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On the difference between seeing and image quality

Measuring water vapour over Paranal and La Silla

The ESO Remote Galaxy Survey
Astronomical research by high school students
The Messenger
No. 141 – September 2010
Telescopes and Instrumentation

A New Coronagraph for NAOS–CONICA —

the Apodising Phase Plate

Matthew Kenworthy 1 APP coronagraph

No focal plane mask APP optic
Sascha Quanz 2
Michael Meyer 2
Markus Kasper 3 Star

Julien Girard 3 Planet

Rainer Lenzen 4
Johanan Codona 5
Philip Hinz 5 Focal plane (FP) Pupil plane (PP) Detector

Mask blocks
central star Lyot stop Reduced throughput
Leiden Observatory, the Netherlands
ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie,
Heidelberg, Germany
University of Arizona, USA Classical Lyot coronagraph Lower spatial resolution

Figure 1. A comparison of the principles used in the use light diffracted from the Airy core of
Apodising Phase Plate coronagraph and in a classi­
In April 2010, a new coronagraphic opti- the central star to cancel out the coherent
cal Lyot coronagraph.
cal element, called an Apodising Phase light in the outer diffraction rings. Small
Plate (APP), was installed in NAOS– sinusoidal ripples of phase added to the
CONICA (NACO). The APP coronagraph this mask. Reimaging optics form a pupil incoming wavefront act like a simple dif­
is optimised for use at 4.05 µm with plane (PP) image (often coincident with fraction grating, creating a pair of “speck­
both narrow- and broadband filters. the camera’s filter wheel) and a Lyot stop les” that can be adjusted to cancel out
Unlike other types of coronagraph, it then blocks light from the outer edge diffraction on one side of the star, but
requires no alignment overhead and of the re-imaged telescope pupil, before reinforcing it on the opposite side. Mathe­
can be used immediately after switching going on to form the final image using matically adding many of these virtual
from direct imaging for observing tar- another optical element at the science gratings together forms the resultant APP
gets of interest where high contrast is detector. Kasper et al. (2009) described pattern, seen in Figure 2. Its effect on
required. pupil-stabilised Lyot coronagraphy at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) point
4 µm with NACO for exoplanet detection. spread function (PSF) is seen in the com­
The classical Lyot design is sensitive missioning data in Figure 3. The APP
The Apodising Phase Plate (APP) is opti­ to the telescope’s alignment of the star optical element itself is shown in Figure 4
mised for observations using the newly on the focal plane mask and there is a prior to installation.
introduced IB4.05 filter in NACO (Rousset strong trade-off between angular resolu­
et al., 2003; Lenzen et al., 2003) and we tion and achievable suppression: if the It is important to note that every imaged
have also demonstrated its performance planet is too close to the star, the planet’s object in the field of view — including
at broader bandpasses around 4 µm light can also be blocked by the focal any faint companions and extended struc­
with the L; filter (Kenworthy et al., 2010). plane mask. Other coronagraphic designs, ture — all have this new, modified APP
In this article, we describe the principle such as the four quadrant phase mask PSF. Since energy from the Airy core is
of the optical element, how it can be and phase-induced amplitude apodisa­ used in suppressing diffraction, there
used for NACO observations and explain tion, significantly improve on the Lyot is an effective loss of transmission of the
its strengths and weaknesses. design, but still suffer from the tight tip- faint companion. We have designed
tilt alignment tolerances in the focal plane the plate to use 40 % of the Airy core flux
The goal of a coronagraph is to minimise (for a review comparing many types to provide diffraction suppression, but
the diffracted light from one astronomical of coronagraph, see Guyon et al., 2006). this loss of planet flux is more than com­
source whilst letting through as much pensated by the much larger reduction
of the light as possible from a nearby, of diffracted light from the central star.
usually much fainter, source. The original How the APP works The measured throughput for the APP
Lyot coronagraph uses two optical ele­ is 0.60 with an error of 0.02, consistent
ments within an astronomical camera to The Apodising Phase Plate consists of with the design specifications.
suppress light from the on-axis source. just one optical element, rather than
The image of the central star and a two, in the pupil plane of the telescope. Since there is no focal plane mask that
nearby planet, for example, is formed in It is a development of phase apodisation the target star has to be aligned behind,
a focal plane (FP), where a mask blocks coronagraphy, originally developed by the greatest benefit for a NACO user is
light from the star out to a given radius Johanan Codona at the University of Ari­ that there is no alignment overhead for the
(see Figure 1). The planet is ideally dis­ zona (Codona & Angel, 2004; Codona, APP coronagraph. The target star can be
placed off to one side of the star, and the 2006) and initially tested at the 6.5-metre beam-switched anywhere on the imaging
light from the planet is not blocked by MMTO (Kenworthy et al., 2007). Here, we array with no impact whatsoever on the

2 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

VLT Pupil VLT Apodising Phase Plate Figure 2. (Left) The APP
phase plate pattern and
its effect on the VLT
point spread function.


1 0 1
Figure 3. (Right) An
–1 image of the VLT PSF
0.5 0.5 taken with the APP
log10 intensity

on NACO. The image

–2 has been logarithmically
0 0
scaled for clarity.
– 0.5 – 0.5
–1 –1
–1 – 0.5 0 0.5 1 –1 – 0.5 0 0.5 1
arcseconds arcseconds

coronagraph’s performance. All corona­ graphic throughput of 60 %. If full field

graphs represent a trade-off between coverage around a target of interest
inner working angle, planet flux through­ is required, a second dataset with the
put, and spatial resolution. In the case field of view rotated by 180 degrees
of the APP, it is designed to provide dif­ is required to cover both hemispheres
fraction suppression from 0.180 arcsec­ around a target.
onds out to 0.750 arcseconds, moving the
sky background limit up to three times The APP can be used in pupil-tracking
closer to the central star than direct imag­ mode so that the fixed-pattern speckles Figure 4. The APP optical element prior to installa­
tion in CONICA. The light yellow area is the transmis­
ing observations. Beyond a radius of of the telescope and instrument remain
sive ZnSe and the brown area is a gold coating that
0.750 arcseconds (the actual value varies fixed with respect to the orientation of aids alignment in the pupil mask wheel.
with target star magnitude and adaptive the APP PSF. A combination of angular
optics [AO] correction) it is preferable differential imaging and/or PSF subtrac­
to use direct imaging and related subtrac­ tion with a nearby reference star with linear detector regime (approximately
tion techniques. similar colour and magnitude is required one-third full well), the DIMM seeing varied
to minimise contributions from the uncor­ between 0.7 and 0.8 arcseconds, and
rected seeing halo produced by the the airmass was less than 1.1. The con­
Using the APP with NACO adaptive optics system and to minimise trast curve was calculated by stacking
any residual quasi-static speckles. The the images together and computing the
The APP is used with the CONICA L27 APP optical element is chromatic and root mean square (rms) per pixel in the
camera nominally providing a field of view is designed for a central wavelength of stack. Using an aperture with a radius of
of 28 by 28 arcseconds. However, to 4.05 μm, but the coronagraphic suppres­ 5 pixels, the mean flux per pixel in the
prevent ghost reflections from the optics sion only degrades slowly with increas- core of the PSF was computed and then
interfering with the coronagraphic mode, ing bandwidth, which was seen in the divided by the mean flux per pixel for a
the APP has an optical wedge intro- L; contrast curve determined during engi­ planet with a signal-to-noise ratio of 5
duced into it. The practical result is that neering time in April 2010. (estimated from the rms in a similar aper­
the APP can be used over the upper ture at a given radial separation). The
third of the detector area (i.e. no restric­ In Figure 5, we show the contrast resultant L; contrast curve shows that the
tions along the x-axis of the detector). achieved in a 30-minute integration on APP is working as expected and ap-
There is no impact on the PSF quality HIP 61460 (an F2 V star with L; = 6.2 mag) proximately as predicted from the simula­
and one can beam-switch along this part using the L; filter (central wavelength tions, and the contrasts are comparable
of the detector in a manner identical to 3.8 µm) with the observations made in to those from other coronagraphs. The
direct imaging observational techniques. pupil-tracking mode with detector inte­ steep drop of the contrast curve shows
Ob­­serving with the APP does not in­­ grations of DIT = 0.175 s, NDIT = 30 and the specific strength of the APP, as we
crease the overhead of observations apart NINT = 5, yielding five images at different reach a 5σ point source detection limit of
from that due to the reduced corona­ dither positions. All images were in the 10 magnitudes at 0.4 arcseconds offset.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 3

Telescopes and Instrumentation Kenworthy M. et al., A New Coronagraph for NAOS–CONICA

5σ point source detection limit for VLT APP

Further data on a brighter star will be an achromatised design suitable for
taken to explore the contrast limit at larger working over broader wavelength ranges,
radii, as in this dataset we are sky back­ and the potential for inclusion on the
ground limited at 0.5 arcseconds offset. European Extremely Large Telescope
(E-ELT) for thermal imaging of exoplanets
Thermal wavelengths are a natural regime with instruments such as METIS (see
Delta L magnitudes

for exoplanet searches, as the planet-to- Brandl et al., 2010).

star flux ratio falls more slowly with effec­
tive temperature than at shorter wave­ References
lengths (Hinz et al., 2006; Kasper et al.,
2007). As telescope apertures increase, Brandl, B. et al. 2010, The Messenger, 140, 30
the red colours of exoplanets (see Heinze Codona, J. & Angel, J. R. P. 2004, ApJL, 604, 117
Codona, J. et al. 2006, SPIE, 6269, 55
10 et al., 2010 for a fuller discussion) mean Guyon, O. et al. 2006, ApJS, 167, 81
that the L;- and M-bands become more Heinze, A. et al. 2010, ApJ, 714, 1570
favourable for direct imaging contrast- Hinz, P. et al. 2006, ApJ, 653, 1486
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 limited searches around nearby stars. Kasper, M. et al. 2007, A&A, 472, 32
Radius (arcsec) Kasper, M. et al. 2009, The Messenger, 137, 8
Kenworthy, M. et al. 2007, ApJ, 660, 762
The APP is available for general use with Kenworthy, M. et al. 2010, SPIE, 7735,
Figure 5. An L; contrast curve taken with the APP NACO, and some of the first results using arXiv:1007.3448
coronagraph. The curve shows the 5σ detection limit Lagrange, A.-M. et al. 2010, Science, 329, 57
the APP to obtain NB4.05 photometry
of a point source in L;-band as a function of angular Lenzen, R. et al. 2003, SPIE, 4841, 944
separation from a star. The curve is calculated over a of the planet beta Pictoris b (Lagrange et Quanz, S. et al. 2010, ApJL, submitted
150-degree wedge centred in the high contrast side al., 2010) have been submitted (Quanz et Rousset, G. et al. 2003, SPIE, 4839, 140
of the APP PSF. al., 2010). Further developments include

Testing of the first

two fully assembled
European ALMA anten­
nas, manufactured
by the AEM consortium,
has recently begun
at the ALMA Operations
Support Facility (OSF).
The image shows a
European antenna being
moved by one of
the ALMA transporters,
Lore, at the OSF.

4 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Telescopes and Instrumentation

On the Difference between Seeing and Image Quality:

When the Turbulence Outer Scale Enters the Game

Patrice Martinez 1 of telescope diameters and wavelengths. A finite L0 reduces the variance of the
Johann Kolb 1 We show that this dependence is effi­ low order modes of the turbulence, and
Marc Sarazin 1 ciently predicated by a simple approxi­ in particular decreases the image motion
Andrei Tokovinin 2 mate formula introduced in the literature (the tip-tilt). The result is a decrease of
in 2002. The practical consequences the FWHM of the PSF. In the von Kàrmàn
for operation of large telescopes are dis­ model, r 0 describes the high frequency
ESO cussed and an application to on-sky data asymptotic behaviour of the spectrum
 erro-Tololo Inter American Observatory,
C is presented. where L0 has no effect, and thus r 0 loses
Chile its sense of an equivalent wavefront
coherence diameter. The differential
Background and definitions image motion monitors (DIMM; Sarazin
We attempt to clarify the frequent confu- & Roddier, 1990) are devices that are
sion between seeing and image quality In practice the resolution of ground- commonly used to measure the seeing
for large telescopes. The full width at based telescopes is limited by the atmos­ at astronomical sites. The DIMM delivers
half maximum of a stellar image is com- pheric turbulence, called “seeing”. It an estimate of r 0 based on measuring
monly considered to be equal to the is traditionally characterised by the Fried wavefront distortions at scales of ~ 0.1 m,
atmospheric seeing. However the outer parameter (r 0) – the diameter of a tele­ where L0 has no effect. By contrast, the
scale of the turbulence, which corre- scope such that its diffraction-limited res­ absolute image motion and long-expo­
sponds to a reduction in the low fre- olution equals the seeing resolution. sure PSFs are affected by large-scale
quency content of the phase perturba- The well-known Kolmogorov turbulence distortions and depend on L0. In this con­
tion spectrum, plays a significant role in model describes the shape of the at­­ text the Kolmogorov expression for ε01 is
the improvement of image quality at the mospheric long-exposure point spread therefore no longer valid.
focus of a telescope. The image quality function (PSF), and many other phenom­
is therefore different (and in some cases ena, by this single parameter r 0. This Proving the von Kàrmàn model experi­
by a large factor) from the atmospheric model predicts the dependence1 of the mentally would be a difficult and eventu­
seeing that can be measured by dedi- PSF FWHM (denoted ε0) on wavelength (λ) ally futile goal as large-scale wavefront
cated seeing monitors, such as a differ- and inversely on the Fried parameter, perturbations are anything but stationary.
ential image motion monitor. r 0, where r 0 depends on wavelength (to However, the increasing number of esti­
the power –1/5) and airmass (to the mation campaigns worldwide over the
power 3/5). In the following, we assume past few years has firmly established that
Seeing and image quality are two quan­ that r 0 and ε0 refer to observations at the turbulence phase spectrum does
tities that are frequently confused in the zenith. In addition, by adopting a deviate from a power law (i.e. it does not
the field of astronomical instrumentation. standard wavelength of 500 nm, we can match the Kolmogorov model at low
The first is an inherent property of the refer to ε0 in place of r 0 for defining the ­frequencies), and the additional L0 param­
atmospheric turbulence, which is inde­ strength of the turbulence, and this single eter provides a useful first-order descrip­
pendent of the telescope that is observ­ parameter is nowadays usually called tion of this behaviour.
ing through the atmosphere. The second, seeing. The equivalence between FWHM
defined as the full width at half maximum of a long-exposure image and seeing is The purpose of this article is precisely
(FWHM) of long-exposure ­stellar images, indeed only valid in the Kolmogorov to discuss the modifications of the
is a property of the images obtained in model, in which the energy is injected ­Kolmogorov expression for ε0 implied by
the focal plane of an instrument mounted into the atmosphere at infinite scales, and the presence of a finite outer scale L0, and
on a telescope observing through the is gradually transferred to smaller and to further establish the difference between
atmosphere. Without con­sidering instru­ smaller scales (a cascade process) until seeing and FWHM of a stellar image. A
mental aberrations, one remaining prop­ air viscosity dissipates it on scales of few first order approximation of the FWHM of
erty of the turbulence that affects the mm (the inner scale l0). the atmospheric PSFs (εvK) under von
image quality is the outer scale: the size Kàrmàn turbulence was proposed by Tok­
of the largest turbulent eddies present in In reality, the physics of turbulence ovinin (2002), with a dependence (see
the atmosphere. It has been observed implies that the spatial power spectral note 2 ) on ε0 scaled by an expression
that the image quality in a large telescope density of phase distortions deviates from involving the ratio of r0 and L0. The FWHM
is always lower than the seeing, owing the pure power law at low frequencies, of long-exposure PSFs, εvK, is no longer
to the finite outer scale of the turbulence, i.e. the energy is not injected into the equivalent to the seeing, but is a function
as opposed to the commonly used atmosphere at infinite scales, but rather of the seeing (ε0), r0 and L0. We recall
­Kolmogorov theory that considers an infi­ at finite scales. The popular von Kàrmàn that while r0 depends on the wavelength,
nite outer scale. turbulence model introduces an addi­ L0 does not. In the following, we discuss
tional pa­­rameter, the outer scale L0, refer­ the validity of using εvK rather than ε0,
In this article we discuss the depend- ring to a cut-off in the turbulence spec­ by presenting several results from exten­
ence of atmospheric long-exposure reso­ trum at low frequencies. The Kolmogorov sive numerical simulations. At this point it
lution on the outer scale of the turbu- model corresponds then to the particular is important to note that the FWHM εvK
lence over the practically interesting range case of L0 of infinity. is independent of the telescope diameter.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 5

Telescopes and Instrumentation Martinez P. et al., On the Difference between Seeing and Image Quality

Our investigations focus on telescope scopes in the presence of the outer scale ­telescope diameters are smaller than L0
diameters ranging from 0.1 m to 42 m, of the turbulence. Several cases of L0 are does not hold). We found the expression 2
with wavelength domain ranges from the presented: 10 m, 22 m (Paranal median for εvK to be valid at least for L0 /D ≤ 500.
U-band to M-band, while the seeing value), 50 m and 65 m. We compare the Very small telescope diameters do asymp­
ranges from 0.1 to 1.8 arcseconds. Sev­ numerical FWHM (extracted from the totically converge to ε0, but for smaller
eral L0 cases were considered from 10 m simulated PSFs) to the analytical expec­ diameters than usually considered and
to an infinite value. Our long-exposure tation, εvK, and the seeing, ε0. From for very large outer scale L0 values (e.g.,
PSFs are generated by Fourier transforms ­Figure 1 it is straightforward to see that D = 0.1 m and L0 = 100 m, D = 0.2 m and
of 1000 atmospheric turbulence phase the FWHM is lower than the seeing ε0 L0 > 400 m).
screen realisations adopting the von in all cases. In addition the FWHM nicely
Kàrmàn model. The phase screens con­ fulfilled the analytical approximation for
sist of 8192 × 8192 arrays to handle εvK for all telescope diameters except Wavelength and seeing dependence
both atmospheric statistics and aliasing small ones, where our treatment of the
effects, and the same set is used for diffraction is too crude (the results Here we consider an 8-metre telescope, a
all telescope diameters. Several investiga­ are affected by coarse pupil sampling). fixed outer scale L0 = 22 m, and 0.83 arc­
tions were carried out on the phase second seeing at 0.5 μm, while the imag­
screens to ascertain their properties (r 0, The validity of the expression2 for εvK is ing wavelength is varying from the
L0). For the sake of simplicity, we do not hereby confirmed in an L0/r 0 > 80 domain. U-band to the M-band (0.365–4.67 μm).
discuss the details of these investigations As the outer scale L0 gets smaller, the The results are presented in Figure 2
or the analytical treatment leading to the difference between FWHM and seeing (left), where a stronger dependence of the
expression2 for εvK. For more information increases. In all cases, the difference FWHM on wavelength compared to that
one should refer to Martinez et al. (2010). is significant and cannot be neglected. In expected by ε0 is noticeable, and again
addition, the effect of the outer scale an agreement with the expression for εvK
is observable for all telescope diameters, is demonstrated. Considering the same
Outer scale and telescope diameter and not only for large telescopes where value of L0 and telescope diameter, but
diameters correspond to a significant fixed wavelength (0.5 μm), we analysed
Figure 1 aims at defining the general fraction of L0 (i.e., the common assump­ the seeing dependency of the FWHM; the
trend of atmospheric FWHM in large tele­ tion that ε0 is valid in a domain where results are shown in Figure 2 (right). For

    Figure 1. The atmos­

%6',DWSQ@BSDC %6',DWSQ@BSDC pheric FWHM of simu­
#HEEQ@BSHNM #HEEQ@BSHNM lated long-exposure
ε ε PSFs versus telescope
εU*V+ L εU*V+ L diameter for several tur­
    bulence outer scale L0
2DDHMF 2DDHMF values (10, 22, 50, and


65 m, for ε0 = 0.83 arc­

seconds at l = 0.5 µm).
%6', %6', The diffraction FWHM
    has been quadratically
removed from the
extracted FWHM.


ε ε
εU*V+ L εU*V+ L




6 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

    Figure 2. Dependence
%6',DWSQ@BSDC %6',DWSQ@BSDC of the FWHM on wave­
ε ε length (left, fixed
εU*   εU* ε0 = 0.83 arcseconds)
and seeing (right, fixed
  l = 0.5 µm). Other
  parameters are
L0 = 22 m, D = 8 m (typi­


  cal for the VLT).




all seeing values, the extracted FWHM found outer scale L0 values varying from ond integration time at a wavelength of
clearly follows εvK and not ε0. The agree­ a few metres (~ 10 m) in the ground layer 2.166 μm (bandwidth of 0.04 μm). We use
ment with the expression2 for εvK is there­ to a maximum value of ~ 35 m appearing this example as it provides a well-sam­
fore demonstrated for both wavelength in the boundary layer (at 1 km). In addi­ pled image of a large field of view (57 arc­
(L0/r 0 > 10) and seeing dependence (L0/r 0 tion, by comparing PSFs at visible and seconds × 57 arcseconds).
> 20). The FWHM of long-exposure mid-IR wavelengths simultaneously, it is
PSFs is not the seeing. possible to extract the two parameters, The image is presented in Figure 4. The
ε0 and L0, assuming that the telescope’s FWHM has been evaluated in the elonga­
contribution to the image degradation tion-free direction of the stars, and de­­
Discussion of the case of Paranal can be neglected (Tokovinin et al., 2007). rived using a 10th order polynomial fit to
the radial profiles (a telescope PSF is
We discuss here the particular case of a convolution of the atmosphere blur with
the VLT site at Paranal assuming stand­ On-sky data application diffraction, aberrations, guiding errors,
ard seeing conditions (0.83 arcsecond at etc. … and none of these factors is de­­
0.5 μm), and for several outer scale L0 To relate the previous results to real scribed by a Gaussian). A mean FWHM
values including the Paranal median value ­situations, we have evaluated several value of 0.51 arcseconds has been
(22 m) and its corresponding 1σ values stellar FHWMs from an image of Omega measured. By converting this FWHM into
(13 and 37 m). Figure 3 quantifies the Centauri recorded with the IR-camera a seeing value εvK assuming the Paranal
ratio of the seeing ε0 to the FWHM εvK for of MAD (the ESO Multi-conjugate Adaptive outer scale median value of 22 m, and
different wavelengths. The difference Optics Demonstrator, formerly installed with a proper scaling for wavelength
is substantial and can exceed a factor of at the VLT UT3). The image was obtained (0.5 μm) and airmass (1.1), we found that
two in the infrared (IR). For instance, on 29 March 2007 in open loop (i.e. no the seeing during the acquisition of
the FWHM εvK is lower than ε0 by 19 % in AO correction is applied) with a 65-sec­ the image was equal to 1.01 arcseconds.
the visible, and it is even more dramatic
in the near-IR, where it is lower by 29.7 %
(H-band) and 36.3 % (K-band). Figure 3   Figure 3. Ratio of seeing
+L ε0 to FWHM (εvK) as a
also strongly emphasises the importance
+L function of the wave­
of obtaining reliable estimation of L0 at +L length for several values
a telescope site, thus requiring simultane­   +L of L0. The atmospheric
ous measurements of ε0 and L0. +L seeing is set to the
Paranal standard value
of 0.83 arcsecond at
An intensive multi-instrument campaign

  0.5 µm.
of L0, surface layer, and seeing character­
isation was carried out at Paranal in 2007
and has been recently presented in Dali  
Ali et al. (2010). This study has, for the
first time, provided the profile of the outer
scale L0 (h) (where h stands for the alti­  
tude) at Paranal, enabling the whole pro­
file of the atmospheric turbulence to be
separated into the respective contribu­
tions from the free, ground and surface      
layers. In this extensive study, the authors 6@UDKDMFSGƅL

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 7

Telescopes and Instrumentation Martinez P. et al., On the Difference between Seeing and Image Quality

  Figure 4. Left: VLT

#OQNjKD MAD image of Omega
 SGNQCDQONKXMNLH@KjS Centauri recorded in
March 2007. The stars
  indicated were used for
FWHM evaluation. Right:
Normalised intensity
profile of one star and
the result of the FWHM
evaluation (0.514 arc­
'6',L@R seconds) from a fit on
the image minor axis.



