution of GS near the surface. A version years. A key role in this section has been
lution techniques, and Rene Racine of SODAR (SOnic Detection and Ranging) played by the ForOT activities (Masciadri).
provided a personal and provocative at high vertical resolution, called SNODAR, ForOT aims to continue the path under-
vision of the problem of turbulence char- (Colin Bonner) and even a vertical profiler taken by Elena Masciadri several years
acterisation in astronomy. ago that led her to achieve many relevant

54 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

results in this discipline and, in particular,

Credit: P. Anio
to prove that a mesoscale model can
reconstruct the optical turbulence above
an astronomical site with an accuracy
that is not worse than that achievable
with measurements. Among the activities
of this group, the interesting first simula-
tions of the turbulence parameter CN2
above Antarctica, with good reliability of
the model in statistical terms (Franck
Lascaux), are highlighted. The main goal
for this research group is to be a refer-
ence and support for observatories in
developing turbulence prediction systems
above astronomical sites. It is worth
noting the creation of the Mauna Kea
Weather Center, where astronomers of astronomical target (Galactic, extraga- Figure 2. Conference group picture taken in front of
Capo Caccia, Porto Conte, Alghero, Sardinia beside
hired meteorologists to make an opera- lactic and solar) and the observational
a robotic Differential Image Motion Monitor (DIMM)
tional forecasting system of the atmos- technique. automatic mount.
phere above the Mauna Kea summit
(Steven Businger). The general impres- The final session was dedicated to sci-
sion was that this research field is gaining ence operations. The studies related to for the prediction of the state of the
interest among astronomers and this, OT do have a direct impact on the imple- atmosphere would definitely be a major
once more, supports the thesis that it is mentation of the science operation step towards increasing the efficiency of
time to boost actions to support bench- models that make extensive use of queue the service mode at the VLT. Thus it
mark site-testing campaigns, expressly scheduling or service observing. Several appears evident that the goal of OT pre-
conceived to validate the atmospheric 8–10-m class telescopes currently imple- diction on the timescale of a few hours
model above astronomical sites, as pro- ment one of two approaches: in advance remains an important objective
posed by the ForOT group. for observatory operations.
1. Application of a singly administered
There were several contributions aimed queue mode observing system (as for The closing discussion session evinced
at the study of the correlation between ESO). the success of the first step towards a
OT and the meteorological parameters productive collaboration between astron-
that frequently provide valuable inputs on 2. Application of a ‘partner’ queue mode omers and meteorologists. The most evi-
the OT characteristics. On the topic of observing system (as for the Large dent feature of such a constructive inter-
AO and interferometry, we report a few Binocular Telescope, LBT). action was the decision, promoted by
results concerning the implications for the Principal Investigator (PI) of the E-ELT
the turbulence constraints. In the field of It is evident that the selection of the strat- (Roberto Gilmozzi), to prepare a detailed
MCAO, a detailed investigation of the egy is widely influenced by organisational document outlining the main steps nec-
limits of the validity of the Taylor hypothe- issues (the single European agency in essary to prepare an efficient site-testing
sis would provide useful insights on ways the former case, a consortium of a few campaign benchmark test expressly
to improve the sensitivity of MCAO with institutes in the latter) and for this reason conceived for the validation of mesoscale
natural guide stars (Roberto Ragazzoni). the absolute efficiency of a telescope is atmospheric models for application to
For GLAO systems, if the vertical struc- not the only criterion in selecting a given astronomy. We are all confident that this
ture of the turbulence decays sufficiently strategy. However it is certainly useful document will represent the first step
sharply above an astronomical site, GLAO to quantify these efficiencies so as to be on a path that this conference has defini-
systems in the visible can be applied over aware of what might be lost or gained tively and unequivocally charted.
an extremely large field of view (Olivier through alternative solutions. On this
Lai). We also discovered that new wave- topic Fernando Comeron noted that,
front sensor concepts, such as the currently at the VLT, a sizeable fraction References
Differentiation Wavefront Sensor (WS), of observations (~ 20 %) have to be Masciadri, E. 2006, SPIE Orlando, 62671C
reported on by Eric Gendron, might be repeated, because conditions strayed
used to characterise the turbulence in a outside constraints during execution; this
more efficient way than a Shack is an important, hidden source of ineffi- Links
Hartmann. An exhaustive overview (Peter ciency. It is therefore obvious that a tool Conference programme and presentations:
Wizinovich) depicted the main turbulence
constraints as they depended on the type ForOT website:

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 55

Astronomical News

Report on the Conference

Future Ground-based Solar System Research:

Synergies with Space Probes and Space Telescopes
held at Portoferraio, Elba, Italy, 8-12 September 2008

Hans Ulrich Käufl1

Gian Paolo Tozzi2

INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri,
Firenze, Italy

An interdisciplinary workshop bringing

together Solar System researchers,
space mission engineers and scientists,
ground- and space-based observers
and theoreticians is summarised. The
broad scope of the meeting covered
current and future space missions,
planned ground-based facilities and
their closer interaction.