DIMM seeing measurements were indeed mountain) to confuse the situation (see By not considering the presence of the
evolving between 0.94 and 1.04 arcsec­ Sarazin et al., 2008). outer scale of the turbulence, one is cur­
onds (see Table 1) during this exposure. rently: (a) overestimating the image size
Not considering the outer scale presence On the other hand, by considering the expected for a large telescope, i.e. our
(i.e. adopting ε0), would have led to a DIMM seeing measurements during telescopes could perform better than we
value of 0.69 arcsecond seeing (wave­ the acquisition of the image (0.94–1.04 predict; (b) underestimating the seeing
length and airmass corrected), more than arcseconds), one could retrieve the outer if deduced from the FWHM of a long-
0.3 arcseconds different from the meas­ scale L0 value occurring at that time exposure PSF, i.e. the seeing is actually
ured value ... quite a difference! and the measured FWHM. We thus poorer than we predict.
obtained a value of L0 confined between
Although this test nicely supports the 25 and 45 m, which appears to be realis­
expression2 for εvK, it relies on the chosen tic considering the Paranal median value FWHM (arcsecond) 0.51
value of L0; as a matter of fact we cannot of 22 m, and measurements obtained Seeing (arcsecond) (ε0) 0.69
guarantee that 22 m is a correct guess, in the 2007 campaign at Paranal and pre­ Seeing (arcsecond) (εvK ) 1.01
nor did we consider potential internal tel­ sented in Dali Ali et al. (2010). Floyd et al. DIMM seeing (arcsecond) 0.94–1.04
escope defects (a PSF is broadened by (2010) derived the value of the outer scale
non-atmospheric factors as well). Indeed, of the turbulence at the Magellan tele­ Table 1. Conversion of the FWHM obtained on the
MAD image of Omega Centauri (1st row) into seeing
optical aberrations and the outer scale scopes likewise, and they found an outer
values (assuming L0 = 22 m) using the expression1 for
of the turbulence act in opposite direc­ scale L0 of 25 m. ε0 (2nd row), the expression2 for εvK (3rd row) and
tions, and they can partially compensate compared to DIMM seeing (4th row). All values are for
for each other. Besides, the active optics a wavelength of 0.5 µm and are corrected for airmass.
also plays a role that is similar to the Conclusion
effect of the outer scale L0. In analogy
with the finite outer scale impact, partially This study has confirmed several aspects Reference
corrected wavefronts, resulting e.g., from of the difference between seeing and
Sarazin, M. & Roddier, F. 1990, A&A, 227, 294
tip-tilt compensation (fast guiding) or image quality at an optical telescope: Tokovinin, A. 2002, PASP, 114, 1156
low order adaptive optics (AO) correction, – the FWHM of long-exposure stellar Tokovinin, A. et al. 2007, MNRAS, 378, 701
lead to a small effective L0. All three images obtained at a telescope is not Sarazin, M. et al. 2008, The Messenger, 132, 11
Martinez, P. et al. 2010, A&A, 516, A90
effects — turbulence outer scale, partial the seeing;
Floyd, D. J. E. et al. 2010, PASP, 122, 731
AO correction and tip-tilt correction — – the outer scale of the atmospheric tur­ Dali Ali, W. et al. 2010, A&A, submitted
reduce the low frequency content of the bulence plays a significant role in the
phase perturbation spectrum, but the relationship between the seeing and the
gain in resolution over Kolmogorov turbu­ FWHM of an image. The effect of the
lence is not cumulative. Therefore the outer scale is apparent for all telescope 1
 he full expression for the FWHM of the
search for an agreement with DIMM diameters. The expression εvK pro­ ­Kolmorgorov PSF is ε0 = 0.976 λ/r 0.
measurements should always be carefully posed by Tokovinin (2002) accurately 2
T he full expression for the FWHM of the van
Kàrmàn PSF is εvK ≈ ε0 √ (1 – 2.183 (r 0 /L0) 0.356).
considered, and would require statistical predicts the dependence of atmos­
investigations, to prevent for example pheric long-exposure resolution on the
the surface layer (thin and time-varying outer scale.
turbulence layer occurring over the

8 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Telescopes and Instrumentation

Balloons over the La Silla Paranal Observatory

Florian Kerber 1 stand the PWV above the La Silla Paranal tronomy. By comparing various methods
Richard Querel 2 Observatory, a collaboration was started to determine atmospheric PWV we also
Reinhard Hanuschik1 in 2009 between ESO, the Institute for wanted to understand which methods
Arlette Chacón 3 Space Imaging Science (ISIS) in Leth­ were best suited to support IR science at
Marc Sarazin1 bridge, Canada, and the Astrometeor­ the E-ELT in an operational sense.
on behalf of the project team* ology Group of the Universidad de Val­
paraíso in Chile. In the context of astro-
nomical observations, the amount of History of PWV over La Silla Paranal
ESO PWV above an observatory is of funda­ Observatory
Institute for Space Imaging Science mental importance for successful scien­
(ISIS), Lethbridge, Canada tific operations: on long time scales PWV In order to reconstruct the history of PWV
Grupo Astrometeorología, Universidad determines how well a site is suited for over the Paranal Observatory, we ex-
de Valparaíso, Chile IR astronomy, since low PWV values lead tracted about 1500 UVES flux standard
to drastically improved transmission in observations from the archive, covering
some wavelength domains (Smette et al., the period 2001 to 2008 (Figure 3). With
Precipitable water vapour (PWV) in 2007); in fact such conditions can alto­ their almost flat and featureless stellar
the atmosphere is one of several key gether open atmospheric windows that continuum, these white dwarfs are partic­
properties required to characterise are completely opaque at higher values. ularly well-suited for this study (Kerber
overall quality of an astronomical site In an operational sense, reliable knowl­ et al., 2010). While these pointed obser­
for observations at infrared wave- edge of the content of PWV throughout a vations were originally reduced as flux
lengths. Through analysis of archival given night is critical for the success and standard star calibrations, we have
data and by mounting a series of dedi- quality of science observations (see Fig­ reprocessed them for our project as sci­
cated PWV measurement campaigns, ure 2), and for their scheduling. As part of ence targets, with the same approach
we achieved our goal of establishing site testing and evaluation for the Euro­ used in the UVES reprocessing project1.
the Paranal Observatory as a reference pean Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT),
site for evaluation of locations for the we have addressed primarily the aspect We have analysed the telluric absorption
European Extremely Large Telescope of long-term quality for infrared (IR) as- lines in the UVES flux-calibrated pipeline
(E-ELT) project. For the first time in an
astronomical study, all measurement 1.0
LCO model atmosphere: H 2O (PWV = 1 mm) Figure 1. Atmospheric
transmission in the opti­
methods have been successfully vali-
0.8 cal to near-IR domain.

dated with respect to balloon-borne Upper panel: absorption

radiosondes, the accepted standard in caused by 1 mm of H2O.
atmospheric research. 0.4 Lower panel: absorption
0.2 resulting from O2 and
CO2. The analysis de-
0.0 scribed uses wavelength
Atmospheric water vapour 600 700 800 900 1000
regions (denoted in red)
Wavelength (nm)
in which absorption is
from water vapour only,
Water vapour is the dominant source of LCO model atmosphere: O 2 & CO 2 allowing the atmos­
opacity at infrared wavelengths (see 1.0
pheric content of PWV
­Figure 1). Its vertical column abundance 0.8 to be derived. This

is expressed as precipitable water vapour 0.6 wavelength range was

chosen for the analysis
in mm (Naylor et al., 2008). For reference, 0.4 of the archival data,
a “dry”, PWV-excellent night on Paranal but suitable windows
may have 1 mm PWV or less, while exist over a very wide
­middle-European conditions may easily 600 700 800 900 1000 wavelength extent.
offer > 30 mm. In order to better under­ Wavelength (nm)

PWV = 1.02 mm PWV = 3.68 mm Figure 2. Sample UVES

spectra analysed with
* T he Precipitable water vapour (PWV) project team 1.0 1.0 the atmospheric model
consists of: Florian Kerber 1, Richard Querel 2, BTRAM illustrating con­
0.8 0.8
­Reinhard Hanuschik 1, Arlette Chacón 3, Gerardo ditions on Paranal: a) a


Avila1, Marta Caneo 3, Lissette Cortes 3, Omar 0.6 0.6 dry night offering good
­Cuevas 3, Michel Cure 3, Carlos Guirao1, Lizett conditions for IR obser­
Illanes 3, Gaspare Lo Curto 3, David A. Naylor 2, 0.4 0.4 vations, and b) a moder­
Marc Sarazin1, Alain Smette1, David Rabanus1, ately wet night. From top
UVES data UVES data
Gregory Tompkins 2 0.2 BTRAM fit 0.2 BTRAM fit to bottom are displayed:
the UVES spectrum,
0.0 0.0
the BTRAM fit, and the
 SO; 2 ISIS, Canada; 3 Grupo Astrometeorología,
E 716 718 720 722 724 716 718 720 722 724 residuals between spec­
Univ. Valparaíso, Chile Wavelength (nm) Wavelength (nm) trum and fit.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 9

Telescopes and Instrumentation Kerber F. et al., Balloons over the La Silla Paranal Observatory

products by fitting an atmospheric radia­ GOES

Figure 3. Record of pre­
cipitable water vapour
tive transfer model (BTRAM) developed 15
over Paranal. Com­
by ISIS. A large number of weak and parison of PWV data
strong isolated and blended lines can be derived from UVES

PWV (mm)
used for the analysis resulting in accurate 10 archival data and GOES
and MERIS satellite data
and robust PWV values, see Figure 2.
for the period 2001–8.
Standard star observations (~ 1700 spec­ Pronounced seasonal
tra) taken with FEROS have been used to variations are evident as
make an equivalent analysis for La Silla, is the quantitative agree­
described in detail by Querel et al. (2010). ment between the differ­
51500 52000 52500 53000 53500 54000 54500 55000 ent datasets.
Time (MJD)
From this analysis, we find a mean PWV
value for Paranal of 2.4 ± 0.3 mm (after The astrometeorology group at the in this context. In the literature an overall
correcting for a dry-bias, since standard ­Universidad de Valparaíso, with support value of 5 % is quoted, and of about
star observations are only done under from ESO, carried out the radiosonde 15 % in very dry conditions ­(Schneider et
clear sky conditions). There are pro­ launches (Figure 4). On Paranal we al., 2010). One has to keep in mind that
nounced seasonal variations, with peri­ launched up to three times a day for a a radiosonde samples data along an
ods of high PWV occurring during the total of 52 radiosondes. Their schedule ascent trajectory controlled by the pre­
southern summer months when the site was carefully aligned with the scanning vailing wind pattern. PWV is then derived
is ­partially affected by the invierno alti- times of the geostationary GOES weather from the profile for the whole column,
plánico or Bolivian Winter (most pro­ satellite providing infrared and, in particu­ although water vapour is concentrated in
nounced in January and February) when lar, water vapour images, as well as with the lowest few kilometres. Hence the
winds from the east bring moisture from the daily radiosonde launch at Antofagasta radiosondes and astronomical spectro­­
the Amazon basin and clouds may spill airport. The full launch schedule had to graphs are not sampling the same col­
over the Andes to the west into northern be authorised four weeks in advance by umn of air, and a 1:1 agreement between
Chile. The fraction of nights with PWV the Chilean aviation authority. This per­ retrieved PWV values is not to be ex­­
< 2 mm (good for IR observations) is mission was confirmed by phone 15 min­ pected even under very stable conditions.
47 %, while PWV < 1 mm occurs in 13.5 % utes before each launch. More details
of nights. The corresponding mean PWV about the radiosonde campaigns are de­­ A total of 69 radiosondes have been suc­
for La Silla is considerably higher at 3.7 ± scribed in Chacon et al. (2010). cessfully launched during the three cam­
0.4 mm (see also Thomas-Osip et al., paigns on La Silla and Paranal. Since
2007; Querel et al., 2008). Radiosondes are the accepted standard the balloons ascend at a rate of a few m/s
method for atmospheric sounding. We only a relatively short window of about
have used their data to validate the various 60–90 minutes is available to conduct
Dedicated measurement campaigns methods to measure PWV. The equip- meaningful parallel observations with
ment employed in our campaign consisted other methods. For a stand-alone high
Three dedicated campaigns to meas- of a Vaisala radiosonde RS92 (shown in time resolution monitor such as IRMA,
ure PWV were conducted on La Silla Figure 4a) which comprises the following this is relatively easy to achieve, while for
(4–15 May 2009) and Paranal (31 July to instrument package: a GPS receiver to instruments on the VLT careful planning
10 August and 9–20 November 2009). track its location and deduce the wind and flexibility is essential.
The goal was to operate several instru­ speed, a silicon pressure sensor, a heated
ments in concert to gather independent twin humidity sensor and a small fast As for the VLT instruments, we have used
measurements of PWV over a statistically ­temperature sensor; plus of course a a total of 21.5 hours of UVES technical
relevant period of more than one week. transmitter for real-time telemetry to the time and obtained more than 900 spectra
We employed three main types of instru­ mobile ground station at the launch site. of white dwarf standard stars, with a
ments: a) radiosonde launches to obtain The radiosonde payload is lifted by a cadence of up to 30 s. These data were
atmospheric profiles; b) facility instruments helium-filled balloon with an initial diameter taken with a 10-arcsecond slit width,
for high resolution spectroscopy of tellu­ of about 1.5 m. During the 90-minute ­providing essentially seeing-limited spec­
ric line systems; and c) high-cadence IR ­ascent the balloons drifted by as much as tral resolution of 40 000–50 000. Periodic
radiometer measurements. The IR radi­ 80–150 km to the east. At an altitude of observations during the nights of the
ometer (IRMA) was developed and built 20–25 km, the balloon — now more than campaign were also performed by VISIR
by ISIS (Naylor et al., 2008). It measures 10 m in size — would finally burst, releas­ (65 spectra) and CRIRES (110 spectra).
the transparency of the atmosphere ing the radiosonde package into free fall
around 20 μm in a pencil-beam column. over the Cordillera de los Andes. Figure 4c One IRMA unit was installed on Paranal,
In this carefully selected window, H2O shows an example record from one of the giving 350 hours of near-continuous
is the sole absorber (similar to Figure 1); radiosonde ascents. ­coverage (with a cadence of seconds). A
by comparison with an internal black- second IRMA unit was temporarily in­­
body and the BTRAM atmospheric mod- The absolute accuracy of PWV derived stalled on Cerro Armazones, the desig­
el, the PWV is directly derived. from radiosonde data is an important issue nated site of the E-ELT, and provided

10 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

> 100 hours coverage. This IRMA unit
was also used on Paranal for cross-
correlation with the first IRMA.

Findings of the PWV campaigns

The main result from the comparison of

the different instruments used during
the campaigns is that all of them measure
PWV with good fidelity (Figures 5 and 6).
Using PWV values as derived by radio­
sonde as our reference, we find that
agreement with the IR radiometer IRMA
is excellent, providing results that are
indistinguishable after taking into account
the associated errors (Figure 6 left).
Moreover, IRMA provides information
pertaining to the air mass directly above
the observatory. The internal precision
of the IR radiometer data is ~ 3 % while
the accuracy is estimated at 5 %, but not
better than 0.25 mm. Relative agreement
between the two IRMA units measuring
in the same direction at the same site
is extremely good on time scales of a few
seconds up to several hours.

The variation of PWV over time is smooth,

although significant changes can occur
within one hour. Variations of PWV of a
few percent were seen to occur on time
scales of seconds or a few minutes as
recorded by the IRMAs (see Figure 5). For
Cerro Armazones a dry offset of 0.3 mm
is found which can be mostly attributed
to its difference in altitude ~ 400 m above
Paranal. We saw local PWV variations of
a few tenths of a millimetre, so horizontal
variations are important even for closely
adjacent sites.

The internal precision of PWV data from

optical and IR spectroscopy is about
7 %, whereas accuracy is estimated to
be about 15–20 %, but not better than
0.3 mm. Quantitative agreement between
the individual ground-based remote
Figure 4. Left: Launch of a helium-
filled balloon (upper left), equipped
sensing techniques and in situ measure­
with a radiosonde. Upper: The instru­ ments (radiosondes) is very good (10–
mentation payload (Vaisala RS92- 20 %). Structure in the spatial distribution
SGP) of a radiosonde. Top: The meas­ of water vapour in the sky — at the few
ured temperature (red, bottom scale)
and dew point (green) profile during
0.1 mm level — can be directly detected
the radiosonde ascent on 18 Novem­ as temporal variations in the observa-
ber 2009. Altitude in km is indicated at tions of a transit instrument (IRMA) as
right, pressure scale in mb is on the well as by variations in the PWV found for
left. Those regions where the two
curves come closest contribute most
pointed observations (from optical spec­
to the total PWV column, which is 2.5 troscopy).
mm in this example.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 11

Telescopes and Instrumentation Kerber F. et al., Balloons over the La Silla Paranal Observatory

Comparison with the GOES satellite 4 Figure 5. Top: Compari­

son of PWV data
derived from the various
We also compared the PWV data from 3 methods during the
the Geostationary Operational Environ­ PWV campaign on

PWV (mm)
mental Satellite (GOES) that monitors the Paranal during Novem­
ber 2009. Bottom:
atmosphere with the results obtained 2
enlarged section cen­
from the radiosonde launches. In a statis­ tred on MJD 55147.3
tical sense the agreement found is 1
(12 November 2009),
rather reasonable, while for a given day CRIRES
showing the limiting pre­
cision of about
deviations can be significant. The numeri­ Radiosondes
0.25 mm. This plot
cal correlation values with the radio­ 0
55144 55146 55148 55150 55152 55154 includes data from both
sondes are in fact excellent and fully con­ Time (MJD) IRMA radiometers
sistent with the findings from the UVES ­working in parallel on
Paranal. The open
archival data. Hence it is safe to assume 2.2
IRMA 11 ­circles represent data
that GOES data can be used success- IRMA 12
points from the GOES
2.0 GOES
fully for the characterisation of sites in UVES weather satellite.
terms of PWV provided both a substantial VISIR
PWV (mm)

1.8 Radiosondes
timebase is used and the environment
is very homogeneous, as is the case for
northern Chile. These two conditions
are fulfilled for Paranal and good agree­ 1.4
ment between GOES and other methods
is found. 1.2
55146.9 55147.0 55147.1 55147.2 55147.3 55147.4 55147.5 55147.6
Time (MJD)

Continued PWV monitoring

In support of science operations on  

Paranal, PWV measurements taken with 2KNOD  2KNOD 
various VLT instruments are used in 1   1  
(1, /65LL

­near real time. Whenever a flux standard

star (on UVES), or a telluric standard 

star on CRIRES, X-shooter or VISIR, are 
measured, automatic procedures

are employed to analyse the pipeline-
processed spectra and derive a new PWV 

data point. More details are provided
on the ESO web2,3. A similar procedure
will soon become available for La Silla as  

Figure 6. A comparison of PWV measured by IRMA From analysis of archival data and the
(left) and UVES (right) with respect to the radiosonde
Implication for E-ELT site selection and results from the campaigns it is obvious
data is shown as an example. Similar results have
future use of PWV measurements been derived for all other astronomical instruments that PWV can successfully be monitored.
(BACHES, CRIRES, FEROS, HARPS, VISIR and At present PWV values for Paranal are
Our multi-instrument campaigns in 2009 X-shooter) validating all of them with respect to the now routinely monitored using periodic
established standard in atmospheric research.
have produced a dataset that is unique spectra taken with CRIRES, UVES, VISIR
in both quality and quantity. Very good and X-shooter. We conclude that PWV
agreement has been found for all meth­ The goals of the PWV project have been could be used as a constraint in plan-
ods, with IRMA delivering the best accu­ met in full. The results of this study have ning observations. Steps to this end are
racy combined with the highest time been communicated to the Site Selection planned for the immediate future for
resolution. From the results of our analy­ Advisory Committee contributing directly Paranal Observatory. For the E-ELT a
sis, Paranal can be used as a reference to the site selection process for the future stand-alone high time resolution PWV
site for northern Chile. For Cerro Arma­ E-ELT. We continue to work on a detailed monitor will be an essential part of the
zones (Otárola et al., 2010) an offset of treatment of systematic effects which will infrastructure in order to optimise the
0.3 mm with respect to the PWV at result in better absolute accuracy of our scientific output of the operations.
Paranal is found based on an altitude dif­ PWV results.
ference of about 400 m.

12 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Acknowledgements radiosondes. It is a pleasure to thank the Chilean Querel, R. R. et al. 2008, SPIE, 7014, 701457
Direction General de Aeronautica Civil (DGAC) for the Querel, R. R. et al. 2010, Proc. SPIE Astronomical
This work has been funded by the E-ELT project in helpful collaboration and for reserving airspace Instrumentation, in press
the context of site characterisation. The measure­ around the observatories to ensure a safe environ­ Schneider, M. et al. 2010, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 3,
ments have been made possible by the coordinated ment for the radiosonde balloon launches. Special 323
efforts of the project team and each host observatory thanks are due to the TMT project for providing on Smette, A. et al. 2008, The 2007 ESO Instrument
site. We would like to thank all of the technical staff, loan the two IRMA units used during our campaigns Calibration Workshop, eds. A. Kaufer & F. Kerber,
astronomers and telescope operators at La Silla and and the good collaboration. The authors would like to Springer, 433
Paranal who have helped us in setting up equipment, thank Brad Gom (ISIS) for his work with both IRMA Thomas-Osip, J. et al. 2007, PASP, 119, 697
operating instruments and supporting parallel ob­- and BTRAM.
servations. Similarly, we thank our colleagues at
Las Campanas and GMT for the fruitful collaboration. Links
We thank the Directors of the La Silla Paranal Ob- References
servatory (Andreas Kaufer, Michael Sterzik, Ueli  VES reprocessing project:
Weilenmann) for accommodating such a demand- Chacón, A. et al. 2010, Proc. SPIE Astronomical qc/reproUVES/processing.html
ing project in the operational environment of the ob- Instrumentation, in press PWV trend reporting:­
servatory and for granting technical time. Special Kerber, F. et al. 2010, Proc. SPIE Astronomical observing/dfo/quality/GENERAL/PWV/HEALTH/
thanks are due to the heads of science operations Instrumentation, in press trend_report_ambient_PWV_HC.html
­(Christophe Dumas, Ivo Saviane) for specifically add­ Naylor, D. A. et al. 2008, Int. J. of Infrared & Paranal PWV monitoring:
ing flexibility to the scheduling, enabling us to achieve Millimeter waves, DOI 10.1007/210762-008-9421-2 facilities/paranal/sciops/CALISTA/pwv/data.html
parallel observations between instruments and the Otárola, A. et al. 2010, PASP, 122, 470

The VLT Laser Guide Star facility in action, creating

a guide star for adaptive optics correction. Image
taken at Paranal in 2007.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 13

Astronomical Science

Credit: ESO/IDA/Danish 1.5 m/ R. Gendler, U. G. Jørgensen, K. Harpsøe

An image of the Galactic H ii region M8 (NGC 6523)

taken with the 1.5-metre Danish telescope at the
La Silla Observatory. This colour image combines
observations in broadband B-, V- and R-filters,
but the structure is dominated by the emission
lines from the hot gas. A near-infrared image of M8
taken with the VISTA telescope can be found in the
article by Saito et al. on p. 26.
Astronomical Science

The Outer Frontiers of the Solar System:

Trans-Neptunian Objects and Centaurs

Maria Antonella Barucci 1 nated the evolution of the early solar neb­ Pluto) being the most densely populated.
Alvaro Alvarez-Candal 2 ula as well as of other planetary systems The scattering disc objects or scattered
Irina Belskaya 1, 3 around young stars. objects are considered to be those that
Catherine de Bergh 1 have orbits with large eccentricities, and
Francesca DeMeo 1 TNO science has rapidly evolved in recent perihelion distances near the location
Elisabetta Dotto 4 years, linking together different popula­ of Neptune, while the detached objects
Sonia Fornasier 1, 5 tions of small bodies in our planetary sys­ are those with orbits at large eccentrici­
Frédéric Merlin 1, 5 tem. The attempt to determine the physi­ ties, and with perihelion distances out of
Davide Perna 4 cal properties of this population is at Neptune’s influence. The best example
present one of the most active research of this last category is (90 377) Sedna,
fields in planetary science. More than which has perihelion and aphelion dis­
 bservatoire de Paris, LESIA, France
O 1400 Trans-Neptunian objects, with differ­ tances of 76 and 927 AU, respectively.
ESO ent sizes, orbits and surface characteris­ Another group of objects, the Centaurs
Institute of Astronomy, Kharkiv Univer­ tics, have been discovered up to now. But (shown in orange in Figure 1), with un­-
sity, Ukraine many more must be present. A few of stable orbits between those of Jupiter and
INAF–Osservatorio di Roma, Italy them belong to the newly defined popula­ Neptune, can also be associated with
Université de Paris VII–Diderot, France tion of dwarf planets. the TNO population. Planetary perturba­
tions and mutual collisions in the Kuiper
The TNO population is classified into Belt are probably responsible for the ejec­
The icy bodies in orbit beyond Neptune several dynamical groups (see Figure 1), tion of objects into Centaur orbits.
and known as Trans-Neptunian objects depending on their distance from the
(TNOs), or Kuiper Belt objects, are the Sun and their orbital characteristics: In order to investigate the surface proper­
most distant objects of the Solar System i) classical objects; ii) resonant objects; ties of these remote and faint Solar Sys­
accessible to direct investigation from iii) scattering(ed) disc objects; and tem objects, a large programme has been
the ground. The study of these objects, iv) detached objects. The first two groups carried out with the ESO Very Large
containing the least processed material are also known as the Kuiper Belt, con­ Telescope (VLT) using, nearly simultane­
of the Solar System, can help in under- taining objects with an average distance ously, the Unit Telescopes UT1, UT2 and
standing the still-puzzling accretion/ from the Sun of between 30 and 55 astro­ UT4. The aim of this large programme
evolution processes that governed plan- nomical units (AU) and with low eccen­ was to obtain high signal-to-noise ratio
etary formation in our Solar System as tricity orbits. The resonant objects are (S/N), si­­multaneous visible and near-infra­
well as in other dusty star discs. An ESO trapped in mean-motion resonances with red (NIR) spectra for almost all objects
large programme has been devoted to Neptune in more than 20 resonances, with that can be observed with the VLT. Forty
obtaining simultaneous high quality visi- the 3:2 mean-motion resonance (hosting objects have been studied, allowing a
ble and near-infrared spectroscopy
and photometry of about forty objects Figure 1. The location of
TNOs (on 12 February
with various dynamical properties. A few
2010) are reported in dif­
selected objects have also been ob­­ ferent colours for differ­
served with polarimetry to define their ent dynamical classes of
surface characteristics better and with objects. Unusual objects
(high-ellipticity) are
detailed photometry to determine their
shown as cyan triangles,
rotational properties. The results pro- Centaurs as orange
vide a unique insight into the physical ­triangles, objects in 2:3
and surface properties of these remote resonance with Neptune
as white circles (Pluto is
shown with the crossed
white symbol), scattered-
disc objects as magenta
Trans-Neptunian objects represent a circles, while the classi­
cal objects are shown
newly identified population of pristine
as red circles. Periodic
material in our Solar System. Discovered comets are shown in
less than twenty years ago, these icy blue squares. Objects
­bodies revo­lutionised our understanding observed at only one
opposition are denoted
of the Solar System and most ideas on
by open symbols, while
the evolution of the protoplanetary nebula. those with multiple oppo­
Located at the furthest frontiers of our sition orbits are denoted
planetary system observable with ground- by filled symbols. The
based telescopes, these small bodies are orbits of the planets are
shown in light blue with
considered to be the fossils of the proto­ their respective images.
planetary disc and can provide unique (Adapted from a plot by
information on the processes that domi­ the Minor Planet Center).

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 15

Astronomical Science Barucci M. A. et al., Trans-Neptunian Objects and Centaurs

Figure 2. The lower left panel shows the distribution 4 30

of the four TNO taxonomic groups (whose average

photometric colours are represented in the upper left RR 25
panel as reflectance values normalised to the Sun in 2 IR
the V-band) within each dynamical class. The right BR 20
panel shows the distribution of the taxonomical BB
groups, with respect to the orbital inclination relative 0 15

to the ecliptic plane, for the “classical” TNOs. 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5
Wavelength (µm) BB

broad characterisation of the brightest 5

TNOs. All the targets have also been 30

observed by V, R, I, J, H and K photome­ 0

0–5 5–10 10–15 15–20 20–25 25–30 30–35
try to determine their taxonomic classes. Orbital inclination (degrees)

Surface colours, taxonomy and rotation

Visible and NIR photometry of forty
ob­­jects have been carried out with FORS
and ISAAC. Based on the computed
­colour indices, we derived the taxonomic Centaurs Resonant Classical Scattered Detached
classification of 38 bodies (DeMeo et al.,
2009; Perna et al., 2010), by applying twelve bodies. Assuming ellipsoidal 2.4 µm. This spectral window provides the
the G-mode statistical method according shapes with axes a > b > c, we derived a most sensitive technique to characterise
to the Barucci et al. (2005) system. This lower limit to the axis ratio a/b from the from the ground the major mineral phases
scheme identifies four classes that rea­ obtained light-curve amplitudes, under the and ices present on Trans-Neptunian
sonably indicate different compositions hypothesis that the light curves are only objects. Nearly simultaneous observa-
and/or evolutional history, with increas­ affected by the shape elongation and that tions of FORS visible spectroscopy, ISAAC
ingly red colours from BB (blue), BR (inter­ major al­­bedo variations are not present J-band and SINFONI H- and K-band
mediate blue–red), IR (moderately red) on the surface of the observed bodies. spectroscopy been performed for forty
to the RR (red) class. The observations From the rotational periods and light-curve objects selected among different dynami­
performed in the framework of our ESO amplitudes we also derived a range of cal groups. The exposure time required
large programme were combined with the ­variation of the density of the observed is generally long, and as the objects rotate
whole data sample presently available bodies, by applying the Chandrasekar around their principal axis, the resulting
in the literature. We thus analysed a total theory for rotationally stable Jacobi ellip­ spectra often contain information coming
of 151 ­taxonomically classified objects soids under the simplified assumption of from different parts of the object. The
and performed a statistical analysis of the cohesionless and strengthless bodies V-, R-, I-, J- and H-band photometry has
rela­tionships between taxonomical and (namely fluid objects). The obtained den­ been used to tie the different spectral
dy­­namical classification. The main results sity values seem to confirm the existence ranges together.
we obtained are (see Figure 2): of a magnitude/density trend with larger
i) the enlarged sample of analysed (brighter) TNOs being denser than smaller The visible spectra are mostly featureless,
Centaurs confirms the colour bimodality (fainter) ones, as had been suggested. showing, however, very large variations
suggested previously; However, this trend is strongly influenced of their spectral slope, with colours from
ii) bodies belonging to the IR taxonomic by a single object (136 108 Haumea). neutral to very red. The ultra-red slopes
class seem to be concentrated among The limited sample of densities currently probably indicate the presence of complex
the classical and resonant populations; available in the literature, together with organic material on the surface. A few
iii) within the classical objects, the most the still unresolved ambiguity between big objects, like Eris and Pluto, show sig­
spectrally red bodies (RR class) domi­ brightness and size (due to the small natures of CH4 in their spectra. We iden-
nate the population at low orbital incli­ number of reliable albedo measurements), tify in a few other objects (10199 Chariklo,
nation, while blue objects (BB class) are prevent us from definitively assessing 42355 Typhon, and 2003 AZ84) new faint
more abundant at high orbital inclina­ any relationship between TNO density and and broad absorption features that are, in
tions. These results confirm the previ­ size. general, associated with aqueous altered
ously suggested relationship between silicates on the surfaces of these bodies,
spectral behaviour and dynamical by analogy with features present in the
evolution, the red and blue colours Composition spectra of some main belt dark asteroids.
being associated with the dynamically Hydrous silicates are also known to be
cold and hot populations, respectively. Detailed information on the composition of present in interplanetary dust par­ticles
TNOs can only be acquired from spectro­ (IDPs). The NIR 1–2.4 µm window provides
In the framework of this large programme scopic observations, especially covering powerful diagnostics for the study of
we also investigated the spin rates of the wavelength range between 0.4 and astrophysical ices.

16 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Radiative transfer models have been used water ice. It is still a matter of debate of the surface layer, and the formation
to investigate TNO surface composition, whether water ice was amorphous or of a crust.
and to interpret features and spectral be- crystalline in the protosolar nebula. The
haviour using intimate or geographical presence of crystalline water ice implies
mixtures of organics, silicate minerals, that the ice has been heated above The largest objects
­carbonaceous assemblages, ices, and/or 100–110 K. This heating could have
light hydrocarbons. The red spectral resulted from impacts, or the ices might The largest TNOs, many of which are also
slopes are typically well-reproduced by have formed in the warmer deep inte­ labelled as dwarf planets, have distinctly
assuming the presence of organic com­ riors and were then exposed on the sur­ different surface compositions compared
pounds on the surface, such as kerogens face. The quality of the observations with the rest of the population. Specifically,
(complex dark organic compounds) and of fainter objects is not sufficient to dis­ they have strong signatures of methane or
tholins (Titan and Triton materials — sub­ tinguish between amorphous or crys­ crystalline water ice in their spectra (see
stances formed in the laboratory by irradi­ talline water ice. Nonetheless, when try­ Figure 3). During this ESO large pro­
ation of gaseous mixtures of methane and ing to model the spectra the best-fit gramme we managed to observe several
nitrogen in different proportions) or ice model is usually obtained when using a of the largest TNOs: Pluto, Eris, Sedna,
tholins (formed by irradiating mixtures of combination of the two water ice states. Quaoar, Charon and Orcus.
essentially water and hydrocarbon ices).
Other physical properties such as poros- 2) Other ices group On Pluto we detect volatile species such
ity and rugosity (the numerical measure of Methane ice is present on the largest as methane, nitrogen, and carbon monox­
roughness) can, in principle, be derived TNOs such as Eris, Pluto, Sedna and ide. From our investigation, we confirm
from these models, but the observation of Quaoar. The spectra of some objects, that the level of dilution of methane in
unresolved sources and the small phase such as Pluto and probably Eris, show nitrogen is different on different parts of
angle coverage, due to the large helio­ that some of the methane ice must the heterogeneous surface of Pluto. On
centric distance of these bodies, limit con­ be dissolved in nitrogen. Methane is Eris, the largest dwarf planet, we indirectly
siderably confidence in the results. These present at the surface of these large detect nitrogen on the surface based on
models utilise numerical algorithms that objects because their gravity is high the wavelength position of some of the
fit the object spectra by reduced chi- enough to retain such a volatile compo­ bands of methane (Merlin et al., 2009).
squared minimisation. This minimisation nent, but it may also be present in The data indicate that the dilution of meth­
provides the best set of parameters lower quantities on smaller objects. A ane ice in nitrogen changes as a function
among the input free parameters (such as small amount of ethane (a by-product of depth below the surface. This suggests
concentration and particle size). The mod­ of methane ice irradiation) has also been the formation of a temporary atmosphere
els can provide insights into the chemical detected on Quaoar. Some objects, around Eris when close to perihelion, as is
composition and the dilution state of the such as Pholus and (55638) 2002 VE95, observed for Pluto. Modelling of the data
various compounds, or constraints on show spectra with methanol features. also suggests a large quantity of irradiated
the way they are mixed (intimate mixtures, In addition, many objects show spectra material and evolved chemistry on the sur­
areal mixtures, combinations of both, etc.). with a decreasing slope beyond 2.2 µm, face, as well as the presence of a small
They also provide information on the strat­ implying the possible presence of amount of ethane that could be formed
ification state of the subsurface layers ­methanol or similar molecules, even if either in the atmosphere or on the surface.
providing strong evidence of volatile trans­ these faint objects have spectra with
port or on limits on the irradiation level, a low S/N, especially in the K-band. The Orcus has large amounts of crystalline
depending on the depth. presence of ammonia or ammonia water ice on its surface. Barucci et al.
hydrate in the spectra of a few objects (2008) detected a signature attributed to
The main results obtained during the ESO (Charon, Orcus) has been suggested. A hydrated ammonia, similar to the case
large programme on the forty objects firm detection of ammonia would have of Charon, the satellite of Pluto, on which
observed spectroscopically, and the mod­ im­­portant implications on the composi­ large amounts of water ice also exist in
els of their surface by radiative transfer tion of the primitive solar nebula in low crystalline form. These observations sug­
models, can be summarised by subdivid­ density regions far from the Sun. gest processes that are able to renew
ing the targets into three main groups the surface with fresh and non-irradiated
according to their composition: 3) F
 eatureless spectra group icy materials. For the largest objects
Many objects have featureless spectra ­evolutionary models indicate that cryovol­
1) Water ice group in the NIR, with a wide range of colours. canism is possible (if enough radiogenic
More than 50 % of the targets show the These objects could be mantled by sources were present in their interiors).
presence of water ice on their surface. a surface rich in organics or carbon. As Non-disruptive collisions could also play a
The best-fit compositional models of all these objects are supposed to be role in renewing the surface, as well as
these objects include water ice in the at least partly made of ices, irradiation catastrophic collisions such as that at the
crystalline state as well as in the amor­ processes have to be responsible for origin of the Haumea family, which could
phous state. The majority of spectra these properties. C-bearing molecules explain the presence of fresh crystalline
with high S/N ratios show the presence progressively lose their hydrogen water ice even on small members of the
of a feature at 1.65 µm due to crystalline atoms, which results in a polymerisation family.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 17

Astronomical Science Barucci M. A. et al., Trans-Neptunian Objects and Centaurs

Figure 3. The image on

the left (adapted from
Gavin Rymill, 2006)

Sedna $QHR shows the circular orbits
  of the eight planets ver­
sus the eccentric orbits
  of the biggest TNOs
Pluto & Charon
(Pluto, Eris, Quaoar,
/KTSN Sedna, ...) On the right
  are shown the two
Uranus groups of TNO spectra:
  Eris and Pluto with
        methane ice dominated
6@UDKDMFSG§L spectra and Quaoar,
Haumea and Charon
  with water ice domi­
nated spectra.
Gavin Rymill 2006 '@TLD@
0 1000 2 000 km 6@UDKDMFSG§L
Haumea Quaoar Pluto Charon Makemake Eris

Although Quaoar’s spectrum displays object (38628) Huya, the scattered disc of large (compared to the observation
clear water ice features in the crystalline object (26375) 1999 DE9, and Centaurs wavelength) inhomogeneous particles
form, there is a strong red slope in the (2060) Chiron, (5145) Pholus and (10199) (Belskaya et al., 2008). Smaller size TNOs,
­visible and other weak features in the NIR Chariklo. The polarimetric characteristics characterised by a pronounced branch
that suggest a small amount of methane of the scattered radiation contain much of negative polarisation, revealed a similar
on the surface and small grains of irradi­ more accurate and specific infor­mation polarisation behaviour regardless of the
ated material. Dalle Ore et al. (2009) model concerning the microscopic properties of fact that they have different surface
a spectrum from the visible to the NIR, the surface. We found that all observed albedos and belong to different dynamical
including the additional constraints of bodies revealed negative polarisation, groups. The presence of a thin frost layer
Spitzer data, and find a best-fit model where the polarisation plane of linearly of submicron ice crystals on a dark sur­
consisting of crystalline and amorphous polarised light coincides with the scatter­ face is considered as one of the possible
water ice, methane, nitrogen and ethane ing plane. It is a characteristic feature for ways to explain the particular polarisation
ices with, in addition, Triton and Titan ­surfaces with a complex structure, as properties of these distant objects.
­tholins. Sedna, which is significantly observed for the majority of planetary sur­
­further from the Sun (~ 90 AU) than most faces. However, the measured polarisa-
known TNOs (30–50 AU), also exhibits tion phase angle behaviour of TNOs and The overall picture
one of the reddest visible spectra, and ­Centaurs was found to be unique among
weak features in the near-infrared that other Solar System bodies observed so These results provide unique insights into
suggest a surface covered by water ice, far. Objects with a diameter smaller than the global population of these faint and
methane and nitrogen ice, as well as small 1000 km exhibit a negative polarisation distant objects. Important advances in elu­
grains of irradiated material mainly formed that rapidly increases (in absolute value) cidating the surface composition of
via im­­pacts of cosmic rays and interstellar with the phase angle and reaches about TNOs have been achieved. Observations
medium particles (Sedna’s orbit often takes – 1 % at phase angles as small as 1º. The performed with SINFONI in the H and K
it beyond the heliopause). largest TNOs exhibit a small fraction of regions have allowed us to detect spec-
negative linear polarisation that does not tral signatures, revealing the presence
noticeably change in the observed phase of surface deposits of ices such as H2O,
Surface properties angle range. It has been suggested that CH4, CH3OH, C2H6, NH3 and N2. We find
the different types of polarimetric behav­ that most of the largest objects have ices
To investigate the surface characteristics iour are related to different albedos and on their surface (water ice or ices of more
of TNOs better we carried out polari­metric different capabilities for retaining volatiles volatile species), whatever their dynamical
observations of eight objects belonging to for large and small TNOs (Bagnulo et al., class (see Figure 4) and whatever their col­
different dynamical groups. These include 2008). The modelling of the polarimetric ours, although objects with neutral colours
dwarf planets Eris and ­Haumea, the clas­ behaviour of the largest objects suggests tend to be covered by water ice. The col­
sical object (20000) Varuna, the resonant that their topmost surface layer consists ours are very variable, from slightly blue

18 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

13 Figure 4. The absolute to have formed from a disc of debris
12 magnitude (in H-band) ejected during the collision of Pluto with a
Oth – ice
11 of the TNOs and Cen­
LP – ice
taurs (with and without body of almost equal size.
Oth – no ice
9 ice detected on their
LP – no ice
8 surface) is plotted as a In addition, the high albedos and the
function of the perihelion detection of volatiles on the surfaces on
distance (q, in astro­
nomical units). The some TNOs indicate the possible pres­

dimension of the symbol ence of an atmosphere, even if only as a
is related to the ­diameter transient phenomenon. The only Trans-
3 of the object (for clarity
Neptunian object observed thus far with a
the scale used is not lin­
1 ear). The smallest size of seasonal atmosphere is Pluto, but other
0 the Centaurs is 20 km, large objects like Eris or Sedna may have
–1 while the biggest TNO one as well. A cometary-type activity
–2 has a diameter close to (outburst) has also been suggested for the
–3 2500 km.
5 15 25 35 45
Centaur Chariklo to explain differences in
q (AU) spectra obtained at different times (Guilbert
et al., 2009).

to very red (Fornasier et al., 2009). The the real nature of the organics present Our understanding of the population of
wide difference in surface composition and on these objects is still a matter of debate. these faint and distant objects is, however,
colour within the TNO population could The red class (RR) objects are present still limited. The observations that have
be connected to different original compo­ in all dynamical populations, with a higher been made so far lead to a lot of ques­
sitions and/or the different processes they concentration in the classical group. They tions. If major differences in composition
have experienced, as well as to their size. are found amongst the Centaur popula- between the very large objects and the
Even if TNOs are considered as the most tion as well as in the detached population, others can be attributed to a size effect, it
pristine objects in the Solar System, over as for example Sedna, which is consid­ is very hard to explain differences among
the 4.5 Gy of the Solar System’s life they ered as part of the inner Oort Cloud. smaller objects. The next generation of
have experienced various modifying proc­ more powerful instruments on 10-metre-
esses. Other processes must be at work that class telescopes will start giving us some
could affect some objects more than answers, but most of the answers will
It is clear that the surface of these objects others. Models of the interiors of TNOs probably come with the next generation
has been affected by bombardment by indicate that cryovolcanism, which is con­ of telescopes, the ELTs, which will open
cosmic ray and solar wind ions and/or sidered to be the most probable form the study of smaller objects. These smaller
micrometeorites (space weathering), with of geological activity on some satellites objects are those that carry most of the
the consequence that the molecular of the outer planets, may be possible on information about the dynamical/collisional
­complexes are structurally changed and the larger Trans-Neptunian objects (di- evolution of the Solar System. The defini­
the molecular compositions of ice and ameter > 800 km). This could explain, for tive evidence for atmospheres can come
minerals are altered over time. Laboratory instance, the surface composition of only from occultations or direct spectro­
experiments on plausible materials for Orcus which includes both water ice in the scopic detection with spacecraft. A major
TNOs show the formation of an irradiation crystalline state, which is not supposed step in the study of this population is the
mantle (forming a crust), breaking bonds to exist at such low temperatures (around New Horizons–NASA mission that will fly
in ice molecules, allowing the formation of 30 K), and ammonia, which is easily by Pluto in 2015 and will enable the
radicals, escape of hydrogen and forma­ destroyed by irradiation. Furthermore, the detailed study of Pluto and its three satel­
tion of a carbon-rich layer of low albedo. water ice in the crystalline state should lites, Charon, Nix and Hydra. The New
This can easily mask the presence of vola­ be quickly amorphised by irradiation, as Horizons spacecraft will continue on into
tiles and the crust thus formed would indicated by various laboratory studies. the Trans-Neptunian population to fly by
hide the real composition of these icy one or more TNOs.
bodies. The statistics do not, however, Collisions must have also played an
show any strong correlation between the important role in the evolution of this pop­ References
surface properties and dynamical classes ulation, inducing heating and chemical
or orbital properties of TNOs. Many ob- changes. The consequence of collisions Bagnulo, S. et al. 2008, A&A, 491, L33
jects from the reddest class (RR), which is not only the alteration of the surface Barucci, M. A. et al. 2005, AJ, 130, 1291
Barucci, M. A. et al. 2008, A&A, 479, L13
are the reddest objects in the Solar Sys­ properties, but also the modification of the Belskaya, I. et al. 2008, A&A, 479, 265
tem, have probably been heavily irradi­ internal structure of the targets. Collisions Dalle Ore, C. M. et al. 2009, A&A, 501, 349
ated. The slopes of the spectra of these are important both for small and large DeMeo, F. et al. 2009, A&A, 493, 283
objects, which have typically low albedos, objects. A typical example is Charon, a Guilbert, A. et al. 2009, A&A, 501, 777
Fornasier, S. et al. 2009, A&A, 508, 457
have been modelled with complex organ- moon of Pluto, but completely different Merlin, F. et al. 2009, AJ, 137, 315
ic compounds such as Titan, Triton or ice in composition (see Figure 3), which is Perna, D. et al. 2010, A&A, 508, 457
tholins, or terrestrial-type kerogens, but supposed (according to numerical models)

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 19

Astronomical Science

The APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy


Frédéric Schuller 1 Thermal emission from dust at submilli- which high-mass stars are being formed.
Henrik Beuther 2 metre wavelengths is a direct tracer Whether this is representative can only
Sylvain Bontemps 3 of high column densities and, thus, of be revealed by an unbiased survey of the
Leonardo Bronfman 4 dense cloud regions in which new stars complete Galactic Plane, providing large
Philipp Carlhoff 5 are forming. Surveys of the Galactic samples, which will allow us to place far
Riccardo Cesaroni 6 Plane in thermal dust emission have the stronger constraints on the early stages
Yanett Contreras 4 potential to deliver an unbiased view of high-mass star formation.
Timea Csengari 7 of high-mass star formation throughout
Lise Deharveng 8 the Milky Way. The Atacama Pathfinder Located at one of the driest sites on
Guido Garay 4 Experiment (APEX) telescope is ideally Earth, and at a latitude of – 23°, the
Thomas Henning 2 located for mapping the inner Galaxy. 12-metre diameter APEX telescope
Fabrice Herpin 3 Using the Large APEX Bolometer Cam- (Güsten et al., 2006) is ideally located to
Katharina Immer 1 era (LABOCA), we have recently com- observe the inner two quadrants of
Bertrand Lefloch 9 pleted the APEX Telescope Large Area the Galactic Plane. Equipped with the
Hendrik Linz 2 Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL). 295-pixel LABOCA instrument (Siringo
Diego Mardones 4 This survey, which covers 360 square et al., 2007; Siringo et al., 2009), APEX
Karl Menten 1 degrees at 870 µm, provides the first can map hundreds of square degrees at
Vincent Minier 7 unbiased sample of cold dusty clumps 870 µm in reasonable time. Making
Sergio Molinari 10 in the Galaxy at submillimetre wave- the best possible use of this “mapping
Frédérique Motte 7 lengths and reveals the clumpy struc- ma­chine”, a consortium involving the
Quang Nguyen Luong 7 ture of the cold interstellar medium over Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
Lars-Åke Nyman 11 very large scales that have previously (MPIfR) in Bonn, the Max-Planck-Institut
Jill Rathborne 4 been little explored. für Astronomie in Heidelberg, the ESO
Vincent Reveret 7 community and the Universidad de Chile
Christophe Risacher 12 has embarked on the APEX Telescope
Delphine Russeil 8 Trying to understand the early stages of Large Area Survey of the Galaxy
Peter Schilke 5 star formation is an important topic of (ATLASGAL). The LABOCA observations
Nicola Schneider 7 modern astrophysics. While significant have just been completed, covering
Jochen Tackenberg 2 progress has been achieved in the field 360 square degrees of the inner Galactic
Leonardo Testi 13 of low-mass star formation, both from Plane. Several follow-up projects have
Tobias Troost 1 theoretical and observational aspects, already been started.
Tatiana Vasyunina 2 the quest for the earliest phases of mas­
Malcolm Walmsley 6 sive star formation remains a major chal­
Marion Wienen 1 lenge. The prime reason for this is the The first systematic survey of the inner
Friedrich Wyrowski 1 short lifetime of massive stars, which Galactic Plane in the submillimetre range
Annie Zavagno 8 makes them rare, so that most high-mass
star-forming regions are located at dis­ In the past decade, several bolometer
tances greater than 1 kpc. Therefore, arrays have been used by various teams
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastro­ systematic surveys on the scale of the to map individual star-forming complexes.
nomie, Bonn, Germany full Galaxy are required to provide large For example, Johnstone et al. (2004)
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, samples of massive pre- and proto-stellar used SCUBA to map the Ophiuchus and
Heidelberg, Germany objects. Perseus clouds, and Enoch et al. (2006)
Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de covered Perseus, Ophiuchus and Serpens
­Bordeaux, France The advent of large arrays of bolometers with BOLOCAM. Unlike these targeted
Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile has made it possible to map large areas observations, the ATLASGAL project
University of Cologne, Germany in the sky at submillimetre (sub-mm) aims at mapping the entire Galactic Plane
Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, and millimetre (mm) wavelengths. Using accessible from APEX at 870 µm. A
Firenze, Italy the Max-Planck Millimeter Bolometer ­similar survey of the northern Galactic
IRFU/SAp, Commissariat à l’énergie (MAMBO) array at the IRAM 30-metre tel­ Plane has recently been completed with
atomique, Saclay, France escope, Motte et al. (2007) obtained a BOLOCAM at the Caltech Submillimeter
Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de complete 3 by 2 degree map covering Observatory (CSO) at 1.1 mm (Rosolowsky
­Marseille, France the Cygnus-X complex at 1.2 mm. They et al., 2010). Only such blind surveys have
Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de could derive statistically significant re- the potential to deliver unbiased samples
l’Observatoire de Grenoble, France sults and lifetimes for the evolutionary of cold dusty cores.
INAF–Instituto di Fisica dello Spazio phases of high-mass star formation. In
Interplanetario, Roma, Italy particular, no high-mass analogue of pre- The ATLASGAL observations started in
ALMA, Santiago, Chile stellar dense cores was found by this 2007. A large programme was conducted
SRON, Groningen, Netherlands study, implying a very short lifetime for in 2008–9, using observing time from
ESO the earliest phases of dense cores in MPIfR, from ESO and from Chile. The

20 The Messenger 141 – September 2010


b 0


80 60 40 20 0 –20 –40 –60 –80

Figure 1. The coverage of the ATLASGAL observa­ corresponds to a 5σ detection of individ­ Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array,
tions is shown in Galactic coordinates (l, b) in de-
ual clumps of 10 MA at 2 kpc, and 100 MA ALMA).
grees, on top of an IRAS false-colour image (blue:
12 µm, green: 60 µm, red: 100 µm). The large black at the distance to the Galactic Centre.
frame shows the 360 sq. degrees mapped to date; Many of these compact sources are
the smaller frames inside the larger one show the embedded in extended emission on the
data obtained in 2007 and presented in Schuller et
Compact sources and long filaments arcminute scale, as can be seen in the
al. (2009). The frame in yellow delineates the addi­
tional region being mapped in 2010. close-up examples in Figure 3. Our 5σ
The LABOCA maps reveal thousands of sensitivity of 0.25 Jy/beam corresponds
compact sources, as well as extended to a hydrogen column density of order
current data cover the ± 60° range in objects, many of them showing fila- 10 22 cm – 2, or, to a visual extinction of
Galactic longitude, over ± 1.5° in latitude mentary structures. Such filaments have about 10 magnitudes. We note that, due
(see Figure 1). To complete the cover- a width of just a few parsecs, and can to the subtraction of correlated noise
age of the most active regions in the extend over 100 pc. A typical example is ­during data reduction, uniform emission
inner Galaxy, another small programme shown in Figure 2. on scales larger than 2.5 arcminutes is fil­
was accepted in 2010. Observations tered out and is not present in the final
of the – 80° to – 60° range in longitude are With a spatial resolution of 19 arcseconds, maps (more details are given in Schuller
still ongoing. the LABOCA data can spatially resolve et al., 2009). Observations in the sub-mm
objects with sizes of 0.3 pc and larger, for continuum are nevertheless complemen­
The telescope patterns are linear on-the- typical distances of 3 kpc or more. Most tary to the infrared extinction techniques,
fly maps, where the telescope scans at of the compact objects are actually re- which are sensitive to larger scales, but
(typically) 3 arcminute/s along a line, solved by our observations, with full “saturate” in the densest regions.
and the step between lines is 1.5 arc­ width at half maximum generally of order
minutes. The 11-arcminute field of view 30 arcseconds. This corresponds to The long filaments seem sometimes to
and 295 pixels of LABOCA ensure a high massive clumps, which will probably give connect large molecular complexes
redundancy in a single map. In addition, birth to groups or clusters of stars: most together (e.g., near the M16 nebula, see
each position in the sky is covered by clumps have total gas+dust masses of Figure 4), or to trace the boundaries of
at least two different maps, observed a few 100 MA, and the most extreme supergiant bubbles.
with different scanning angles. More have a few 104 MA. Only with interferom­
details on the observing strategy and eters that provide a resolution of order
data reduction can be found in Schuller 1 arcsecond is it possible to resolve such Nature of the sources
et al. (2009). The noise level in the final clumps into individual star-forming cores
maps is usually around 50 mJy/beam. (today, for example with the Plateau de Because thermal emission from dust in
Assuming a dust temperature of 15 K Bure interferometer, e.g., Beuther et al., the submillimetre range is optically thin,
and typical properties for dust, this 2007, and in the future with the Atacama the emission seen with LABOCA directly


–1 Figure 2. Example ATLASGAL map

at 870 µm, in the direction of the
Norma arm, showing about 20 square
degrees, or 6 % of the surveyed area
(in Galatic coordinates). Compact
–26 –27 – 28 – 29 – 30 – 31 – 32 – 33 objects and ­filamentary structures are
l prominent.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 21

Astronomical Science Schuller F. et al., The APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL)

Figure 3. Close-up views of represent­ 1.5

ative regions, towards Galactic longi­
tudes + 24.6° (left) and –10° (right). The 0.3 2
intensity scale (in Jy/beam) is linear,
as shown on the right of each panel. 1 0.2
Galactic coordinates (l, b) shown in 0.2
0.1 1

–0.1 –0.1

–9.6 –9.7 –9.8 – 9.9 –10 –10.1

24.8 24.7 24.6 24.5 24.4 24.3

scales with the amount of matter along very cold, and to represent the earliest H ii region); another 28 % contain conden­
the line of sight. Therefore, our survey is stages of massive star formation, and, in sations clearly interacting with the ionised
primarily sensitive to massive star-forming particular, the pre-stellar phase. gas. Thirteen bubbles exhibit ultra-
clumps. We cannot exclude, however, compact H ii regions associated with the
that some of our compact sources are A first version of the ATLASGAL cata­ dust condensations found adjacent to
nearby low-mass clumps (our 5σ detec­ logue of compact sources will soon be their ionisation fronts. Another five show
tion limit corresponds to a one solar published (Contreras et al., in prepara­ 6.7 GHz methanol masers, tracers of
mass clump at a distance of 1 kpc). tion). Associations with IRAS and MSX very young embedded high-mass proto­
Evolved stars, such as post-asymptotic point sources will be included. This cata­ stars, in similar condensations.
giant branch (AGB) or supergiant stars, logue will allow the distribution of mas-
also have large amounts of dust in their sive star-forming clumps in the inner The conclusion from this study is that
envelopes and can therefore appear Galactic Plane to be studied in a system­ more than a quarter of the bubbles could
bright at 870 µm. However, only a few atic way for the first time. The catalogue have triggered the formation of massive
sources are unresolved in our maps, and will later be cross-associated with data­ objects. Star formation triggered by H ii
could correspond to evolved stars. bases at other wavelengths, e.g., the regions has long been thought to be an
Spitzer GLIMPSE and MIPSGAL surveys, important process, especially for the
During their early evolution, star-forming and with the Herschel Hi-GAL data when ­formation of massive stars, but so far little
clumps increase in temperature, as the they become available. systematic evidence was available.
protostar starts to warm the inner part of We now plan to use complementary data
the clump. The peak of the thermal emis­ to characterise the properties (such as
sion then moves from the sub-mm to the Star formation triggered by expanding H ii mass and evolutionary stage) of the
far- and mid-infrared. We have systemati­ regions young sources formed on the borders of
cally searched for infrared counterparts these regions.
to our compact sources in the ­Infra-Red The Spitzer–GLIMPSE images at 8 µm
Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) and the Mid­ have unveiled a “bubbling Galactic disc”.
course Space Experiment (MSX) point- More than 600 bubbles with diameters of Follow-up projects
source catalogues. Only about 10 % of a few arcminutes have been catalogued
ATLASGAL sources could be associated by Churchwell et al. (2006, 2007). As Based on a preliminary extraction of
with mid- and far-infrared IRAS sources, shown by Deharveng et al. (2010), more the compact sources, several follow-up
and one third have a counterpart within a than 85 % of these 8 µm bubbles enclose projects in spectral lines have been
30-arcsecond search radius in the MSX H ii regions and contain hot dust emitting started. In particular, observations of the
mid-IR database (Figure 5). at 24 µm. Taking advantage of the simple inversion lines of ammonia (NH3) with
morphology of these bubbles, Deharveng the Effelsberg radio telescope for the
Sources with infrared counterparts are et al. (2010) used ATLASGAL to search northern sources, and with the Parkes
relatively warm, and correspond to for dense neutral shells and condensa­ telescope for the south, provide the most
later stages of star formation, when one tions surrounding the H ii regions. A sam­ efficient way to measure radial velocities
or several protostar(s) have already been ple of one hundred bubbles from the and to derive kinematic distances. These
formed, and a molecular hot core or a Churchwell et al. (2006) catalogue was lines of NH3 also provide rotation temper­
compact H ii region has developed. On studied. Among the 65 regions for which atures, which give an estimate of the gas
the other hand, the majority of ATLASGAL the angular resolution of the ATLASGAL temperature in the clumps. So far, more
sources have no bright IR counterpart observations is high enough, they find than 1000 sources have been observed
(they may however be detected at 24 µm that 40 % of the bubbles are surrounded in NH3 (Wienen et al., in preparation).
with the superior sensitivity of the Spitzer by cold dust (accumulated at their bor­ These observations show that the com­
surveys). These sources are likely to be ders during the expansion of the central pact sources are not randomly distrib­