In a previous issue of The Messenger

(Käufl & Sterken, 2006) there was provided a forum to discuss the use of Figure 1. The workshop took place in the historic
a report of a dedicated workshop, co- centre of the city of Portoferraio, dominated by the
these future facilities, and especially how
Renaissance fortifications erected in the 16th cen-
sponsored by ESO and held in Brussels, to optimise the scientific returns and tury under the reign of Cosimo I de Medici. The
in the context of NASA’s Deep Impact to establish synergies. It was particularly venue, near the centre of the photograph, is flanked
space mission to comet 9P/Tempel 1. interesting to identify, or at least start to the left by a building of reddish ochre colour, to
This comet had been the focus of the right by a small church tower, and was originally
the process of identifying, the potentially
commissioned as a barracks. It later became a mon-
an unprecedented worldwide long-term paradigm-shifting observations that astery, but serves now as a cultural and congress
multi-wavelength observation campaign. will become possible with the next gener- centre (named after Cesare De Laugier), as well as a
Many participants at this workshop, ation of large ground-based telescopes picture gallery (Pinacoteca Foresiana) and the city
looked beyond their direct involvement in library (Biblioteca Comunale).
and their advanced instrumentation.
the Deep Impact experiment, and fre-
quently noted how useful it was to hold Among the various goals of the workshop, Venus Express, Messenger and
interdisciplinary workshops, which bring the fostering of collaborations between BepiColombo). In the ESA Cosmic Vision
together Solar System researchers, those ground and space projects, such 2015–20 programme there are also
involved in spacecraft experiments, as those between ESO (ground) and ESA expected to be a number of planetary mis-
ground- and space-based remote ob­­ (space), was the primary goal. In general sions. In the area of new facilities for
servers and theoreticians. The idea of a we sought to create synergies between remote observations the planned ELTs
similar meeting was born. Part of the research programmes at different wave- (E-ELT, Thirty Meter telescope [TMT] and
programme of the Brussels workshop bands into Solar System objects. For Giant Magellan telescope [GMT]) were
was a joint excursion to the battlefield at the ground-based projects the aims were considered, as well as ALMA.
Waterloo, close to the conference venue. to define the Extremely Large Telescope
Standing at the monument there, (ELT), and in particular the European Following a first series of reviews and sta-
some participants remarked how incredi- ELT (E-ELT), science cases for the Solar tus reports on the major observing facili-
ble it was that this battle took place System science and to refine the science ties, topical sessions were held on main
only 100 days after Napoleon’s escape case for the Atacama Large Millimeter/ belt asteroids, the giant planets, including
from the island of Elba, and how difficult submillimeter Array (ALMA). their moons and magnetospheres, Trans-
it often is these days to get anything Neptunian Objects (TNOs), including
going within a few months. Somehow this The topics that were specifically ad­­ Pluto, comets and the formation of the
sparked the idea of the “Route Napoleon dressed during the meeting fall under the Solar System. A bridge was made from
Reverse” that is to say, the next such two headings of ground-based support the study of our Solar System to the rela-
workshop should happen on the island for existing or planned space missions tively new field of extrasolar planetary
of Elba. Needless to say, it took us more and new facilities for remote observations. systems. We are starting to consider our
than 100 days to organise it! There are missions to comets and aster- Solar System as one of many possible
oids (e.g., Rosetta, Dawn, Deep Impact planetary systems, or alternatively, our
Fundamentally new observing platforms and Stardust Wrap-up), to the outer Solar Solar System to be in range of extrapola-
and space probes will become available System planets and moons (e.g., Cassini– tion of current theories of star and plane-
for Solar System research in the coming Huygens and New Horizons), to terres- tary system formation. Our Solar System
decades. The Elba 2008 workshop trial planets and the Moon (e.g., Mars and is also the yardstick that will define the

56 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical News

characteristic observables when direct involving telescope acquisition cameras) – European astronomers will be in the
observations of extrasolar planets shows great promise. front seat for these research pro-
become feasible, with future facilities grammes, thanks to participation in
such as the E-ELT. –F
 or the inventory of asteroid and come- ALMA and the instrumentation suite
tary nuclei, systematic statistical stud- under study for the E-ELT (D’Odorico
The detailed scientific programme of the ies of shapes, sizes, albedos and rota- et al., 2008). For Solar System studies,
meeting is available at http://www.arcetri. tion will depend critically on ground- the METIS instrument (Mid-infrared The scientific scope based telescopes as well as the James Imager and Spectrograph with Adaptive
ranged from the detection of the tenuous Webb Space telescope (JWST). The Optics) and EPICS (the Planet Imager
sodium atmospheres of Mercury and same conclusion holds for the study of and Spectrograph with extreme adap-
our Moon to the bio-signatures of extra- their surface chemistry. tive optics) are most relevant.
solar planets. The proceedings will
be published in a special edition of Earth, – Paradigm-changing observations can, In a splinter session, some 20 participants
Moon and Planets, with a target publica- for example, be expected in the field also convened to form the kernel of a
tion date in the first half of 2009. of planetary atmospheres. Currently the working group to complement the Science
long-term stability of planetary atmos- Case of the E-ELT with a special Solar
In the conference summary, provided by pheres against erosion by solar UV System section. Follow-up activities of this
Hermann Boehnhard, the following main radiation and particle flux is not under- group are being planned soon1.
conclusions were reached and agreed: stood; high resolution spectral and
spatial observations may provide for
– Even the most advanced and sophisti- fundamentally improved insights into References
cated space missions that provide for the relevant processes. D’Odorico, S. et al. 2008, SPIE, 7014, 70141
in situ data need the complement of Käufl, H.U. & Sterken, C. 2006, The Messenger,
remote sensing data to place the obser- – In order to achieve a synthesis between 126, 48
vations in their wider scientific context. the observations and theory of extra­
solar protoplanetary discs and our
– The Solar System inventory is far from Solar System, more mineralogical data
complete and there is a strong need for (e.g., mid-infrared low resolution 1
 nyone wishing to join this group can contact
more surveys. For the faintest objects a spectroscopy) for primitive bodies in either of the authors by e-mail: or
serendipitous occultation mode (e.g., our Solar System are mandatory.

Report on the ALMA Workshop

Simulations for ALMA

held at IRAM, Grenoble, France, 8–10 September 2008

Bojan Nikolic1 of ALMA imaging: topics included complete, and in many cases full produc-
John Richer1 detailed scientific simulations of astro- tion is underway. Eleven antennas have
Frédéric Gueth2 nomical observations together with already been delivered to the mid-level
Robert Laing 3 more technical simulations of instru- site, the Operations Support Facility
mental and atmospheric effects and the (OSF), near San Pedro de Atacama. With
strategies for their correction. The interferometric fringes expected next
University of Cambridge, UK workshop web page contains the pres- year, now is a good time to revisit in detail
IRAM, Grenoble, France entations made at the meeting and the plans for ALMA data analysis to en­­
ESO is available from sure that ALMA scientists have the necessary tools both to develop their sci-
entific observing programmes with ALMA
A workshop on Simulations for ALMA and produce the best possible datasets
was held on 8–10 September 2008 Construction of the Atacama Large for scientific analysis.
at IRAM. About 40 participants from Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in
Europe, North America and Japan northern Chile is proceeding rapidly. Extensive work is being done in many
attended, and discussed many aspects The majority of the hardware design is of the ALMA partner countries to develop

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 57

Astronomical News Nikolic B. et al., Report on the ALMA Workshop Simulations for ALMA

Crystal6.GLM.subim.coord.regrid Figure 1. An example diagnostic

Credit: R. Indebetouw (NRAO)

30 30 30 output produced by almasimmos (the

max = 0.049 max = 0.479 max = 0.108
RMS = 2.8e–04 RMS = 1.2e–03 RMS = 4.2e–03 CASA simulator for ALMA) for a mosaic
20 20 20 ALMA observation in one of the com­-
pact configurations at the frequency of
10 10 10 345 GHz.
0 0 0