22 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

1.5 10 000 Figure 5. Distribution of

Fraction with IRAS/MSX

MSX 1.0
peak fluxes from a pre­

Number of sources
1000 0.8 liminary extraction of
1 6 000 ATLASGAL com­
0.6 pact sources. The frac­
0.4 tion of sources in each
10 bin for which a counter­
1 0.2 part in the IRAS or MSX
1 0.0 catalogues could be
0.1 1.0 10.0 100.0 found is shown in red or
Flux density (Jy) blue, respectively.

large sample of bright ATLASGAL sources (Molinari et al., 2010). We plan to com-
b (deg)

in the H2O maser line at 22 GHz, with bine the Hi-GAL and ATLASGAL data, in
the Effelsberg 100-metre radio telescope. order to build SEDs for thousands of
In 2009, we observed 140 sources, and compact Galactic sources. Using also the
water maser emission, tracing outflow Spitzer data, we will then obtain com-
activity, was detected in about two thirds plete SEDs from 3.6 µm to 870 µm. This
0 of the sources, including many new dataset will remain unique for many
detections. years to come. The catalogue of compact
–0.5 sources with identifications at other
Finally, we have observed a sample of wavelengths will be available to the public
about 100 bright sources at 350 µm, upon completion, as well as the reduced
17 16.5
using the Submillimeter APEX Bolometer calibrated maps. We also plan to include
l (deg) Camera, SABOCA (Siringo et al., 2010). results from follow-up observations in
The combination of LABOCA and this public database. This will give a high
Figure 4. Example ATLASGAL map in the vicinity of ­SABOCA data allows us to compute the legacy value to the survey, providing
the M16 (Eagle) nebula. The intensity scale is linear, well characterised samples of targets for
dust spectral index. This is found to
as shown on the right, in Jy/beam.
vary between ~ 2 and values above 4, many possible studies.
which could trace an evolution of the dust
properties. Moreover, the spatial resolu­ Last but not least, the first ALMA anten­
uted at all possible distances, but they tion of APEX at 350 µm is 7 arcseconds, nas should be available soon for early
are rather found to gather within coherent significantly better than that of LABOCA. science. This will be the perfect time for
complexes, at a given distance. Such Therefore, the SABOCA data make it conducting follow-up studies of carefully
complexes extend over several hundreds possible to study the fragmentation of selected samples at an unprecedented
of parsecs. star-forming cores. These observations spatial resolution. The ATLASGAL cata­
took place in May 2010, and a detailed logue will provide ALMA with several
We have also observed a large sample analysis is ongoing (Troost et al., in prep­ thousand compact sources, including hot
of over 600 sources at 3 mm with the aration). We are also planning to use the cores, high-mass proto-stellar objects, and
Australian Mopra telescope. This tele­ SABOCA instrument to map large regions cold pre-stellar cores. Thus ATLASGAL
scope, equipped with an 8 GHz wide of the Galactic Plane, in order to study is expected to trigger numerous follow-up
spectro­meter, allows many molecules to core fragmentation and dust properties studies with ALMA, aimed at characteris­
be detected simultaneously (e.g., SiO, on large scales, mostly unexplored so far. ing the physical conditions and the
N2H+, HCN, HCO+, NH2D, ...), tracing a chemistry of the massive star formation
broad range of physical conditions. Such process at the smallest possible scales.
a large dataset also provides valuable Perspectives: a long-lasting legacy
information on the chemical processes ­ atabase
d References
occurring within the sources. A detailed
analysis of these data is in progress The SABOCA and LABOCA data, when Beuther, H. et al. 2007, A&A, 466, 1065
(Wyrowski et al., in preparation). A smaller combined with the available Spitzer Churchwell, E. et al. 2006, ApJ, 649, 759
Churchwell, E. et al. 2007, ApJ, 670, 428
sample was also observed in the 1 mm GLIMPSE and MIPSGAL surveys at 3.6 to Deharveng, L. et al. 2010, A&A, accepted,
window with the APEX telescope. These 24 µm, provide spectral energy distribu­ arXiv:1008.0926
observations are highly complementary tions (SEDs) for a very large sample of Güsten, R. et al. 2006, A&A, 454, L13
to the Mopra data, since they allow us sources, from the near-IR to the sub-mm Enoch, M. L. et al. 2006, ApJ, 638, 293
Johnstone, D. et al. 2004, ApJ, 611, L45
to ob­­serve, at a similar spatial resolution, range. Molinari, S. et al. 2010, A&A, 518, L100
higher energy transitions of the same Motte, F. et al. 2007, A&A, 476, 1243
molecules. Currently, the Herschel Space Observa­ Rosolowsky, E. et al. 2010, ApJS, 188, 123
tory is mapping the same area of the Schuller, F. et al. 2009, A&A, 504, 415
Siringo, G. et al. 2007, The Messenger, 129, 2
Since maser emission is known to be Galactic Plane as observed for ATLASGAL Siringo, G. et al. 2009, A&A, 497, 945
another good tracer of massive star in the wavelength range from 70 to Siringo, G. et al. 2010, The Messenger, 139, 20
formation, we have started to follow up a 500 µm, as part of the Hi-GAL project

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 23

Astronomical Science

VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV):

Current Status and First Results

Roberto Saito1 Maria Messineo 33 13

Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Maren Hempel 1 Félix Mirabel 34, 35 14
Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y
Javier Alonso-García 1 Lorenzo Monaco 3 Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de
Ignacio Toledo1 Christian Moni Bidin 22 La Plata, Argentina
Jura Borissova 2 Lorenzo Morelli 36 15
Space Telescope Science Institute,
Oscar González 3 Nelson Padilla 1 Baltimore, USA
Juan Carlos Beamin1 Tali Palma 7 16
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do
Dante Minniti 1, 4 Maria Celeste Parisi 7 Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Philip Lucas 5 Quentin Parker 37, 38 17
Departamento de Astronomía, Univer­
Jim Emerson 6 Daniela Pavani 16 sidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Andrea Ahumada 7, 3, 8 Pawel Pietrukowicz 39 18
Institute for Astronomy, The University
Suzanne Aigrain 9, 24 Grzegorz Pietrzynski 22, 40 of Edinburgh, UK
Maria Victoria Alonso 7 Giuliano Pignata 41 19
Joint Astronomy Centre, Hilo, USA
Eduardo Amôres 10 Marina Rejkuba 3 20
Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astro­
Rodolfo Angeloni 1 Alejandra Rojas 1 physics, Peking University, China
Julia Arias 11 Alexandre Roman-Lopes 11 21
Astrophysics Group, Imperial College
Reba Bandyopadhyay 12 Maria Teresa Ruiz 17 London, UK
Rodolfo Barbá 11 Stuart Sale 1, 2 22
Departmento de Astronomía, Universi­
Beatriz Barbuy 13 Ivo Saviane 3 dad de Concepción, Chile
Gustavo Baume 14 Matthias Schreiber 2 23
Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy,
Luigi Bedin 15 Anja Schröder 42, 43 Heidelberg, Germany
Eduardo Bica 16 Saurabh Sharma 2 24
Department of Astrophysics, University
Leonardo Bronfman 17 Michael Smith 44 of Oxford, UK
Giovanni Carraro 3 Laerte Sodré Jr.13 25
Department of Physics, University of
Márcio Catelan 1 Mario Soto 11 Cincinnati, USA
Juan Clariá 7 Andrew Stephens 45 26
School of Physics & Astronomy, Univer­
Carlos Contreras 1 Motohide Tamura 46 sity of Leeds, UK
Nicholas Cross 18 Claus Tappert 2 27
Institute of Astronomy, University of
Christopher Davis 19 Mark Thompson 5 Cambridge, UK
Richard de Grijs 20 Elena Valenti 3 28
Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics,
István Dékány 1 Leonardo Vanzi 47 The University of Manchester, UK
Janet Drew 5, 21 Walter Weidmann7 29
NASA–Ames Research Center, Moffett
Cecilia Fariña 14 Manuela Zoccali 1 Field, USA
Carlos Feinstein 14 30
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias,
Eduardo Fernández Lajús 14 Tenerife, Spain
Stuart Folkes 2 1
Departamento de Astronomía y 31
School of Physics and Astronomy,
Roberto Gamen 14 Astrofísica, Pontificia Universidad University of Southampton, UK
Doug Geisler 22 Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile 32
Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica
Wolfgang Gieren 22 2
Departamento de Física y Astronomía, Cosmica di Bologna, Italy
Bertrand Goldman 23 Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile 33
ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands
Andrew Gosling 24 3
ESO 34
Service d’Astrophysique — IRFU,
Guillermo Gunthardt 11 4
Vatican Observatory, Italy CEA–Saclay, France
Sebastian Gurovich 7 5
Centre for Astrophysics Research, 35
Instituto de Astronomía y Física del
Nigel Hambly 18 University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK Espacio, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Margaret Hanson 25 6
School of Mathematical Sciences, 36
Dipartimento di Astronomia, Universitá
Melvin Hoare 26 Queen Mary, University of London, UK di Padova, Italy
Mike Irwin 27 7
Observatorio Astronómico de Córdoba, 37
Department of Physics, Macquarie
Valentin Ivanov 3 Argentina University, Sydney, Australia
Andrés Jordán 1 8
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones 38
Australian Astronomical Observatory,
Eamonn Kerins 28 Científicas y Técnicas, Buenos Aires, Epping, Australia
Karen Kinemuchi 29 Argentina 39
Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical
Radostin Kurtev 2 9
School of Physics, University of Exeter, Center, Warsaw, Poland
Andy Longmore 18 UK 40
Warsaw University Observatory, Poland
Martin López-Corredoira 30 10
SIM, Faculdade de Ciências da Univer­ 41
Departamento de Ciencias Físicas,
Tom Maccarone 31 sidade de Lisboa, Portugal Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago,
Eduardo Martín 30 11
Departamento de Física, Universidad Chile
Nicola Masetti 32 de La Serena, Chile 42
SKA/KAT, Cape Town, South Africa
Ronald Mennickent 22 12
Department of Astronomy, University of 43
Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy
David Merlo 7 Florida, USA Observatory, South Africa

24 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

The University of Kent, Canterbury, UK Figure 1. Illustration
45 showing the Milky Way
National Astronomical Observatory of
galaxy and the area
Japan, Tokyo, Japan being observed by the
Gemini Observatory, Hawaii, USA VVV Survey (based on
Departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica, Figure 16 of Churchwell
et al., 2009).
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile,
Santiago, Chile

VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV)

is a public ESO near-IR variability
­survey aimed at scanning the Milky Way
Bulge and an adjacent section of the
mid-plane. VVV observations started in
October 2009 during ESO science veri- (1.64 μm) and Ks- (2.14 μm) bands of a Pipeline processing and calibration of
fication. Regular observations for the field at Galactic coordinates l = 2.2º, the VVV data are performed by the UK
first year of the survey have been con- b = – 3.1º. An additional thirteen epochs Cambridge Astronomy Survey Unit
ducted since February 2010 and will in Ks-band were also taken, since the (CASU) using the VISTA Data Flow Sys­
cover a total area of 520 square degrees variability study will be done only in this tem (VDFS) pipeline 3. The VISTA Science
in five passbands and five epochs. Here band. This is one of the most crowded Archive (VSA) at the Wide Field Astron­
we address the first results obtained fields in the Galactic Bulge, allowing us omy Unit (WFAU) in Edinburgh 4 performs:
from the VVV Survey as well as the cur- to test whether there are too many satu­ (i) image stacking to produce stacked
rent status of the observations. rated stars. It is also known to contain and subtracted tiles; (ii) photometric and
numerous variable stars, allowing us to astrometric calibration; (iii) source merg­
test their detectability. In addition to this ing; (iv) quality control; and (v) identifica­
Introduction field we also observed three other tiles tion of variable sources. ­Photometric cali­
(each tile corresponds to a sky field of bration on the VISTA system is done via
VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea is one 1 × 1.5 deg 2 ) in the Bulge in Ks-band to thousands of unsaturated Two Micron All
of the six ESO Public Surveys selected test different sky subtraction strategies. Sky Survey (2MASS) stars present in
to operate with the new 4-metre Visible every VVV tile, including for Z and Y filters
and Infrared Survey Telescope for As­­ (not observed by 2MASS) where colour
tronomy VISTA1 (Emerson & Sutherland, Regular observations equations are used. The method is similar
2010). VVV is scanning the Milky Way to that used for WFCAM (Hodgkin et al.,
(the Vía Láctea) Bulge and an adjacent Regular observations for the first year 2009). Our project takes advantage both
section of the mid-plane, where star for­ started in February 2010 and will cover of the VDFS team’s experience in han­
mation activity is high. The survey will the total survey area in the five pass­ dling the WFCAM/UKIRT and VISTA data,
take 1929 hours of observations during bands. An additional set of five Ks-band and the experience of the VVV team
five years (2010–14), covering ~ 109 point exposures will also be taken. Table 1 members, who are leading participants in
sources across an area of 520 square shows the number of Observational other surveys such as OGLE and in rou­
degrees, including 33 known globular Blocks (OBs), each of which corresponds tine data processing and delivery to ESO.
and ~ 350 open clusters; the survey area to one tile, scheduled for observation
is shown in Figure 1. The final product during the first period, as well as the cur­ Figure 2 shows a J-, H- and Ks-band
will be a deep near-infrared (NIR) atlas in rent status of the observations. The OBs ­ olour-composite image centred on the
five passbands and a catalogue of more named “colour” contain observations in Galactic H ii region M8 (NGC 6523).
than 10 6 variable point sources (Minniti more than one filter. ­Figure 3 (top panels) shows a small por­
et al., 2010). Detailed information about tion of a VVV image centred on the
the VVV Survey can be found at the sur­ Table 1. Overview of VVV observations: first year. ­globular cluster Palomar 6, compared
vey web page 2. with 2MASS (Skrutskie et al., 2006). VVV
Planned Executed by Fraction images are usually a combination of J-,
for 2010 1 July 2010 % H- and Ks-band observations. However,
Science verification Bulge some early images (including this one
Colour ZY 196 40 20 of Palomar 6) were created using Z-, H-
Some VVV data were obtained on 19–30 Colour JHKs 196 170 87 and Ks-band colours. The higher quality
October 2009, during ESO science veri­ Variability Ks 1004 92 9 of the VVV data stands out in this com­
fication (SV) of VISTA (Arnaboldi et al., Disc parison. As another example of the supe­
2010), following the same observing Colour ZY 152 121 80 rior quality of the VVV data, the lower
strategy as the VVV survey. The observa­ Colour JHKs 152 152 100 panels of Figure 3 show colour images of
tions consisted of multi-colour imaging, Variability Ks 760 507 67 the Bulge planetary nebula NGC 6629,
Z- (0.87 μm), Y- (1.02 μm), J- (1.25 μm), H- Total 2460 1082 44 located in a field centred at l = 9.8º,

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 25

Astronomical Science Saito R. et al., VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV)

Figure 2. VVV image of the Lagoon Nebula

(NGC 6523), a giant interstellar cloud in the constel­
lation of Sagittarius, towards the Bulge of our Gal­
axy. This colour image was made combining J-
(blue), H- (green) and Ks-band (red) observations.
Saturated objects show a black dot in the centre.
Credit: Ignacio Toledo and Dante Minniti.

Colour–magnitude diagrams

The left-hand panel of Figure 4 shows a

colour–magnitude diagram (CMD) for the
SV field in the Bulge located at l = 2.2º,
b = – 3.1º, in one of the most crowded
regions of our Galaxy. In spite of the high
stellar density and large number of
giants, high precision photometry is pos­
sible over most of the field. This figure
shows the dominant Bulge red giant
branch along with the main sequence
track of the foreground Disc, and it is evi­
dent that the VVV photometry is about
4 magnitudes deeper than 2MASS in this
field, almost reaching the Bulge main
sequence turn-off. About a million stars
are measured in total in this 1.5 deg 2
field. CMDs like this can be used to study
the stellar populations across the Bulge,
as well as the 3D structure of the inner
Milky Way.

The right-hand panel of Figure 4 illustrates

the CMD of the first Galactic Plane field
observed. Located at l = 295.4º, b = –1.7º
(in the outskirts of Carina), this field suf­
fers from large and very inhomogeneous
extinction. The Disc main sequence domi­
nates and numerous reddened giants
are also seen. We stress that 2MASS is
very complementary to our survey,
­providing the external photometric and
astrometric calibration, and photometry
for the brighter sources (Ks < 10), which
­saturate even in the short (4 s) VVV expo­
sures. The depth of the VVV allows us
in many cases to see all the way through
the Plane of the Milky Way. In fact, very
often our CMDs show numerous back­
ground galaxies. CMDs like these can
also be used to study the 3D structure of
the Milky Way Plane, as well as the spiral
arms, the edge of the Disc and the outer
b = – 5.3º. Clearly, even though the ­survey lines present in our filters, particularly warp. About half a million stars are meas­
is not designed to detect or map emis­ Paschen β in the J-band and Brackett γ ured in this 1.5 deg 2 field. Taking into
sion line objects, it turns out that plane­ in the Ks-band. We expect to identify a account that the VVV Survey covers over
tary nebulae (PNe) are also prominent few hundred PNe in our fields in the inner 520 deg 2 in total, we will provide photo­
in the VVV images. The colour is typical Disc and Bulge. metry for ~ 5 × 10 8 sources in the Bulge
of most PNe, due to the intense emission and Disc of our Galaxy.

26 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Figure 3. Upper panels: in I-band, as expected. The photometric
Comparison between
accuracy of the data points in the light
VVV (left) and 2MASS
(right) images of the curve is ~ 0.05 mag. Our simulations
globular cluster Palomar show that, at a typical magnitude of
6. Lower panels: VVV Ks ~ 15−16 mag, we should be able to
image (left) of the plane­
detect RR Lyrae stars with amplitudes
tary nebula NGC 6629
compared with 2MASS down to 0.03−0.05 mag, using 100
(right). phase points over the time frame of five
N years of the VVV Survey.

In parallel with the main VVV Survey,

1 E we are also obtaining a large database
of high quality (“template”) light curves
in the Ks-band for different variability
classes, using a variety of other tele­
scopes. This will allow us to automati-
cally classify an important fraction of the
~ 10 6 VVV Ks-band light curves. While
automated classification is routinely
accomplished in other variability surveys
(e.g., Debosscher et al., 2007; 2009),
the VVV Survey is the first of its type to
be carried out in the NIR, where the
required light-curve templates are, for the
15 E most part, not available in the literature.

Figure 4. Colour-magni­ First moving object

tude diagrams compar­
VVV data
8 ing VVV data (black) and
2MASS (red) for two The VVV Survey will allow the detection
extreme examples. The of Solar System objects down to
left-hand panel shows Ks ~ 18 mag. We are searching for Trans-
one of the most
10 Neptunian objects (TNOs), Jupiter Trojan
crowded Bulge fields
(SV field), while the right- asteroids (L5Js), Neptune Trojan aster­
hand panel shows one oids (N5Js), Main Belt asteroids (MBAs),
of the Disc fields that are and near-Earth objects (NEOs). Since the
most heavily and inho­
12 VVV Bulge fields lie just on the Ecliptic,
mogeneously reddened
(see text for further our search is limited to this region. Satellite

details). tracks are also common and readily iden­

tified, even in the short VVV exposures.

As an example, Figure 6 shows MBA 199

Byblis, the first moving object detected
16 by the VVV Survey while making the col­
our tiles. The sequence of observations
(in this case taken on 23 October 2009)
started with the H-band (green), 3 min­
18 utes later the Ks-band (red) was exposed,
and finally 13 minutes later the Z-band
0 1 2 0 1 2 (blue). The object was also recovered in
J–Ks Ks-band images acquired on 22 and 24
October 2009. 199 Byblis shows a mag­
First VVV RR Lyrae light curve the VVV SV data. The object, OGLE nitude of Ks = 12.12 mag and a motion
189 770, is an ab-type RR Lyrae star with of about 0.22 arcminutes/day. The excel­
The detection of variable stars and the a period P = 0.72949 days and an am­­ lent VISTA image quality (typically full
monitoring of their variability is the main plitude of 0.33 mag (Collinge et al., 2006). width at half maximum < 1 arcsecond)
goal of the VVV Survey. In Figure 5 we In Ks-band the minimum magnitude is and scale (0.34 arcseconds/pixel), also
present the first, and preliminary, light Ks ~ 14.2 mag, with an amplitude of allows us to identify high proper motion
curve of an RR Lyrae star obtained from ~ 0.20 mag, smaller than that observed stars with the survey baseline of 4–5 years

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 27

Astronomical Science Saito R. et al., VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV)

Figure 6. Main Belt

asteroid 199 Byblis, the
OGLE 189770
first moving object
13.6 comparison star
detected by the VVV
Survey. It is the central
object seen from left to
right in filters Z (blue), Ks
(red), and H (green).
Bright saturated stars

have Ks < 10 mag, and

show a black dot in the


30 E
0 0.5 1 1.5 2

Figure 5. (above) First VVV light curve for a Bulge

RR Lyrae, obtained from the SV data. This ab-type
RR Lyrae was identified from the OGLE sample,
and has a period P = 0.72949 days (Collinge et al.,
2006). The data are repeated in phase for better

for faint objects, and with a baseline

of more than ten years for bright objects
with 2MASS. As a complementary pro­­
ject, we will also search for background
QSOs in some selected fields, to provide
an extragalactic frame for accurate N

1 E
Searching for new clusters and streams

Another goal of the VVV is to search for Figure 7. Star cluster candidate identified in the
VVV Survey. This cluster is located in a Disc field.
new star clusters of different ages. To
The faintest stars in this picture have Ks ~ 17 mag.
trace the early stages of star cluster for­
mation, we are carrying out a survey of
infrared star clusters and stellar groups. Acknowledgements Collinge, M. J. et al. 2006, ApJ, 651, 197
Emerson, J. & Sutherland, W. 2010, The Messenger,
These are found towards known massive
The VVV Survey is supported by the European 139, 2
star formation regions associated with Southern Observatory, the BASAL Center for Astro­ Debosscher, J. et al. 2007, A&A, 475, 1159
methanol maser emission and hot molec­ physics and Associated Technologies (PFB-06), the Debosscher, J. et al. 2009, A&A, 506, 519
ular cores. Using the list of star-forming FONDAP Center for Astrophysics (15010003) and Hodgkin, S. T. et al. 2009, MNRAS, 394, 675
the MIDEPLAN Milky Way Millennium Nucleus (P07- Longmore, S. N. & Burton, M. G. 2009, PASA, 26,
regions provided in Longmore et al.
021-F). We would like to thank the staff of CASU and 439
(2009), we have already identified 25 WFAU, who provide the pipeline processing, data Minniti, D. et al. 2010, New Astronomy, 15, 433
small star cluster candidates by visual calibration and archive. Some VVV tiles were made Skrutskie, M. F. et al. 2006, AJ, 131, 1163
inspection. Almost all of them seem using the Aladin sky atlas, SExtractor software and
products from the TERAPIX pipeline (Bertin et al.,
indeed very young, because most of the
2002). This publication makes use of data products Links
mass is still concentrated in the gas. A from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, a joint project
typical example of a newly identified of the University of Massachusetts and IPAC/ 1
 isible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astron­
­cluster candidate is shown in Figure 7. CALTECH, funded by NASA and NSF. omy (VISTA):
V ISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea project page:
We are also studying the old metal-poor
stellar population histories of the Milky References 3
V ISTA Surveys page at the Cambridge Astronomi­
Way Disc and Bulge, with the aim to cal Survey Unit (CASU):
find and study disrupted stellar streams Arnaboldi, M. et al. 2010, The Messenger, 139, 6 surveys-projects/vista
Bertin, E. et al. 2002, ADASS XI, 281, 228 W ide Field Astronomy Unit (WFAU) of the University
produced during past accretion events.
Churchwell, E. et al. 2009, PASP, 121, 213 of Edinburgh:

28 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Astronomical Science

A Wide-angle VIMOS Survey of the Sagittarius Dwarf

Spheroidal Galaxy

Giuliano Giuffrida 1 structures over a timescale of many giga­ a ­sizeable metal-rich population at
Luca Sbordone 2, 3 years. [Fe/H] ≈ 0, and a metal-poor tail likely
Simone Zaggia 4 reaching down to almost [Fe/H] = – 3.
Gianni Marconi 5 At the moment there is no universally The associated GCs also span about
Piercarlo Bonifacio 3, 6 accepted scenario for the formation of two orders of magnitude in metallicity,
Carlo Izzo 5 the Milky Way, although some progress between [Fe/H] = – 2.6 in Terzan 7 and
Thomas Szeifert 5 was made towards a description which, [Fe/H] = -0.6 in Terzan 8 (Sbordone et al.,
Roberto Buonanno 1, 7 not surprisingly, appears as a compromise 2007; Mottini et al., 2008).
between the ELS and SZ models. The
Galactic Halo was formed by hierarchical Except for the analyses in the associated
 SI Science Data Center, Frascati, Italy
A merging of substructures, while the GCs, he large size (roughly 15 × 7 de-
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, thin and thick Disc components formed grees on the sky) and low surface density
Garching, Germany as the result of the monolithic infall of of the Sgr dSph have so far prevented
GEPI, Observatoire de Paris, Meudon, a diffuse gaseous component that was any large-scale photometric and spectro­
France ejected from the substructures prior to the scopic study outside a tiny central region.
INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di merging event. Thus the kinematics, star formation his­
Padova, Italy tory and chemical compo­sition remain
ESO In 1994 Ibata et al., during a spectro­ unexplored over most of the galaxy. In
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osser­ scopic study of the Milky Way Bulge, dis­ the present article, and in ­forthcoming
vatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Italy covered a new dwarf spheroidal galaxy papers, we describe the first attempt to
Università di Roma, Italy at only 25 kpc from the Sun, the Sagitta­ map the Sgr dSph stellar ­populations
rius dSph, hereafter Sgr dSph. This ob- and chemical composition over most of
ject is orbiting inside the MW Halo with a its surface.
Using VIMOS in imaging and spectro­ period of about 1 Gyr, and probably
scopy modes and FLAMES spectro­ was captured about 10 Gyr ago (Ibata et
scopy data, we have mapped the al., 1997). It was quickly theorised that A wide-angle VIMOS survey
­Sagittarius dwarf spheroidal galaxy the Sgr dSph should be in the process of
(Sgr dSph) photometrically and spectro­ being tidally destroyed by its interaction The main body of Sgr dSph is located
­scopically over eight fields along the with the MW, its stellar con­tent being dis­ near the Milky Way disc, and on the
galaxy minor and major axes. We have persed in the Halo along a ­massive stellar opposite side of our Galaxy, so discrimi­
found, for the first time, striking evi- stream. The stream was indeed observed, nating between MW and Sgr dSph stars
dence of multiple populations in the and constitutes the most prominent Halo is a real challenge. Fortunately, by
peripheral zones of this near compan- substructure de­­tected by wide field sur­ ­combining photometric and spectroscopic
ion of the Milky Way. These data, veys such as the Two Micron All Sky Sur­ data it is possible to select an almost
together with previous analyses of the vey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. uncontaminated sample of Sgr dSph
Sgr dSph core and streams, supply a The Sgr dSph and its stream now consti­ stars. Given the impressive angular size
detailed picture of this galaxy, and will tute the most dramatic evidence (albeit of the Sgr dSph, we decided to con­
give us the opportunity to reconstruct not the only piece) that hierarchical merg­ centrate our efforts on its centre and on
the history of this object and its influ- ing processes have contributed heavily seven peripheral fields located along the
ence on the evolution of the Milky Way. to the build up of the MW, and continue minor and major axis of the galaxy (see
to do so today. Figure 1 for the positions of these fields).

Sagittarius dSph The residual, bound Sgr dSph main body Photometrically, the red giant branch
is still a remarkable object. Four globu- (RGB) stars of the Sgr dSph are clearly
For many decades two competing sce­ lar clusters (M54, Terzan 7, Terzan 8 and visible as a nearly vertical sequence
narios for the formation of the Milky Arp 2) are currently associated with it on a colour–magnitude diagram (CMD) of
Way (MW) have been presented. In the and M54 is the second most massive the area, and are separated from the
“monolithic collapse’’ scenario (Eggen, GC known in the MW, lying at the centre bulk of the MW Disc and the Bulge+Halo
Lynden-Bell & Sandage, 1962, hereafter of Sgr dSph main body (Bellazzini et al., population. But this is not enough,
ELS) our Galaxy formed quickly through 2008). At least one more GC (Pal 12) because a large number of Bulge and
the collapse of an isolated ­protogalactic almost certainly originated in the Sgr dSph Halo stars could be present in that region
cloud. Early star formation populated the system and was consequently stripped of the CMD. A further selection can
Halo and the globular ­clusters (hereafter (Sbordone et al. [2007] and references only be performed dynamically: Sgr dSph
GCs), while dynamical friction led the therein). Spectroscopic studies of stars in stars are co-moving along their orbital
bulk of the gas to form a thin disc. In the the very centre of the Sgr dSph showed trajectories due to gravitational interac­
competing “hierarchical merging” sce­ that the galaxy underwent an impressive tion with the Milky Way, and this common
nario (Searle & Zinn, 1978, hereafter SZ), degree of chemical evolution. The cen- motion is identifiable through radial
the Galaxy would have formed by the tral population has a mean metallicity, ­velocity measurements, distinguishable
coalescence of a large number of sub­ [Fe/H] of – 0.5, unusually high for a dSph, from the motions of MW stars. This

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 29

Astronomical Science Giuffrida G. et al., A Wide-angle VIMOS Survey of the Sagittarius Galaxy

– 20

– 25
Dec (degrees)

– 30


– 35

– 40 – 200 0 200
295 290 285 280 275 270 Vrad (km/s)
RA (degrees)

Figure 1. Map of the catalogued stars and clusters radial velocities (Vrad ) not exceeding Figure 2. The radial velocity distribution of the
in the Sgr dSph galaxy obtained from 2MASS and FLAMES sample of stars observed in the direction of
90–100 km/s, the Sgr dSph stars have
UCAC catalogues selected in K and J–K (see the Sag dSph. In red the candidate Sgr dSph mem­
­M ajewski et al. [2003] for the selection criteria). The a narrow Vrad distribution centred around bers; the other stars belong to the Milky Way.
boxes show the position of the fields observed with 140 km/s (see Figure 2). Finally, we per­
VIMOS and FLAMES. formed a follow-up spectroscopic analy­ population whose progeny is the ubiqui­
sis with FLAMES of candidate Sgr dSph tous RGB, visible also in the border fields
uncontaminated sample of stars could be members in the seven peripheral fields. (Sgr1 and Sgr4). In Figure 3 we show the
successively observed with a high reso­ We decided not to include the central CMD obtained from three of our fields:
lution spectrograph to characterise in M54 field in the FLAMES follow-up, since Sgr4, M54 and Sgr1. It is interesting also
detail the dynamics and chemical content a large number of observations were to observe the different MW contribution
of the Sgr dSph. already available for that field. to these fields: from the less contami­
nated (Sgr4), to the most contaminated
The programme for sampling the stellar Imaging observations with VIMOS were one (Sgr1). The central field is character­
populations across the Sgr dSph was obtained over five different nights. Each ised by the presence of the M54 GC
performed in three steps. We secured the pointing consisted of two exposures: superimposed on the general Sgr dSph
first images of the eight selected fields a 10 s exposure in the I-band, and a 15 s population: along with the RGB of the
with VIMOS on the ESO Very Large Tele­ exposure in the V-band. Atmospheric Sgr dSph population, the RGB of the
scope (VLT); second, we selected tar- seeing, evaluated using the full width at M54 population is clearly visible; finally
gets from the RGB of Sgr dSph and other half maximum (FWHM) of the observed the highly populated horizontal branch
luminous stars to observe with the point spread function for a sample of is visible only in this central field. The
VIMOS Multi Object Spectroscopy (MOS) bright, isolated stars, was in the range combination of imaging and multi-object
with the high resolution red grism 0.7 to 1.3 arcseconds, perfectly suited for spectroscopy with VIMOS and multi-
­(645–860 nm, R = 2 500) mode, with an our purposes. The analysis of this photo­ object spectroscopy with FLAMES
exposure time of 600 s for each point- metric data reveals a fairly homogene- Medusa mode guarantees a sample of
ing. With these data a first dynamical ous scenario (Giuffrida et al., 2010): all more than 200 confirmed Sgr dSph stars
selection has been performed: while the the Sgr dSph fields appear to be charac­ localised in the seven peripheral fields
bulk of contaminant MW stars have terised by the presence of a dominant (Giuffrida et al., 2010).

14 Sgr4 M54 Sgr1



20 Figure 3. VIMOS colour–magnitude

diagrams (CMD) for three of the ob-
22 served fields are shown with, superim­
posed, the fiducial line of the dominant
24 Sgr dSph population. Left: CMD for
the Sgr4 field; centre: CMD of the cen­
0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 tral (M54) field; right: CMD of the Sgr1
V–I V–I V–I field.

30 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Figure 4. Colour–magni­ the blue edge of the RGB (17 < V < 14
tude diagram for all
14 mag and 0.9 < V–I < 1.1 mag) that cannot
the stars detected in the
seven Sgr dSph periph­ be reproduced with a “M92-like” popu­
eral fields with, over­ lation. The hypothesis that these “blue-
plotted, the stars edge” stars are high velocity halo inter­
observed with FLAMES
lopers cannot be rejected, but they can
and showing radial
velocities compatible also correspond to a very metal-poor
with a membership of Sgr dSph population: the results from the
the Sgr dSph. Fiducial high resolution abundance analysis will
lines of three galactic
allow us to clarify this question.
globular clusters are
superimposed. From left
to right: M92, M5 and We are completing the analysis of the

47Tuc characterised by FLAMES spectra, and dynamical and

[Fe/H] = − 2.52, −1.24
chemical measurements are currently
and − 0.67 respectively.
The bold black line fol­ underway; there are still many open
lows the position of the questions regarding this galaxy, such as
20 RGB of Sgr dSph main a possible rotation of the main body
around one of the axes, or the presence
of an ultra metal-poor population
([Fe/H] < – 2.5). Unveiling the history of
this fascinating companion to the Milky
Way will be extremely useful for our
understanding of both the local and the
distant Universe.
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0
In Figure 4 we superimpose the confirmed namely M92, M5 and 47 Tuc. These
(radial velocity) Sgr dSph members ob­­ GCs are representative of a metal-poor Bellazzini, M. et al. 2008, ApJ, 136, 1147
served with FLAMES over the global population (M92, [Fe/H] = – 2.52), inter­ Eggen, O. J., Lynden-Bell, D. & Sandage, A. R. 1962,
ApJ, 13, 748
CMD (obtained joining all the data of the mediate metallicity population (M5, Giuffrida, G. et al. 2010, A&A, 513, 62
seven peripheral fields). An inspection [Fe/H] = –1.24) and a metal-rich popula­ Ibata, R. A. et al. 2001, ApJ, 551, 294
of this figure reveals a complex scenario: tion (47 Tuc, [Fe/H] = – 0.67). This large Ibata, R. A. et al. 1997, AJ, 113, 634
while many stars are located on the metallicity span is in agreement with the Ibata, R. A. et al. 1995, MNRAS, 277, 781
Ibata, R. A. et al. 1994, Nature, 370, 194
main RGB of Sgr dSph, a large number data collected on the Sgr dSph core, Majewski, S. R. et al. 2003, ApJ, 599, 1082
of them are located on different se­­ with two remarkable exceptions, namely Mottini, M. et al. 2008, AJ, 136, 614
quences. To better characterise these the presence of a well-populated inter­ Searle, L. & Zinn, R. 1978, ApJ, 225, 357
populations, we superimposed fiducial mediate population ([Fe/H] ≈ –1) and Sbordone, L. et al. 2007, A&A, 465, 815
lines of three well-known Galactic GCs, large numbers of bright stars lying at

The interacting galaxy NGC 4027 (Arp 22) is shown

in this colour composite image formed from expo­
sures in three broadband filters (B, V and R) and
two narrowband filters (Hα and [O iii] 5007A) taken
with EFOSC on the NTT. This barred spiral galaxy
is a member of the NGC 4038 Group and shows
­evidence of interaction from its distorted northern
spiral arm.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 31

Astronomical Science

Studying the Properties of Early Galaxies with the

ESO Remote Galaxy Survey

Malcolm Bremer 1 nique is, in principle, very efficient at identi­ mitigation of cosmic variance, but also
Matthew Lehnert 2 fying galaxies in the early Universe, but one has the practical effect of helping to avoid
Laura Douglas 1, 2 must always be cautious of po­­tential con­ the RA-congestion inherent in concen­
Elizabeth Stanway 1 tamination by interloping lower redshift gal­ trating any follow-up observations of only
Luke Davies 1 axies or stars that have similar red colours, a few comparatively large public fields.
Douglas Clowe 3 and of the broad distribution in redshift
Bo Milvang-Jensen 4 inherent in such selection techniques. Both
Mark Birkinshaw 1 of these problems potentially undermine The ESO Remote Galaxy Survey large
conclusions based on purely photometric programme
samples — spectroscopic confirmation
 . H. Wills Physics Laboratory,
H is crucial to remove contaminants, to inves­ Our large programme targeted ten fields
University of Bristol, UK tigate the clustering prop­erties of galaxies previously imaged with FORS2 by the
GEPI, Observatoire de Paris Meudon, and to understand the nature of their line ESO Distant Cluster Survey (EDisCS) sur­
France emission. Perhaps most importantly, spec­ vey (White et al., 2005; Poggianti et al.
Ohio University, USA troscopic confirmation of regions with a 2009) in the V-, R- and I-bands and sup­
Dark Cosmology Centre, University of large number of sources at similar redshifts plemented this with further imaging in
Copenhagen, Denmark enables detailed and efficient follow-up the z-band. Although we have obtained
using facilities with com­paratively small imaging in longer wavebands for these
fields of view or limited spectral coverage. fields, only the optical imaging data was
We present a discussion of and results It is through the study of spectroscopically- used to select potential LBGs with z ~ 5
from the ESO Remote Galaxy Survey confirmed samples well-matched to the and above. Simple colour cuts (most
(ERGS), a spectroscopic survey of capabilities of upcoming facilities that we importantly R–I > 1.3 mag) along with an
Lyman-break galaxies with z ~ 5 and will make progress in understanding the I-band magnitude cut of IAB = 26.3 were
above. The survey directly explores the nature of the earliest galaxies. used to identify prime candidate LBGs,
properties of these early star-forming but where the available space on spectro­
galaxies, increasing the observational In order to assemble a reliable sample of scopic masks allowed, even these criteria
detail in our picture of early galaxy evolu- z ~ 5 Lyman-break galaxies (LBGs) that were relaxed. The colour cut and I-band
tion. The survey provides a sample of can be explored in detail at multiple wave­ magnitude limit were chosen to select
galaxies ideally matched in spatial distri- lengths, we have carried out the ESO ­galaxies with z > 4.8 and to probe to lumi­
bution to the capabilities of current and Remote Galaxy Survey (Douglas et al., nosities the equivalent of one magnitude
imminently available instrumentation. We 2007; 2009; 2010), building on our earlier below L* for z ~ 3 LBGs, thus allowing
discuss the results of the first follow-on work (e.g., Lehnert & Bremer, 2003; us to measure possible evolution in the UV
studies of the sample in the mm/sub-mm ­Stanway et al., 2004). In addition to deter­ luminosity function.
that signpost the potential of these facili- mining the properties of both individual
ties for exploring early galaxy evolution. galaxies and the sample as a whole, we Our observing strategy enabled the widest
wanted to explore whether and how the range of candidate LBGs to be targeted
galaxies cluster in three dimensions, as by spectroscopic follow-up, minimising the
Over the last decade, the observational might be expected if they are the progeni­ number of true z ~ 5 galaxies rejected
frontier of galaxy evolution research tors of massive galaxies at lower redshifts. from our sample before spectroscopy. The
has been pushed back from two billion Our previous analysis of z ~ 5 LBGs number of spectroscopic masks used
years after the Big Bang (at redshifts (Verma et al., 2007) showed that their stel­ on any one field was guided by the number
z ~ 3) to one billion years or less (at z ~ 5 lar mass surface densities were extremely of photometric candidates in that field,
and higher). While the difference in the high, comparable to those found at the varying from one mask for the poorest to
cosmological time between these red­ centres of massive galaxies today, lending five masks for the richest field. Objects
shifts may seem insignificant, it is thought support for this possibility. were prioritised for spectroscopy using the
that during this early epoch the most multi-wavelength data in each field, but
­massive galaxies in the local Universe The need to trace any clustering constrains given the number of masks, completeness
underwent their first significant star forma­ observations to a high surface density was generally very good. This approach,
tion episode. If this is so, what physical of spectroscopically-confirmed sources, coupled with the liberal selection technique
mechanisms drove this early collapse of using multiple spectroscopic masks on a generally maximised the surface density
galaxies and their first major episodes of single field if necessary. This approach of spectroscopically-confirmed LBGs in
star formation? also has a clear benefit for follow-up stud­ the fields. In addition, given the relatively
ies with current and future instruments high completeness of this approach, we
Much of our progress in developing un­­ that have a limited field of view, where max­ are able to use the spectroscopically-
derstanding of the nature of galaxies in the imising the number of targets per point- confirmed sample to infer the global statis­
early Universe has been made possible by ing improves the scientific return of each tical properties of the set of objects that
extending the Lyman-break technique pio­ observation. We also wanted to draw either were untargeted spectroscopically
neered by Steidel and collaborators at z ~ 3 sources from multiple equatorial fields. or failed to yield a reliable redshift, despite
to higher redshifts. This photometric tech­ Not only does this allow exploration of and being subjected to spectroscopy.

32 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

10 Figure 1. The redshift distribution of spectroscopically
J1054.7-1245 4.876 J1054.7-1245 confirmed LBGs in one ERGS field, ­J1054-1245, is
shown at upper left (in red) in comparison to the dis­
8 4.975
4.975 5.044 tribution of redshifts in the survey as a whole, normal­
2 ised to the same area (in blue). The redshift “spike” at
4.975 4.930
z ~ 5 is obvious. The night-sky strength as a function
6 4.879
Number of Galaxies

1 5.000 of redshift for Lya is shown below the redshift distri­

Dec (arcminutes)
5.028 bution. The spatial distribution of the LBGs in this red­
shift spike across the FORS2 imaging field is shown
4 0 4.870 at upper right. Four examples of two-dimensional
spectra of LBGs in the spike are shown (lower plot). In
4.891 each case wavelength increases to the right and posi­
2 −1
4.951 4.951 tion along the slit varies vertically. Objects show clear
4.852 Lya emission and continuum redward of the line.
−2 4.979
0 4.860
−3 unconfirmed subsample is sufficiently well
4.4 4.6 4.8 5.0 5.2 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.0 understood that we can explore the dis­
−3 −2 −1 0 1 2 3
RA (arcminutes) tribution of Lyα equivalent widths in z ~ 5
LBGs. This distribution is an indicator of
the underlying initial mass function (IMF)
within the ongoing starburst that powers
the UV emission from the LBGs. There has
been recent discussion in the literature
as to whether higher redshift systems have
top-heavy IMFs (with a high ratio of mas­
sive to low-mass stars) as they may have
restframe UV colours too blue for a stand­
Lyman-α ard IMF. Higher Lyα equivalent widths
favour top-heavy IMFs. The distribution of
Sky lines equivalent widths for the spectroscopi­
cally-confirmed z ~ 5 sources is biased to
higher values than the similar distribution
We carried out FORS2 spectroscopy While this kind of structure in the LBG for z ~ 3 LBGs. However, because of our
using twenty masks across the ten fields ­distribution might be expected if it were careful assessment of the completeness
(totalling an effective area of about 450 to eventually form massive galaxies, the and reliability of our sample, we can cor­
square arcminutes), resulting in a sample structures are physically very extended rect for the contribution of spectroscopi­
of some 70 spectroscopically-confirmed and the LBGs must inhabit separate dark cally-unconfirmed z ~ 5 sources, which by
LBGs at z ~ 5 and above. Approximately matter halos. This large scale, when taken definition have low or negative Lyα equiva­
half of the spectra show Lyα emission plus together with the comparatively short-lived lent widths. When this is done, the z ~ 5
a continuum break, the rest only a break nature of typical z ~ 5 LBG starbursts (a distribution is consistent with that seen at
in the continuum as the intervening inter­ few tens of Myr, Verma et al., 2007), make z ~ 3; there is no evidence for an evolution
galactic medium (IGM) scatters the contin­ it unlikely that all the LBGs in the structure in the IMF between these redshifts.
uum shortwards of restframe Lyα out will eventually combine to form a single
of our line of sight. The objects are not massive galaxy (or several such galaxies). The spectroscopy also reveals a difference
distributed uniformly across the fields. For these to form, most of the baryons between the restframe UV-optical spec-
Two fields in particular show clear three- within them cannot be within the UV lumi­ tral energy distributions of the line-emitting
dimensional clustering of LBGs; not only nous LBGs at z ~ 5. The LBGs may trace and the break-only populations. The
do the sources cluster spatially, their regions where these reside, either in sepa­ break-only galaxies appear to have both
­redshift distributions show clear “spikes” rate systems within the same large-scale redder observed I–K colours and redder
at particular redshifts, unlike the typical structure, or in larger underlying galaxies 1200–1700 Å restframe continuum slopes
field (see Figure 1). The LBGs within these within which the UV-luminous LBGs are than the line-emitters, a difference that
fields trace out coherent large-scale embedded. The LBGs may well be the is difficult to explain purely by differences
structures, not necessarily proto-clusters, UV-luminous “tip of the iceberg” of a much in the ages of their stellar populations.
but more likely rich sheets or filaments larger over-dense structure, whether a Allowing the metallicity or dust extinction
of matter seen when the Universe was sheet, filament or perhaps proto-cluster. to vary between these two subsamples
ap­proximately one billion years old. The This issue motivates our mm/sub-mm fol­ may explain the difference, with the break-
density of LBGs within these structures low-up of these fields, discussed below. only subsample being more extincted
makes them particularly suitable targets and/or having a slightly higher metallicity.
for follow-up studies with comparatively Our spectroscopy is complete enough, Taken as a whole, if the correlation be­­
small-field future instrumentation such as and the likely contamination fraction of tween metallicity and UV continuum slope
ALMA and KMOS. non z ~ 5 sources in the spectroscopically identified at low redshift is applicable at

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 33

Astronomical Science Bremer M. et al., Studying the Properties of Early Galaxies

9.5 Figure 3. Eight exam­

ples of spectroscopi­
cally confirmed galaxies
9.0 with multiple compo­
nents. Each box is
5 arcseconds × 5 arc­
seconds and the images
8.5 4.882 5.361 4.607 5.053
12 + (O/H)

were taken using the

HST/ACS camera and
the F814W filter. Red­
8.0 shifts are indicated in
the bottom right-hand
5.177 5.354 4.951 5.628

−2 −1 0 1
β ing the merger? The nature of the larger- exploration in these wavebands have used
scale clustering seen in some of the fields LABOCA on APEX to image one field in
Figure 2. A plot of metallicity against UV spectral might support the “embedded” hypothe- continuum at 870 µm (about 150 µm in
slope, b. Points show the correlation between the
sis in order to account for sufficient bary­ the restframe) and the Australia Telescope
quantities for local galaxies (from Heckman et al.,
1998). The dot-dashed vertical lines indicate the ons to form massive galaxies at lower Compact Array (ATCA) to image two
spectral slope of the galaxies with only spectral redshifts. However, work on nearby ana­ fields at 7 mm and 12 mm to search for
breaks (no line emission) in our sample (red) and for logues of LBGs (Overzier et al., 2008) redshifted CO(2–1) and CO(1–0) line
the whole sample with spectroscopic redshifts (blue),
indicates that, for these low redshift sys­ emission respectively. The latter observa­
and the dashed vertical lines indicate the spectral
slope of the galaxies with Lya mostly in absorption tems at least, the merger hypothesis is tions can be thought of as less sensitive
(red) and galaxies with Lya predominately in emission most likely. It is impossible to determine and lower frequency pathfinders to future
(blue) for LBGs at z ~ 3 (Shapley et al., 2003). Our whether either of these scenarios account ALMA studies, with ALMA being able
objects appear to have steeper UV spectra than z ~ 3
for the structure seen in the z ~ 5 systems to target the same fields at higher frequen­
LBGs, indicating lower typical metallicities, on aver­
age 0.3 ZA, but with some scatter. The red hatched from the optical imaging and spectros­ cies, probing higher transitions of CO
area indicates the range of metallicity estimates in copy data alone. However, this is exactly and potentially the key [C ii] line which is
prior literature. the type of issue that ERGS was designed the dominant coolant of the interstellar
to tackle through follow-up observations in medium, amongst other lines.
z > 3, the typical z ~ 5 LBGs have metal­ other wavebands.
licities a factor of ~ 3 lower than those The sub-mm observations with LABOCA
of LBGs at z ~ 3 (see Figure 2), a result (Stanway et al., 2010) targeted a field
consistent with that found in a photometric ERGS in other wavebands containing twelve spectroscopically-con­
study of the GOODS–South LBGs by firmed z ~ 5 LBGs. Ten lay in a region
Verma et al. (2007). Our first steps in following up ERGS have where the data had a 2σ limit of 3 mJy. To
been carried out in the mm and sub-mm, this level, no individual LBG was detected.
Most of the EDisCS fields have been in order to answer several questions raised Stacking the pixels corresponding to
imaged in the restframe UV by the Hubble by our optical and near-infrared results these z ~ 5 galaxies, a limit of < 0.85 mJy
Space Telescope (HST). Many of the from the VLT. The mm and sub-mm allows was placed on the 870 µm emission of
LBGs, both the candidates from the pho­ us to trace cold molecular gas and dust. the “average” z ~ 5 LBG. With an assumed
tometric sample and the spectroscopically Since this is the material out of which stars dust temperature of 30 K, this places a
confirmed objects, are imaged at kilo- form, ascertaining the amount of cold gas limit on the typical dust mass of below
parsec-scale resolution. A majority of will allow us to, for example, determine 1.2 × 10 8 MA, no more than ~ 10 % of the
the spectroscopically confirmed objects the potential for these galaxies to keep stellar mass of the typical system. Higher
covered by this imaging are resolved on forming stars. This also had the additional temperatures lead to even lower masses.
this scale into two or more UV luminous benefit of enabling us to prepare for future Future ALMA observations, will be orders
components, while being unresolved in observations with ALMA. of magnitude more sensitive, and thus
the ground-based imaging (typically corre­ individual galaxies are likely detectable in
sponding to a scale of order ~ 10 kpc, We chose to follow up the two most clus­ relatively short exposures.
see Figure 3). There has been some debate tered fields. Not only does this allow us
in the literature as to the nature of LBGs, to observe and characterise a compara­ The ATCA observations (Stanway et al.,
particularly those with multiple UV compo­ tively large number of LBGs in relatively 2008; Davies et al., 2010) similarly targeted
nents. Could these systems be UV-lumi­ few deep pointings, but it has also allowed multiple LBGs in two clustered ERGS
nous super-star clusters embedded in us to search for other non UV-luminous fields. No individual galaxy was detected
individual, mostly obscured, more massive sources embedded in the same large- in either CO(2–1) or CO(1–0). After stacking
systems, or could they be indicative of scale structures as the LBGs, as might be the spectra of eight LBGs in one field, we
merger events, potentially with each com­ expected if these they are truly the pro­ found a limit to the molecular gas content
ponent being a complete system undergo­ genitors of massive galaxies. Our initial of the average z ~ 5 LBG of < 3.1 × 109 MA.