– 10 – 10 – 10

– 20 – 20 – 20

– 30 – 30 – 30
– 30 – 20 – 10 0 10 20 30 – 30 – 20 – 10 0 10 20 30 – 30 – 20 – 10 0 10 20 30
max = 29.274 bmaj= 1.04
RMS = 1.2e+00 200 10 bmin = 0.95
100 5
v (Kλ)

0 0 0

– 10
–100 –5
– 20
– 200 –10
– 30
– 30 – 20 – 10 0 10 20 30 – 200 –100 0 100 200 –10 –5 0 5 10
u (Kλ)

the software required for data taking, The focus for this year’s workshop, held active development and in a beta-testing
data analysis and simulation. In the at the headquarters of the Institut de stage only. With this caveat it is, however,
absence of a working ALMA interferom- Radio Astronomie Millimétrique (IRAM) available for use and testing by the
eter, simulations play an important role in Grenoble was to bring together all the entire community as part of the CASA
in understanding how to optimise ALMA’s different groups worldwide working on beta release, which may be downloaded
performance. For example, simulations different aspects of ALMA simulation at
allow us to quantify the effects of errors software, to assess recent progress and
caused by the atmosphere, by pointing help plan future software developments. Also in the session on simulators, there
errors or antenna surface errors. They The meeting was generously supported were presentations by A. Richards
also help us develop techniques for by Radionet and by IRAM. from the University of Manchester on
calibrating and imaging ALMA data. In integration of simulations with the Virtual
addition, the realistic simulation of Four of the major packages used for Observatory (VO) and by R. Lucas from
models of astrophysical objects — for ALMA simulations were presented at the Joint ALMA Office, who presented
example protoplanetary discs and the meeting. The CASA simulator for the ALMA Shared Simulator, which is
high redshift galaxies — allows the scien- ALMA (almasimmos) was presented by designed to simulate the detailed online
tific community to develop observing R. Indebetouw of NRAO. The simulation operation of ALMA as a system.
programmes for ALMA. capabilities of GILDAS were presented
by F. Gueth of IRAM. F. Viallefond of In the session on science simulations,
ALMA is an interferometer with many LERMA presented the simulator that he S. Takakuwa of ASIAA presented simula-
unique features. Its 66 antennas come in has been designing in collaboration tions of low mass star-forming regions
two sizes, 12 m or 7 m in diameter, with J. Pardo; and M. Wright of Berkeley and debris discs, illustrating the improve-
and can be moved to any of the 200-plus presented the simulation capabilities of ment in imaging fidelity provided by
pads on Chajnantor. They work at very the MIRIAD package. the ALMA Compact Array (ACA). M. Wyatt
high frequencies, so that the primary from the University of Cambridge
beams are imperfect, and the atmospheric Of the four, the package most targeted presented exciting simulations based on
phase errors are large. Pointing errors toward non-expert users is almasimmos, physical models of debris discs as
caused, for example, by wind shake can which also has the advantage of being a observed with ALMA at high resolution.
be significant at times. As expected, part of the official ALMA offline data E. van Kampen of the University of
a great deal of effort has gone into simu- reduction tool (CASA). A sample screen- Innsbruck presented large-scale galaxy
lations, especially in the early design shot of almasimmos output is shown formation simulations and discussed
years of the project, to ensure that the in Figure 1, illustrating the simulation of a their relevance to ALMA observations. I.
technical specifications of ALMA are mosaic ALMA observation. In common Heywood from the University of Oxford
good enough to meet the ambitious sci- with CASA, almasimmos is still under also presented large-scale semi-empirical
entific goals. simulations designed primarily for the

58 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical News

Square Kilometer Array (SKA), but in­­ simulations based on data from the proposed improvements to ALMA’s inter-
cluding both mm-wavelength spectral Nobeyama Millimetre Array and the 45 m mediate configurations (those with base-
lines and radio continuum. single dish telescope. Lastly, B. Nikolic lines about 4–10 km in length). This was
presented some work done under FP6 at followed by an open discussion on the
We also had a session on algorithms the University of Cambridge on simula- scientific impact of the suggested config-
and the use of simulations to optimise tions of atmospheric phase errors and uration changes.
these. M. Wright discussed the degrada- their correction by a combination of fast-
tion in image fidelity due to deviations switching and water-vapour radiometry. No proceedings of the workshop will be
of antenna primary beams from their published, but all of the presentations are
canonical shape and on the technique to The final session at the workshop was on available at
correct this effect by deconvolution of the configurations of ALMA and the
the measured primary beam shape. N. impact of having 50 rather than 64 anten-
Rodriguez Fernandez from IRAM pre- nas in the main array. M. Holdaway (for- Links
sented the progress of the work being merly at NRAO, and now running Kalimba Workshop webpage:
done under EU Framework Programme 6 Magic) discussed the effects of the
(FP6) to develop on-the-fly interferometric antenna number reduction on calibration CASA beta release:
observations for ALMA. The subject of techniques (and also gave an impromptu
Workshop presentations:
combining interferometric and single dish kalimba performance). R. Reid of NRAO
data was analysed by Y. Kurono from then presented his investigation of presentations2008.html
the University of Tokyo and he presented

Report on the Conference

400 Years of Astronomical Telescopes

held at ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands, 29 September–2 October 2008

Bernhard Brandl The meeting took place from 29 Septem- Newton, Herschel and Lord Rosse to the
Remko Stuik ber–2 October 2008 at the ESTEC con- great refractors of the 19th century,
Leiden Observatory, the Netherlands ference centre. and the big reflectors of the 20th century.
After a review of optical astronomical
The goal of the meeting was to present a instruments the focus shifted to longer
Four hundred years ago, on 25 Septem- comprehensive coverage of the history, wavelengths, covering the history of infra-
ber 1608, the Dutch lens maker Hans science and technology of 400 years red and radio telescopes.
Lipperhey from Middelburg traveled of astronomical telescopes in a wider
to The Hague to apply for a patent for his sense, provided exclusively as review talks The second day was — apart from an
invention: the “spyglass”. The Commander by invited speakers. Although the classi- intermezzo on solar telescopes — dedi-
in Chief of the Dutch armed forces, Prince cal telescope was an optical instrument, cated to non-optical telescopes,
Maurice of Nassau, was quite impressed. the topics covered the entire electromag- from Riccardo Giacconi’s talk on X-ray
However, since the instrument could be netic spectrum. The audience of about telescopes to reviews of gamma-ray
easily copied, Lipperhey was not granted 130 participants — who were noticeably and imaging TeV telescopes and neutrino
the patent. Nevertheless, he was gener- more senior than at most topical science detectors. Miscellaneous aspects, like
ously rewarded and two more copies meetings — included many key players the history of astronomical discoveries,
of his invention were ordered. Lipperhey’s in the creation of the current generation of the improvement of astrometric accuracy,
spyglass constitutes the basis for the telescopes (see Figure 1). Many of them the capabilities of amateur telescopes,
development of astronomical telescopes. contributed their own memories and per- and the history of the Hubble Space Tele-
spectives to the meeting, frequently lead- scope by Robert O’Dell, followed. The
To celebrate this event and the resulting ing to very interesting coffee and dinner second day was concluded by Reinhard
developments, Leiden Observatory, in table discussions. Genzel’s talk, illustrating the feedback
cooperation with ESTEC, recently organ- between technological developments and
ised an international meeting entitled The meeting started with the historical scientific discoveries relating to the
“400 Years of Astronomical Telescopes”. development of optical telescopes, from Galactic Centre.
the beginnings in Middelburg via Galilei,