34 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Figure 4. I-band image of part
CO at 5.1245
1.0 of one of our fields is shown
–11.965 (left) containing two LBGs at
0.8 z = 5.12, indicated by the red
circles with crosses inside,
overlaid with (green) contours
–11.970 of radio emission at frequen­

Flux (mJy)
cies corresponding to the
0.4 CO(2–1) line at the same red­
shift as the LBGs. An object
LGB at 5.120
with no obvious optical coun­
–11.975 0.2
terpart is detected at these
LGB at 5.116
frequencies close to the top of
0.0 the image. The field centre and
half-power beam width of the
–11.980 HPBW at
37.7 Ghz −0.2 ATCA radio observations are
indicated by the yellow cross
160.195 160.190 160.185 160.180 160.175 37.65 37.70 37.75 37.80 37.85 and circle respectively. The
RA (J2000) Frequency (GHz) 37.7 GHz-band ATCA spec­
trum of the source detected in
the radio data, indicating a
of other fields to the same depth. No clear line at a frequency con­
This limit is comparable to the stellar
sistent with CO(2–1) at
mass of a typical source. Given the low excess of sub-mm sources associated with z = 5.1245, is shown at right.
conversion rate of molecular gas into stars, the structure traced by LBGs are detected
these systems are running out of fuel within the current dataset. While deeper
for their ongoing starburst; they are being observations with ALMA and other facili­ These initial follow-up studies of ERGS
observed a substantial way through ties will likely detect less luminous systems give an indication of the work on the most
and probably close to the end of the within such structures, the current obser­ distant galaxies that will be made possible
event. This agrees with previous determi­ vations do not indicate a significant asso­ with future facilities. Rather than studying
nations of the typical ages of the stellar ciation of the most luminous sub-mm gal­ potentially atypical luminous sources,
populations of these sources and our own axies with over-densities of LBGs at z ~ 5. facilities such as ALMA and the E-ELT will
LABOCA results. In the single case where we have detected allow us to study the more numerous
(Stanway et al., 2008, see Figure 4) and and typical populations in all of their gase­
Taken together, these observations indi­ subsequently reconfirmed (Stanway et al., ous phases, from cold molecular to
cate that z ~ 5 LBGs are unlikely to be 2010, in preparation) CO emission from warm/hot ionised gas, and provide spec­
UV-luminous super-star clusters embed­ a galaxy embedded in the same structure tral energy distributions from the restframe
ded in larger, more heavily obscured as multiple LBGs, the ratio of CO to con­ UV out to the sub-mm. Such targeted
underlying systems, as these should have tinuum luminosity indicates that the star­ observations will characterise the z ~ 5
been detected in the mm/sub-mm obser­ burst within that galaxy is closer in nature LBGs (and by extension higher redshift
vations. Consequently, they give strong to luminous starbursts seen in low red­- systems) in the greatest detail along with
support to the idea that the z ~ 5 LBGs are shift spiral galaxies, rather than to the other, as yet undetected, galaxies sharing
“switched on” by mergers and the result- ultra- or hyper-luminous sources selected the same structures. Fields containing a
ing starburst uses up (or expels through in the sub-mm at intermediate and high high density of spectroscopically-confirmed
driving strong winds) the available fuel, typ­ redshifts. high redshift sources, such as those in
ically in a few tens of millions of years. ERGS, are the ideal targets for a detailed
The bias to observing the galaxies towards investigation of the early evolution of
the end of the starburst phase would be a Prospects ­galaxies with the VLT and future facilities
natural consequence of the merger trigger. such as ALMA and the E-ELT.
Provided that the starburst lasts a length The ESO Remote Galaxy Survey has given
of time comparable to, or shorter than, the us important clues about the nature References
lifetimes of massive stars, we would only of galaxies seen 1 Gyr after the Big Bang.
ever expect to predominantly select ERGS has shown that z ~ 5 LBGs are Davies, L. J. M. et al. 2010, MNRAS, in press,
sources at the end of their starburst in a young, relatively metal-poor, compact arXiv:1007.3989
Douglas, L. S. et al. 2007, MNRAS, 376, 1393
restframe UV-luminosity selected sample. intense starbursts, apparently in the throes Douglas, L. S. et al. 2009, MNRAS, 400, 561
of merging, and which trace out large Douglas, L. S. et al. 2010, MNRAS, in press,
The data also indicate that the over-dense coherent structures. The key to obtaining arXiv:1007.2847
structures traced by these LBGs do not this knowledge was the spectroscopic Lehnert, M. D. & Bremer, M. N. 2003, ApJ, 593, 630
Poggianti, B. et al. 2009, The Messenger, 136, 54
contain a large population of mm/sub-mm observations with FORS2 that allowed us Stanway, E. R. et al. 2004, ApJ, 607, 704
luminous starbursts. In the LABOCA field, to estimate contamination rates, determine Stanway, E. R. et al. 2008, ApJ, 687, L1
there is a single convincing detection of if the galaxies had a top-heavy IMF, inves­ Stanway, E. R. et al. 2010, MNRAS, in press,
a source away from the area covered by tigate their clustering properties and arXiv:1007.0440
Verma, A. et al. 2007, MNRAS, 377, 1024
our optical imaging, consistent with the ­enabled us to make important follow-up White, S. D. M. et al. 2005, A&A, 444, 365
number of detections found in observations observations with other facilities.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 35

Astronomical News

Upper: Alan Moorwood (shown left) and Sandro

D’Odorico (right) recently retired and became the
first ESO astronomers emeriti. See Primas et al.
p. 50 for more details.

Lower: The Chilean President Sebastián Piñera

(centre left) and the Foreign Affairs Minister,
Alfredo Moreno (right), recently received the ESO
Director General, Tim de Zeeuw (left) and ESO
Representative in Chile, Massimo Tarenghi (centre
right), to discuss the siting of the E-ELT on Cerro
Armazones. See ann1038 for more details.
Astronomical News

Report on the ESO Workshop

Central Massive Objects: The Stellar Nuclei – Black Hole Connection

held at ESO Garching, Germany, 22–25 June 2010

Nadine Neumayer 1
Eric Emsellem1


An overview of the ESO workshop

on black holes and nuclear star clusters
is presented. The meeting reviewed
the status of our observational and the-
oretical understanding of central mas-
sive objects, as well as the search for
intermediate mass black holes in globu-
lar clusters. There will be no published
proceedings, but presentations are
available at

This workshop brought together a broad

international audience in the combined
fields of galaxy nuclei, nuclear star clus­
ters and supermassive black holes, to
confront state-of-the art observations with
cutting-edge models. Around a hundred
participants from Europe, North and
South America, as well as East Asia and Figure 1. Workshop participants assembled outside made up of several populations of stars.
ESO Headquarters in Garching.
Australia gathered for a three-day meet­ The existence of very young O and WR
ing held at ESO Headquarters in Garching, stars in the central few arcseconds
Germany (see Figure 1). The sessions around the black hole is puzzling. The
were of very high quality, with many very – Are intermediate mass black holes currently favoured solution to this paradox
lively, interesting and fruitful discussions. formed in nuclear clusters/globular of youth is in situ star formation in infalling
All talks can be found online on the web clusters? gas clouds. This view is also supported
page of the workshop1. – How do the central massive objects by the fact that the Milky Way nuclear star
relate to their host galaxies? cluster is rotating (Rainer Schödel). Res­
The key scientific questions for this work­ onant relaxation can explain the warp and
shop were: In the course of the workshop we walked the co-/counter-rotating dichotomy of
– What is the evolutionary/causal con­ through these science questions, start- the young stars (Bence Kocsis). However,
nection between nuclear clusters and ing from the best studied example of a the existence of S stars very close to
black holes? supermassive black hole and its surround­ the black hole is even more surprising.
– What can the Galactic Centre tell us ing nuclear star cluster, at the heart of These are ordinary B stars with an age of
about the “nuclear cluster–black hole” our own Galaxy. We indicate the authors about 108 years. Their observed proper­
connection? of the contributions, which are high­ ties can be best explained by a binary
– Where do we stand observationally for lighted in this summary, so that they can disruption scenario, called the Hills mech­
black holes, nuclear clusters and inter­ be traced in the presentations online1. anism (Alessia Gualandris).
mediate mass black holes?
– What do theoretical models tell us Where is the expected stellar cusp at the
about star formation in the extreme The Galactic Centre black hole and Galactic Centre? The formation timescale
gravitational potential near the black nuclear star cluster might be longer than 1010 years, i.e. the
hole and under the extreme stellar nuclear cluster is not old enough to have
densities in galactic centres? The known orbits of 30 stars around the formed a cusp (Holger Baumgardt). The
– Do we understand the feeding of the central radio source in our Galaxy make deficit of old stars around Sgr A* could
central parsec? How are nuclear Sgr A* the best case for a supermassive be explained by the collision and destruc­
clusters replenished with fresh gas? black hole, with a mass of 4.3 × 106 MA tion of giants with main sequence stars
– What do theoretical models tell us (Stefan Gillessen). Figure 2 shows a fit to or stellar mass black holes (Melvyn Davies).
about dynamics, evolution and migra­ the orbit of one of these stars (S2). The Another possibility might be that a fraction
tion of nuclear star clusters in galaxy supermassive black hole resides in a very of the stars get disrupted and ac­creted
centres? massive star cluster of about 3 × 107 MA, onto the central black hole.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 37

Astronomical News Neumayer N., Emsellem E., Report on the Workshop “Central Massive Objects”

1994 luminosity objects. Nuclear clusters are

Greene et al. submitted
0.175 9 similar but more compact stellar systems


Elliptical than ultra-compact dwarf galaxies,


0.15 the latter having comparatively elevated

mass-to-light ratios (Michael Hilker).

Speckle Using spectrographs assisted by adap­
3.5 m 8
tive optics, the stellar populations and
log (MBH /M )
pos err:
Dec (arcseconds)

0.1 AO, 8/10 m

2 mas NGC 4258
9 new masers from
kinematics of both types of systems can
pos err: Kuo et al., in prep. be probed today (Mariya Lyubenova)
< 500 µas to test, for example, whether or not they
7 host massive black holes.
10 m NGC 1068
pos err:
1 mas IC 2560
0.025 no VLBI Feeding, star formation and feedback
2 2.25 2.5 The question of how galaxy nuclei are
2002 log (σ /km/s)
BH–bulge scaling relations are not universal
replenished with fresh gas was discussed
on the third day of the conference. There
0.05 0.025 0 – 0.025 – 0.05 – 0.075
RA (arcseconds)
Figure 3. The relation between black hole mass are different mechanisms at work that
and bulge velocity dispersion is shown for the maser
make gas lose angular momentum and
­g alaxies presented by Greene et al. (2010). The
Figure 2. Result of the combined orbit fit for the
maser galaxies trace a population of low-mass sys­ drive it from large to small scales (mergers,
Galactic Centre star S2. Blue: NTT/VLT measure­
tems whose black holes lie below the M–σ relation bars, unstable gravitational discs, three-
ments. Red: Keck measurements. The black line
shows the Keplerian fit (after Gillessen et al., 2009).
defined by elliptical galaxies (red line). armed spirals, turbulent viscosity and
magnetic stress), all inferred from observa­
tions and simulations (e.g., Francisco
Black holes and their scaling relations Nuclear star clusters and their relation to Müller-Sanchez, Nozomu Kawakatu).
black holes However it is still unclear which mechanism
Currently, dynamical black hole mass dominates under which circumstances
determinations exist for about 50 galax­ Nuclear star clusters are very common. (Witold Maciejewski, Tessel van der Laan,
ies. These correlate tightly with the overall They are found in spirals, S0s and dwarf Gaëlle Dumas, Rainer Beck).
properties of their host galaxy’s bulge, elliptical galaxies with an occupation
e.g., its velocity dispersion σ. However, ­fraction of about 50–75 %. Nuclear clus­ Observations show a lag between the
the low-mass end of the black hole–host ters are compact and massive, with half- central starburst and AGN phase, due to
galaxy scaling relations is still not well- light radii of typically ~ 3–5 parsec, and a transition of fast supernova to slower
sampled. Jens Thomas reported on the masses of 106 –107 MA, and they show mass-loss winds (Richard Davies). The
ongoing SINFONI programme to fill in complex star formation histories (Jakob mass loss from surrounding stars seems
the underpopulated regions in the M–σ Walcher). Generally, nuclear clusters to be sufficient to grow a nuclear disc
relation using stellar kinematic modell- are seen in late-type galaxies and black and to cause accretion (Marc Schartmann).
ing. Karl Gebhardt pointed out that get­ holes in early-type galaxies, but often We were reminded however that we still
ting any black hole mass to better than these two components coincide (Alister do not understand how black holes can
20 % accuracy is difficult and that taking Graham). For the nearest nuclear star be fed (Norman Murray, Rainer Beck),
systematic effects into account is very clusters, the stellar and gas kinematics and how AGN feedback works, although
important. What counts when setting up are spatially well-resolved, and enable a number of scenarios have been stud-
the scaling relations is the robustness of the dynamical detection of black holes ied with detailed numerical simulations
the assumed uncertainties. inside the star clusters (Anil Seth, Nadine ­(Vincenzo Antonuccio-Delogu, Chris
Neumayer). Some nuclear star clusters Power). Feedback from star formation
Jenny Greene presented accurate black also show signatures of an AGN, making could also be an important (and competi­
hole mass determinations in galaxies with the co-existence of a black hole indisput­ tive!) contributor in regulating the feeding
megamasers, along with measurements able (Aaron Barth, Joseph Shields). itself: in the Milky Way it seems to mostly
of their stellar velocity dispersion. These be acting via radiative pressure, but it
galaxies lie below the M–σ relation, show­ Nuclear star clusters observed in nearby remains to be seen if this is true also in
ing a large scatter (see Figure 3). Moreover, (early-type) galaxies (in the Virgo and denser environments near the centre.
active galactic nuclei (AGN) diagnostics ­Fornax clusters) seem to have properties
help to measure black hole masses at the that vary continuously along the luminos­
low-mass end. The future for black hole ity sequence (Laura Ferrarese). Although Are intermediate mass black holes
detections looks bright! Upcoming tran­ they represent a tiny fraction of the total formed in nuclear/globular clusters?
sient surveys may be able to detect many light in a galaxy they can be rather promi­
tidal disruption events of stars around low nent above the extrapolation of the outer Theoretically, in young star clusters after
mass black holes (Linda Strubbe). light profile towards the centre in low- core collapse, runaway collisions of stars

38 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

30 clusters do not seem follow the same
scaling relations. While black hole mass
25 correlates tightly with bulge mass (Dimitri
Gadotti, Jian Hu), nuclear cluster mass
σ (km/s)

correlates best with total stellar mass, at
15 least in spiral galaxies.

10 But black hole mass not only correlates

Kin centre NGB08 centre AvdM centre
5 with its host galaxy’s (bulge) mass,
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 but also with the host galaxy’s mid-infra­
log (r) (arcseconds) red luminosity (Eleonora Sani) and ten­
tatively also with the number of globular
Figure 4. New velocity dispersion (σ) measurements Formation of black holes/nuclear clusters clusters in early-type galaxies (Andreas
of Omega Centauri shown as a function of radius. Burkert). The correlation with globular
The left panel shows the measured σ assuming the
kinematic centre, while the middle and right panels Supermassive black holes observed at cluster number even challenges the claim
show the same for the centre derived by Noyola et z ~ 6 are usually assumed to originate that the M–σ relation is the tightest
al. (2008) and Andersen & van der Marel (2010). The either from the remnants of the first stars among the scaling relations (Enrico-Maria
solid lines show isotropic spherical models assum­ Corsini).
(Pop III stars, Bernadetta Devecchi), or
ing various black holes masses (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and
7.5 × 10 4 MA). See Noyola et al. (2010) for details. from intermediate mass black holes with
up to ~ 105 MA. To form massive inter­ The meeting was wrapped up by Ortwin
mediate mass black holes, the gas in pri­ Gerhard in an excellent summary talk
can result in the build up of massive ob­­ mordial galaxies needs to collapse with­ that triggered a lively discussion. The top­
jects of about 2000 MA. However, when out fragmenting. Numerical simulations ics covered during that week have
including stellar evolution, stellar mass-loss have great explorative power in this con­ recently gained quite a lot of momentum
winds limit the growth to a few hundred text. They enable the influence of different both on the theoretical and the observa­
solar masses (Simon Portegies-Zwart). physical processes on the runaway col­ tional sides, and the results presented
lapse to be studied (Dominik Schleicher), at this meeting provided us with an
Observationally there are a number of can follow the evolution of complex sys­ impressive updated view of nuclear clus­
signatures for intermediate mass black tems, and moreover constrain the growth ters, black holes and their potential links.
holes (IMBHs) in globular clusters. Clearly, by mergers and/or accretion using sta­ A number of key presentations also
the most compelling evidence is the tistical data on black hole mass, seed pointed out how much we still have to
detection of non-thermal emission, seen, distribution and luminosity functions discover and learn!
for example, for G1 in M31, but globular (Sandor van Wassenhove, Silvia Bonoli).
clusters have very little or even no gas and Acknowledgements
so the emission is very faint or absent. Various scenarios have been proposed
to explain the formation of nuclear The success and smooth organisation of this work­
The evidence from the density structure clusters, and David Merritt detailed some shop would have not been possible without the help
and support of Christina Stoffer, as well as the other
is still controversial, as the core radius of the important dynamical principles members of the LOC (in particular, Behrang Jalali,
and shallow density slope are not unique that should be kept in mind while dealing Davor Krajnović, Harald Kuntschner, Nora Lützgendorf
signatures for a black hole. These char­ with these. A nearly unavoidable process and Svea Teupke). The organisers are most grateful
acteristics are influenced by binary heat­ is the heating of the nuclear cluster if to the SOC for their work and very relevant contribu­
tions. We thank the review speakers for their excel­
ing and are also present around the time it is dynamically colder than its surround­ lent talks introducing the topics, and all speakers for
of core collapse. However, an IMBH in a ing stellar environment, but this can be very interesting and enjoyable talks. We are grateful
globular cluster will suppress mass seg­ significantly slowed down if a central dark to the ESO education and Public Outreach Depart­
regation by scattering the most massive mass is present. David Merritt and ment (ePOD) for the beautiful and efficient work in
producing the workshop poster and cups.
stars, making the quenching of mass Markus Hartmann reviewed the possibil­
segregation a promising tracer to detect ity of forming nuclear clusters from
IMBHs (Stefan Umbreit, Michele Trenti). ­infalling (globular) cluster systems, which References
seems a viable hypothesis, mostly for
Anderson, J. & van der Marel, R. P. 2010,
Finally, there are several candidate bulge-dominated galaxies. ApJ, 710, 1032
­clusters with suggestive dynamical evi­ Gillessen, S. et al. 2009, ApJL, 707, L114
dence for an IMBH, e.g., M10 (Giacomo Greene, J. E. et al. 2010, arXiv:1007.2851
Beccari), M54 (Michele Bellazzini), Relation to the host galaxy Noyola, E. et al. 2008, ApJ, 676, 1008
Noyola, E. et al. 2010, ApJ, 719, L6
NGC 6388 (Nora Lützgendorf), and of
course, Omega Centauri, for which The question of how the central massive
Behrang Jalali presented new integral objects relate to the properties of the Links
field unit kinematics obtained with Argus/ host galaxy was discussed in the last 1
 orkshop programme:
FLAMES, supporting the presence of session of the conference. Peter Erwin meetings/cmo2010/program.html
a 4.7 × 104 MA black hole (see Figure 4). pointed out that black holes and nuclear

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 39

Astronomical News

The 2010 SPIE Symposium on Astronomical

Telescopes and Instrumentation

Mark Casali 1 Figure 1. The ESO stand

at the 2010 SPIE Sym­
posium held in San
Diego showing a model
ESO, SPIE Symposium co-chair of the European
Extremely Large Tele­

A brief overview of the 2010 SPIE Sym-

posium on Astronomical Telescopes
and Instrumentation, with emphasis on
the ESO contributions, is presented.

The biennial SPIE meetings on Telescopes

and Instrumentation provide a unique
opportunity for people working in astro­
nomical technology to meet, present
developments and share ideas. The 2010
symposium was held from 27 June to
2 July in San Diego. It included over 2000 SPIE symposia usually include plenary – Ultra-stable operation of detectors for
papers submitted to 12 different con­ sessions in which all registered partici­ high resolution/stability spectrographs
ferences covering a whole range of activi­ pants gather in one room to view presen­ by Antonio Manescau et al.;
ties including space- and ground-based tations by invited speakers. The plenary – Green alternatives to fossil-fuel power
telescopes and instrumentation, adaptive session speakers this year were selected generation for modern observatories by
optics, optical and infrared interferom- to give a scientific overview of many topi­ Ueli Weilenmann et al.
etry, observatory operations, modelling, cal areas in astronomy and were asked
systems engineering and project manage­ to present these at a suitable level for the In addition ESO staff played an important
ment, technologies for ground- and cross-disciplinary audience of astrono­ role in the symposium planning and
space-based astronomy, software and mers, engineers and physicists. These organisation, contributing a symposium
cyber infrastructure, and detectors for sessions were very well attended with co-chair, five conference chairs, and
wavelengths from the millimetre to high most of the several thousand symposium many people within the programme com­
energy. Formal conferences, talks and attendees present. Space astronomy mittees for each conference. A novel
papers are of course only part of the event was highlighted, with talks about ESA aspect of SPIE is the availability of
and one of the most important aspects space science, Herschel, Hinode, Fermi, courses (typically half to one day) cover­
of any SPIE conference is the large num­ Chandra and XMM-Newton. Ground- ing various important skills. This year
ber of both planned and impromptu based science was also covered with courses included adaptive optics and
discussions between colleagues from all talks about ALMA science, ELT science systems engineering for astronomy
over the globe, crucial for the sharing (given by Roberto Gilmozzi of ESO), survey projects. A course on scalable frame­
of knowledge and experience and estab­ astronomy, and dark matter and energy. works for observatory software was pre­
lishing new collaborations. sented by Gianluca Chiozzi of ESO.
Given the importance of astronomical
The organisation and logistics of such a technology for ESO, a large number A particularly interesting part of any SPIE
large conference are important to achiev­ of our staff attended the conference, and symposium is the exhibition by industry
ing a successful outcome. Poor air condi­ over 80 oral and poster papers were and astronomical institutes and organisa­
tioning or unclear audio can make attend­ either prepared or contributed by ESO tions. Over 70 different exhibits were
ing the long sessions difficult and ruin staff attending the symposium. I give on show covering most technologies and
the effective exchange of information. In a few examples here, showing the wide manufacturing processes required
this respect, the conference facilities range of topics covered: for astronomical facilities. This was also a
in San Diego were of a very high standard, – 2010 update on the VLTI status at great opportunity to discuss progress
with excellent audio-visual equipment, Paranal by Pierre Haguenauer et al.; and capabilities with manufacturers to try
including twin giant projection screens in – A summary of the current X-shooter to get a glimpse over the technological
the largest hall used for the plenary ses­ performance by Joel Vernet et al.; horizon. An ESO display was set up (Fig­
sions (one screen for the presentation, – A n overview of the science goals and ure 1) and staffed on hourly shifts by
one for a giant head-and-shoulders view possible performance of an extreme- ESO personnel attending the symposium.
of the speaker). The good organisation AO planet-detection instrument (EPICS)
of catering and availability of quick lunches for the E-ELT by Markus Kasper et al.; In summary, the San Diego meeting ap-
helped everyone keep to schedule. Even – A digest of ten years of experience pears to have been a great success. SPIE
the wireless internet connections for such with the VLT operations and data-flow meetings usually alternate across the
a large number of participants functioned architecture by Francesca Primas; Atlantic, so the next one returns to Europe
reasonably well. in 2012 and will be held in Amsterdam.

40 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Astronomical News

Report on the ESO Workshop

Science with ALMA Band 5

held at INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, 24–25 May 2010

Robert Laing1 receivers will be installed at the ALMA into: Solar System, Late-type Stars, Star
Roberto Maiolino 2 Observatory by 2012. and Planet Formation, Nearby Galaxies
Hans Rykaczewski 1 and the High-redshift Universe. Keynote
Leonardo Testi 1 Since the initial proposal to the EC, the speakers reviewed the science in each
scientific case for Band 5 has strength­ area and were followed by contributed
ened and initial tests of the first receivers talks and extended discussion sessions.
ESO are very promising. In order to take
INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di full advantage of the development work It became clear that the study of water
Roma, Italy already undertaken as part of the EC– and its isotopes, including deuterated
FP6 project, it is timely to consider the species, in the Solar System is a major
production of a full set of Band 5 receiv­ possibility offered by ALMA with Band 5
A small complement of receivers for ers. A necessary preliminary step is (H2S, SO and SO2 also have transitions
the ALMA Band 5 (163–211 GHz) is the re-evaluation of the scientific potential in the band). Comets provide unique
under construction. This workshop was and goals of an ALMA fully equipped information on the physics and chemistry
devoted to the scientific potential and with Band 5: this was the primary aim of of the early Solar System and it will be
goals of a full set of Band 5 receivers the workshop. possible to image them in the water lines
for ALMA, with emphasis on the detec- and to constrain their water abundances.
tion of water in the local Universe and Over the last decade, and especially Seasonal variations of the water con-
the 158 µm emission line of C+ from in the last few years, there has been an tent of Mars, Venus and the atmospheres
high redshift galaxies. increasing interest in observations at of the giant planets and their larger
the frequencies offered by the ALMA moons will also be extremely interesting.
Band 5, for both Galactic and extragalac­
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillim­ tic science. Water is, of course, of intense Water is also a key molecule in star
eter Array (ALMA) observatory is cur- interest because of its role in the origin ­formation: its abundance is low in cold,
rently in the commissioning phase on of life. A key application for Band 5 is quiescent regions, but increases at
Chajnantor, with expected release of the therefore high resolution imaging of the shocks, therefore acting as a tracer of
first call for proposals for Early Science water line at 183 GHz in our own Solar energetic phenomena. It is also a princi­
in a few months. ALMA will be initially System, Galactic and nearby extragalac­ pal constituent of grain ice mantles and
equipped with a subset of the receiver tic sources. In addition, the 158 µm line the main reservoir of oxygen. Studies
bands that are finally envisaged. The initial of C+ from objects at redshifts between of H216O and H218O in star-forming
receiver bands selected were those 8.0 and 10.65 will appear in the band, regions with Herschel are producing
deemed to be both feasible and of the opening up the possibility of probing the extremely interesting results which hint at
highest scientific interest when construc­ earliest epoch of galaxy formation. complex spatial and spectral structure
tion was approved. ALMA Band 5 (163– which can only be resolved using ALMA
211 GHz), although always considered to Band 5. As well as water (which is also
be scientifically important, was placed Workshop themes important to an understanding of oxygen
at lower priority, primarily because of the chemistry) many other molecules have
difficulty of observing close to the strong The workshop was attended by repre­ transitions in Band 5, particularly relevant
atmospheric water line at 183 GHz. sentatives from the ALMA project, techni­ to deuteration and chemistry at shocks.
cal groups developing the ALMA Band 5 Herschel has found surprisingly little cold
Following the accumulation of statistics receivers for the EC–FP6 programme water vapour in some protoplanetary
showing that the transparency of the and by astronomers with a broad range discs, suggesting that the water may be
Chajnantor site around the water line is of scientific backgrounds. The status, mostly locked up on the surfaces of dust
better than expected and the devel­ timeline and plans for the ALMA projects grains. ALMA’s full sensitivity will there­
opment of improved phase-correction were presented together with the fore be needed to deepen our under­
techniques, a proposal to support the expected schedule for the ALMA Devel­ standing of water in star-forming regions.
construction of six Band 5 receivers for opment Plan, from which the full produc­
ALMA was supported by the European tion of ALMA Band 5 cartridges could One of the main reasons to study late-
Commission (EC) under the Framework potentially be funded. The science goals type stars is their key role in the formation
Programme 6 (FP6). The main scientific of the EC–FP6 project were also pre­ of dust. Models suggest that 183 GHz
motivation was the synergy between sented, highlighting the opportunities and maser emission may overlap the SiO and
ALMA Band 5 and the HIFI instrument on limitations of the small complement of H20 22 GHz maser shells, which in turn
the Herschel satellite, which is currently Band 5 receivers. The science sessions straddle the dust formation zone.
in full operation. ALMA Band 5 will allow explored in detail the scientific poten-
us to resolve and image emission from tial of the ALMA observatory with a full The second main theme of the workshop
water and its isotopes, which are being complement of Band 5 receivers: this was the observation of C+ from the first
detected by Herschel at other (typically would provide a giant leap in sensitivity galaxies. This line, observed for the first
shorter) wavelengths invisible from the and image fidelity as compared to the time by Alan Moorwood, is the main cool­
ground. The small complement of Band 5 initial system. The sessions were divided ing line of the Milky Way and is expected

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 41

Astronomical News Laing R. et al., Report on the Workshop “Science with ALMA Band 5”

Figure 1. The conference poster show­

ing a view of some of the ALMA anten­ ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), W. Garnier (ALMA) [C II] emission
nas at the Array Operations Site on the
at z = 6.4
Chajnantor plateau and a glimpse of
some of the science topics that ALMA
Band 5 will build on.