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 59

Astronomical News Brandl B., Stuik R., Report on the Conference 400 Years of Astronomical Telescopes

The third day started with the key ena-

Credit: Carolina Ödman (Leiden Observatory)

bling technologies for optical telescopes,
from mirror casting and polishing, active
optics and telescope design considera-
tions to adaptive optics and interferomet-
ric techniques. The second part reviewed
the technological developments that
enabled submillimetre and radio astron-
omy, and the realisation of X-ray and
gamma-ray telescopes. The session was
complemented by a poster session and
a visit to the Herschel Space Telescope.
The interplay between technological
developments, society and politics was
highlighted in the next session, which
included Lo Woltjer’s talk on “ESO’s Past
and Future” and a stimulating plan to
use telescopes to harvest solar energy by
Roger Angel.

How embedded in, and dependent on,

their surrounding infrastructure astro-
nomical observatories really are became
obvious on the last day of the confer-
ence, during the talks on the “Sacred Figure 1. Participants at the conference, 400 Years
of Astronomical Telescopes.
Mountains”, Mount Graham and Mauna
Kea, on the increasing problem of light
pollution, and on the role of observatories

Credit: Carolina Ödman (Leiden Observatory)

in underdeveloped countries. Talks on
measures of the impact of publications,
“very big science”, the history of NASA’s
Great Observatories and perspectives
for future technologies completed the
programme of the last day. The meeting
was concluded by Tim de Zeeuw’s
talk on “Challenges and Perspectives for
Future Telescopes”.

The social programme included three

events: a welcome reception at ESA’s
Space Expo, a visit to the impressive col-
lection of historical telescopes at the
Museum Boerhaave in Leiden, and a din-
ner cruise along the Dutch canals. Cer-
tainly one of the most memorable and
unique events was the get-together of five
of the former and present ESO Directors
General: Adriaan Blaauw, Lodewijk
Woltjer, Harry van der Laan, Riccardo
Giacconi and Tim de Zeeuw (see Figure 2).
Being present throughout the meeting
they contributed heavily to the discussion, Springer in early 2009, and will be a great Figure 2. Five ESO Directors General at the confer-
memory for those who attended the ence. From right to left: Tim de Zeeuw (2007–present);
in particular after Lo Woltjer’s talk on the
Adriaan Blaauw (1970–1974); Riccardo Giacconi
history of ESO. meeting, as well as a great resource for (1993–1999); Lodewijk Woltjer (1975–1987); and Harry
all those who missed this unique event. van der Laan (1988–1992). The VLT background was
The proceedings of the conference will More details on the meeting can be found provided by Fred Kamphues (TNO).
be published in a hardcover book by at

60 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical News

Announcement of the ESO–Porto Conference

Towards Other Earths: Perspectives and Limitations in the ELT Era

19–23 October 2009, University of Porto, Portugal

The conference on the theme of the calibrate the instruments to achieve such The conference will give particular
search for extrasolar planets is being a precision and stability? Equally impor- emphasis to the contributions from the
jointly organised by the Center for Astro- tant are the limitations imposed by intrin- upcoming generation of ELTs to this
physics, the University of Porto (CAUP) sic astrophysical phenomena such as task of finding and characterising other
and ESO. To enable the discovery of stellar activity, granulation or oscillations. Earths. In addition to invited talks,
other Earths, a new generation of instru- Are we preparing ourselves to deal with contributed papers (oral or poster) can
ments and telescopes is now being and to correct for these effects? What are be presented. The SOC will select a lim-
conceived and built by different teams the ultimate limitations of the different ited number of contributions for oral
around the world. This includes a techniques mounted on ground- or space- presentation on the basis of the submit-
new generation of Extremely Large Tele- based facilities? We want to gather ted abstracts.
scopes (ELTs). Thanks to the diameter together the community of planetary as­­
of their primary mirrors, the detection of tronomers and instrumentalists working The conference will take place in the
Earth-mass planets is expected to be on the field to: town of Porto (Oporto in English), which
within reach of these ELTs. is the second largest town in Portugal.
– review the current status of the search It is located on the estuary of the River
In parallel, a new generation of instru- for telluric exoplanets, and present our Douro, facing the Atlantic. The city is
ments for the current 8–10 m class facili- understanding of their formation; about 300 km north of the capital
ties is being planned. This new cutting- (Lisbon), and is renowned for its famous
edge suite of instruments includes high –d
 iscuss the implications of their main Port (Porto) wine. The beauty of this
angular resolution adaptive optics (AO) physical properties at the detection area is acclaimed and it is a UNESCO
imagers, microarcsecond astrometry limits of different techniques; World Heritage Patrimony Site. Porto’s
with interferometers and ultra-stable historic centre was classified by UNESCO
spectrographs at the cm/s level. The – draw a coherent picture of the technical as a World Cultural Heritage site in
synergy of these facilities with space- and physical issues that we have to December 1996.
based observatories will play a key role solve in this fabulous endeavour of find-
in the discovery of Earth-mass planets. ing and characterising other Earths. Registration will open in January 2009.
More details are available at http://www.
What are the requirements that this instru-
mentation will have to match to allow us toe2009 or by sending an e-mail to
to find other Earths? Do we know how to

Announcement of the

EIROforum School of Instrumentation (ESI)

11–15 May 2009, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland

The EIROforum Schools on Instrumen­ EIROforum who work on instrumentation – E xperimental setups, optics and detec-
tation are held bi-annually and are jointly topics. tors for neutrons and synchrotron radia-
organised by the seven EIROforum tion applications
organisations. The scientific programme The school covers the following topics:
of ESI addresses all aspects of instru- – Space- and ground-based instrumen­
mentation related to the missions of – Principles of radiation detection and tation for astronomy
EIROforum. detector technologies
– Control, dosimetry and detection in
The main objective of ESI is to teach the – Introduction to detector electronics and fusion experiments
basic principles of instrumentation to data acquisition
young researchers, scientists and engi- – Radiation hardness of detection sys-
neers, mainly from the EIROforum organi- – Detector systems and techniques for tems and electronics
sations. A fraction of the places will high energy physics
be reserved for particularly talented PhD For further details please visit the web
students not directly connected with page

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 61

Astronomical News


European Organisation
for Astronomical
Research in the
Southern Hemisphere

ESO ALMA Fellowship Programme

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the We offer an attractive remuneration package including a competitive
Southern Hemisphere awards several postdoctoral fellowships salary (tax-free), comprehensive social benefits, and provide
each year. The goal of these fellowships is to offer young financial support for relocating families. Furthermore, an expatriation
outstanding scientists opportunities and facilities to enhance allowance as well as some other allowances may be added. The
their research programmes by facilitating close contact between Outline of the Terms of Service for Fellows provides some more
young astronomers and the activities and staff at one of the details on employment conditions/benefits.
world’s foremost observatories.

With ALMA becoming operational in a few years, ESO offers The closing date for applications is 31 January 2009.
additional ALMA Fellowships — funded by the Marie-Curie COFUND Please apply by filling the web form available at the recruitment
Programme of the European Community — to complement its page attaching to your application (preferred
regular fellowship programme. Applications by young astronomers format is PDF):
with expertise in mm/sub-mm astronomy are encouraged.
– your Curriculum Vitae including a list of (refereed) publications;
For all Fellowships, scientific excellence is the prime selection
criterion. The programme is open to applicants who have earned – your proposed research plan (maximum 2 pages);
(or will have earned) their PhD in astronomy, physics, or related
disciplines before 1 November 2009. Young scientists from all – a brief outline of your technical/observational experience
astrophysical fields are welcome to apply. (maximum one page).

The selected candidates may choose to work at one of the In addition three letters of reference from persons familiar with your
European institutes hosting an ALMA Regional Centre node scientific work should be sent directly to ESO to
(Bologna, Bonn, Grenoble, Leiden, Mancester, Onsala) or at ESO before the application deadline.
in Garching.
Please also read our list of FAQs regarding fellowship applications.
Fellowships start with an initial contract of one year followed by a
two year extension (three years in total). In addition to the excellent Questions not answered by the above FAQ page can be sent to:
scientific environment that will allow them to develop their scientific Paola Andreani, Tel +49 89 320 06-576, Fax +49 89 320 06-898,
skills, as part of the diverse training ESO offers, Fellows are e-mail:
encouraged to participate in some functional work related to ALMA
(in instrumentation, operations, public relations, etc.) for up to 25%
of their time.

62 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical News

Daniel Enard 1939–2008

Martin Cullum However, this was not the end of Daniel’s

ESO involvement with ESO. After the 100 m
OWL telescope concept design review in
November 2005, Daniel was appointed
Daniel Enard died in Paris on 2 August Chair of the ELT Design Working Group
2008 at the age of 68 following a serious and later, in March 2006, he chaired the
illness. He made a major contribution to ELT Science and Engineering Committee
ESO over the many years he served the (ESE) that advises the ESO Council
Organisation and is considered by many on the E-ELT project and now oversees
as the technical father of the Very Large Phase B of the programme. As for the
Telescope project. VLT project some 25 years earlier, this
was a critical period for the E-ELT due to
Daniel graduated at the École Supérieure the diversity of views within the European
d’Optique in Paris in 1963 and completed astronomical community on which con-
his doctoral thesis in 1965. After spend- cept should be selected. Daniel’s broad
ing eight years working for the Optical experience and calm approach was fun-
Division of Matra, he joined the ESO Tele- damental to the eventual adoption of the
scope Division in Geneva as an Optical novel five-mirror concept at the European
Engineer in the Ray Wilson’s group in ELT Workshop that was held in Marseille
February 1975. Although the 3.6 m tele- in November 2006. He continued chairing
scope was well advanced at that time, the ESE committee until the beginning
the instrumentation programme was seri- of 2008 when illness prevented him from
ously delayed. So after the arrival of continuing.
Lo Woltjer as Director General, Daniel
contributed to an updated instrumenta- Daniel will be missed and remembered
tion plan for the 3.6 m telescope and In June 1983, a VLT Project Group was by many friends and colleagues at ESO,
the Coudé Auxilliary Telescope (CAT). In set up under Daniel’s leadership. In this not only for his technical knowledge and
the following years he played a key role role, his broad understanding of optics insight, but also for his open and gener-
in the development and commissioning of and general engineering disciplines ena- ous personality that was greatly appreci-
the Coudé Echelle Spectrometer (CES), bled him to steer the VLT project through ated by all who worked with him.
which remained the only high dispersion its difficult conception phase, in which
instrument of this facility. the many different wishes from the ESO He leaves a widow, two daughters and
community were weighed and evaluated, five grandchildren.
After ESO moved into the new headquar- toward the pioneering, but solid engi-
ters building in Garching in September neering, concept that was finally approved
1980, Daniel took over the leadership of by the ESO Council in 1987. Fundamental
the Instrumentation Group and initiated to the whole VLT concept was the appli-
the development of several new instru- cation of the active optics that Ray Wilson
ments for the 3.6 m telescope. These had so successfully applied to the NTT,
included CASPEC, IRSPEC, OPTOPUS but in a much more extreme form. This
and EFOSC, which were all highly innova- was a bold decision, which proved to be
tive instruments at that time. IRSPEC was fully justified after the implementation by
ESO’s first cooled-grating infrared spec- Lothar Noethe and colleagues.
trograph and OPTOPUS used fibre optics
to enable a classical slit spectrograph to In June 1996 Daniel was seconded to the
be used for multiple-object spectrometry. VIRGO gravitational wave detector
EFOSC was a very efficient multi-mode project at Cascina near Pisa where he
instrument that employed refractive served as Technical Manager. After
optics. Daniel was among the first to rec- the creation of the European Gravitational
ognise that new optical glasses enabled Observatory (EGO) in December 2000,
refractive solutions that were far more Daniel became the Deputy Director of
compact, more efficient and also cheaper this organisation. Daniel retired from EGO
than conventional Schmidt camera sys- at the end of December 2003, shortly
tems. after the project had been successfully