(1 ,








2, &'Y

' .L@RDQHM-&"

also to be the brightest line emitted by of high-redshift galaxies through their Appleton Laboratory in the UK) was
the first galaxies. It has so far been C+ emission. New results from Herschel tested successfully shortly thereafter.
detected in quasars out to a redshift of suggest that the C+/CO ratio is likely
6.4 (corresponding to ALMA Band 6). to be very large, making ALMA Band 5 The detailed programme of the workshop
The redshift range from 8.0 to 10.65, cor­ extremely competitive with observations and electronic versions of all the presen­
responding to Band 5, is a critical one: of low-order CO transitions at cm wave­ tations are available on the workshop
observations of the Gunn–Peterson effect lengths (the high-order CO transitions webpage1.
show that the epoch of reionisation ends which can be observed at other ALMA
at around a redshift of 6. Detection of bands are probably not excited). Acknowledgements
C+ at higher redshifts would allow meas­
urement of gas masses and also con­ Finally, the current status of the first We thank Giuliana Giobbi from INAF–OAR for her
strain the star formation rate in the first ALMA Band 5 receiver cartridge, devel­ support that made the organisation of this workshop
possible. The workshop was sponsored by the
galaxies. ALMA is likely to be the only oped at Chalmers University, was pre­ EC–FP6 project.
instrument capable of resolving these pri­ sented. The design overcame a number
mordial galaxies and hence of measur- of technical challenges, for example in
ing dynamical masses as well as other the cold optics. The mixer noise perform­ Links
kinematical properties (e.g., outflows). ance already met ALMA specifications 1
Workshop web page:
Although ALMA will not be able to survey at the time of the meeting, and the com­ meetings/AlmaBand5/Home.html
large areas at Band 5, blind searches are bination of the cold cartridge and local
expected to discover significant numbers oscillator (provided by the Rutherford

42 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Astronomical News

Solargraphs of ESO

Robert Fosbury 1 One of us (TT) was an early pioneer of

Tarja Trygg 2 this process, renaming it “solargraphy”
and starting a project to collect exposures
from interesting locations all around the
Space Telescope European Co-ordinat­ world 2.
ing Facility, ESO
Aalto University School of Art and During 2009, we had the idea of placing
Design, Helsinki, Finland cans at the three ESO observing sites
in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor
and exposing them for several months.
The recently developed technique of Apart from the wish to obtain images from
simple pinhole camera “solargraphy” what are undoubtedly interesting loca­
enables images of the path of the Sun to tions, our thought was that this would be
be recorded over long periods. Solar­ a graphic visual record of the clarity
graphy cameras have been installed at and largely cloud-free properties of the
the three ESO observatory sites in Chile observatories. Figure 1. A mounted solargaphy can with the
“shutter” open.
and at ESO Headquarters in Garching.
These intriguing images are presented Here we present the images from
and described. They illustrate, in a very ­Garching and the three observatory sites grow so that the first visible signs of a
direct way, the clear skies at the observ- and explain what they show 3. print-out image are yellowish, darkening
atories. to sepia than a maroonish-brown as
the particle size increases. Eventually the
Process maximum exposure produces a slate-
Introduction grey shade. Reversing an image with this
The cans are constructed from small black natural range of variations will produce
The origin of the technique of “solargra­ plastic canisters used for storing 35 mm interesting colours, which are of course
phy” can be traced deep into the history film cassettes (see Figure 1). A pinhole unrelated to the real colour of the scene.
of the photographic process when the in a sheet of aluminium foil is placed over However, lightly exposed parts will be
first attempts were made to record sunlit a small aperture drilled into the side of bluish and shades of green/cyan will likely
scenes on a photosensitive surface (e.g., the can, normally at half-height. A rectan­ appear in the mid-tones, both of which will
William Henry Fox Talbot, 1800–1877). gle of black and white photographic print­ lend the positive images a natural look.
The astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard ing paper (not film) is curled and placed
(1857–1923) acquired his interest in pho­ snugly around the inside of the can with
tography by using sunlight through a neg­ sufficient gap to leave the inside of the The solargraphs
ative to produce an image on print-out pinhole unobscured. The can is then
paper in a commercial studio. This con­ sealed with plastic tape to make it water­ We have obtained multi-month exposure
tact process was the normal way of mak­ tight (except for the pinhole!). solargraphs in Garching, La Silla, Paranal
ing prints in the 1870s. The technique and Chajnantor (APEX) with the help of a
that has recently been re-invented under In order to capture the scene with an number of very willing ESO staff who are
the name of solarigraphy was, however, exposure of several months, the cans are listed in the acknowledgements.
only born when images were published mounted securely with tape and/or cable-
on the internet in November 2000 by the ties in a position that can record a good ESO Headquarters in Garching. This
project Solaris1, led by the inventors of fraction of the path of the Sun across the camera was exposed from 21 July–15
this unique photographic technique, Sla­ sky. At the end of the exposure, the cam­ December 2009 from outside the en­­
womir Decyk, Pawel Kula and Diego era is recovered and, in a dimly lit room, trance floor offices on the south side of
Lopez Calvin. They called these images the undeveloped photographic paper is the building looking southwest and point­
“solarigraphics”, and they are created with scanned on a colour scanner. The result­ ing up at an altitude of 20 degrees (see
­pinhole cameras (without lenses) and ing image is transformed to a “positive” Figure 2). The obscuration at the top left
light-sensitive material exposed in such a by having its intensity scale inverted, fol­ is the back of a small satellite dish on
way that the image is revealed directly, lowed by some appropriate adjustment of whose support the camera was mounted.
without the use of further chemical devel­ levels and colour balance. Those familiar with the location will rec­
opment processes. ognise the large, now unused, satellite
The colours in black and white photo­ dish at the left and the glass pyramid roof
These pinhole cameras, which have come graphic paper exposed to light come from just left of centre. The ST-ECF offices
to be called “cans”, are extremely simple finely divided metallic silver growing on can be seen to the right. The white solar
and cheap to construct and have a sensi­ the silver halide grains. The latent image, trails reveal what we all know: there is
tivity low enough to enable images to be which is typically ~ 10 silver atoms per a lot of cloud cover in Bavaria! The sum­
taken of the path of the Sun across the ­billion-atom grain is invisible, but on con­ mer period was not bad, but the autumn
sky with exposures lasting many months. tinued exposure the latent image clumps and winter months are well broken up.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 43

Astronomical News Fosbury R., Trygg T., Solargraphs of ESO

Figure 3. Solargraph
taken at La Silla looking
northwest from the
CAT telescope dome
and showing three
months of sunsets over
the Pacific.

Figure 2. A five-month solargraph exposure at

ESO Headquarters in Garching showing foreground
objects, a satellite dish to the left and a pyramid roof
left of centre.

Figure 5. Solargraph
taken at the VLT at
Paranal, exposed for
three months from
the roof of the VLTI
building, pointing north
between UT2 and UT3.

Figure 4. Sunrise behind the NTT at La Silla,

exposed from the Danish 1.54-metre telescope
­c atwalk, is shown on this solargraph.

Figure 7. Six months

of exposure from the
APEX enclosure gate­
post looking west of
north is shown on this
solargraph. The moving
antenna has created
bright reflections that
appear as a mottled
white haze in the lower
right of the image.

Figure 6. Solargraph taken from the control room La Silla. Two cans were mounted at
roof of the VLT at Paranal looking north towards UT1.
La Silla by Peter Sinclaire and exposed
from 6 October–28 December 2009.
Figure 8. Looking east The first points northwest from the Coudé
of north from the roof of
Auxiliary Telescope (CAT) dome and
the APEX generator
building, this solargraph shows the New Technology Telescope
image shows sunrise (NTT), the Swiss 1.2-metre Leonhard Euler
over Cerro Chajnantor. telescope and a number of other build­
ings and domes (Figure 3). The Pacific
Ocean is on the horizon. The buildings
appear blue because of the bright solar
reflections from their white or metallic
exteriors. The second can was mounted
between the same dates and is looking
east from the catwalk of the Danish
1.54-metre telescope and shows the NTT

44 The Messenger 141 – September 2010


y 0
–7 –6 –5 –4 –3 –2 –1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7



x=2rα –3
y = 2 r cos α tan ϕ x

Figure 9. A representation of the projection of altitude by David Rabanus and both were pointed Figure 10. An illustration of how stiff paper forms itself
and azimuth in a cylindrical pinhole camera is shown. inside a cylindrical tube. The straightening of the ends
at an elevation of about 45 degrees.
The coloured points are separated by 10 degrees and produces caustic reflections in the image.
the x and y scales are in units of cm for the solargraph One was mounted on the gatepost to the
cans used here. x and y are the horizontal and vertical enclosure, close to the antenna, and
coordinates, r is the radius of the can, and ϕ and α pointed west of north (Figure 7). Reflec­ the photographic paper (especially the
are the altitude and azimuth angles respectively. glossy variety) results in a secondary
tions of light from the antenna can be seen
as a whitish, mottled haze on the mid-right image of the solar trails. For a perfect cyl­
backed by the rising Sun (Figure 4). The of this image. The second can was on inder, this secondary image would ap­­-
dark blue structure to the lower left of the roof of the generator powerhouse to pear at twice the distance of the primary
the NTT is the combination of the the east of the enclosure and pointed east image measured from the position of
Schmidt and the 2.2-metre telescopes. of north (Figure 8). It includes the tilted the pinhole just off the edge of the image.
The 3.6-metre and the CAT telescope profile of Cerro Chajnantor on the right sil­ In reality, however, a rectangular sheet
domes cannot be seen — probably houetted against the trails of the rising of stiff photographic paper curled inside a
because they exhibited a similar bright­ Sun (note that the paper at the top of this small cylindrical can does not form a per­
ness to that of the clear sky against image was damaged and produces an fect cylinder since the ends adopt a flatter
which they were silhouetted. The solar artificial split in the solar trails). There were form (see Figure 10). As can be shown
trails in these images show that the some clouds at the ALMA site during by sketching the paths of light rays
weather is considerably better than in this six-month period — but not many! emerging from the position of the pinhole,
Garching — as we might have hoped! reflections will describe a caustic along
the lines where the paper makes a transi­
Paranal. Gerd Hüdepohl placed two cans Some details tion from a flat to a cylindrical profile.
on the VLT platform and exposed them The position of this transition can be seen
from 5 October–26 December 2009. The In order to interpret these images, it is clearly in the Paranal images as approxi­
first, placed on the roof of the Very Large necessary to understand the image mately vertical dark blue lines.
Telescope Interferometer building, shows geometry of cylindrical pinhole cameras.
Unit Telescope 2 (Kueyen) on the left The projection of the altitude angle (φ) Acknowledgements
and UT 3 (Melipal) on the right with the and the azimuth (α) onto the x,y-plane of
VLT Survey Telescope on the far right the flattened photographic paper (with We should like to thank Andreas Kaufer for taking
(Figure 5). The second was placed on the the angles in radians) is given by the for­ the cans to Chile and distributing them to the three
observatory sites. Olivier Hainaut and Carlos de
control room extension roof facing north mula in Figure 9. This figure shows a Breuck helped us interpret the images and Olivier
and shows UT1 (Antu) just left of centre series of points, separated by ten degrees quickly solved the problem of the caustics by under­
(Figure 6). A remarkable feature of these in altitude and azimuth, projected onto standing how the paper flattened at the ends! Peter
two images from Paranal is that the solar x and y. For a camera pointed horizontally Sinclaire, Gerd Hüdepohl and David Rabanus did
a great job in placing the cameras and documenting
trails are essentially unbroken. There was with the cylinder axis vertical, this projec­ the pointing. David Malin kindly supplied the para­
very little, if any, cloud cover during this tion results in vertical lines remaining graph explaining the formation of the latent image
period. Both of these solargraphs show a ­vertical. The x,y units in Figure 9 are in cm and the resulting colours.
clear “ghostly” repeat of the solar trails, for a 35 mm film can camera.
the origin of which is explained below. Links
An interesting feature of this kind of solar­
Chajnantor (APEX). The cans at APEX graph is noticeable in many published 1
 olaris project:
were exposed for a full six months from images, including especially the La Silla Solaris.html
Solargraphy project:
mid-December 2009 until the winter and Paranal examples shown here. The 3
Further images and descriptions:
solstice in June 2010. They were placed reflection of sunlight from the surface of com/photos/bob_81667/

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 45

Astronomical News

The Experience of Two High School Students

Doing Astronomical Research at ESO

Lia Sartori 1 could therefore learn a great deal about velocity profiles, etc). A few technicalities,
Clara Pelloni 1 activities at ESO: telescope design such as the working of telescopes, spec­
and construction, observation prepara­ trographs and CCDs were also needed.
tion and realisation. At first, we felt a This study constituted the first part of our
Liceo Lugano 2, Savosa, Switzerland bit disorientated in this new world of sci­ project. The complete manuscript of
entific researchers. But soon we got our project report is available (in Italian) on
acquainted with many nice and helpful the web2.
As a project for diploma work at the astronomers who showed us the various
end of Swiss high school, long-slit kine- research activities at ESO. We could
matic data for two giant elliptical gal­ also discuss our diploma project and get Data reduction
axies, observed with the FORS1 spec- some precious advice. During this full
trograph at the ESO VLT, were reduced immersion in the scientific world, some­ The goal of our project was to fully
by two students. The reduction of these thing completely new for us, the impres­ reduce long-slit spectra of two giant ellip­
data was our first research experience. sion was really positive and stimulating. tical galaxies, NGC 5018 and NGC 3706,
The preparation and reduction of the At ESO, we found a nice and welcoming and to obtain the corresponding kine­
long-slit data is outlined. We also atmosphere: everybody was very help- matic quantities: mean line-of-sight
describe our impressions of this first ful and the interactions between astrono­ velocities, velocity dispersions and higher
encounter with the scientific research mers seemed to us very friendly. The order moments of the velocity profile.
world. desire to work one day in a research ­Figure 1 shows one of the target galaxies,
institute such as ESO has been an extra NGC 5018. Spectra were obtained with
motivation for us to start, with even the FORS1 spectrograph of the VLT in
We are two Swiss students who started more enthusiasm, our university studies. 2000 and 2001. The light of elliptical gal­
work on the high school diploma two During the visit to Garching, we also axies is dominated by the emission from
years ago. In Switzerland the diploma in­­ ­visited the outreach department where red giant stars with spectral types such
cludes a research project that takes we were offered a lot of goodies: DVDs, as our calibration templates stars. Visible
place during the last two years of high posters, caps, postcards, etc. absorption lines include the K, H lines
school: the project can be done in any of of calcium, the Hβ, Hg and Mgb lines (see
the subjects taught in this kind of school. The visits to ESO helped immensely in Figure 2). These two galaxies had already
Usually professors propose a list of achieving the goals of the diploma pro- been observed (e.g., Carollo & Danziger,
projects for the students to choose from. ject. Once the project was completed, 1994a,b and Carollo et al.,1995), but
We decided to work in astronomy, one we participated in various regional and never with such a large telescope as the
of the most fascinating fields of physics. national competitions. The most signifi­ VLT. With these data, we tried to confirm
Our project, entitled “Spectroscopic cant one was the national competition and extend to larger radii previously
­analysis of elliptical galaxies”, has led us “Science and Youth” that took place in ­published data. For both galaxies there
to a whole new experience and to meet Geneva at the end of April 20091: four is an indication of dark matter in the
new people (including a few astrono­ days of project presentations and discus­ outer parts, so very extended kinematic
mers), but most importantly, has brought sions with experts, other participants data (up to two to three effective radii,
us to a mythical place in the astronomi- and the public. Presenting our project to Reff ) could improve the confidence on the
cal world, namely the ESO observatories such a wide audience turned out to presence of a dark halo. Previous work
at La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor be challenging, since we had to adapt our has shown the importance of both
(ALMA) in Chile, which are equipped with explanations to the various levels of increased radial extension and the calcu­
some of the world’s best telescopes. scientific expertise. But the Geneva com­ lation of higher order moments in quan­
petition was not only work: there was a tifying the amount of dark matter in ellipti­
During the entire project, we were guided lot of free time to get to know all the other cal galaxies.
by our physics teacher, Nicolas Cretton, participants, who came from all over
astronomer and ex-ESO fellow. Together Switzerland. It is notoriously difficult to measure dark
with Hans-Walter Rix, he wrote the origi- halos in elliptical galaxies, since one has
nal ESO observing proposals (65.N-0285 to rely on absorption ­spectra, which are
and 68.B-0590) on which our project Preparatory theoretical work very hard to obtain beyond one Reff due
was based. During the entire work, we re­­ to the sharp drop in stellar luminosity and
ceived a lot of help and advice from Piero Since the high school programme con­ because of the absence of an extended
Rosati, an astronomer at ESO. When the tains little astronomy, before starting gas tracer, as in spiral galaxies. One
spectra were all reduced, Eric Emsellem the data reduction work we had to learn alternative to stellar kinematics is to use
from the Observatoire de Lyon (and now at a few necessary astronomical concepts: planetary nebulae that can be detected
ESO) extracted the kinematical quantities stellar evolution (life cycle of stars, at large radii. The present study confirms
for each axis of the galaxies. Hertzsprung–Russell diagram), galaxy and extends previously published kine­
structure and morphology, dark matter matic data such as those obtained by
We visited ESO Headquarters in Garching in galaxies, long-slit spectroscopy (emis­ Carollo & Danziger (1994a,b) and Carollo
twice during the summer of 2008 and sion lines, absorption lines, line-of-sight et al. (1995). It therefore constitutes an

46 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

 $ Figure 2. The central
major axis spectrum of
NGC 5018 is shown from
 $ the FORS1 observations.
The major absorption
lines of calcium, hydro­
 * '"@ gen and magnesium are
'β ,FA


Figure 1. A Digital Sky Survey image of NGC 5018, for NGC 3706 they were 135 minutes was given to the sky subtraction, since
with the position of the FORS1 long slit on the major
for the major axis, 90 minutes for the we wanted to obtain reliable kinematic
axis (green) shown and the circles of radii 1, 2 and
3 R eff overlaid (pink). Asymmetric features beyond intermediate (45-degree) axis and 225 data at large distances from the galaxy
2 R eff are probably the sign of a past merger in this minutes for the minor axis. centres. In this respect, the 408-arcsec­
galaxy. ond long FORS1 slit was very useful. We
As the first step, we obtained the raw also reduced in the same manner spec-
improved basis for the dynamical model­ data (science and calibration frames) for tra of calibration template stars observed
ling that is needed to study the amount the FORS1 programme from the ESO at the same telescope: as templates
and distribution of dark matter in giant Archive. From there, a lot of effort and we used the following giant stars, indi­
elliptical galaxies; such modelling is how­ time went into understanding: 1) the cated with their respective spectral type:
ever outside the scope of our diploma nature of the imaging and spectroscopic HR 4595 (K3III), HR 4790 (G3III), HR 4801
project. data and corresponding calibrations; (K5III), HR 4818 (K4III).
2) the methodology to remove instrumen­
With the GRIS-600B+12 grism and a tal signatures; and 3) the calibration pro­
1.31 arcsecond-wide slit, we had an in­­ cedures to go from instrumental to physi­ Results: stellar kinematics of NGC 5108
strumental spectral resolution σinstr of cal units. For all these tasks, we were and NGC 3076
200 km s –1, similar to the galaxy velocity also introduced to IRAF 3, which we ran
dispersion, which is just sufficient to on a Linux laptop as part of the ESO Sci­ To quantify the line-of-sight velocity distri­
obtain good kinematic measurements. soft package 4. butions along the principal axis of the
The wavelength resolution was 1.2 Å per galaxies, Eric Emsellem computed the
pixel, which corresponds to 7.8 Å for All raw spectra were bias-subtracted, Gauss–Hermite moments with dedicated
the CCD pixels and slit size we used. The ­flat-fielded, sky-subtracted and wave­ software (a C version of a penalised pixel-
total exposure times for NGC 5018 length-calibrated following the various fitting routine, described by Cappellari
are 200 minutes for the major axis and steps described in Massey et al. (1992) & Emsellem, 2004): mean rotation veloc­
150 minutes for the minor axis, whereas and Massey (1997). Particular attention ity, velocity dispersion sigma, and

11D 11D
l l    l l   


l  Figure 3. The stellar velocity, velocity
l dispersion, h3 and h4 profiles as func­
 tions of distance from the galaxy cen­
 tre (in arcseconds) are shown along

 the major axis of NGC 5018, from top

 to bottom respectively and for the

major and minor axes (left and right).

  Blue points are the data from Carollo &
  Danziger (1994b). For the minor axis,
  systematics on the detector prevented

l   us from extracting the kinematics

l   in the central few arcseconds for this
galaxy. The top axes are labeled in
effective radii R eff (1 R eff = 22 arcsec­
onds). The velocity dispersion (around

l   200 km s –1) dominates the mean rota­

l  l  l      l  l  l     
tion (around 60 km s –1) and decreases
1@QBRDBNMCR 1@QBRDBNMCR only slowly towards the outer parts.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 47

Astronomical News Sartori L., Pelloni C., The Experience of Two High School Students at ESO

11D 11D 11D
l l    l l    l l   







l  l  l      l  l  l      l  l  l     

Figure 4. The stellar velocity, velocity dispersion, h3 the end of our diploma work we were a scientific point of view. Indeed we could
and h4 profiles as functions of distance from the
able to submit it to the national competi­ meet astronomers and engineers and
­g alaxy centre (in arcseconds) are shown along the
major axis of NGC 3706, from top to bottom re- tion “Science and Youth”, which in 2009 see how they live and work. This experi­
spectively and for the major, minor and intermediate had a special prize for astronomical ence was very useful in view of a possible
axes (left, middle and right respectively). The top projects in honour of the International Year future career in the scientific research
axes are labelled in effective radii R eff (1 R eff = 27 arc­
of Astronomy. This prize could not have world.
seconds). This galaxy rotates faster than NGC 5018:
it has a mean rotation of around 150 km s –1. As for been better chosen for us since it was
NGC 5018, the velocity dispersion shows a slow a trip to Chile to visit the three ESO sites, We first visited the observatory of La Silla,
decline with radius. A few foreground stars happen La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor in early near La Serena (see Figure 5). We had
to lie on the slit and explain some of the observed
September 2009 and a night of observa­ to submit a proposal for a night of obser­
disturbances in the profiles.
tions at the Swiss 1.2-metre Leonhard vations at the 1.2-metre Leonhard Euler
Euler telescope at La Silla. Together with telescope (2 September 2009). Since for
moments h3 and h4. Figures 3 and 4 another student, Andreas Cuni, we our diploma we had worked exclusively
show the results of such computations won the special prize and went to Chile on spectra, we decided to do photometry
for the two galaxies: in both cases we go to visit the famous telescopes. Below of galaxies and globular clusters in various
further than 2 Reff. In NGC 5018 (Figure we describe our impressions of this trip.
3), there is some asymmetry between the Figure 5. From left to right, Andreas Cuni, Clara
left and the right side, which could be Chile has many wonderful landscapes, Pelloni and Lia Sartori on their visit to the La Silla
interpreted as a signature of a past merg­ but our trip was mostly enlightening from Observatory.
ing event. Indeed NGC 5018 displays
some tidal tails in the outer parts (see
e.g., Rothberg & Joseph, 2006). There is
central drop in the velocity dispersion,
associated with a sharp rise in the mean
velocity curve, probably the sign of a
­so-called “sigma-drop” interpreted as the
result of past gas accretion in a central
disc (Emsellem, 2006). In NGC 3076 (Fig­
ure 4), the stellar velocity reaches higher
amplitudes and is quite regular except for
a central feature also revealed by the h3
profile. The dispersion is dropping slowly
in the outer part. In both galaxies the h4
moment is mostly consistent with zero.

The trip to Chile

Our data was obtained in service mode

so we did not use the VLT ourselves to
observe the two galaxies. Fortunately, at

48 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Figure 6. The authors Clara Pelloni and Lia Sartori
(centre left and right) between Pierre Dubath (the
organiser of the trip to Chile) at left, and Andreas
Cuni (the other prize-winner), at right, shown in
Paranal at the gate of the road leading to the VLT.
Pierre Dubath (Geneva Observatory) had the idea of
creating the special prize in astronomy and found
the necessary funding for the trip to Chile.

filters. The idea is to use the globular

cluster observations to construct a Hertz-
sprung–Russell diagram in order to com­
pute their ages and distances. Due to time
constraints, we could only observe two
­globular clusters (47 Tuc and NGC 362)
and one barred spiral galaxy (NGC 1300).
The clusters were observed in the B-, V-
and I-filters, while the galaxy in R and I.
The results were satisfactory, even if the
full Moon and some clouds reduced the
image quality. For us, it was particularly
rewarding to work on the practical aspects
of astronomical observations, such as
the telescope preparation, the setting of
coordinates and other parameters and
to be able to see the results after a few

We went further, to Paranal, to visit the

mighty VLT (see Figure 6). ESO astrono­
mers showed us the various telescopes Conclusions mostly thanks to the warm welcome,
at the Paranal site, their instruments patience and enthusiasm of all the astron­
and the control room. It was particularly During our diploma project at the end of omers, engineers and technicians we
exciting to see the aperture opening high school, we fully reduced spectra met. After high school, we will continue
of the dome of one of the four Unit Tele­ of two elliptical galaxies, using the same studying science: physics for Lia and
scopes of the VLT. First the telescope is professional software that astronomers mathematics for Clara, both at the Zurich
put horizontal, to reduce dust falling onto use in their daily work. We could derive ETH institute.
the primary mirror while the dome is extended kinematics (up to about 2.5 Reff )
opening. Then the dome opens, together for NGC 5018 and NGC 3706, two giant References
with the various lateral windows. It is hard elliptical galaxies. The derived mean
to imagine the real dimensions of such an velocity, velocity dispersions, and higher Cappellari, M. & Emsellem, E. 2004, PASP, 116, 138
instrument only from pictures; having order moments h3 and h4 could be sign­ Carollo, C. M. et al. 1995, ApJ, 441, 25
Carollo, C. M. & Danziger, I. J. 1994a, MNRAS,
been there in person is an unforgettable posts for the presence of dark matter 270, 523
experience! halos around these galaxies. For instance, Carollo, C. M. & Danziger, I. J. 1994b, MNRAS,
at large distances from the galaxy cen­ 270, 743 (CD94b)
Last but not least, we went to Chajnantor tres, the velocity dispersions do not drop Emsellem, E. 2006, in Mapping the Galaxy and
nearby galaxies, eds. Wada, K. & Combes, F.
to visit the ALMA site, near San Pedro de as sharply as naïvely expected on the Massey, P. 1997, A User’s Guide to CCD Reductions
Atacama, at an altitude of 5 000 metres. basis of the distribution of the luminous with IRAF, NOAO
The final project will have 66 radio anten­ matter. However, to quantify the amount Massey, P. et al. 1992, A User’s Guide to Reducing
nas, built to observe the cold Universe. of dark matter, detailed dynamical model­ Slit Spectra with IRAF, NOAO
Rothberg, B. & Joseph, R. D. 2006, AJ, 132, 976
At that time, only one telescope was ready ling is needed. This is outside the scope
and functioning (the ALMA Pathfinder of our project, but our data constitute an
Explorer, APEX). Other antennas are ready excellent basis for such an analysis. Links
on the ALMA site, but without instru­ 1
Science and Youth:
mentation they do not work yet. Here as Our research project was our first encoun­ 2
D iploma project report: http://www.nicolascretton.
well, it was possible to speak with the ter with the world of scientific research. ch/Astronomy/index_LAM.html
people working there and to get detailed It was a truly fascinating experience, 3
explanations on the working of the radio thanks to the visit to ESO Garching and Scisoft:
telescopes. the various ESO telescopes in Chile and

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 49

Astronomical News

ESO Astronomers Emeriti —

Sandro D’Odorico and Alan Moorwood

Francesca Primas 1 Figure 1. Sandro D’Odorico sharing

the amusement over his optical instru­
Mark Casali 1
ment sculpture with Mark Casali at his
Jeremy Walsh 1 retirement party.