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 63

Astronomical News

New Staff at ESO

I am deeply interested in the study of the When I was a five years old my big
possible evolutionary connections brother began to encourage me to watch
between AGN and starburst activity. One astronomical TV programmes. I was
of the questions guiding my research surprised about how many things can be
is whether or not the 100-parsec-sized found ‘outside’, and how they work. I
regions of starburst activity we see in was born in Mérida, Venezuela. I studied
external galaxies are scaled-up versions physics at the Universidad de Los Andes,
of Galactic star-forming regions. If not, situated in the same beautiful city where
what makes them different? I have stud- I was born. At the end of my under­
ied star formation and AGN activity using graduate studies, I joined the Centro de
cm-wavelength VLBI observations of Investigaciones de Astronomía (CIDA)
large samples of galaxies, as well as to start my thesis project. The subject
deep cm- and mm-wavelength interfer- was modelling the emission line spectra
ometry of single objects. Over the years I of star-forming galaxies.
have gathered much experience in both
the theoretical and practical aspects of I have been always interested in observa-
the interferometric techniques that are my tional astronomy. So, at the same time
principal research tools. as I was developing my undergraduate
thesis, I started to work as a service
In 2007 I returned to Chile as a postdoc mode observer at the Observatorio
Rodrigo Parra at Pontificia Universidad Catolica. I taught Nacional Llano del Hato, the observatory
a radio astronomy course and gave a closest to the equator, and managed by
few theoretical seminars about interfer- CIDA.
Rodrigo Parra ometry. Additionally, I worked in parallel
as the CONICYT support astronomer After I obtained a BSc in physics, I moved
As a young boy I was mystified by those for the APEX telescope where my main to Chile and obtained an MSc in astron-
enigmatic and persistent “clouds” in the duties were to plan and conduct the omy and astrophysics from the Pontificia
night sky of my beloved Valparaiso. I will observations of Chilean projects. In this Universidad Catolica de Chile. My thesis
neither forget, nor be able to describe, position, I was lucky enough to have a there was about modelling the mass-
the striking feeling I had while reading free “test-drive” of the job before joining luminosity ratio and chemical enrichment
about the real nature of the Magellanic ESO as an APEX staff astronomer. I in galaxies, considering the impact of the
Clouds in the very first astronomy book I must say I completely fell in love with the integrated stellar IMF.
ever owned (Astronomia by José Comas Sequitor base and the overwhelming
Solá). My interest in astronomy grew at beauty of the “white lady” (our VERTEX I joined ESO in September 2008 and
a steady rate. Many years passed. During dish) dancing against the immaculate sky work as a support astronomer at La Silla.
a visit to La Silla while studying electrical of Chajnantor. I must say also that the
engineering, I saw a long-haired (and operation of the APEX telescope is par-
bearded) astronomer walking barefoot ticularly challenging (and tricky), due
towards a small white dome. I remember to the experimental nature of the project
thinking to myself something like, “Wow, itself. But the reward is priceless: the
what a cool job!” assortment of installed instruments com-
bined with the outstanding site allows
I graduated and started working in indus- discoveries to be made almost every day.
try. After one year, I decided to obtain
an MSc in digital/microwave communica-
tions in Chalmers, Sweden. Just as I Faviola Molina
was writing my master’s thesis, I had the
opportunity to meet John Conway and Not feeling totally a foreigner in Chile, I
work with him on a thesis about interstel- arrived in this exciting country in March
lar masers (disguised as a telecommuni- 2006, when I started postgraduate
cations thesis). I was assigned to a small studies at the Pontificia Universidad
office at the Onsala Rymdobservatorium, Catolica de Chile. As student I enjoyed
which eventually became my second my first two and a half years in Chile,
home for about five years, until I received sharing great experiences with the peo-
a PhD in radio astronomy under John’s ple I worked and studied with.

Faviola Molina

64 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical News

Fellows at ESO

not least, thanks to new impulses given work on my PhD, which I obtained in
by the recently arrived Head of Science 2006, two months before starting my
Michael West — offers an attractive mix ESO fellowship.
of talks ranging from passing high profile
experts from all fields, to specialised My work focuses on studying galaxy
seminars organised by local staff, fellows clusters, the cosmic web, and the deter-
and students. mination of cosmological parameters. My
tool of choice is weak gravitational lens-
So my decision to spend my last off-duty ing, a technique that has fascinated me
fellow year (starting in March 2009) out- ever since I first heard about it in a lecture
side ESO was certainly not easy, but the course in 2000. During my fellowship I
temptation to exchange the starry lights have mostly worked on comparing weak-
for the city lights of the Institute lensing mass estimates of galaxy clusters
d’Astrophysique de Paris, where a strong to those obtained with other methods,
team in my favourite field of research (the and developing new statistics to con-
hunt for exoplanets using microlensing) is strain cosmological parameters with
forming, was too big. However I will upcoming imaging surveys. Garching,
Daniel Kubas surely stay in contact with my ESO col- with its unique conglomeration of astro-
leagues and friends and, who knows, nomical institutes, is a near-perfect envi-
may be back some day or some night. ronment for my science and some of my
Daniel Kubas projects could not have been realised
without the close collaborations of col-
My journey to the Atacama desert started Jörg Dietrich leagues at ESO’s neighbouring Max-
quite a while ago. When I learned from Planck Institutes.
my parents that what I was referring to as I am one of those astronomers who
the “big lamp”, was a celestial companion became enchanted with astronomy very For my functional work at ESO I joined
called “the Moon” and was not in fact early in their lives. My parents tell me that the ESO Survey Team, which oversees
shining itself, but only reflecting the light shortly after my fascination with astron- the preparation and, eventually, the exe-
from the “truly big lamp”, the Sun, I omy started, at the age of five, I declared cution of ESO public surveys with the
became more curious about what was that I wanted to become an astronomer, upcoming VISTA and VST facilities. Since
going on up there in the skies above Ber- a goal I have pursued ever since. my research is based on large imaging
lin. Thanks to the supply of books from surveys, my functional work is a perfect
Jules Vernes, television shows from Carl I studied physics and astronomy at the match to my science interests.
Sagan and films in which the Earth stood University of Bonn and the University of
still, or featuring people from a planet Tennessee, Knoxville, and obtained a
called Vulcan, I held on to this curiosity. masters degree in physics in Bonn in
Eventually I started studying physics at 2002. After that I joined ESO for the first
the Technical University of Berlin, spend- time, working for the ESO Imaging Survey
ing a year (1998) at the University of Mel- for one year. I then returned to Bonn to
bourne and finishing at the University of
Potsdam (2005).

Finally, in March 2006, I had the privilege

of joining the ESO team serving the astro-
nomical community as support astrono-
mer in Paranal. I had spent a lot of nights
before on telescopes, but none as clear
and long as the ones in the Martian-like
Atacama desert. Apart from being an
out-of-this-world place, what strikes me
most, is the dedication and enthusiasm
of the people working there. No matter
the time of the day you always find a
helping hand with a smile. However ESO
is much more than an observatory. The
science life at ESO Vitacura — last, but

Jörg Dietrich

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 65

Astronomical News

ESO at the European City of Science

Henri Boffin, Ed Janssen and Figure 1. Henri Boffin

Credit: Pascal Blondé (OBSPM)

from ESO (left) explain-
Hännes Heyer
ing the model of the
ESO dome for the European
Extremely Large
Telescope to Valérie
Pécresse, the French
To mark the French Presidency of the
Minister of Higher
Council of the European Union, the Education and Research
French Ministry of Higher Education and (centre) and Janez
Research decided to create a European Potočnik, the European
Commissioner for
City of Science in one of most magnifi-
Science and Research
cent historical buildings in Paris, the (right).
Grand Palais, on 14–16 November.

In this impressive setting, the European

City of Science paid host to more than
42 000 visitors — some queuing for
up to two hours to enter — all taking the
opportunity to learn how the European other countries in the European Union) to build the biggest ‘eye’ on Earth, the
Research Area does its work. Not that were presented. 42-metre European Extremely Large
only schoolchildren of all ages, but also Telescope (E-ELT).
adults, could learn about scientific and ESO was present, in a joint venture with
technical culture with the help of guides several French research partners: CEA Numerous short presentations on a wide
taking them to meet research scientists Service d’Astrophysique; Observatoire variety of topics made by astronomers
from every country in Europe. The scien- de Paris; Institut d’Astrophysique de from our partner institutes were an
tific and technological perspectives Paris; Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de important component of the stand. These
were presented through the outcomes Marseille and the Centre de Recherche presentations drew a very large crowd
and inventions produced by the research. Astrophysique de Lyon. throughout the three days. ESO’s
presence at the European City was very
The scientific community had enthusiasti- The stand occupied by ESO and its part- much appreciated both by the public
cally rallied round the realisation of ners was a 130 m2 ‘astronomy dome’, and the media, and the E-ELT was show-
the European City of Science. Over 200 entitled “From the VLT to the E-ELT: cased in the special Euronews report on
organisations (80 from countries in Europe, a Window on the Universe”. It the event. Moreover, we had the pleasure
the European Union other than France) showcased most current astronomical of welcoming the French Minister of
expressed their interest in taking part themes, from life in the Universe to black Higher Education and Research, Valérie
in this event by answering a call for holes and dark energy, as well as the Pécresse, together with the European
project proposals issued by the ministry. crucial role played by Europe in these Commissioner for Science and Research,
A scientific committee selected the areas, with particular emphasis on ESO’s Janez Potočnik. If there is a building that
final 80 proposals (including 20 from Very Large Telescope (VLT) and its plan can compete with the magnificent Grand
Palais, it is the planned E-ELT!

ESO and the International Year of Astronomy 2009

Douglas Pierce-Price, Pedro Russo and years of preparation, we are ready for an ESO IYA2009 projects and activities
Lars Lindberg Christensen amazing year full of discovery and wonder.
ESO ESO has played a major role in this project There will be a range of ESO-specific ac­­
since planning began in 2003. tivities throughout the year, some of which
are described here.
As many readers already know, the Inter- ESO is hosting the IAU’s IYA 2009 Secre-
national Astronomical Union (IAU) tariat, which coordinates the Year globally. “In search of our Cosmic Origins” is a
launched 2009 as the International Year of ESO is also one of the Organisational planetarium show about ALMA. The show
Astronomy (IYA2009) under the theme Associates of IYA2009, and was closely is being produced by ESO and the Asso-
“The Universe, Yours to Discover”. involved in the resolution submitted to the ciation of French Language Planetariums
IYA2009 marks the 400th anniversary of United Nations by Italy, which led to the in collaboration with the Planetarium of
the first astronomical observations through UN’s 62nd General Assembly proclaiming Augsburg.
a telescope, by Galileo Galilei. After many 2009 the International Year of Astronomy.

66 The Messenger 134 – December 2008

Astronomical News

In collaboration with the IAU, ESO has pro­­ ESO will be featured at several exhibitions In “Cosmic Diary”, professional scientists
duced a book and DVD movie celebrating during IYA2009, including the global will put a human face on astronomy
the 400th anniversary of the telescope. IYA2009 opening ceremony at UNESCO in through blogs. The project is coordinated
“Eyes on the Skies” explores the story of Paris, and the German IYA2009 opening from the IYA2009 Secretariat at ESO, and
the telescope — its history, scientific and event in Berlin. 16 of our researchers are participating in
technical advances, and the people the project’s ESO blog.
behind this ground-breaking invention.
IYA2009 Global Cornerstone Projects The “Portal to the Universe” seeks to pro-
A wide range of activities and projects for at ESO vide a global, one-stop portal for online
IYA2009 in Chile is planned, including astronomy content, for content providers,
a planisphere, “Science Cafés”, a night- In addition to its ESO-specific activities, laypeople, press, educators, decision-
sky photo book, a network of schools ESO is involved in many of the IYA2009 makers and scientists. ESO, together with
revisiting classical science experiments, a Global Cornerstone Projects, and is play- ESA/Hubble, is providing the portal infra-
permanent astronomical exhibition at ing a leading role in three of them. structure.
the Museum of the Desert in Antofagasta,
and an Open House at Paranal, La Silla, “100 Hours of Astronomy” (2–5 April 2009) For more about ESO in IYA2009, visit:
and APEX/ALMA. is a worldwide event bringing together star or
parties, webcasts, and more. ESO is coor- contact
ESO will also participate in a number of dinating a 24-hour webcast from research For IYA2009 in general visit:
activities at its headquarters in Garching, observatories around the world. or
Germany, including the Open House day contact the IYA2009 coordinator,
on the Garching campus, planned for 24 Pedro Russo (
October 2009.

Personnel Movements
Arrivals (1 October– 30 December 2008) Departures (1 October– 30 December 2008)
Europe Europe
Dall, Thomas (DK) User Support Astronomer Haggouchi, Karim (FR) Software Engineer
Suarez Valles, Marcos (ES) Software Engineer Pangole, Eric (FR) System Engineer
Jeanmart, Kristel (BE) Administrative Assistant Rudolf, Hans (DE) System Engineer
Dinjens-D’Lazarus, Mary (NL) Administrative Assistant Mengel, Sabine (DE) User Support Astronomer
Wild, Wolfgang (DE) European Project Manager ALMA Gustafsson, Birger (SE) Software Engineer
van Kampen, Eelco (NL) Applied Scientist Sivertsen, Beatrice (DE) Secretary/Assistant
Schmid, Christian (DE) Physicist Toft, Sune (DK) Fellow
Saint-Hilaire, Valérie (FR) Administrative Assistant Felber, Nina (DE) Paid Associate
Todorovic, Mirko (BA) Electronics Technician Araujo Hauck, Constanza (CL) Optical Engineer
Venemans, Bram (NL) Fellow Wilson, Thomas (USA) Director for ALMA
Teixeira, Paula Stella (PT) Fellow Malapert, Jean-Christophe (FR) Software Engineer
Klaassen, Pamela (NL) Fellow Correia Nunes, Paulo (PT) Software Engineer
Béchet, Clémentine (FR) Optical Engineer Sommariva, Veronica (IT) Student
Meil, Betül (DE) HR Officer Brogaard, Karsten (DK) Student
Villegas Mansilla, Daniela (CL) Astronomer Shen, Zhixia (CN) Student
Schneller, Dominik (DE) General Engineer Gobat, Raphael (CH) Student
Geeraert, Patrick (BE) Head of Administration Karovicova, Iva (CZ) Student
Jaffe Ribbi, Yara Lorena (VE) Student
Frank, Matthias (DE) Student
Seemann, Ulf (DE) Student

Chile Chile
Smoker, Jonathan (GB) Operations Astronomer Durand, Yves (FR) Head of Engineering Department
Dent, William (GB) Systems Astronomer Arenas, Eduardo (PE) Procurement Officer
Cabrera, Claudio (CL) Civil Engineer Nuñez, Herman (CL) Technical Drawer
Serrano, Guido (CL) Procurement Officer Gonzalez, Domingo (CL) Waiter
Thomas, Alexis (CL) Network Specialist Garnica, Sonia (CL) Guesthouse Supervisor
Abadie, Sergio (CL) Maintenance Technician Risacher, Christophe (FR) Instrument Scientist
Leon, Gino (CL) Telescope Instruments Operator Cesetti, Mary (IT) Student
Moerchen, Margaret (USA) Fellow Pinto Moreira, Olga (PT) Student
Huertas-Company, Marc (ES) Fellow Salinas, Ricardo (CL) Student
Lombardi, Gianluca (IT) Optical Engineer
Montenegro-Montes, Francisco M. (ES) Operations Astronomer
Zorotovic, Monica (CL) Student
Gallenne, Alexandre (FR) Student

The Messenger 134 – December 2008 67

ESO is the European Organisation for Contents
Astronomical Research in the Southern
Hemisphere. Whilst the Headquarters The Organisation
(comprising the scientific, technical and M. Bode, G. Monnet – The ASTRONET Infrastructure Roadmap:
administrative centre of the organisa- A Twenty Year Strategy for European Astronomy 2
tion) are located in Garching near
­Munich, Germany, ESO operates three Telescopes and Instrumentation
observational sites in the Chilean Ata­- G. van Belle et al. – The VLTI PRIMA Facility 6
cama desert. The Very Large Telescope S. D’Odorico – News on the Commissioning of X-shooter 12
(VLT), is located on Paranal, a 2 600 m G. Monnet – Report on the JENAM 2008 Meeting Symposium
high mountain south of Antofagasta. At Science with the E-ELT 14
La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de
Chile at 2 400 m altitude, ESO operates Astronomical Science
several medium-sized optical tele­ N. Nardetto et al. – From the Dynamics of Cepheids to the Milky Way Rotation
scopes. The third site is the 5 000 m and the Calibration of the Distance Scale 20
high Llano de Chajnantor, near San M. Botticella et al. – STRESS Counting Supernovae 25
Pedro de Atacama. Here a new submil- G. Chincarini et al. – Swift, VLT and Gamma–Ray Bursts:
limetre telescope (APEX) is in opera- The Richness and Beauty of the Global View 30
tion, and a giant array of submillimetre S. Lilly et al. – The zCOSMOS Data Release 2: the “zCOSMOS-bright
antennas (ALMA) is under development. 10k-sample” and structure in the Universe out to redshifts of order unity 35
Over 2 000 proposals are made each
year for the use of the ESO telescopes. Astronomical News
M. Arnaboldi et al. – Preparing for the ESO Public Surveys with VISTA
The ESO Messenger is published four and VST: New Tools for Phase 2 and a Workshop with the Survey PIs 42
times a year: normally in March, June, Announcement of the Workshop The E-ELT Design Reference
September and December. ESO also Mission and Science Plan 45
publishes Conference Proceedings and Announcement of the Workshop Imaging at the E-ELT 45
other material connected to its activi- C. Turon – The ESA–ESO Working Group on Galactic Populations,
ties. Press Releases inform the media Chemistry and Dynamics 46
about particular events. For further Report on the Workshop Interstellar Medium and Star Formation with
in­formation, contact the ESO Education ALMA: Looking to the Future. A Workshop to Honour Tom Wilson 50
and Public Outreach Department at the Award of the Ioannes Marcus Marci Medal to Tom Wilson,
following address: Associate Director for ALMA 52
E. Masciadri – Report on the Conference
ESO Headquarters Optical Turbulence — Astronomy meets Meteorology 53
Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2 H. Käufl, G. Tozzi – Report on the Conference Future Ground-based Solar
85748 Garching bei München System Research: Synergies with Space Probes and Space Telescopes 56
Germany B. Nikolic et al. – Report on the ALMA Workshop Simulations for ALMA 57
Phone +49 89 320 06-0 B. Brandl, R. Stuik – Report on the Conference 400 Years of
Fax +49 89 320 23 62 Astronomical Telescopes 59 Announcement of the ESO–Porto Conference Towards Other Earths: Perspectives and Limitations in the ELT Era 61
Announcement of the EIROforum School of Instrumentation (ESI) 61
The ESO Messenger: M. Cullum – Daniel Enard 1939–2008 63
Editor: Jeremy R. Walsh New Staff at ESO 64
Technical editor: Mafalda Martins Fellows at ESO 65
Technical assistant: Jutta Boxheimer H. Boffin et al. – ESO at the European City of Science 66 Douglas Pierce-Price – ESO and the International Year of Astronomy 2009 66
Personnel Movements 67
Printed by
Peschke Druck
Schatzbogen 35
81805 München
Germany Front Cover: Colour image of the H ii
region and active star-forming region
© ESO 2008 NGC 2264 (commonly called the Cone
ISSN 0722-6691 Nebula) formed from images in different
filters (B, V, R and Ha) with the Wide
Field Imager at the Max-Planck/ESO
2.2 m telescope.