In May and June 2010, Sandro

D’Odorico and Alan Moorwood, both
driving forces behind many ESO
­instruments and very active in research,
retired after three decades at ESO.
The ESO Director General, Tim de
Zeeuw, elevated both to the newly inau-
gurated position of ESO Astronomer
Emeritus. Celebrations on their transi-
tion to these esteemed positions
were held and are briefly described.

Sandro D’Odorico

Sandro joined ESO as a fellow in 1980,

becoming a staff member in 1981. He
has been an inspiring force behind many the early reduction of EMMI spectroscopy. ­ aster’s thesis. In the closing ceremony
instruments, including CASPEC, EMMI, A highlight of the meeting was the talks Sandro was presented with a present
UVES and, most recently, X-shooter, and given by some of those who are usually by Tim de Zeeuw (see the photo on the
has guided optical detector develop- behind the scenes, spending most of Astronomical News section page) and a
ment for many years. Sandro stands out their time on ray tracing and in the optics “sculpture” made by Jean-Louis Lizon
not just because of his zeal for instru­ laboratory. Bernard Delabre described from spare X-shooter parts (see Figure 1).
mentation, but his passion for using the optical design of the many ESO instru­
those instruments for the research in ments in which he has been involved
which he was most interested — namely ­during the time that Sandro has been at Alan Moorwood
active galactic nuclei, and quasi-stellar ESO, Gerardo Avila expounded on work­
object (QSO) absorption lines studies in ing with fibres, showing some examples Alan was the longest serving astronomer
particular. Despite a very active career of the hardware, and Olaf Iwert covered at ESO — until May 2010, that is. He
in instrumentation he has kept up a the exciting years of CCD development joined in 1978, when ESO was still based
strong research career with many dedi­ at ESO. In the field of QSO absorption in Geneva, and throughout his career
cated collaborators. He was persuaded lines there was a full morning session of he has specialised in infrared instrumen­
to allow a meeting in his honour, which talks, including one by Wal Sargent tation. He was an early pioneer of infra-
was organised by Francesca Primas and describing spectroscopy of z ~ 6 targets red (IR) spectroscopy, starting from the
Luca Pasquini and was held over two with the Keck instrument HIRES, and days when IR detectors had only one
days (31 May–1 June 2010) at ESO Head­ one by Max Pettini on detecting outflows pixel. A chronicle of the IR instruments,
quarters. from high-z galaxies with high resolution among them IRSPEC, IRAC and IRAC2,
spectroscopy. Two threads running ISAAC, SOFI and CRIRES, to which he
The meeting was themed to interweave through many of the talks were personal has been a central contributor is given
Sandro’s achievements in both instru­ memories and football — with many in the Messenger article on personal
mentation and astronomical science. Talks speakers showing photographs of non- recollections (Moorwood, 2009). Alan
were given by the majority of the par­ professional football teams in which was Head of Instrumentation from 2004,
ticipants, who had collaborated in one ­Sandro had played. Two of his closest and for the last two years, Head of the
way or another with Sandro. Long-term collaborators at ESO, Hans Dekker and Directorate of Programmes, and so had
collaborators, such as Adriano Fontana, Jean-Louis Lizon, were in Chile during a steering influence on the design work
Emanuele GIallongo, Stefano Cristiani the meeting and contributed many stories for the E-ELT and its instrumentation.
and Paolo Molaro, talked about how sci­ and memories over the video link. Note­
entific questions triggered ideas for worthy was the presence of Sandro’s A retirement party, or Emeritus welcom­
new instruments; others had used the daughter, Valentina D’Odorico, also a ing party (!), was held for Alan on 18 June
instruments that Sandro had led, includ­ professional astronomer, and Francesco 2010 at ESO Headquarters. There
ing Bruno Leibundgut, who described Bertola, who supervised Sandro’s were warm appreciations by Gert Finger,

50 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Astronomical News

Figure 2. Alan Moorwood enjoying the who has developed the state-of-the-art in
intricacies of his IR instrument sculp­
infrared detectors under Alan’s leader-
ture with Mark Casali at his retirement
party. ship and by Jean-Lous Lizon, who
has assembled or maintained much of
the VLT instrumentation. Roberto
­Gilmozzi, the current Head of the Tele­
scope Division, recounted time spent
with Alan at the VLT in the very early
times, when ISAAC was being commis­
sioned. Mark Casali, the current Head
of Instrumentation, presented Alan with
another of Jean-Louis Lizon’s sculptures,
based on parts from different IR instru­
ments (see Figure 2). This sculpture was
interactive and a set of hex-keys was
­provided to release one of the stuck
mechanisms! Alan, whose memory is
renowned in ESO, recounted extensively
many experiences on and off the tele­
scopes (see the photo on the Astronomi­
cal News section page).


Moorwood, A. 2009, The Messenger, 136, 8

New Staff at ESO

Adrian Russell and molecular line studies of outflows in

star formation regions.
I am originally from Sheffield in England,
and sadly still find myself supporting In 1987 I joined the Royal Observatory
­Sheffield United football club despite the Edinburgh (ROE) and my wife and I
fact that they never win! When I am not went on a three-year tour of duty in
working I am also a keen photographer. Hawaii, where I was a support scientist
My wife Lilie and I have two girls Elizabeth on the newly commissioned James Clerk
(8) and Victoria (5); they will both start ­Maxwell Telescope (JCMT). During this
at the Munich European School in Sep­ time I supported many of the instruments
tember and are looking forward to learning on the telescope. In 1990 we moved to
to speak German. Garching and I spent a two-year sabbati­
cal with Reinhard Genzel’s group at the
Having started life as an electronics engi­ Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische
neer, I rapidly became hooked on as­­ Physik where I worked on very high fre­
tronomy and did my PhD at the University quency sub-mm instrumentation for the
of Cambridge (at the Mullard Radio JCMT. In 1992 I re­­turned to the ROE
Astronomy Observatory, MRAO), working and became the Head of the JCMT Instru­
on mm-wave heterodyne instrumentation mentation Programme. This involved Adrian Russell

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 51

Astronomical News

managing the international development me to become more and more familiar

programme carried out in the UK, Canada with AO systems, an experience that
and the Netherlands. turned out to be extremely useful for my
scientific activity. It gave me the chance
In 1995 I made a massive change in direc­ to explore new possibilities and start new
tion to become the UK Project Manager collaborations in the study of resolved
for the Gemini project and moved into stellar populations, which is one of my
the optical/infrared world. Following the main research interests. I honestly don’t
most radical reorganisation of British see that there is anywhere else quite
astronomy in decades, I was privileged to like ESO, where one can have both the
become the first Director of the UK As­­ chance to acquire such different expertise
tronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh and get in touch with the most up-to-date
in 1998. In January 2005 we moved observational facilities.
to Charlottesville Virginia and I joined the
National Radio Astronomy Observatory Since the beginning of my fellowship I have
(NRAO) as North American ALMA Project been amazed by the enormous number
Director/Project Manager. of things — related to instruments, tele­
scopes, meteorology, software, data han­
Now, 20 years later, we are back in dling, etc — that I could learn. I was
­Germany! My family and I have just arrived Elena Valenti always extremely pleased by the great
at ESO and already it is very exciting. generosity of the people working in all
From my perspective the opportunity to the place from the very first night. I still ­divisions (astronomers, telescope opera­
become Director of Programmes at believe there is nothing more beautiful tors, engineers, electricians, software
ESO was compelling. It is hard to imagine than the southern sky on a clear winter people) in sharing their knowledge and
a better time to join ESO. As I see it there night in the Chilean desert! The observa­ hence allowing me to significantly increase
are three overriding priorities for ESO in tions went absolutely fine; I had good my knowledge of observational astron­
the coming years: to continue to success­ seeing and great support from ESO staff, omy. During the fourth year of my fellow­
fully operate and develop the existing ESO astronomers and telescope operators. ship, I moved to the Astronomy Depart­
facilities; complete ALMA and ensure it ful­ I went back to LA not only with my data, ment of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica
fils its scientific potential; and establish but also with the feeling that something in Santiago to work full time on scientific
the European ELT as the world’s foremost important had actually happened. I found research. It was another great experience,
optical-infrared facility. The prospect myself enjoying observation much more and possible because of the ESO Chile
of playing a key and defining role in these than I could imagine and I started consid­ fellowship rule that allows fellows to spend
areas, especially the E-ELT, is incredibly ering the idea of applying for the ESO fel­ one year of pure research in a Chilean or
exciting. There can be little doubt that lowship in Chile, as I wanted to learn much ESO member state university. If I could go
opportunities like this come very rarely more about telescopes and instrumenta­ back in time I would certainly re-apply
indeed. tion, in particular in the near-infrared. for the fellowship in Chile. I would like to
take advantage of the opportunity now
In October 2006 I joined ESO as fellow to thank, one more time, all the people I
Elena Valenti with duty at Paranal. During the first year have met and worked with in Paranal
I was assigned to the VLT Unit Tele­ and Santiago, because they all contrib­
In June 2004 I had my first experience scope 1 (UT1), which at that time was uted to my scientific and personal growth.
with ESO telescopes. At that time I was a equipped with ISAAC and CRIRES, so I
PhD student at Bologna University and could take advantage of my previous, Since April 2010 I have moved back to
I was visiting UCLA Astronomy and Astro­ first experience as an observer with an Europe to take up a position with the USD
physics Department in Los Angeles for infrared imager (SOFI at the NTT) and staff at ESO Headquarters in Garching.
several months to work on high resolution spectrograph (NIRSPEC at the Keck II tele­ This is an extremely stimulating and scien­
infrared spectra of cool giants in the scope), and largely improve on it. With tifically active environment that allows
Galactic Bulge. I flew from a hot and noisy CRIRES I also had the chance to have a young astronomers to work in areas of
LA to Santiago for my first observing run closer look at the adaptive optics (AO) frontline technology and astronomy, and
as PI at La Silla Observatory, three nights ­systems. Of course I already knew what potentially to keep in touch with all
with SOFI on the New technology Tele­ an adaptive optics system should do in branches of astrophysics. Now I can use
scope (NTT). I remember being a bit wor­ principle, but the first time I saw live, in real the experience acquired at the telescopes
ried, not only because I had no previous time, a fuzzy and confused crowded field to support astronomers on many differ-
experience, but also because I knew that in the centre of our Galaxy becoming ent kinds of observations. It is a slightly
an important part of my PhD thesis, aimed clear once the NAOS loop closed, I was different job but one that I really enjoy.
at studying the Bulge stellar populations so amazed that I immediately asked to There are many new colleagues who are
in the near-infrared, actually depended on be trained on UT4 instruments as well. always willing to share their expertise
those three nights. I think I fell in love with Working with NACO and SINFONI allowed and with whom it is a pleasure to work.

52 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Astronomical News

Fellows at ESO

Pamela Klaassen This path first led me to the Valongo

Observatory of the Federal University of
Picture it: the first day of school in subur­ Rio de Janeiro for an astronomy under­
ban Toronto, 1996. A physics teacher graduate degree. I first wanted to be a
at the front of the classroom with a bow cosmologist, but that changed in my first
tie and monotone voice (think Ben Stein in month of studies. During a class I was
Ferris Beuller’s Day Off), and a 17 year told that it was possible to infer the chem­
old girl sitting down at her desk saying, ical composition of the stars from their
“Well, let’s see if I like this, ‘cause it’s what spectra! I was so excited by this amazing
I’m doing with the rest of my life”. And idea that I immediately knew that my
so, my career as an astronomer began. days as a cosmologist were over; I would
become a stellar astrophysicist. There
A few years later, I did my undergraduate I had my first research experience, study­
and Master’s degrees at the University ing the abundance of heavy s-process
of Calgary. As an undergraduate, I did elements in chemically peculiar barium
manage to do a few nights of observing giant stars. For this research I analysed
at an optical telescope, but I soon swayed FEROS spectra, and that was probably
over to the dark side (radio astronomy), Pamela Klaassen the first time I heard about ESO. The
and haven’t really looked back since. years I spent at the Valongo Observatory
Then one day, on the road up to the sum­ this by looking at the small-scale struc­ were very important for me and I cherish
mit of Mauna Kea to start some observa­ tures with interferometers, and the large- them a lot.
tions on the JCMT, my supervisor (Rene scale structures both with single-dish
Plume) asked me where I wanted to do telescopes and combinations of interfer­ Later I moved to the University of São
my PhD. I think he was trying to get rid of ometers and single dishes (to see the Paulo, first for an MSc in astrophysics and
me. Apparently though, some good deci­ large-scale structures at high resolution). then for a PhD. During those years I
sions CAN be made at 4 000 m, because Recently, I’ve started probing the rela­ changed my focus from the heavy ele­
I ­contacted Christine Wilson later that tionship between the ionised and molecu­ ments to the lighter ones. It was during
evening, and started as her PhD student lar gas in regions forming massive stars, my PhD that I had my first chance to
about a year later; with the caveat that and how the bulk gas kinematics de­­ come to ESO. In 2006, I came with a Bra­
she would be on sabbatical for my sec­ scribed above change across the ionisa­ zilian studentship to stay for one year
ond year. This gave me license to go on a tion boundary. (FYI — it doesn’t look like and work on the use of stellar beryllium
sort of graduate student sabbatical of much changes!) abundances as a cosmochronometer.
my own, and I headed to the Harvard– The scientific environment in ESO made a
Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics for a Since arriving at ESO, I’ve become in­­ great impression on me. I went back to
one year Sub-mm Array (SMA) pre-doc­ volved in the ALMA project, and have had Brazil to finish my PhD, hoping that one
toral fellowship (with Eric Keto). Instead of the opportunity to learn all about the day I would be able to come back to ESO.
being one of three radio astronomers ­software under development by becom­
on campus, I was in a building dedicated ing a tester of the Observing Tool, and
to radio astronomy. It was great! After giving lectures on how to use the data
that year, I dutifully returned to McMaster reduction software (CASA). I’m really look­ Rodolfo Smiljanic
University with a new-found apprecia- ing forward to putting the skills I’ve
tion for radio interferometry. Two years learned here at ESO to good use when
later (which takes us to 2008), I finished ALMA comes online next year.
my PhD, and moved to ESO.

For most of my career, I’ve been studying Rodolfo Smiljanic

the gas dynamics in regions of our Gal-
axy forming massive stars. I started out When I was eleven years old, I had the
only studying the large-scale outflow chance to do a course on basic astron­
structures. But, as I gained knowledge, I omy at the planetarium in my home
started asking more questions, and writ­ town in Brazil. There I also looked through
ing more observing proposals, and asking a telescope for the first time. The images
more questions, and... the cycle contin­ I saw that night are still imprinted on
ues to this day. I’ve now broadened my my mind. Two years later, I read in a mag­
research interests to studying the dynam­ azine an article entitled: How to become
ics of the gas in a variety of ways. This a professional astronomer. That was
includes not only looking at the outflowing the true turning point, where the path to
gas, but the infalling gas and rotation in becoming a professional astronomer
and around the star-forming regions. I do became clear to me.

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 53

Astronomical News

The chance for that appeared one month cal ­abundances and investigate the physi­ mode ob­­servations using UVES at the
after my PhD defense. On the day before cal processes affecting the structure VLT. It was a long and challenging,
my birthday I received the fellowship and the evolution of low- and intermedi­ but also rewarding, path from a small tele­
offer, which I promptly accepted. I started ate-mass stars. I am also interested in scope and a planetarium to being part
as a fellow in Garching in October 2009, understanding the chemical evolution of of ESO, a world-­leading observatory
after a nine months postdoc in Brazil. the Galaxy better. For my functional where I can work with one of the largest
In my research, I use high resolution duties I joined the User Support Depart­ and most modern telescopes ever built.
spectroscopy to determine stellar chemi­ ment. I am now helping to support service

Announcement of the ESO Workshop

Dynamics of Low-Mass Stellar Systems: From Star Clusters to

Dwarf Galaxies
4–8 April 2011, ESO Santiago, Chile

At the low-mass end of stellar systems, star clusters are providing strong con­ the shape of the stellar initial mass func­
there used to be a well-known dichotomy. straints on theories of modified gravity and tion. Given the wealth of new information
On the one hand, there are star clusters on the shape of the black hole mass– gathered most recently in this field, the
with typical sizes of a few parsecs (pc), sigma relation at low masses. Proper time is ripe to hold a dedicated meeting on
whose internal dynamics can generally be motion studies of the Galactic halo have this topic. We aim at bringing together a
well described by the Newtonian gravity revealed a marked phase-space correla­ mix of astronomers from both observations
law. On the other hand, there are the much tion of dSph orbits, which is challenging and theory who work on the dynamics of
more extended dwarf galaxies with sizes canon­ical structure formation paradigms, dwarf galaxies and star clusters.
of several hundred pc, whose dynamics and alternative explanations to dark matter
appear to be dark matter dominated and have been put forward regarding the large The scientific organising committee con­
which are usually related to cosmological velocity dispersions found for dSphs. sists of: Holger Baumgardt, Australia;
substructures. These classical boundaries ­Giovanni Carraro, ESO; Michael Fellhauer,
have been blurred by the recent discov- Beyond the Local Group, space-based Chile; Mark Gieles (co-chair), UK; George
ery of new classes of stellar groupings, imaging has been extensively used to Hau, ESO; Michael Hilker, ESO; Helmut
such as ultrafaint dwarf spheroidal galaxies investigate the dynamical evolution of star Jerjen, Australia; Steffen Mieske (co-chair),
(dSphs), ultramassive super star clusters, cluster populations in a number of star- ESO; Yazan Momany, ESO; Ivo Saviane,
ultra compact dwarf galaxies (UCDs), forming galaxies. The initial cluster mass ESO; Michael West, ESO; Mark Wilkinson,
and dark-matter-poor tidal dwarf galaxies function is distinctly different from the UK.
(TDGs). These discoveries and the confir­ mass function of old globular clusters,
mation of multiple stellar populations in a which is still not very well understood. The local organising committee consists
number of Galactic globular clusters have Also, star clusters and dwarf galaxies have of: Karla Alamo, María Eugenia Gómez,
reinforced the question, to which extent been used as dynamical tracers in gal­ Valentin Ivanov, Lucie Jílková, Paulina
star clusters and dwarf galaxies actually axies and galaxy clusters, constraining the Jirón, Renee Mateluna, Steffen Mieske.
share common origins and are intimately gravitational potential on large scales.
linked in their dynamical evolution. Finally, peculiar internal dynamics were The workshop, limited to 60–80 partici­
found for UCDs — objects at the phase pants, will take place at the ESO premises
In this context, recent years have seen a transition between star clusters and dwarf in Santiago, Chile.
particularly large effort in the astronomical galaxies — suggesting either dark matter
community to thoroughly investigate the clustering on scales below those sug­ Further details are available at http://www.
internal dynamics of low-mass stellar sys­ gested for dSphs, or a significant variation
tems in the Milky Way and Andromeda. of the initial mass function.
Extensive measurements of dwarf sphe­ The deadline for registration is 15 January
roidal galaxy kinematics have yielded All this shows that the dynamics of low- 2011. Further information can be obtained
­crucial input for structure formation theo­ mass stellar systems is not only an inter­ from
ries, particularly on the clustering proper­ esting subject in its own right, but is also
ties of dark matter on small scales. Similar intimately linked to global theories of struc­
observing campaigns regarding Milky Way ture formation, the physics of gravity, and

54 The Messenger 141 – September 2010

Astronomical News

Announcement of the ESO/Universidad de Valparaíso Workshop

Evolution of Compact Binaries

6–11 March 2011, Valparaíso, Chile

Compact binaries divide into many – the role of rotation in the evolution of Scientific Organising Committee: Jarrod
classes depending on the mass of either the secondary; Hurley, Australia; Andrew King, UK; Ulrich
component, the mass transfer rate, – the role of magnetic fields in binary Kolb, UK; Mario Livio, USA; Félix Mirabel,
the magnetic fields involved and whether evolution; France; Linda Schmidtobreick, ESO;
the primary star is a white dwarf, neutron –p  ossible braking mechanisms and their Matthias Schreiber, Chile.
star or black hole. efficiency;
–p  hysical mechanisms to increase the Local Organising Committee: Moira Evans,
However, the evolution of all these objects mass of the compact component to Centro de Astrofísica de Valparaíso; María
is driven by a common mechanism: finally reach a point of ignition. Eugenia Gómez, ESO; Paulina Jirón, ESO;
angular momentum loss. This process Elena Mason, ESO; Kieran O’Brien, UCSB;
controls the change of the orbital period With this workshop we plan to bring Retha Pretorius, ESO; Alberto Rebassa,
as well as, in the phases of interaction, together people from different communi­ Univ. de Valparaíso; Linda Schmidtobreick
the mass transfer rate. This means that ties; and in this sense it is a very broad (co-chair), ESO; Matthias Schreiber (co-
the basic physics behind all these objects and open workshop. On the other hand, it chair), Univ. de Valparaíso; Claus Tappert,
is the same, and, by comparing the will also be focused as it concentrates Univ. de Valparaíso; Maja Vuckovic, ESO;
results found for one class, we might be on one specific problem, namely binary Mónica Zorotovic, ESO–PUC.
able to understand similar problems in evolution, which, over the last decade, has
another. Some of the open questions that emerged as one of the most active fields Further information can be found at
are common to all classes of compact within the compact binary communities.
binaries are, for example: Evolution2011/ and more details can be
– the impact of the common envelope The deadline for registration is 15 January obtained by e-mail: binary-evolution-
phase; 2011.

Personnel Movements

Arrivals (1 July– 30 September 2010) Departures (1 July– 30 September 2010)

Europe Europe
Bonzini, Margherita (I) Student Chereau, Fabien (F) Software Engineer
Cortese, Luca (I) Fellow Conn, Blair (AUS) Fellow
Delorme, Alain (F) Senior Contract Officer De Silva, Malcolm (GB) Contract Officer
Diaz Trigo, Maria (E) Operations Scientist Gladysz, Szymon (PL) Post Doctoral Researcher
Dietmann, Evelina (I) Administrative Assistant Justen, Benedikt (D) Student
Echaniz, Juan Carlos (E) System Engineer-Product Assurance Korhonen, Heidi (FIN) Fellow
Hamilton, Robert (GB) ERP Consultant Lind, Karin (S) Student
Lagerholm, Carina (S) Student Martinez, Patrice (F) Optical Engineer
Motalebi, Fatemeh (IR) Student Schmidt, Sandra (D) Secretary/Assistant
Munding, Silvia (D) Librarian Snodgrass, Colin (GB) Fellow
Pineda, Jaime (RCH) Fellow Wicenec, Andreas (D) Software Engineer
Pontoni, Cristian (I) Mechanical Engineer Ziegler, Bodo (D) User Support Astronomer
Randall, Suzanna (GB) Operations Scientist
Russell, Adrian (GB) Director of Programmes
Wallace, Jane (GB) Executive Assistant

Chile Chile
Brammer, Gabriel (USA) Fellow Evatt, Matthew (USA) Mechanical Engineer
Hau, George (GB) Operations Staff Astronomer Gallenne, Alexandre (F) Student
Lombardi, Gianluca (I) Fellow Mason, Elena (I) Operations Astronomer
Oestreich, Martin (D) Electrical Engineer
Ritz, Andre (RCH) Procurement Officer
Robert, Pascal (F) Instrumentation Engineer
Wehner, Stefan (D) Software Engineer
Zorotovic, Monica (RCH) Student

The Messenger 141 – September 2010 55

ESO, the European Southern Observa- Contents
tory, is the foremost intergovernmental
astronomy organisation in Europe. It Telescopes and Instrumentation
is supported by 14 countries: Austria, M. Kenworthy et al. – A New Coronagraph for NAOS–CONICA —
Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Apodising Phase Plate 2
France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the P. Martinez et al. – On the Difference between Seeing and Image Quality:
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, When the Turbulence Outer Scale Enters the Game 5
Switzerland and the United Kingdom. F. Kerber et al. – Balloons over the La Silla Paranal Observatory 9
ESO’s programme is focused on the
design, construction and operation of Astronomical Science
powerful ground-based observing M. A. Barucci et al. – The Outer Frontiers of the Solar System:
­facilities. ESO operates three observa- Trans-Neptunian Objects and Centaurs 15
tories in Chile: at La Silla, at Paranal, F. Schuller et al. – The APEX Telescope Large Area Survey
site of the Very Large Telescope, and at of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL) 20
Llano de Chajnantor. ESO is the Euro- R. Saito et al. – VISTA Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV): Current Status
pean partner in the Atacama Large Mil- and First Results 24
limeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) G. Giuffrida et al. – A Wide-angle VIMOS Survey of the Sagittarius Dwarf
under construction at Chajnantor. Cur- Spheroidal Galaxy 29
rently ESO is engaged in the design of M. Bremer et al. – Studying the Properties of Early Galaxies with the
the 42-metre European Extremely Large ESO Remote Galaxy Survey 32
Astronomical News
The Messenger is published, in hard- N. Neumayer, E. Emsellem – Report on the ESO Workshop “Central Massive
copy and electronic form, four times a Objects: The Stellar Nuclei – Black Hole Connection” 37
year: in March, September, September M. Casali – The 2010 SPIE Symposium on Astronomical Telescopes and
and December. ESO produces and dis- Instrumentation 40
tributes a wide variety of media R. Laing et al. – Report on the ESO Workshop “Science with ALMA Band 5” 41
­connected to its activities. For further R. Fosbury, T. Trygg – Solargraphs of ESO 43
information, including postal subscrip- L. Sartori, C. Pelloni – The Experience of Two High School Students Doing
tion to The Messenger, contact the ESO Astronomical Research at ESO 46
education and Public Outreach Depart- F. Primas et al. – ESO Astronomers Emeriti — Sandro D’Odorico and
ment at the following address: Alan Moorwood 50
New Staff at ESO – A. Russell, E. Valenti 51
ESO Headquarters Fellows at ESO – P. Klaassen, R. Smiljanic 53
Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2 Announcement of the ESO Workshop “Dynamics of Low-Mass
85748 Garching bei München Stellar Systems: From Star Clusters to Dwarf Galaxies” 54
Germany Announcement of the ESO/Universidad de Valparaíso Workshop
Phone +49 89 320 06-0 “Evolution of Compact Binaries” 55 Personnel Movements 55

The Messenger:
Editor: Jeremy R. Walsh
Design, Production: Jutta ­Boxheimer;
Layout, Typesetting: Mafalda Martins;
Graphics: Roberto Duque

Printed by Peschke Druck

Schatzbogen 35, 81805 München

Unless otherwise indicated, all images Front Cover: Near-infrared colour composite image taken with the VISTA telescope
in The Messenger are courtesy of ESO, of the core of the Large Magellanic Cloud, showing the nebula NGC 2070 contain-
except authored contributions which ing the R136 star cluster. The image was formed from exposures in Y, J and Ks fil-
are courtesy of the respective authors. ters (as blue, green and red) with exposure times of 40, 47 and 81 minutes respec-
tively. These images form part of the VISTA Magellanic Cloud Survey. See Release
© ESO 2010 1033 for more details. Credit: ESO/M.-R. Cioni/VISTA Magellanic Cloud Survey.
ISSN 0722-6691 Acknowledgement: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit.