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The SPECULOOS Southern Observatory

ALMA Observations of the Epoch of Planet Formation

The Early Growth and Life Cycle of Galaxies with KMOS3D
Riccardo Giacconi (1931–2018)
The Messenger
No. 174 – December 2018
Telescopes and Instrumentation DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5105

The SPECULOOS Southern Observatory

Begins its Hunt for Rocky Planets

Emmanuël Jehin 1 The SPECULOOS Southern Observa- J­ upiter, effective temperatures lower than
Michaël Gillon 2, 1 tory (SSO), a new facility of four 1- 2700 K, and luminosities less than one
Didier Queloz 3, 4 metre robotic telescopes, began scien- thousandth that of the Sun.
Laetitia Delrez 3 tific operations at Cerro Paranal on
Artem Burdanov 1 1 January 2019. The main goal of the The habitable zones in these systems
Catriona Murray 3 SPECULOOS project is to explore are very close to the host stars, corre-
Sandrine Sohy 1 approximately 1000 of the smallest sponding to orbital periods of only a few
Elsa Ducrot 1 (≤ 0.15 R⊙ ), brightest (Kmag ≤ 12.5), and days. This proximity to the host star
Daniel Sebastian 1 nearest (d ≤ 40 pc) very low mass stars ­maximises the transit probability and the
Samantha Thompson 3 and brown dwarfs. It aims to discover likelihood of detecting habitable planets.
James McCormac 5 transiting temperate terrestrial planets In addition, an Earth-sized planet transit-
Yaseen Almleaky 6 well-suited for detailed atmospheric ing a small UCD star produces a 1%
Adam J. Burgasser 7 characterisation with future giant tele- transit signal, 100 times deeper than that
Brice-Olivier Demory 8 scopes like ESO’s Extremely Large of an equivalent transit around a Sun-like
Julien de Wit 9 ­Telescope (ELT) and the NASA James star, and well within the reach of ground-
Khalid Barkaoui 2, 1 Webb Telescope (JWST). The SSO is based telescopes. With these properties,
Francisco J. Pozuelos 1 the core facility of SPECULOOS. The it is possible to characterise the atmos-
Amaury H. M. J. Triaud 10 exquisite astronomical conditions at pheres of UCD habitable zone planets —
Valérie Van Grootel 1 Cerro Paranal will enable SPECULOOS including the potential detection of spec-
to detect exoplanets as small as Mars. troscopic biosignatures — with forth-
Here, we briefly describe SPECULOOS, coming giant telescopes such as ESO’s
STAR Institute, University of Liège, and present the features and perfor- ELT (Rodler & López-Morales, 2014) and
Belgium mance of the SSO facility. the JWST (Kaltenegger & Traub, 2009).
Astrobiology Research Unit, University
of Liège, Belgium SPECULOOS 1, b (Principal Investigator:
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Search for Planets EClipsing Michaël Gillon) is a new photometric sur-
Cambridge, UK ULtra-cOOl Stars (SPECULOOS) vey based on a network of 1-metre-class
University of Geneva, Switzerland robotic telescopes. It aims to seize the
Department of Physics, University of One of the most thrilling questions posed opportunity to detect temperate terres-
Warwick, UK by humankind is whether inhabited trial planets transiting nearby UCDs that
Space and Astronomy Department, worlds similar to Earth exist elsewhere in are bright enough in the near-infrared
King Abdul Aziz University, Saudi the Universe. The most direct way of to make possible the atmospheric char-
Arabia answering this question is through the acterisation of their planets in the near
Center for Astrophysics and Space detection and detailed atmospheric char- future (see Gillon et al., 2018; Delrez et
Science, University of California acterisation of terrestrial exoplanets al., 2018a; Burdanov et al., 2017).
San Diego, USA ­orbiting in the habitable zones of nearby
Center for Space and Habitability, stars. The nearest ultra-cool dwarf (UCD)
­University of Bern, Switzerland stars represent a unique opportunity
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and to reach this goal within the next couple
Planetary Sciences, MIT, Cambridge, of decades. UCD stars are very low
Figure 1. The four 1-metre telescopes Io, Europa,
USA mass stars at the bottom of the main Ganymede, and Callisto (from right to left)a of
School of Physics and Astronomy, sequence, with masses approximately the SPECULOOS Southern Observatory starting the
­University of Birmingham, UK 10% that of the Sun, sizes similar to night under Paranal’s sky.
Peter Aniol

2 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

80 ¦
20 ¦
0 ¦
0.15 G G G G G G G G G G G

0.14 l¦
l ¦
0.13 l ¦
l ¦
0.12 l¦
Radius (R๬ )

0.11 Figure 2. Left: The d­ istribution of the SPECULOOS

target sample in brightness and estimated radius.
Right: The locations of these targets in e ­ quatorial
0.10 coordinates, with the Galactic and ecliptic planes
indicated as dashed and dotted lines, respectively.
0.09 In both panels, T­ RAPPIST-1 is shown as a red star.

0.08 observations also enable the robust

detection of short-duration transits (as lit-
0.07 tle as 15 minutes) expected for planets
8 9 10 11 12 0 100
around UCDs with very short orbital peri-
ods (≤ 1 day).

The target sample and observing Because of their low temperatures, UCDs To observe 1000 UCDs with SPECULOOS
strategy are faint in the optical, and their spectral over the monitoring periods described
energy distributions peak at near- and above requires a total of ~ 20 000 nights
The SPECULOOS target sample includes mid-infrared wavelengths. Our signal-to- of survey data. This can be achieved in
all UCD stars within 40 pc of the Sun noise analysis demonstrated that 1-metre- ~ 10 years with a network of two facilities,
that have a K-band magnitude less than class telescopes on a dry site with good one in each hemisphere and compris­-
12.5 and an estimated radius less than seeing, equipped with near-infrared ing four telescopes each, assuming a
15% of the Sun’s. These limits in K-band ­optimised CCD cameras (providing high global efficiency of 70% (i.e., a 30% time-
and radius correspond to the properties quantum efficiencies out to 1 µm) would loss due to bad weather and technical
that allow the atmospheric characterisa- be sufficient to achieve the required pho- problems).
tion of temperate Earth-sized planets with tometric precision (< 0.1%). We validated
JWST. Cross-matching the catalogues this strategy through a six-year prototype These considerations drive the instru-
from the second data release (DR2) from survey that we performed with the south- mental conceptual design of our survey:
the ESA Gaia mission with the Two ern 0.6-metre telescope of the TRAnsit- a network of ground-based 1-metre-class
Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS), we iden- ing Planets and PlanetesImals Small Tele- optical telescopes equipped with near-
tified about 1000 targets across the sky, scope (TRAPPIST) at ESO’s La Silla infrared optimised CCD cameras, moni-
of which ~ 90% are very late M-dwarfs observatory (Jehin et al., 2011; Gillon et toring each UCD individually and continu-
and ~ 10% are L-dwarfs. al., 2011). This led to the spectacular dis- ously for a duration long enough to
covery of the TRAPPIST-1 2 exoplanetary efficiently and thoroughly probe its habit-
Our targets are evenly distributed over system (Gillon et al., 2016, 2017). able zone for transiting planets. Whilst
the sky (Figure 2), which means that they we are still in the process of deploying
have to be monitored individually. Fortu- In addition to high photometric precision, two telescopes in the northern hemi-
nately, the short orbital periods of observations of each target must sphere, our core facility, the SPECULOOS
planets in the habitable zones of UCDs be taken nearly continuously over Southern Observatory (SSO), is now
(~ 1 week) translate into a required photo- 10–25 nights to assure the detection of fully operational at Paranal. After a two-
metric monitoring period for each star low-amplitude transits from planets orbit- year development phase and two years
that is much shorter than the equivalent ing in UCD habitable zones. These con- of installation and commissioning, the
monitoring period for an Earth-Sun twin tinuous observations not only maximise facility is now starting routine operations.
(~ 1 year). Consequently, SPECULOOS the photon counts but also minimise
should complete its extensive transit ­systematics and improve photometric
search for planets around 1000 UCD tar- reliability by allowing us to keep all of The SSO site
gets within a 10-year window. the stars in a particular field of view on
the same pixels of the detector over With its low humidity (80% of nights
the course of an entire night. Continuous with < 4 mm precipitable water vapour),

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 3

Peter Aniol
Telescopes and Instrumentation Jehin E. et al., SPECULOOS Begins its Hunt for Rocky Planets

excellent seeing, photometric conditions This design provides high wind resist- Figure 3. The SSO is visible to the left. It neighbours
the NGTS facility and is downhill from the VISTA
(78% of nights are photometric), and ance, enabling observations in wind
peak. The VLT is to the right on top of Cerro Paranal
logistical infrastructure, Paranal was speeds reaching 50 km h –1. The focusing while the basecamp is in the background, in the
­recognised early on as the preferred site of each telescope is achieved through shade at the middle of the image.
for the installation of the SSO. Following motorised axial movement of the second-
discussions with ESO and its Scientific ary mirror to an accuracy of 5 µm. strategy to achieve high photometric pre-
Technical Committee (STC), the agree- Each telescope is associated with a cision is to keep our target stars on the
ment for the construction of the SSO at robotic equatorial ASTELCO New Tech- same pixels for an entire exposure
Paranal was signed by the then Director nology Mount NTM-1000. This mount sequence. This is done using an updated
General Tim de Zeeuw on 30 March uses direct-drive torque motors, which version of the DONUTS autoguiding
2015. After a two-month seeing monitor- allows fast slewing (up to 20 degrees s –1), ­system described by McCormac et al.
ing campaign to validate the site (seeing accurate pointing (better than 3 arcsec- (2013). This technique relies on a reference
was better than 1.5 arcseconds for 90% onds) and tracking accuracy better
of the nights), it was decided to install than 1 arcsecond over 10 minutes without Figure 4. Commissioning of Io and Europa in the
the SSO on a spot (see Figure 3 c ) below an autoguider. A key component of our ASTELCO assembly hall in Munich.
the VISTA peak and close to the Next-
Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) —

Peter Aniol
another exoplanet survey facility (Wheatley
et al., 2018).

The telescopes and domes

The SSO is composed of four identical

robotic 1-metre Ritchey-Chrétien tele-
scopes built by the German ASTELCO
company 3. For each telescope, the
1-metre diameter primary mirror has an
f/2.3 focal ratio and is coupled with a
28-centimetre diameter secondary result-
ing in a system with a combined f/8 focal
ratio. Both mirrors are coated with pure
aluminium. The telescopes have a com-
pact and open design with a lightweight
optical tube assembly made of steel,
­aluminium and carbon fibre components
(see Figure 4).

4 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

image of each science field. The refer- Figure 5. The Io 1-metre

Peter Aniol
robotic telescope unit
ence image is summed along the x
in its 6.25-metre dome.
and y directions, creating two 1D refer-
ence image projections. A pair of 1D
comparison projections is created for
each subsequent science image and the
guide correction is measured from a
pair of cross-correlations between refer-
ence and comparison in both x and y
directions. This allows a self-guiding pre-
cision better than 0.5 pixels (0.15 arcsec-
onds) root mean square (RMS) over tens
of nights for the same target.

Each telescope is enclosed in a 6.25-

metre-diameter circular building sur-
mounted by an automated hemispheric up to 5 MHz, with various gains. The tems, and it automatically handles every
wide-slit dome with sliding doors (see observations at each telescope are per- aspect of the observations: startup and
Figure 5), made and equipped with an formed using the same 1 MHz readout shutdown procedures (including flat fields
automation system from ASTELCO. The mode, no binning and a gain of about and other calibrations), pointing and
domes are made of aluminium, painted 1.1 electrons ADU –1, which provides a ­centring of the targets, autofocusing, filter
white outside to minimise internal heat- low readout noise of about 6.0 electrons. wheel management, image setup and
ing during the day, and dark inside to acquisition sequences, autoguiding via
minimise reflections during the night. The Each camera has its own filter wheel from DONUTS, target chaining, and other
dome is slave to the telescope and a Finger Lakes Instrumentation (model operations.
complete azimuth rotation takes less than CFW3-10), allowing 10 different 5 × 5 cm
one minute. Each building also includes filters. A selected set of broad-band fil- ACP is also in charge of the shutdown
a small control room that we use for ters, all manufactured by Astrodon com- of the observatory in case of bad
commissioning activities, equipment stor- pany, is available on each telescope: the weather. Each telescope unit is inde-
age, and the telescope control cabinets Sloan g’r’i’z’ filters and two special pendent and is equipped with its own
and ­computers. The distance between exoplanet filters; the near-infrared lumi- weather station d, which monitors in
the domes is optimised to prevent vignet- nance I+z filter (transmittance > 90% real time the cloud cover, sky tempera-
ting of any telescope by another, down to from 750 to beyond 1000 nm); and a ture, wind speed (≤ 50 km h –1), humidity
20 degrees above the horizon. blue-blocking filter called Exo (transmit- level (≤ 80%), dew point, and the
tance > 90% from 500 to beyond amount of daylight. These weather sta-
1000 nm). Some of the telescopes also tions also include a moisture sensor
The cameras and filters provide broad-band Johnson-Cousins B, that is able to detect rain and snow. They
RC and V filters, the Sloan u’ filter, and the are connected to ACP and can trigger
Each telescope is equipped with an Ha, S II and O III narrow-band filters. a clean and automatic termination of
Andor iKon-L thermoelectrically cooled observations (closing the dome and
camera with a near-infrared optimised, ­parking the telescope) in bad weather
deep depletion 2k × 2k e2v CCD detector A robotic and safe observatory conditions. The weather stations are also
(13.5 µm pixel size). The field of view on directly wired to the domes for emer-
the sky is 12 × 12 arcminutes, yielding a Building on the experience and opera- gency closure in case ACP does not trig-
pixel scale of 0.35 arcseconds pixel –1. tional scheme of TRAPPIST (Jehin et al., ger it. In addition, each dome is equipped
The camera can be cooled down to 2011, Gillon et al., 2011), the SSO is with rain and light sensors, working
– 100° C (via five-stage Peltier cooling) nearly fully robotic and can be controlled ­independently from the telescope control
but it is usually operated at – 60° C with a remotely via a secure Virtual Private Net- computer for redundant safety.
dark current of ~ 0.1 electrons s–1 pixel –1. work (VPN) connection between Paranal
The detector provides high sensitivity and the University of Liège. Observing Several IP power sockets are connected
from 350 nm (near-ultraviolet) to 950 nm plans, consisting of simple text files (one to the electrical devices inside the domes
(near-infrared), with a maximum quantum for each target) linked to each other, to allow remote rebooting (or shutdown)
efficiency of 94% at both 420 and are automatically generated and submit- when necessary. Each observatory unit
740 nm. The camera also has very low ted daily by a scheduling script to the is equipped with an uninterruptible power
fringing in the near-infrared (< 1%) thanks ACP Expert Observatory Control Soft- supply (UPS) that can hold each tele-
to both the wedge design of the window ware 4, which is installed on the control scope in operation for about 8 hours. To
and the e2v proprietary fringe suppres- computer of each telescope unit. ACP is guarantee safe and optimal operation,
sion technology applied to the detector. the main automation software working one operator initiates the startup proce-
There are four readout speeds available, in combination with the various subsys- dure before twilight, making sure that

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 5

Telescopes and Instrumentation Jehin E. et al., SPECULOOS Begins its Hunt for Rocky Planets


2BHMSHKK@SHNM Europa, σ = 0.58 ppt
1D@C NTS 1

Ganymede, σ = 0.54 ppt


Relative flux 0.98 Europa + Ganymede, σ = 0.40 ppt

31 //(23 


      8406.55 8406.60 8406.65
*L@F Time (HJD – 2 450 000)

Figure 6. Left: Photometric errors per time bin of processed by a dedicated pipeline which the transparency of the sky at Paranal,
0.005 d (7.2 minutes) computed for an M8-type
produces calibrated light curves that mirror reflectivity, the quantum efficiency
dwarf observed by one SSO telescope as a function
of its K-band magnitude. The different contributions are then used to compute differential of the CCD cameras cooled to – 60° C,
to the errors are shown as dashed coloured lines. photometry for the target star. and the transmittance of the filter and of
The photometric precision measured for TRAPPIST-1 the CCD window. We assume pure white
is illustrated as a red star symbol. Right: Light
In addition to producing a unique photo- noise (photon noise, dark current, back-
curves, binned per 0.005 d, of a transit of the tem-
perate ­terrestrial planet TRAPPIST-1g observed metric database for a large sample of ground, scintillation, and readout), an
by Europa (top) and Ganymede (middle), and the nearby UCDs, the SPECULOOS dataset ­airmass of 1.5, a typical seeing of 1 arc-
combined light curve Europa + Ganymede (bottom). is also valuable for the astronomical com- second, and a photometric aperture of
munity, as it provides densely-sampled 2-arcsecond radius.
the weather and telescopes are safe and photometric monitoring over long periods
in working condition after performing (10–20 nights) over a total survey field Figure 6 also shows a transit of
diagnostic checks. At the end of the of view of 24 square degrees with excel- TRAPPIST-1g observed by Europa and
night, the operator makes sure the tele- lent spatial sampling in the near-infrared. Ganymede. TRAPPIST-1g orbits around a
scopes are closed and secure. An opera- By agreement with ESO, we will provide K = 10.3 M8-type dwarf, and our photo-
tional webpage receives live information public access to the photometric data metric performance calculator predicts
about the telescopes and the weather gathered with the SSO after a one-year a precision of 0.51 ppt e for each total
status as well as real-time images of the proprietary period. Reduced images, integration of 7.2 minutes. Our observed
night sky and dome webcams. This setup as well as extracted light curves of all light curves, divided by the best-fit transit
allows us to easily keep an eye on the point-sources detected by our reduction models and also binned by 7.2 minutes,
observatory. pipeline, will be made available to the have standard deviations of 0.58 and
community via the ESO archive (under 0.54 ppt — only slightly larger than the
the programme ID 60.A-9009). predicted value and consistent with a
Dataflow and pipeline correlated, “red-noise floor” of 0.2–
0.30 ppt. Combining the two light curves
Each telescope generates between 250 Photometric performances reduces the standard deviation to 0.4 ppt,
and 1000 images per night with typical scaling by ~ √2 as expected. This impres-
exposure times of 10–50 s, correspond- Figure 6 shows the photometric precision sive photometric precision validates the
ing to between 4 and 16 Gb of data. expected for each SSO telescope for an scientific potential of the SSO. Indeed,
The data are saved locally on a dedicated integrated exposure of 7.2 minutes (7 expo- the transit of a temperate Earth-sized
computer for each telescope and are sures of 50 s + overheads) in the “I+z” fil- planet should be in the range 3.8–13.5 ppt,
­initially processed by a local pipeline. The ter for M8-type dwarfs with K-magnitudes and should have a typical duration of
data are automatically transferred to covering the whole range of SPECULOOS 30 to 60 minutes. Figure 6 shows that our
the ESO archive and then retrieved to be targets. Uncertainties take into account photometric p ­ recision is sufficient to

6 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

robustly detect such transits for every The detection of TRAPPIST-1 from a tar- He, M. Y., Triaud, A. H. M. J. & Gillon, M. 2017,
MNRAS, 464, 2687
star in our UCD sample, irrespective of get list of only 50 objects, and the appar-
Jehin, E. et al. 2011, The Messenger, 145, 2
atmospheric or instrumental red noise. ently low densities of most of its planets, Kaltenegger, L. & Traub, W. A. 2009, ApJ, 698, 51
For our brightest and smallest targets, we suggest that compact systems of water- Rodler, F. & López-Morales, M. 2014, ApJ, 781, 54
expect to be able to detect transits of rich rocky planets could be very frequent Wheatley, P. et al. 2018, MNRAS, 475, 4476
planets as small as Mars (depth of ~ 3 ppt around UCD stars (He, Triaud & Gillon,
in front of a 0.08 R⊙ star). 2017), in agreement with recent theoreti- Links
cal predictions. Should this be confirmed,
it implies that SPECULOOS will find many 1
 he SPECULOOS project:
A global network of robotic telescopes other TRAPPIST-1-like systems, and 2
T he TRAPPIST-1 planetary system:
eventually produce a catalogue of several
SPECULOOS will eventually consist of dozen temperate rocky planets that are 3
ASTELCO Systems:
five nodes, with the SSO being the well suited for detailed atmospheric char- 4
ACP observatory control software:
­primary node. The other nodes are: the acterisation with the next generation of 5
T he TRAPPIST project:
SPECULOOS Northern Observatory major astronomical facilities.
(SNO), which will consist of at least one
1-metre telescope to be installed in
Acknowledgements Notes
Spring 2019 at Teide Observatory in
­Tenerife (Canary Islands); SAINT-Ex, a We would like to thank ESO for the constant support
 ince we expect the typical planetary systems
new robotic 1-metre telescope that we have received, from the early stages of the pro- around UCDs to be scaled-up versions of the
is being installed at San Pedro Mártir ject to the installation of the SSO on the fabulous Jovian satellite system (with terrestrial planets
Paranal site. Many people have each played an replacing the Galilean moons), we decided to name
Observatory (Mexico), and which will par-
important role in making this dream come true; spe- the four telescopes Io, Europa, Ganymede, and
tially contribute to SPECULOOS; and cial thanks go to Andreas Kaufer, Maxime Boccas, Callisto.
finally, the two 60-cm robotic telescopes Fernando Luco, Karina Celedon and their respective
S peculoos are also delicious cookies that are
TRAPPIST-South (La Silla Observatory, teams, as well as all of the parlogs staff who have ­traditionally baked in Belgium for consumption
always been so kind as to accommodate our team in around St Nicholas’s day on 6 December.
Chile) and TRAPPIST-North (Oukaïmeden c
Paranal during the long commissioning activities. T he coordinates of the site are: latitude
Observatory, Morocco), which devote Many thanks also to Peter Aniol and Michael Ruder – 24°36′ 56.2″ and longitude – 70°23′ 25.4″
~ 25% of their time to SPECULOOS, for their special touch during the installation and for
T he Boltwood Cloud Sensor II from Diffraction
focusing on about 100 of the brightest making the telescopes work optimally, and for the ­L imited company
many nights that they spent fine-tuning the tele- ppt: part-per-thousand (i.e., 0.1%)
scopes and domes in Munich and Paranal. Thanks
are also due to all of the ASTELCO team, Gregory
Lambert, Tulin Bedel and Mario Costantino in par-
The discovery of TRAPPIST-1 ticular.

The SSO is a project conducted by the Universities

The SPECULOOS project started in 2011 of Liège, Cambridge and Jeddah (KAAU). It is sup-
as a pilot survey using TRAPPIST-South ported by the European Research Council (ERC)
(Gillon et al., 2011), with a limited target under the FP/2007-2013 ERC grant agreement
list composed of the 50 brightest south- no. 336480 and under the H2020 ERC grant agree-
ment no. 679030 (PI Gillon), from an Actions de
ern ultra-cool dwarf stars. The goal of Recherche Concertée (ARC) grant, financed by the
this pilot was to assess the feasibility of Wallonia-Brussels Federation (PI Gillon), by a grant
the project, but the survey achieved from the Simons Foundation (PI Queloz, grant num-
much more than anticipated. It detected ber 327127), as well as by the MERAC foundation
and STFC grant number ST/S00193X/1 (PI Triaud),
a spectacular planetary system that we and by private sponsorship. Michaël Gillon and
named TRAPPIST-1 2, which is composed Emmanuël Jehin are F.R.S.-FNRS Senior Research
of seven Earth-sized planets in temperate Associates.
orbits ranging from 1.5 to 19 days (Gillon
et al., 2016, 2017). At least three of these References
planets orbit within the habitable zone of
the star, and each of them is particularly Burdanov, A. et al. 2018, Handbook of Exoplanets,
well-suited for a detailed atmospheric 1007
Delrez, L. et al. 2018a, Proceedings of the SPIE,
study with JWST. Thanks to the resonant 10700, 107001I
and transiting configuration of the sys- Delrez, L. et al. 2018b, MNRAS, 455, 3577
tem, the masses and radii of the planets McCormac, J. et al. 2013, PASP, 125, 548
could be precisely measured (Grimm et Gillon, M. et al. 2011, European Physical Journal
Web of Conferences, 11, 06002
al., 2018; Delrez et al., 2018b). The result- Gillon, M. et al. 2016, Nature, 533, 221
ing densities suggest that most of the Gillon, M. et al. 2017, Nature, 542, 456
planets have a rocky composition with a Gillon, M. et al. 2018, Nature Astronomy, 2, 344
volatile content significantly larger than Grimm, S. et al. 2018, A&A, 613, A68
that of Earth.

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 7

Telescopes and Instrumentation DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5106

The Life and Times of AMBER:

The VLTI’s Astronomical Multi-BEam combineR

Willem-Jan de Wit 1 instruments are scientifically inaugurated called the closure phase. The absolute
Markus Wittkowski 1 via their “first fringes”, which is the inter- phase of incoming light waves is scram-
Frederik Rantakyrö 2 ferometric equivalent of “first light”. By bled by atmospheric turbulence, resulting
Markus Schöller 1 the early 2000s, the integration of ESO’s in distortion over a pupil and global
Antoine Mérand 1 interferometer into the VLT architecture phase shifts between the apertures in the
Romain G. Petrov 3 was on track. array (called the piston). The degree and
Gerd Weigelt 4 frequency of the scrambling increases
Fabien Malbet 5 The first Paranal interference fringes were towards shorter wavelengths. As a result,
Fabrizio Massi 6 produced by the VLT INterferometer the coherence time of the incoming
Stefan Kraus 7 Commissioning Instrument (VINCI) and wave ranges from a few milliseconds to
Keiichi Ohnaka 8 MID-infrared Interferometric instrument (at best) some tens of milliseconds in the
Florentin Millour 3 (MIDI), instruments that combined the optical regime. There is no way to beat
Stéphane Lagarde 3 light from two telescopes. VINCI’s pur- the turbulence and recover the phase
Xavier Haubois 1 pose was to commission the interferome- without additional aids. When combining
Pierre Bourget 1 ter’s infrastructure. MIDI, on the other three telescopes arranged in a closed
Isabelle Percheron 1 hand, was the first scientific instrument in ­triangle one can retrieve a new observa-
Jean-Philippe Berger 5 operation using the VLTI in conjunction ble by adding the phases. This resulting
Andrea Richichi 6 with the 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes (UTs). closure phase is invariant to atmospheric
The second scientific VLTI instrument to perturbations, as the atmospheric phase
arrive on Paranal was AMBER. It had noise terms from each individual tele-
ESO been c ­ onceived as a potential sea scope cancel out. The technique was first
Gemini Observatory change in optical interferometry, exploit- applied in radio interferometry. Physically,
Université Côte d’Azur, France ing the idea of spectro-interferometry — the closure phase quantity is a proxy
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastrono- obtaining spatial information on milliarc- for the degree of asymmetry in the sci-
mie, Bonn, Germany second scales at high spectral resolution. ence target. Closure phase information
Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophy- It comprised three spectral settings, is a pre-requisite to reconstructing
sique de Grenoble, France including a high spectral resolution of R = images from interferometric observables
INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, 12 000, and was foreseen to work at a (for example, Jennison, 1958; Baldwin
Italy high sensitivity and with high visibility et al., 1996) and AMBER was the first
University of Exeter, UK accuracy in three infrared atmospheric instrument at the VLTI to deliver it.
Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile windows (J-, H-, and K-bands). Yet, argu-
ably its most important asset was the AMBER produced clear first fringes of
capacity to combine the light beams from the star θ Centauri on the night of 20
The sharpest images on Paranal are three separate telescopes at long base- March 2004 using two telescopes at a
produced by the beam-combining lines, a novelty in long-baseline optical baseline of 64 metres, marking a mile-
instruments of the Very Large Tele- interferometry which allowed millarcsec- stone after seven years of work. The
scope Interferometer (VLTI). Currently, ond-resolution images to be synthesised instrument was offered to the community
the VLTI is close to completing a tran­ at high spectral resolution. for the first time in observing period 76
sitional period, moving away from the (starting October 2005), fed by the large
first generation of instruments (AMBER, The consortium of four institutes driving apertures of the UTs.
MIDI) and offering new instruments the AMBER project consisted of the
and subsystems to the community. In Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur (OCA: the
this article, we report on the life and Principal Investigator institute) in Nice, the Optical principle and early years
achievements of the recently decom- Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de l’Observ-
missioned, near-infrared beam com- atoire de Grenoble (LAOG at the time, AMBER’s design corresponds broadly to
biner instrument AMBER, the most pro- now called IPAG), the Max-Planck-Institut an optical configuration similar to the one
lific optical interferometric instrument für Radioastronomie (MPIfR) in Bonn, and that creates fringe patterns in a Young’s
to date. the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri in interference experiment, i.e., overlapping
Florence. It built on the European exper- images coming from multiple telescopes
tise of designing two-telescope combin- (or beams). Most importantly, before
AMBER, a three-telescope combiner ers capable of exploiting spectro-inter­ the light is recombined, each light beam
ferometry and the usage of single-mode is guided through a single-mode fibre.
AMBER was one of three ambitious, fibres. Conceptually, to advance from A single-mode fibre acts as a spatial
­general-user, interferometric instruments two-telescope to three-telescope com- filter and rejects the distorted part of the
proposed in 1997 for implementation on biners may seem a small step, but scien- wavefront, leading to a flattened exit
the VLTI at Paranal (Paresce et al., 1996), tifically it constituted a leap forward. wavefront. The phase fluctuations are
following the recommendations of the traded against fast intensity fluctuations
Interferometry Science Advisory Commit- The crucial consideration is to provide (which are recorded) and a global piston
tee to ESO. In optical interferometry, new access to the observational quantity (which is measured from the slope of

8 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

the dispersed fringes). Hence, AMBER AMBER consortium in 2007–2008, and (April 2009) standard AMBER operations
implements three photometric channels through the continuous improvement of for medium and high spectral resolution
for the simultaneous monitoring of the the VLTI infrastructure. were done in conjunction and simultane-
beam intensity for each telescope beam. ously with FINITO. Since 2011, the FINITO
Recombination, and with it the produc- A report analysing the accuracy in data have been delivered alongside the
tion of fringe patterns, is done after ­absolute visibility, closure phase and dif- AMBER ones for optimised data reduc-
­forming three exit pupils. The exit pupils ferential phase identified critical software tion and post-processing purposes. With
are physically placed in a non-redundant and hardware improvements required the advent of GRAVITY fringe tracking
manner such that the set of three con- by AMBER (Malbet et al., 2008). The main has become an integral part of the sci-
tained spatial frequencies in the final modifications in AMBER were the ence observations and the data from the
interferometric image are fixed (i.e., non- replacement of its polarisation filters fringe tracker are used in the data reduc-
homothetic) but different and identifiable. which were responsible for parasitic tion process.
The four beams — three intensity moni- ­Fabry-Perot fringes in all the spectro-in-
toring beams and the one interferometric terferometric measurements, and Continual enhancements of AMBER and
beam containing all the information for improvements in its operation and main- the VLTI resulted in steady improvements
the three baselines — are then spectrally tainability. On the VLTI, after a significant of the limiting magnitude and operational
dispersed before detection (Petrov et al., improvement in the delay line models, a efficiency. AMBER’s self-­coherencing
2007). continuous effort resulted in the progres- was introduced in April 2012 for the low-
sive reduction of the vibrations in the resolution setup. This mode allowed auto-
The integration of AMBER operations into coudé trains of the UTs. A decisive factor matic real-time fringe centring at a rela-
the complex VLTI and telescope architec- was the implementation of a faster loop tively low cadence when fringe tracking
ture was an iterative process (see Mérand to counter the flux dropouts seen in the with FINITO was not possible (for exam-
et al., 2014). For example, operations instrument – a higher correction rate was ple, because of seeing conditions or low
began with the UTs equipped with the made possible by offloading the meas- source flux). The instrument intervention
Multiple Application Curvature Adaptive ured IRIS tip-tilt to the feeding optics of performed at the end of 2012 changed
Optics (MACAO) guiding systems, before AMBER. AMBER’s performance could the spectrograph beamsplitter that
the arrival of the versatile Auxiliary be further improved thanks to the arrival caused internal reflections; this resulted
­Telescopes (ATs). The ATs were commis- of the Fringe-tracking Instrument of NIce in almost a 30% improvement in through-
sioned in the summer of 2006 and first and TOrino (FINITO) (Haguenauer et al., put in the interferometric channel. Better
offered in April 2007 with a limited set 2008). polarisation ­control, by means of birefrin-
of baselines. On the VLTI side, the injec- gent lithium niobate (LiNbO3) plates, was
tion of the light into the instrument’s introduced in October 2014, following an
­single-mode fibres was optimised by Arrival of FINITO earlier implementation in the Precision
controlling the tunnel tip-tilt inside the Integrated Optics Near-infrared Imaging
VLTI laboratory using the InfraRed Image The art of fringe tracking was introduced ExpeRiment (PIONIER). Such plates allow
Sensor (IRIS). This sensing sub-system into AMBER operations for the Period 80 the equalisation of the phase difference
was operated from 2006 onwards but call for proposals in October 2007. The between the two polarisation stages and
using the telescopic XY table as a correc- purpose of fringe tracking is to nullify the add them incoherently, improving the
tive system. As a result, it operated at fringe movement caused by atmospheric sensitivity by a factor of nearly two. At the
a sub-optimal slow rate of about 1 Hz, turbulence which blurs the contrast of same time the observing efficiency
but it was nonetheless quickly seen as the fringes. With FINITO, longer detector improved dramatically by a factor of three
a mandatory prerequisite for improved integration times could now be employed. since the start of operations, resulting in
beam injection. Longer integration of fringe patterns much shortened execution times of
allows the observation of targets at a 20 minutes per Observation Block (OB),
After the first couple of years of operation higher spectral resolution, or of fainter down from one hour.
it became clear that AMBER was not sources, or allows a lower intrinsic fringe
­fulfilling all of its potential on the VLTI. As contrast to be measured. Additionally,
the first VLTI instrument to possess longer detector integration times also Science delivered
high spectral resolution, and therefore to allow the full detector to be read out,
require longer integration times, it increasing the spectral range covered by ESO’s AMBER and VLTI infrastructure
demanded much more from the VLTI the observations. Fringe tracking was delivers observable quantities that reveal
infrastructure than its predecessors. implemented in the VLTI by means of the the wavelength-dependent structure and
Flux injection and phase stability had to separate instrument FINITO (Gai et al., geometry of astrophysical sources at a
be significantly improved. The observa- 2004). Its purpose was to measure the very high angular resolution: indeed, the
tion overheads were large, the quality of broad-band fringe jitter at kHz frequency best available from any of the ESO instru-
the high-spectral-resolution data was in the H-band. The FINITO signal was ments. At the wavelength of operation,
degraded, and the sensitivity was limited. processed and injected back into the AMBER can reach angular resolutions of
These problems and others were tackled VLTI in real time via the Reflective Mem- the order of 1 milliarcsecond. The differen-
thanks to increased efforts from the ory Network architecture. As of Period 83 tial phase accuracy allowed photo­centre

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 9

Telescopes and Instrumentation de Wit W.-J. et al., AMBER: The VLTI’s Astronomical Multi-BEam combineR

displacements as small as 10 micro- Figure 1. Distribution (in percent) of science topics

of 153 peer-reviewed articles based on AMBER data.
arcseconds to be measured, for example,
The large majority of papers (31%) are centred on
in the alignment between the stellar young stars, in particular the structures that allow
­rotation axis and the orbits in the Fomal- the growth of the star (for example, accretion disc,
haut debris disc system (Le Bouquin disc-wind, jet formation).
et al., 2009). The superb angular resolu-
tion allows breakthrough science by delv-
ing into spatially unexplored regions on
stellar surfaces, in the circumstellar envi-
ronment of young and evolved stars, and Young stellar objects: 30.7%
around the active nuclei of galaxies. Evolved massive stars: 22.2%
AGB: 13.7%
ESO’s Telescope Bibliography telbib pro- Classical Be: 9.8%
vides the following statistics for the sci- Multiples: 7.8%
ence legacy of AMBER. Up to October Technical: 5.25%
2018, AMBER data contributed to 153 Other: 10.6%
peer reviewed science papers. This num-
ber nearly equals the total number of totic giant branch [AGB] stars) and high- the first direct images of the innermost
­science papers produced with data from mass stars. Their fractional contribution part of the wind-wind collision zone, a
MIDI, which was decommissioned in by sub-category is presented in Figure 1, key ­feature of the observed erratic behav-
March 2015. The number of papers makes and we highlight some of these science iour of this object. A series of papers
these two instruments the most produc- cases in the next section. reported investigations of the evolution of
tive in terms of science papers produced novae and their environment (for exam-
using data from a long-baseline optical The sub-topics cover a wide range of ple, Chesneau et al., 2007) and the
inter­ferometry facility. Over the period ­science cases, from the evolution of cool detection and characterisation of binaries
2015–2017, about ten papers per year evolved stars, concentrating on circum­ and higher order stellar multiples. AMBER
were published with AMBER data; given binary discs of post-AGB stars and also observed the nucleus of the Seyfert
that telbib publication analyses estimate supergiant B[e] stars, the inner wind galaxy NGC 3783, deriving a ring radius
an average lag time between the execu- regions in neutral and ionised gas of for the toroidal dust distribution of
tion of a programme and the publication post-red supergiants and unstable hyper- 0.74 milliarcseconds (Weigelt et al., 2012).
of a paper of approximately 5.4 years for giants, and the nebulae of Wolf-Rayet
50% of the data, it is not unreasonable stars. The most cited AMBER paper to date
to expect a few tens of peer-reviewed analyses the measured radii of seven
AMBER papers to see the light of day in One example of exploiting aperture syn- low- and very-low-mass stars, finding
the coming years. thesis imaging to better understand agreement between the observed radii
evolved high-mass stars is the image of and the predictions of stellar evolutionary
Regarding instrument modes, the relative the well-known luminous eruptive star models for magnetically active low-mass
demand for the various AMBER spectral h Carinae, shown in Figure 2. It is one of stars (Demory et al., 2009; Figure 3).
settings varied substantially, with the
low-resolution and medium-resolution
setups vying for dominance. The low-­
resolution time requested strongly domi- 
nated up to Period 88, with over 80% of

the demand between Periods 79 and 82.

After Period 88, the medium-resolution

settings (H- and K-band) became more
popular, leading to approximately 60%
of the time requested after Period 94. The
high-spectral-resolution setting request 
fluctuated around 20% of the total time Figure 2. Aperture synthesis image of
after Period 82, coinciding with the intro- h Carinae in the Brackett g HI transi-
duction of FINITO to VLTI and UT tion at a radial velocity of – 277 km s –1.
l The image shows both the dense
operations. ­stellar wind surrounding the primary
star (red, yellow, and green regions)
The topics of the science papers deal DX and the fan-shaped wind-wind colli-
almost exclusively with stellar evolution, in l  sion zone (blue). The image field of
view is 50 × 50 milliarcseconds. Over-
particular star formation and young stars, laid is a sketch of the orbit of the
late evolutionary stages of intermediate- l  l    ­secondary star (adapted from Weigelt
and low-mass stars (for example, asymp- 1DK@SHUDONRHSHNMLHKKH@QBRDBNMC et al., 2016).

10 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

We note that, after the first successful 1.0 Figure 3. The mass-radius relationship
for M- and K-type dwarfs, for which
science observations, an issue of Astron-
radii have been obtained via direct
omy & Astrophysics (Volume 464, No. 1, 0.8 measurements with AMBER and VINCI
March II 2007) was dedicated to the first (filled circles). Other long-baseline
results from AMBER, including the instru- observations are overplotted (solid,

Radius (R๬ )
0.6 dashed and dotted lines) in open cir-
ment description and the first astrophysi-
cles. E­ volutionary predictions are for
cal results. an age of 5 Gyr and different values for
the convective overshoot parameter
(adapted from Demory et al., 2009).
The physics of young stars 0.2

AMBER’s scientific contributions in the Figure 4 (below). Left: Mid-infrared

Spitzer composite image (3 × 3 arc-
field of young stars are impressive. It is minutes) of the surroundings of the
clear that stars accrete mass from their 20 M⊙ young star IRAS+13481-6124,
O–C (R๬ )

environments, as revealed, for example, revealing the outflow from the star
– 0.05 as indicated. Right: AMBER aperture
by the spectroscopic and photometric
– 0.10 ­synthesis image zooming in on the
activity of young objects. How the pro- accretion disc. Modelling shows that
cess of accretion actually manifests – 0.15
0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 the disc has a dust-free region inside
remains less clear. AMBER contributed to Mass (M๬ ) 9.5 astronomical units from the star.
revealing the geometry of the accretion The structure is oriented perpendicu-
lar to the outflow direction (adapted
environment in young stars. from Kraus et al., 2010).

Notably, an aperture synthesis image

­created by Kraus et al. (2010) showed a 3.6/4.5/8 µm VLTI/AMBER image 2.2 µm
disc surrounding a young, 20 M⊙ star
at a spatial resolution of 2.4 milliarcsec-

onds (see Figure 4). It demonstrates the

t flo

O u xis

inevitability of disc formation for mass

t flo

accretion to proceed, even in high-mass


luminous stars. How the disc is shaped

and its structure closer to the stellar sur- Beam
face are revealed in the 1500 visibility
measurements reported by Benisty et al.
(2010) where the inner few astronomical
units dominate the emission in the H- and
3ಿ 0.006ೀ
K-bands. These hot disc regions give
rise to large-scale ionised winds (for 600.000 au 20 au
example, Malbet et al., 2007), or they
diminish to very compact ionised regions
possibly identifying the actual process of
depositing material on the star’s surface Fast rotating stars Domiciano de Souza et al. (2012) infer
or the jet launching environment (Kraus et the equatorial radius, the inclination angle
al., 2008). The brightness, relative prox- The fastest rotating stars reaching critical and an equatorial rotational velocity of
imity and complexity of various physical velocity (at which a star breaks up) are 298 +/– 9 km/s for the rapidly rotating
processes operating during the accre- the 6 to 15 M⊙stars. Indeed, the early B star Achernar using this technique (see
tion process make bright young stars B-type stars, as a general group, display Figure 5). Owing to this fast rotation, the
extremely suitable targets for spectro-in- the fastest rotation of all stars. Such classical Be stars are capable of launch-
terferometry. These and other high-angu- rapid rotation can be assessed by either ing stellar material into a circumstellar
lar-resolution findings formed the ration- measuring the shape of the star (via visi- disc. With the help of AMBER data, direct
ale for the second conference dedicated bilities), or exploiting Doppler effects in evidence was obtained that these discs
to intermediate-mass pre-main-sequence a spectral transition resulting from the are in clear Keplerian rotation, a sugges-
stars organised in Vitacura in 2014 (de stellar rotation. In the latter case, one tion that dates back to their discovery
Wit et al., 2014). exploits the fact that the photocentre of in 1866 (Meilland et al., 2007). Further
the stellar surface in the approaching part investigation shows that this type of
of the spectral line profile is different from disc is generally expanding, and forms a
that in the receding part. AMBER allows one-armed spiral density pattern that
this effect to be measured as it provides precesses with a period of a few years
access to the phase changes relative to (Carciofi et al., 2009).
each spectral bin.

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 11

Telescopes and Instrumentation de Wit W.-J. et al., AMBER: The VLTI’s Astronomical Multi-BEam combineR

Figure 5. A popular transition is the /G@RD "NMSQ@RS %KTW atmospheres, where the temperature
Brackett g H I atomic line at 2.17 µm.
  is cool enough for dust to form. AMBER
For the last AMBER fringes, the rapidly
rotating star Achernar (aEridani) was observations of these stars have been
­targeted. Its rotation (~ 90% of the crit- shown to be largely consistent with
ical velocity) causes its equatorial dynamic model atmospheres at individual
diameter to be about 35% larger than
phases, and have confirmed time varia­
its polar diameter. The blue back-
ground image shows the interferomet-   bility of molecular extensions on time
ric beam with fringes (stretching from scales of weeks to months.
x = –1.0 to 0.9), and overlayed are
the extracted contrast for the three
For RSGs, it has been speculated that
baselines and the closure phase. The

the same processes may explain their

image also shows one photometric

beam (x = 0.9 to 1.5), and overlaid is   mass loss as well. However, AMBER
Achnernar’s flux spectrum. AMBER observations of RSGs showed extensions
observations are sensitive to the disc
that are larger than expected based on
rotating in the Brackett g H I transition,
characterised by a decrease in con- current dynamic model atmospheres.
trast and the opposite phase signature. Direct comparisons of AMBER data with
  1D and 3D dynamic model atmospheres
showed that current models of RSGs
based on pulsation and convection alone
cannot explain observed extensions
of RSG atmospheres, and cannot explain
how the atmosphere is extended to radii
where dust can form (for example,
Arroyo-Torres et al., 2015). This points to
l  l           missing physical processes in current
QAHSQ@QXTMHSR RSG dynamic models — an unsolved
problem that is a heritage of AMBER and
Cool evolved stars and their further or transition to hotter Wolf-Rayet stars, that is due to be investigated further by
evolution depending on their mass. the next-generation interferometric instru-
ments. AMBER has also provided obser-
The AMBER instrument made significant Previous interferometric observations of vations of non-Mira red giants which are
contributions to the study of cool evolved cool evolved stars were usually made via partly consistent with hydrostatic models
stars and their further evolution through- broad filters or sequentially in a few and partly show discrepancies with
out its operational lifetime. In total, about ­narrow bandpasses, the latter a time- ­models similar to RSGs. AMBER has pro-
a quarter of the papers based on AMBER consuming technique. AMBER has been vided image reconstructions of both
data fall into this scientific category. unique in providing detailed measure- the extended atmospheres of AGB stars
ments of individual lines, in particular the (for example, Le Bouquin et al., 2009)
Cool evolved stars comprise AGB and individual CO first overtone lines near and RSGs (for example, Ohnaka, Weigelt
red supergiant (RSG) stars, which are 2.3 µm, with a high spectral resolution & Hofmann, 2017; see Figure 6).
located on the Hertzsprung-Russell-­ of R ~ 12 000 (for example, Ohnaka et al.,
Diagram (HRD) at effective temperatures 2011), or measurements across the full
between about 2500 and 4500 K. They K-band with the medium spectral resolu- Conclusion
cover a large range of luminosities tion of R ~ 1500 (for example, Wittkowski
depending on their initial mass, where et al., 2008). Cool evolved stars appear On the night of 3 September 2018, the
AGB stars are low- to intermediate-mass to be extended in bandpasses that are interferometric instrument AMBER
stars, and RSGs their massive and dominated by molecular layers, and observed its last fringes. After serving
high-luminosity counterparts. Owing to much more compact in near-continuum the European astronomy community for
the low temperatures of AGB and RSG bands. Observing spectral channels over thirteen years, the instrument was
stars, molecules and dust can form across the K-band at once has been an decommissioned during the course of
in their atmospheres, and they are sub­ essential tool to constrain dynamic model the interventions in the VLTI laboratory
sequently expelled into the interstellar atmospheres. High-spectral-resolution that were necessitated by the arrival
medium via a stellar wind with similar studies of CO first overtone lines showed of the adaptive optics system for the ATs
mass-loss rates found in AGBs and extended CO layers in detail as well (NAOMI) and the Multi AperTure mid-
RSGs. When AGB stars have lost a sig­ as their vigorous, inhomogeneous large- Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment
nificant fraction of their mass, they evolve scale motions. (MATISSE). AMBER operations encour-
again toward higher effective tempera- aged the development of the FINITO
tures, and via a post-AGB phase they For Mira-variable AGB stars, it has been fringe-tracker to beat the atmosphere’s
transition to planetary nebulae. RSG stars shown that pulsation and convection phase disturbance, which enabled longer
explode as core-collapse supernovae can lead to strongly extended molecular detector integration times. With the

12 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

 Figure 6. Velocity-re-
solved aperture synthe-
  sis imaging of the red
supergiant Antares. This
   monochromatic image
was obtained at the

  centre of the CO transi-

tion at 2.30665 µm.
  AMBER’s high spatial
and spectral resolution
   allowed the observa-
tions to measure the
  ­“ vigorous” motion above
the complex red super-
  giant photosphere
(adapted from Ohnaka,
l    Weigelt & Hofmann,


decommissioning of both AMBER and (P2VM) method implemented in the Carciofi, A. et al. 2009, A&A, 504, 915
Chesneau, O. et al. 2007, A&A, 464, 119
FINITO, the VLT Interferometer bids fare- instrument’s design. Originally invented
Demory, B. O. et al. 2009, A&A, 505, 205
well to the era of the first generation of for AMBER, this method has found de Wit, W.-J. et al. 2014, The Messenger, 157, 50
interferometric instruments at Paranal. its way into PIONIER and GRAVITY Domiciano de Souza, M. et al. 2012, A&A, 545, 130
The new era of VLTI operations is marked instruments. Gai, M. et al. 2004, SPIE, 5491, 528
Haguenauer, P. et al. 2008, SPIE, 7013, 7013C
by routinely making use of the four-tele-
Jennison, R. 1958, MNRAS, 118, 276
scope combiner instruments, GRAVITY, Furthermore, AMBER was the first Kraus, S. et al. 2008, A&A, 489, 1157
PIONIER, and the latest addition, ­instrument for which real time fringe- Kraus, S. et al. 2010, Nature, 466, 339
MATISSE. tracking data were used to enhance Le Bouquin, J. B. et al. 2009, A&A, 496, L1
Le Bouquin, J. B. et al. 2009, A&A, 498, 41
the data reduction. This is routinely done
Malbet, F. et al. 2007, A&A, 464, 43
In many respects, AMBER represented a for GRAVITY, and will likely be done for Malbet, F. et al. 2008, arXiv:0808.1315
breakthrough in optical interferometry. ­MATISSE. The latter instrument also Meilland, A. et al. 2007, A&A, 464, 59
At Paranal, it was the first instrument to inherited the fringe combination scheme Mérand, A. et al. 2014, SPIE, 9146, 9146J
Ohnaka, K. et al. 2011, A&A, 529, 163
combine the beams of three telescopes, employed by AMBER. Finally, the unique
Ohnaka, K., Weigelt, G. & Hofmann, K.-H. 2017,
providing access to the all-important aspect of the AMBER instrument was Nature, 548, 310
­closure phase, without which it is not its spectral resolution, which initiated the Paresce, F. et al. 1996, The Messenger, 83, 14
possible to reconstruct images of celes- technique of spectro-interferometry. With Petrov, R. et al. 2007, A&A, 464, 1
Petrov, R. et al. 1998, The Messenger, 92, 11
tial objects from interferometric observa- a resolving power of 12 000, AMBER was
Weigelt, G. et al. 2012, A&A, 541, L9
tions. As such, and in addition to the able to spectrally and spatially resolve Weigelt, G. et al. 2016, A&A, 594, 106
­visibility and phase studies, AMBER has the dynamics of circumstellar phenom- Wittkowski, M. et al. 2008, A&A, 479, L21
delivered a great number of images at ena, and paved the way for GRAVITY and Woillez, J. et al. 2015, The Messenger, 162, 16
milliarcsecond scales, providing new MATISSE operations. The literature will
insights into astrophysical areas that no doubt continue to see numerous Links
could not be spatially resolved with single ­science papers originating from AMBER
optical telescopes (see Figures 2, 4, 6). data in the coming years. 1
 ist of AMBER consortium members:
The second generation of VLTI instru-
ments has inherited and profited from the
lessons learned, and the VLTI upgrade Acknowledgements
started in 2015 is providing a further A large consortium of institutes, scientists and engi-
enhanced facility (Woillez et al., 2015). neers contributed to AMBER. A list of the AMBER
The performance demonstrated today by consortium members is included in this article1. We
GRAVITY shows that the initial goals set thank Armando Domiciano de Souza and Thomas
Rivinius for useful discussions regarding classical
by AMBER were not unrealistic. Be stars.

Part of AMBER’s legacy is the novel way

in which interferometric observables References
are extracted from the data, how fringe Arroyo-Torres, B. et al. 2015, A&A, 575, 50
patterns are initially recorded. Another Baldwin, J. et al. 1996, A&A, 306, 13
innovation is the pixel-to-visibility matrix Benisty, M. et al. 2010, A&A, 511, 75

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 13

Telescopes and Instrumentation DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5107

Modelling Data in CASA

Thomas Möller 1 In contrast to many other radiative trans- usually be distinguished by different
Peter Schilke 1 fer programmes, XCLASS always takes radial velocities. They do not interact
Michiel Hogerheijde 2, 3, 4 all lines of a species in a given frequency with each other radiatively but are super-
Ian Stewart 2, 3 range into account, which reduces imposed in the model. Each component
Reinhold Schaaf 5, 6 the risk of misassignment as a result of is described by the source size, the
Daniel Harsono 2, 3 blends, and allows for the robust iden­ ­temperature, the column density, and the
tification of species. In order to derive velocity width and offset, all of which
physical parameters, XCLASS models a have to be defined by the user in an input
University of Cologne, Germany spectrum by solving the radiative transfer file. The Splatalogue a syntax for molecule
Leiden University, the Netherlands equation for an isothermal object in names can also be employed, to provide
Allegro ALMA Regional Centre (ARC) one dimension (called a detection equa- compatibility with the rest of CASA.
Node, Leiden, the Netherlands tion) assuming local thermodynamic
University of Amsterdam, the equilibrium (LTE). XCLASS is designed to
Netherlands describe line-rich sources which often MAGIX
Bonn University, Germany have high densities, so LTE is a reasona-
German ARC Node, Argelander Institute ble approximation. Additionally, a non- Owing to the large number of input
for Astronomy, Bonn University, LTE (NLTE) description requires collision parameters required by XCLASS, it is
Germany rates which are only available for a few essential to use a powerful MPI parallel-
molecules. Molecular data required by ised optimisation package to achieve a
XCLASS are taken from an embedded good description of the observational
The Common Astronomy Software SQLite3 database containing entries from data. Therefore, XCLASS contains the
Applications (CASA) package provides the Cologne Database for Molecular MAGIX package 5 (Möller et al., 2013),
a powerful tool for post-processing Spectroscopy 2 (CDMS; Endres et al., which is a model optimiser that provides
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter 2016, Müller et al., 2005) and NASA Jet an interface between existing codes
Array (ALMA) and Karl G. Jansky Very Propulsion Laboratory 3 (JPL; Pickett et and an iteration engine. The package
Large Array (VLA) observations, but al., 1998) using the ­V irtual Atomic and attempts to minimise deviations of the
contains only rudimentary functions for Molecular Data Centre 4 (VAMDC) portal. model results from observational data
modelling the data. In order to derive using a variety of algorithms, including
physical parameters as well as informa- XCLASS is able to model a spectrum swarm algorithms to find global minima,
tion on the location and the kinematics with an arbitrary number of molecules, thereby constraining the values of the
of the emitting gas, modelling of the where the contribution of each molecule model parameters and providing corre-
observed data is inescapable. Such is described by an arbitrary number of sponding error estimates. Many other
modelling can take the form of infer- components (see Figure 1). Components model programmes can be combined
ence — where physical parameters are can be identified as spatially distinct with MAGIX to explore their parameter
inferred from the data — or forward sources such as clumps, hot dense cores, space and find the set of parameter
modelling — where model calculations colder envelopes or outflows, and can ­values that best fits observational data.
are used to produce synthetic obser­
vations for comparison with data. We
present two interfaces that allow the
use of modelling tools for both flavours
from within CASA: the eXtended CASA 
Line Analysis Sofware Suite (XCLASS);
and Adaptable Radiative Transfer Inno-
vations for Submillimeter Telescopes


XCLASS1 (Möller, Endres & Schilke, 2017) MCBNLONMDMSNE2.  function was used
is a full message passing interface (MPI)  QCBNLONMDMSNE2.  to model HIFI data of
parallelised toolbox for CASA (McMullin,  RSBNLONMDMSNE2. Sgr B2(M) (black) using
RSBNLONMDMSNE'-. SO2 (with three different
et al., 2007), providing new functions
components), SO (with
for modelling interferometric and single-­ one component), and
dish data. It produces physical parameter HNO (with one compo-
fits for all molecules in a dataset. This  nent). The intensities
also allows line identification, but also of each component are
   shown in the bottom half
provides much more information. 1DRSEQDPTDMBX,'Y (Möller et al., 2013).

14 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

New functions for CASA 1e17
–7°12ಿ09.0ೀ 3.5 –7°12ಿ09.0ೀ
3.0 400
XCLASS provides, among other things, 09.5ೀ 1.5 09.5ೀ 350
two functions (myXCLASSFit and my­­ 1.0

Rotation temperature (K)

Column density (cm –2 )

Declination (J2000)

Declination (J2000)
XCLASSMapFit) for CASA, which provide 10.0ೀ
the option of fitting the input parameters
10.5ೀ 10.5ೀ
to observational data. The myXCLASSFit 200

function can be used to fit single spectra, 11.0ೀ 11.0ೀ


i.e., to fit multiple frequency ranges 100

­simultaneously in multiple files, and it 11.5ೀ 11.5ೀ

returns the optimised input file and the s s s h m s
s s s h m s

corresponding modelled spectra. 12.60 12.55 12.50 18 36 12.45

Right ascension (J2000)
12.60 12.55 12.50 18 36 12.45
Right ascension (J2000)

In addition to that, the XCLASS interface 3 10

–7°12ಿ09.0ೀ –7°12ಿ09.0ೀ
contains the myXCLASSMapFit function, 8
which fits one or more complete (FITS) 09.5ೀ 09.5ೀ

data cubes. For this, the myXCLASS­ 1


Velocity width (km s –1)

Declination (J2000)

Declination (J2000)
MapFit function reads in the data cube(s), 10.0ೀ 10.0ೀ

Velocity (km s –1)

extracts the spectra for each pixel and
10.5ೀ 10.5ೀ 2
fits each of these spectra separately. It –1

offers the possibility of limiting the fit 11.0ೀ –2 11.0ೀ

to certain frequency ranges of a spec-
trum and to a user defined region of the 11.5ೀ –3 11.5ೀ

cube(s). At the end of the whole fitting –4

12.60s 12.55s 12.50s 18 h36 m12.45s 12.60s 12.55s 12.50s 18 h36 m12.45s
procedure, the myXCLASSMapFit func- Right ascension (J2000) Right ascension (J2000)

tion creates FITS images for each free

parameter of the best fit, where each describes the contribution of all of the Figure 2. Example of parameter maps created by
the myXCLASSMapFit function using nine tran­s itions
pixel corresponds to the value of the opti- identified molecules. After all single mole-
of CH3OCHO simultaneously, taken from an ALMA
mised parameter taken from the best fit cule fits are completed, the LineID func- dataset of the core of G24.78 (­Moscadelli et al.,
for that pixel (see Figure 2). Furthermore, tion performs a final (global) fit, using 2018).
the myXCLASSMapFit function creates the aforementioned overall input file to
FITS cubes for each fitted data cube, account for line blending effects. be further processed, for example using
where each pixel contains the modelled CASA to simulate the response of a
spectrum. ­single-dish telescope or interferometric
ARTIST array.
Some applications of this include temper-
ature maps, as well as first and second The ARTIST 6 software was developed In its original form, ARTIST employed a
moment maps, which are based on the with the aim of providing an easy entry- graphical user interface to set the model
simultaneous fitting of many lines, and level modelling suite for star formation parameters. The new release of ARTIST
are fairly robust against line confusion and asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stud- allows users to set the model parameters
and blending of single lines — this can ies with submillimetre telescopes directly from the CASA command inter-
be a severe issue in many ALMA datasets ­(Padovani et al., 2012). It represents a dif- face, in the same keyword-driven fashion
with line-rich sources. ferent approach to source modelling than as other CASA tools, to enable new users
the one described above. In this one, to start exploring realistic astrophysical
Finally, XCLASS provides an automatic the user starts with a description of the models more easily. It does this by pro-
line identification function to identify spe- astrophysical object in question and viding two CASA tasks called limesolver
cies in the given spectra. The automatic ­produces observables for comparison and raytrace.
line identification (LineID) function con- with actual data or as predictions for
sists of two parts. The function starts by ALMA proposals. ARTIST combines nine
determining all molecules that have at pre-defined, parametrised descriptions The source models in ARTIST
least one transition within the user-de- of models of star-forming cores and cir-
fined frequency range(s). The LineID func- cumstellar disks with a NLTE molecular ARTIST contains nine popular astrophysi-
tion then performs single molecule fits excitation tool (LIne Modelling Engine cal models: the Bonnor-Ebert sphere
to calculate the contribution of each mol- [LIME] 7; Brinch & Hogerheijde, 2010). It (Ebert, 1955; Bonnor, 1956); self-similar
ecule. If a molecule covers a defined takes molecular collision rates from the collapse of an isothermal sphere (Shu,
­fraction of the spectrum the molecule is Leiden Atomic and Molecular (LAMDA) 1977); models of collapsing and rotating
provisionally identified and the corre- database 8 (Schöier et al., 2005) and it or magnetised cloud cores (Ulrich, 1976;
sponding optimised input file is appended outputs FITS cubes of the molecular line Li & Shu, 1996; Allen, Li & Shu, 2003;
to a so-called overall input file, which emission. These FITS cubes can then Mendoza, Tejeda & Nagel, 2009);

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 15

Telescopes and Instrumentation Möller T. et al., Modelling Data in CASA

Figure 3. Screen shot of the ARTIST CASA task

limesolver with a model setup for a B
­ onnor-Ebert
sphere. In the background, the resulting LIME grid is

Post-processing the ARTIST FITS


The next step in the simulation is pro-

vided by the ARTIST CASA task raytrace,
which calculates the emission on the
sky for a chosen distance to the object
and viewing orientation. The user sets the
pixel size, field of view, spectral resolution
and number of spectral channels, as
well as the molecular transition of inter-
est. Typical run times are of the order of a
few minutes for a full FITS cube.

The resulting FITS cube is fully compliant

with CASA, and can be used as input for
further processing. Figure 4 shows the
results of a calculation of a Bonnor-Ebert
sphere, after running the FITS output
protoplanetary discs (Chiang & Goldreich, task. Depending on the size of the grid, through simobserve. The resulting image
1997; Dullemond, Dominik & Natta, the number of energy levels of the mole- cube can be compared to actual ALMA
2001); and the circumstellar envelopes cule, and whether LTE (fast) or NLTE observations to judge the similarity of the
of evolved stars (Mamon, Glassgold (slower) is requested, the time it takes for model to the data, or it can be used to
& ­Huggins, 1988). In addition to these the calculation to finish varies between a make predictions for ALMA proposals.
pre-defined models, specification of few minutes to many hours on typical
physical models by tabulated data is pos- high-end CPUs. The calculation is paral- It is important to remember that the
sible. The CASA task limesolver allows lelised and can be run on multiple cores. ­models included in ARTIST are not fully
the user to select the source model and On completion, LIME will write a file with self-contained. Some models include
set its parameters. An example of setting the molecular excitation at each grid both a density and a temperature struc-
the source model parameters through point, and return the CASA prompt. ture; others may only include a density
CASA keywords in given in Figure 3.

The molecular excitation and radiation  JLR l
transfer inside ARTIST: LIME ೀ

Within limesolver, the user also provides ೀ

the necessary information to solve the

molecular excitation. To do this, ARTIST

uses the LIME code. LIME is a versatile ೀ
NLTE-accelerated Monte Carlo code that
employs flexible gridding (Brinch & ೀ
Hogerheijde, 2010), and comes pack-
aged with ARTIST. The information that ೀ Figure 4. Output from
LIME needs includes the molecule of the ARTIST CASA tasks
interest, the collision rate file from the ೀ limesolver and raytrace,
after postprocessing
LAMBDA database, any dust properties, through simobserve.
the number of grid points and iterations, ೀ The inset shows the
and whether LTE or NLTE calculations (u, v) coverage. The
are requested. Once all of these are model is the same as
l ¦ಿೀ in Figure 3; a Bonnor-
defined, the calculation starts. The pro- Ebert sphere, and a
gress of LIME can be monitored via the  G L R  R  R  R ­single velocity channel
CASA logger just like any other CASA 1HFGS@RBDMRHNM) is shown.

16 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

Figure 5. Currently
developed user-friendly

structure, leaving it to the user to provide a data cube using a physical model, and Möller, T., Endres, C. & Schilke, P. 2017, A&A,
598, A7
a simple parameterised temperature fitting the model parameters. Further
Möller, T. et al. 2013, A&A, 549, A21
field. However, the code does not check developments for the LIME radiation Müller, H. S. P. et al. 2005, J. Mol. Struct., 742, 215
if this temperature field is consistent with transfer engine inside ARTIST will be Padovani, M. et al. 2012, A&A, 543, A16
the luminosity of any central star and the implemented as they become available. Pickett, H. M., Poynter, R. L. & Cohen, E. A. 1998,
J. Quant. Spectr. Rad. Transf., 60, 883
density structure of the source. A ­ RTIST Additional astrophysical models will be
Schöier, F. L. et al. 2005, A&A, 432, 369
does not aim to provide such complete included in ARTIST, and we encourage Shu, F. H. 1977, ApJ, 214, 488
source modelling. Instead, ARTIST users to make suggestions about which Ulrich, R. K. 1976, ApJ, 210, 377
aims to provide easy access to popular models are the most useful for their
­models that allow users to quickly research.
explore ALMA observables. Further, more
detailed modelling requires more realistic 1
 CLASS software including a manual is available
source models and the use of the stand- Acknowledgements at:
C ologne Database for Molecular Spectroscopy
alone LIME package. However, ARTIST We acknowledge support from VBF/BMBF Projects (CDMS):
would be the code of choice for users 05A11PK3 and 05A14PK1 for the German ARC 3
M olecular spectroscopy at JPL:
who want to quickly obtain a rough indi- Node, from the Netherlands Organisation for Scien-
cation of the observables. tific Research (NWO) for the Allegro ARC node, 4
V irtual Atomic and Molecular Data Centre:
and from the ESO ALMA development project
56787/14/60579/HNE. 5
T he MAGIX package can be downloaded from
Outlook 6
T he ARTIST package can be found at:
In one of the next XCLASS releases, we Allen, A., Li, Z.-Y. & Shu, F. H. 2003, ApJ, 599, 363 8
will include a user-friendly graphical user Bonnor, W. B. 1956, Zeitschrift für Astrophysik, 39,
interface (GUI), which is currently under 143
development (see Figure 5 for a proto- Brinch, C. & Hogerheijde, M. R. 2010, A&A, 523, A25 Notes
Chiang, E. I. & Goldreich, P. 1997, ApJ, 490, 368
type), to lower the threshold of training Dullemond, C. P., Dominik, C. & Natta, A. 2001, ApJ, a
 he name splatalogue is derived from “spectral line
required for new users of XCLASS. Addi- 560, 957 catalogue” and is a database for astronomical
tionally, we are working on several exten- Ebert, R. 1955, Zeitschrift für Astrophysik, 36, 222 spectroscopy that contains information on nearly
sions, including NLTE, radio recombina- Endres, C. P. et al. 2016, J. Mol. Spectrosc., 327, 95 six million spectral lines.
Li, Z.-Y. & Shu, F. H. 1996, ApJ, 472, 211
tion lines, (in LTE and NLTE), non-thermal Mamon, G. A., Glassgold, A. E. & Huggins, P. J.
continuum, non-Gaussian line shapes 1988, ApJ, 328, 797
(Lorentz, Voigt and Horn), local overlap of McMullin, J. P. et al. 2007, Astronomical Data Analy-
neighbouring lines, and a better source sis Software and Systems XVI (ASP Conf.
Ser. 376), ed. Shaw, R. A., Hill, F. & Bell, D. J.
description. Furthermore, we will include (San Francisco, CA: ASP), 127
a new XCLASS function called CubeFit, Mendoza, S., Tejeda, E. & Nagel, E. 2009, MNRAS,
which offers the possi­bility of describing 393, 579

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 17

Astronomical Science

First light images from the four SPECULOOS tele-

scopes. Clockwise from top left: Centaurus A (Io),
Eta Carinae (Europa), Horsehead Nebula (Callisto),
NGC 6902 (Ganymede).
Astronomical Science DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5108

ALMA Observations of the Epoch of Planet Formation

Sean M. Andrews 1 Circumstellar discs and planet formation. Over just the past few years,
Jane Huang 1 formation the disc community has focused intently
Laura M. Pérez 2 on several interrelated issues that lie at
Andrea Isella 3 The effort to understand our origins, and the heart of the planet formation process.
Cornelis P. Dullemond 4 therefore to add some existential con­- Below we highlight these studies in the
Nicolás T. Kurtovic 2 text to our place in the universe, is a fun- context of a new, expansive survey of
Viviana V. Guzmán 5, 6 damental component of astrophysics discs at very high angular resolution with
John M. Carpenter 5 research. This more philosophical aspect the Atacama Large Millimeter/submilli­
David J. Wilner 1 of the field takes on a starkly practical meter Array (ALMA). First, we emphasise
Shangjia Zhang 7 tone for the specialised topic of planets. why the evolution of solids in discs is so
Zhaohuan Zhu 7 In less than three decades, the planetary fundamental for planet formation. Next,
Tilman Birnstiel 8 science landscape has been completely we explain how that evolution (and the
Xue-Ning Bai 9 ­transformed, going from the modest key observables) is thought to be con-
Myriam Benisty 2,10 membership of our lonely Solar System trolled largely by interactions with fine-
A. Meredith Hughes 11 to a galaxy that is literally teeming with scale structures in the gas disc. Then we
Karin I. Öberg 1 exoplanets. Astronomical observations discuss what new observations are reveal-
Luca Ricci 12 of this abundance of other worlds have ing about these issues in the contexts of
guided theoretical studies that aim to both disc evolution and planet formation.
explain the key physical properties of the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for exoplanet population. One crucial out-
­Astrophysics, ­Massachusetts, USA come of all that work is the realisation The evolution of disc solids
Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile that many of the most basic planetary
Rice University, Houston, USA characteristics (masses, orbits, atmos- That disc solids are important for planet
Universität Heidelberg, Germany pheric compositions, etc.) are imprinted formation might seem obvious. Most of
Joint ALMA Observatory, Santiago, around the time a planet is formed. This the known exoplanets are small and pre-
Chile implies that key aspects of planetary sumed to be rocky, and even the gas
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, ­systems hinge on complex interactions giants in our Solar System are known to
Santiago, Chile with their birth environment — specifi- have massive solid cores. But making
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA cally, remnant material in the discs that this connection requires faith in a growth
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, orbit young stars. process on remarkable scales; in only
Munich, Germany a few million years, the sub-micron-sized
Institute for Advanced Study and The origins of the Solar System have long dust grains that are incorporated into
­Tsinghua Center for Astrophysics, been associated with a progenitor a disc when it forms must increase by at
­Beijing, China disc structure, thanks to the recognition least 10 orders of magnitude in size
Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, that the planets orbit the Sun in the same (roughly 30 orders of magnitude in mass)
IPAG, France direction and confined to the relatively through a sequence of collisional
Wesleyan University, Middletown, USA narrow ecliptic plane. But the connection agglomerations, to become a population
California State University, Northridge, between stars and discs is both more of km-scale “planetesimal” building
USA general and more fundamental. Circum- blocks. At that point, gravity aids their
stellar discs are the natural conse- subsequent evolution to terrestrial ­planets
quences of angular momentum conser- or giant planet cores. In the standard the-
Planetary systems form in the discs of vation during the star formation process. ory, making planetesimals is the biggest
gas and dust that orbit young stars. They are created when a rotating over-­ hurdle in the planet formation process. In
In the past few years, observations of density in a molecular cloud collapses fact, the problems start early, with growth
these discs at (sub-)millimetre wave- under its own gravity, which channels bottlenecks at “pebble” (mm/cm) size
lengths with very fine angular resolution material into a rotationally-supported flat- scales.
have started to uncover the hallmarks tened morphology that both feeds mass
of small-scale substructures in the onto the central star and, roughly a All of the standard planet formation mod-
­spatial distributions of their pebble-­ ­million years later, transforms into a plan- els assume that the gas disc is smooth,
sized particles. These are some of the etary system. such that its pressure decreases mono-
fundamental signatures of the planet tonically with distance from the host star.
formation epoch, since they trace It is not an exaggeration to claim that the The corresponding radial pressure gradi-
­localised concentrations of material relatively brief life of a disc both shapes ent imposes a small outward force on a
that facilitate the formation of much and fundamentally links the properties of parcel of gas, slowing its orbital speed
larger planetary building blocks, and a star and its associated planets. In that below the Keplerian velocity. That velocity
may themselves be created by young sense, measurements of the properties of difference between the gas and the solids
­planets interacting with their birth these discs are invaluable because they embedded in it is small, on the order of 1%,
environments. provide unique insights that help us build but it has dramatic implications for their
a more robust theory of star and planet mutual interactions. At a given location

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 19

Astronomical Science Andrews S. M. et al., ALMA Observations of the Epoch of Planet Formation

(set of physical conditions), solid ­particles

with a specific range of sizes start to HL Tau TW Hya
decouple from the gas flow. Those parti-
cles then feel the sub-­Keplerian velocity
of the gas as an aerodynamic drag force
that saps their ­angular momentum and
sends them ­spiralling inwards towards
the global pressure maximum in the inner
disc ­( Weidenschilling, 1977).

This migration of solids, termed radial

drift, introduces two important problems.
First, it enhances the relative velocities
between particles, leading to destructive
collisions (fragmentation). Second, and
more important, because the drift times-
cale is much shorter than the typical
­collision (growth) timescale, the corre- In short, resolved observations of Figure 1. ALMA images of the 1-mm continuum
emission from the HL Tau (ALMA Partnership et al.,
sponding depletion of drifting particles mm-continuum emission from discs do
2015) and TW Hya (Andrews et al., 2016) proto­
effectively limits further growth (for indicate that the growth and migration planetary discs. With access to high angular resolu-
­example, Takeuchi & Lin, 2002). In the big of disc solids are occurring, but they also tion, a series of concentric bright rings and dark
picture, this depletion of the solids point to substantial tension with the gaps on scales of a few astronomical units (au)
become apparent. The scale bars mark 10 au; the
implies that planetesimal formation is ­predicted efficiency of those processes.
synthesised beam (resolution element) is shown
inhibited beyond roughly 10 astronomical The observed migration is less pro- as an ellipse in the lower left corner of each image.
units (au). At larger radii, representing the nounced than would be expected for
bulk of the disc mass, radial drift is most standard assumptions.
efficient for pebbles (which achieve
migration speeds on the order of 1 au per
orbital period). The result is a pronounced A solution in substructures
radial size segregation of the solids;
larger particles are preferentially located The most natural way to reconcile this noted above. Nevertheless, the mecha-
closer to the star. The typical d ­ isc should discrepancy is to relax the standard nism is sound; the issue is perhaps
have its mm/cm-sized pebbles concen- assumptions; gas discs are probably related to scales. The leading hypothesis
trated in the inner disc (for example, highly structured, not smooth. At any is that the “normal” disc population is rid-
­Birnstiel & Andrews, 2014). local pressure maximum, there is no dled with smaller gas pressure modula-
force contribution on a parcel of gas from tions with lower amplitudes — substruc-
In a sense it is fortunate that this migra- a pressure gradient (by definition), so it tures — that perform the same roles in
tion process is so significant for pebbles, will orbit at the Keplerian velocity. This concentrating solids (Pinilla et al., 2012).
since these are the last particles in eliminates the drag force on the solids,
the growth sequence that are directly substantially prolonging the drift times- The commissioning of the highest angu-
observable through their thermal contin- cale. In effect, a local gas pressure lar resolution mode available with the
uum emission. Such emission is most ­maximum is a particle “trap”; solids will ALMA interferometer brought stunning
efficient at a wavelength comparable migrate toward it and then park there. confirmation of this hypothesis. Images
to the particle size, making the (sub-)mm In addition to solving the drift timescale of the mm continuum emission from the
part of the spectrum the optimal tracer, problem, the associated concentration HL Tau and TW Hya discs at roughly
and therefore ALMA the premier facility of solids (relative to gas) could trigger 30 milliarcsecond resolution, reproduced
for studying this evolutionary ­process. rapid planetesimal formation via the grav- in Figure 1, revealed a series of narrow
Measurements of the spatial distribution itational and/or streaming instability. (a few au wide) ring and gap substruc-
of the mm “colour” (spectrum shape) tures (ALMA Partnership et al., 2015;
­provide qualitative support for the radial The first and clearest evidence for such Andrews et al., 2016). Evidence for similar
size segregation predicted by the stand- particle traps came from mm continuum features at coarser resolutions has also
ard theory for the evolution of disc solids observations of “transition” discs, which continued to percolate out from serendip-
(for example, Pérez et al., 2012). But appear as emission rings that peak tens itous ALMA discoveries, and is comple-
the extended morphologies of the mm- of au from their host stars (Andrews et al., mented by analogous features in infrared
wavelength continuum emission from 2011; Pinilla et al., 2018). But this subset images of starlight scattered off much
many nearby discs are in clear, quantita- of the general disc population is rare smaller dust grains (thereby tracing the
tive conflict with these predictions (for (about 10%); it is unlikely to represent the gas) in the disc surface layers (for exam-
example, Tripathi et al., 2017). general solution to the efficiency issues ple, Avenhaus et al., 2018).

20 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

In a few short years, these measure- The Disc Substructures at High Angular trated in Figure 2 (Huang et al., 2018a).
ments have fundamentally shifted Resolution Project (DSHARP) While simple in form, these rings and
assumptions about disc properties in a gaps have a diverse range of locations
new generation of planet formation To that end, our team has conducted one (and spacings), widths, and amplitudes;
­models. Much of the current focus in the of the preliminary ALMA Large Programs moreover, there is no clear association
field is on the origins of the observed to measure the 1.25-mm continuum between their properties and any charac-
substructures, which range from migra- emission (and CO J = 2–1 emission line) teristics of the stellar hosts. These sub-
tion modulations near volatile condensa- for 20 nearby discs at an angular resolu- structures appear to be circular (after
tion fronts, to the complex dynamical tion of 35 milliarcseconds, equivalent accounting for the disc viewing angles)
interplay between magnetic fields, gas to around 5 au in projected spatial reso- and azimuthally symmetric. Only two
and solids, to the gravitational interac- lution (Andrews et al., 2018). The goals cases show obvious deviations from
tions between disc material and very of the Disc Substructures at High Angular axisymmetry, in the form of narrow, arc-
young planets. At first glance, the last Resolution Project (DSHARP) are to like features (Isella et al., 2018; Pérez
option seems like a circular logic; sub- assess the prevalence, forms, sizes, et al., 2018). Some of the continuum
structures are essential to make plane- spacings, symmetry, and amplitudes of ­morphologies can be decomposed solely
tesimals (and therefore planets), but then substructures, to get a preliminary look at into narrow rings, and occasionally
we are invoking planets as the origins of how they might depend on the bulk disc ­additional gaps are even present in the
substructures. But this is not necessarily or stellar host properties, to compare CO line emission well beyond the radii
a problem; it merely implies that plane- those characteristics with hypotheses for where continuum emission is detected
tesimal (and thereby planet) formation their origins, and to facilitate a community-­ (Guzmán et al., 2018).
occurs efficiently, in the earliest stages of wide effort to build on those results.
disc evolution. If this is true, the substruc- This last aspect is achieved with the full The sizes, amplitudes, and locations of
tures we observe are probably a second DSHARP data release, including cali- many of the bright ring features are found
generation of features, and the underlying brated visibilities, images, scripts, and to be consistent with theoretical predic-
framework of planet formation models will various secondary products 1. tions for particle trapping at local gas
see a drastic modification. pressure maxima, with densities that are
The ALMA continuum images reveal that nominally high enough to facilitate rapid
In any case, the natural next step is to all discs in the DSHARP sample contain planetesimal formation (Dullemond et al.,
learn more about the demographics of substructures indicative of localised peb- 2018). Alongside the fact that there is
small-scale disc substructures, and to ble concentrations. These features are no connection between the locations or
use that information to help understand located over a wide range of disc radii spacings of these features with the stellar
their origins. (from 5 to 150 au) and exhibit a diversity host luminosities (and thereby their
of characteristic size scales (a few au to ­temperatures), there is no support for the
tens of au) and intensity contrasts (a few hypothesis that volatile condensation
Figure 2. A DSHARP image gallery of the 1.25-mm percent to roughly a factor of two). Con- fronts are associated with substructures
continuum emission from a subset of the discs that
exhibit a diverse set of ring and gap substructures
centric bright rings and dark gaps in the in the DSHARP sample discs (Huang
(Andrews et al., 2018; Huang et al., 2018a; Guzmán emission distribution are by far the most et al., 2018a). While some viable, though
et al., 2018; Isella et al., 2018; Pérez et al., 2018). common forms of substructure, as illus- not yet quantitatively predictive, alterna-

Elias 20 Elias 24 GW Lup AS 209 HD 142666

HD 163296 RU Lup SR 4 Sy 129 HD 143006

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 21

Astronomical Science Andrews S. M. et al., ALMA Observations of the Epoch of Planet Formation

tive mechanisms for producing these

kinds of substructures exist, there are HT Lup AS 205
compelling signals that they may be pro-
duced by planet-disc interactions. Some
of the substructures appear to have reso-
nant spacings and double-gap morphol-
ogies similar to predictions from hydrody-
namics simulations; the arc features
noted in two cases are qualitatively simi-
lar to models of vortex trapping near
giant planet perturbers, and a new suite
of hydrodynamics simulations provides
compelling comparisons to many of the
observed continuum emission morpholo-
gies (Zhang et al., 2018). For some rea-
sonable assumptions, those simulations
suggest that the observed disc gaps
are plausibly opened by planets with Figure 3. Images of the 1.25-mm continuum emis- Closing thoughts: the start of
sion from discs in the two triple systems in the
masses 10 to 100 times as large as the observational planet formation studies
DSHARP sample (Kurtovic et al., 2018). Note the
mass of the Earth and semimajor axes two-armed spiral morphologies of the discs
from roughly 10 to 100 au. around the primary stars, indicative of dynamical The DSHARP dataset and preliminary
interactions between the individual components. results, along with the many related stud-
The five discs in the DSHARP sample ies that they build upon, herald the
that are not shown in Figure 2 are domi- start of a new era in planet formation
nated by a different substructure mor- research. Where much of the effort had
phology: a pronounced spiral pattern. metric two-armed morphology that spans previously been theoretical in nature,
The two of these shown in Figure 3 are the full extent of the continuum emission. ALMA and cutting-edge adaptive optics
known triple star systems (Kurtovic et These patterns are strikingly complicated; facilities in the infrared promise to drive
al., 2018); the discs around the primaries they appear to bifurcate or merge into rapid advances on the observational
show the clear spiral perturbations that concentric rings, and in each case at side. There are many different avenues to
are theoretically expected from tidal inter- least one circular gap is superposed on pursue that can better place the DSHARP
actions in such systems. The CO data the spiral. In these systems, it seems results in context, including extending
in both cases are particularly interesting, likely that multiple mechanisms are the sample in orthogonal directions (for
revealing clear evidence for misalign- responsible for generating the observed example, younger discs, fainter or smaller
ments between the disc and orbital features. But in terms of the spiral com- discs), folding in complementary datasets
planes as well as tidal stripping from pre- ponent, it is interesting to note that these
vious encounters. The remaining three tend to be the largest, coldest discs in Figure 4. The striking spiral morphologies in the
discs with spiral substructures orbit sin- the DSHARP sample. That lends at least 1.25-mm continuum emission from a small subset of
the DSHARP sample discs, in this case for single
gle stars; their spectacular continuum some anecdotal support to the idea that (isolated) hosts (Huang et al., 2018b). The spiral
maps are shown in Figure 4 (Huang et al., a global gravitational instability may be ­patterns are complex and superposed with circular
2018b). Each of these discs has a sym- operating. features.

WaOph 6 IM Lup Elias 27

22 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

(continuum measurements at a longer growth and migration of disc solids to the Huang, J. et al. 2018a, ApJ Letters, 869, L42
Huang, J. et al. 2018b, ApJ Letters, 869, L43
wavelength to explore the particle trap planet formation process, and thereby
Isella, A. et al. 2018, ApJ Letters, 869, L49
properties, molecular spectral line or the exoplanet population we observe Kurtovic, N. T. et al. 2018, ApJ Letters, 869, L44
scattered light images to look for related around nearby main-sequence stars. Pérez, L. M. et al. 2012, ApJ Letters, 760, L17
gas signatures, etc.), and undertaking Pérez, L. M. et al. 2018, ApJ Letters, 869, L50
Pinilla, P. et al. 2012, A&A, 538, 114
more detailed modelling of individual tar-
Pinilla, P. et al. 2018, ApJ, 859, 32
gets to directly confront theoretical pre- References
Takeuchi, T. & Lin, D. N. C. 2002, ApJ, 581, 1344
dictions. In any case, ALMA is proving to ALMA Partnership et al. 2015, ApJ Letters, 808, L3
Tripathi, A. et al. 2017, ApJ, 845, 44
be a transformational tool. The early Andrews, S. M. et al. 2011, ApJ, 732, 42
Wiedenschilling, S. J. 1977, MNRAS, 180, 57
Zhang, S. et al. 2018, ApJ Letters, 869, L47
results using ALMA data described here Andrews, S. M. et al. 2016, ApJ Letters, 820, L40
should serve as launching points that Andrews, S. M. et al. 2018, ApJ Letters, 869, L41
Avenhaus, H. et al. 2018, ApJ, 863, 44
mark a productive shift in the field, where Birnstiel, T. & Andrews, S. M. 2014, ApJ, 780, 153
new data and analyses push towards a Dullemond, C. P. et al. 2018, ApJ Letters, 869, L46 1
 ata Release webpage for DSHARP:
new model that robustly connects the Guzmán, V. V. et al. 2018, ApJ Letters, 869, L48
D. Kordan/ESO

ALMA antennas
are located at the
Chajnantor Plateau
at an altitude of
5000 metres, one
of the driest places
in the world.

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 23

Astronomical Science DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5109

A First Spectroscopic Census of the Dwarf Galaxy Leo P

Chris Evans 1 The discovery of Leo P was reported in stellar populations of star-forming galax-
Norberto Castro 2, 3 a series of five papers in 2013–14; the ies in the early Universe, extending stud-
Oscar Gonzalez 1 ‘P’ in its name refers to its pristine nature. ies to even lower metallicities than the
Miriam Garcia 4 Initially discovered from radio observa- OB-type spectra recently identified in the
Nate Bastian 5 tions (Giovanelli et al., 2013), ground- Sagittarius Dwarf Irregular Galaxy (~5%
Maria-Rosa Cioni 3 based imaging demonstrated ongoing solar) by Garcia (2018).
Simon Clark 6 star formation in a luminous H II region
Ben Davies 5 (Rhode et al., 2014), and yielded an esti-
Annette Ferguson 7 mated distance of 1.72 +– 0.40
Mpc, with a A first census of Leo P
+ 0.4
Sebastian Kamann 5 stellar mass of 5.7 – 1.8 × 10 5 M⊙ (McQuinn
Danny Lennon 8, 9 et al., 2013). Most excitingly in the context To investigate the spectral content of
Lee Patrick 9, 1 0 of studies of stellar populations, the esti- Leo P we obtained service mode obser-
Jorick S. Vink 11 mated oxygen abundance from the auro- vations with the extended wide-field
Dan Weisz 12 ral [O III] 4363 Å emission line from the mode of MUSE on UT4 between Decem-
H II region was found to be [O/H] = 7.17 ± ber 2015 and March 2016. The total inte-
0.04, just 3% of solar (­Skillman et al., gration time was 6.7 hrs and the typical
UKATC/STFC, Edinburgh, UK 2013). Following its discovery, McQuinn seeing was 0.6 arcseconds. As shown in
University of Michigan, USA et al. (2015) obtained exquisite imaging of Figure 1, the one-arcminute field of view
Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Leo P with the Hubble Space Telescope of MUSE spans most of the visible extent
 (HST), providing an improved measure- of the galaxy. To extract spectra of the
Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), ment of its distance (1.62 ± 0.15 Mpc), sources from the combined MUSE data-
Madrid, Spain and finding that it has been making new cube we used the PampelMuse software
Liverpool John Moores University, UK stars at a roughly constant rate for the (Kamann et al., 2013) which has been
Open University, Milton Keynes, UK past 8–10 Gyr. developed to recover MUSE spectra from
Institute for Astronomy, University of crowded fields. For the input catalogue of
Edinburgh, UK A relatively nearby galaxy with such a sources to extract we used our photom­
ESAC, ESA, Madrid, Spain low oxygen abundance is a hugely etry and astrometry of the HST images
IAC, Tenerife, Spain ­compelling target in which to investigate obtained with the Advanced Camera for
University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain the properties of high-mass stars in Surveys (ACS) using the F475W and
Armagh Observatory, UK the very metal-deficient regime. We have F814W filters (McQuinn et al., 2015).
University of California Berkeley, USA model predictions for how such metal-
poor stars should behave, but are unable The colour-magnitude diagram (CMD) of
to test these observationally with c­ urrent HST sources in the MUSE field is shown
A longstanding quest in studies of lumi- facilities. The high-mass population of in Figure 2, with the points colour-coded
nous, massive stars has been to under- Leo P, even if relatively sparse, should if a first spectral classification was possi-
stand the role of environment on their provide important new insights into the ble. As expected from the morphology
evolution. The abundance of metals
in their atmospheres has a significant
impact on their physical properties,
strongly influencing the feedback they
have on their surroundings and the
nature of their explosive deaths. To date
we have been unable to study massive
stars with metallicities below 10%
that of the Sun. The low oxygen abun-
dance (3% solar) and relative proximity
(~1.6 Mpc) of Leo P, a low-luminosity
dwarf galaxy discovered in 2013, pro-
vides a tantalising opportunity to inves-
tigate massive stars with near-primor-
dial compositions. Here we introduce
observations of Leo P with the Multi
Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) Figure 1. Observed
instrument on the VLT, which have MUSE field overlaid on
revealed its spectroscopic content for the HST imaging of
the first time. Leo P. The MUSE field
encompasses most
of the visible extent of
the galaxy (north at
the top, east on the left).

24 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

of the CMD we have found a number of 20 Figure 2. Colour-magnitude diagram
for the MUSE field from the HST
(modestly) massive stars in the blue
images of the region (McQuinn et al.,
“plume” of the main sequence (F475W– 2015). Symbols/colours: massive stars
F814W ~ 0.0 magnitudes), as well as (closed cyan circles), candidate
examples of luminous, evolved cool stars 21 ­m assive stars (open cyan circles),
­c arbon stars (closed red circles),
above the tip of the red giant branch
potential AGB stars (open red circles),
(RGB). In addition to these two groups, background galaxies (green circles).
we also found a total of 20 background
galaxies in the MUSE pointing, with red-

shifts of z = 0.36 to 2.5.

A confirmed O-type star with
Z ~ 0.03 Z⊙

The brightest blue star in the CMD is the 24

central source in the prominent H II
region. The most immediate result from
the MUSE data is that this source has a
clear O-type spectrum. McQuinn et al. 25
0 1 2 3
(2015) argued from their photometry that
this was a mid-to-late O-type star; now
we have direct confirmation. The MUSE
spectrum, part of which is shown in AGB stars at very low metallicity brightest of these (closed red symbols in
­Figure 3, displays He II 4686 and 5411 Å Figure 2) are Carbon stars. The other
absorption, necessitating the O-type Our original motivation for the observa- three candidates were initially something
classification. Unfortunately the presence tions was to investigate the hot stars of a puzzle as they were suggested by
of strong nebular emission (combined in Leo P, but we also managed to glean Lee as oxygen-rich M-type AGB stars,
with the blueward limit of MUSE at some first insights into its luminous cool yet the MUSE spectra (one of which is
~ 4650 Å) precludes more detailed char- population thanks to the powerful capa- shown in Figure 4) appear relatively fea-
acterisation. Nonetheless, this discovery bilities of MUSE. The upper mass function tureless. Closer inspection reveals what
supports the argument by McQuinn et of Leo P appears sufficiently sparsely appears to be absorption by the Ca II
al. (2015) that the presence of such a star populated that we did not find any red ­triplet (8498, 8542, 8662 Å) in the bright-
is contrary to models of the integrated supergiant stars in the MUSE field, but est of these three, with absorption also
galactic initial mass function at the low we did observe five stars previously seen for the central line in the next bright-
star formation rate of Leo P, where the ­classified as candidate asymptotic giant est, as shown in Figure 5. The signal-to-
maximum mass expected is 2.5–3 M⊙ branch (AGB) stars by Lee (2016). The noise of the fainter stars in the RGB in
(Pflamm-Altenburg et al., 2007). strong C2 Swan bands in the MUSE Figure 2 was too low to discern features
spectra in Figure 4 show that the two in the individual spectra, but by co-adding
Initial classification of a further 14 early-­
type stars was possible via detection
of Hb absorption, combined with indica-  
tions of stellar features at Hb and steep-



ening flux distributions toward the blue

end of the spectra. From the location
of these sources in Figure 2 (and taking
into account the estimated distance) we


suggest that most of these are B-type

objects. A further 17 sources were more


tentatively classified as candidates on  

the basis of Hb detections. Note that the
main sequence in the CMD in Figure 2
(below the O star in the H II region)   Figure 3. Blue region of
the MUSE spectrum of
extends from V ~ 22 to 25 magnitudes. the central source of the
Given the faintness of these targets it H II region in Leo P. The


is really quite remarkable that we were He II absorption lines
(4686, 5411 Å) provide
able to (even coarsely) classify some the first direct evidence
of these objects as early-type stars from      for an O-type star in
the MUSE data. 6@UDKDMFSGÄ Leo P. 

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 25

Astronomical Science Evans C. et al., A First Spectroscopic Census of the Dwarf Galaxy Leo P

tance of 1.62 Mpc). The absence of hot,

massive stars in the region of the north-
ern shell suggests this is an older forma-
 tion (for example, a supernova remnant),
rather than a large wind-blown bubble.
,2! In contrast, there are several hot stars
that appear to be associated with the
southern ring, with the H II region on its
northern edge, suggesting an evolution-


ary connection.

 The multiplex power of MUSE has pro-

vided the community with a fantastic
instrument with which to undertake unbi-
ased searches of the massive-star popu-
lations of galaxies in the Local Group
"@3 and beyond. Studies until now have nec-

     essarily selected spectroscopic targets
6@UDKDMFSGÄ via photometric criteria (thus affected
by interstellar reddening) and/or have tar-
Figure 4. Spectra of three candidate asymptotic Dramatic nebular structures geted the most active star-forming
giant branch (AGB) stars in the MUSE field from Lee
regions of external galaxies. Leo P is an
(2016), with identifications following McQuinn et al.
(2013); each spectrum is displaced vertically by The MUSE data opened-up a third novel excellent example of the second point,
increasing multiples of 500 counts. The upper two angle in our understanding of Leo P. Fig- where we have found a number of mas-
spectra are Carbon stars. The lower spectrum is ure 6 shows the reconstructed Ha image sive stars tens of parsecs away from
­relatively featureless, but from detection of Ca II
from the MUSE datacube and reveals the main H II region that we most likely
absorption and the HST photometry (Figure 2), we
speculate that this and two other candidates are three new structures compared to the would not have targeted otherwise. A
oxygen-rich AGB stars that are sufficiently metal original discovery images, suggesting MUSE programme in Period 102 (Princi-
poor that they do not have M-type spectra. more than one site of (relatively) recent pal Investigator: Tramper) is targeting
star formation. The morphology is strik- two fields in Sextans A (Z ~ 0.1 Z ⊙ ) for
ing, with two well-defined rings of gas this very reason — one centred on a
emission to the north and south, and a region rich with nebular structures and
central diffuse region. To give a sense apparent active star-formation, a second
the spectra of the 16 sources with F814W of scale, the larger, northern Ha shell has in the centre of the galaxy which (naïvely)
< 23 magnitudes (excluding the five AGB a diameter of ~120 pc (assuming a dis- appears more quiescent.
candidates), we also see evidence of
Ca II triplet absorption, confirming them 5
as cool, evolved stars (lower spectrum in
Figure 5). MSB 13
The lack of strong molecular bands (for
example, TiO) in the spectra of the candi-
date AGB stars is notable compared
with normal M-type AGB spectra. How-
Normalised flux

MSB 18
ever, we suggest that this is not unex-
pected given the very low metallicity,
either via evolutionary effects or simply
because the dearth of metallic species
gives the impression of earlier-type Figure 5. The Ca II triplet region for
the two brightest AGB stars (offset by
­spectra. In the context of dust production 1.5 continuum units, with identifica-
in galaxies, spectroscopic follow-up 1 tions from McQuinn et al., 2013) and
of these stars (albeit observationally the co-added spectra of the 16 bright-
demanding), would provide a significant est stars at the top of the red giant
branch. The wavelengths of the Ca II
extension to recent studies in metal-poor triplet, shifted to the radial velocity of
galaxies in the Local Group, enabling 8200 8400 8600 8800 9000 Leo P, are indicated by the vertical red
unique tests of evolutionary models. Wavelength (Å) lines.

26 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

20 Even with the impressive performance of
MUSE, quantitative analysis of the bulk of
18 the hot- and cool-star populations of

Leo P will require the greater sensitivity of
48″ 16
new facilities. In particular, the first-light
High Angular Resolution Monolithic Opti-

Relative flux × 10 – 20 (erg s –1 cm –2 )

cal and Near-infrared Integral-field spec-
trograph (HARMONI) spectrograph on
Declination (J2000)

36″ 12
ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT)
will provide the excellent angular resolu-
tion and sensitivity needed to probe the
properties (abundances, dynamics) of
the evolved-star population in Leo P (for
6 example, Gonzalez & Battaglia, 2018).
Ultimately, we also want ultraviolet spec-
4 troscopy of massive stars in systems
+18°05′12″ like Leo P to investigate their wind prop-
2 erties — this is unrealistic with the HST,
but would be well within the grasp of
0 the Large UV Optical InfraRed Surveyor
46 s 45 s 44 s 10 h21m43 s (LUVOIR) and Habitable Exoplanet
Right ascension (J2000) Observatory (HabEx) concepts currently
under study by NASA as part of the
ongoing Decadal Survey.
Figure 6. Intensity map of Hα emission in Leo P from confirmed that the central source in the
the MUSE observations. The overlaid symbols match H II region has an O-type spectrum,
those in Figure 2 and show the locations of the stars References
with initial spectral classifications. Note the substan- and we argue this is probably the lowest
tial (~100 pc-scale) ring structures traced by the gas metallicity massive star found to date; Evans, C. et al. 2019,
emission. whether it is a bona fide single star or a Garcia, M. 2018, MNRAS, 474, L66
multiple/composite system (with a corre- Giovanelli, R. et al. 2013, AJ, 146, 15
The MUSE observations of Leo P have spondingly big impact on the overall Gonzalez, O. A. & Battaglia, G. 2018, Proc. IAUS,
347, arXiv:1810.04422
given us our first comprehensive view feedback in terms of ionising photons) will Kamann, S., Wisotzki, L. & Roth, M. M. 2013, A&A,
of resolved massive stars in a dwarf require future follow-up. The MUSE spec- 549, A71
­galaxy with substantially sub-solar metal- troscopy has also given us a first glimpse Lee, C. H. 2016, MNRAS, 461, L37
licity (3%); also see Evans et al. (2019). of what appear to be very metal-deficient McQuinn, K. B. W. et al. 2013, AJ, 146, 145
McQuinn, K. B. W. et al. 2015, ApJ, 812, 158
Detailed models for the evolution of such AGB stars, which will be important Pflamm-Altenburg, J., Weidner, C. & Kroupa, P.
stars are available from, for example, ­reference targets to investigate dust pro- 2007, ApJ, 671, 1550
Szécsi et al. (2015), but we are unable to duction channels at low metallicity and Rhode, K. L. et al. 2013, AJ, 145, 149
test their predictions without empirical to provide empirical calibration of evolu- Skillman, E. D. et al. 2013, AJ, 146, 3
Szécsi, D. et al. 2015, A&A, 581, A15
results for stars in this regime. We have tionary models.
P. Horálek/ESO

The Belt of Venus

effect, an atmospheric
­p henomenon caused
by backscattered sun-
light, seen at twilight
at the VLT.

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 27

Astronomical Science DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5110

Witnessing the Early Growth and Life Cycle of Galaxies

with KMOS3D

Natascha M. Förster Schreiber 1 11

Space Telescope Science Institute, formation rate (SFR) being roughly pro-
David Wilman 2,1 Baltimore, USA portional to their stellar mass, SFR ∝ M .
Emily S. Wisnioski 1, 3, 4 12
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, These early SFGs also show relationships
Matteo Fossati 1, 2, 5 Garching, Germany between their stellar mass, size, gas con-
J. Trevor Mendel 1, 2, 3, 4 13
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astro- tent, and metallicity. The growth of galax-
Ralf Bender 2, 1 physics, Cambridge, USA ies at cosmic noon thus appears to be
Reinhard Genzel 1, 6 14
INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di tightly regulated until they reach M ~
Alessandra Beifiori 2, 1 Padova, Italy 1011 M , when their star formation activity
Sirio Belli 1 15
School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel is rapidly quenched.
Gabe Brammer 7 Aviv University, Israel
Andreas Burkert 2, 1 16
National Astronomical Observatory of These observations have established the
Jeffrey Chan 8 Japan, Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan broad scope of the equilibrium growth
Richard I. Davies 1 17
Astronomy Department, Yale Univer- model, in which accretion from the cos-
Rebecca L. Davies 1 sity, New Haven, USA mic web and minor mergers fairly contin-
Maximilian Fabricius 1, 2 18
Department of Physics, University of uously replenish the gas reservoirs of
Audrey Galametz 1, 2, 9 Bath, UK SFGs, and the balance between accre-
Rodrigo Herrera-Camus 1 tion, star formation, and outflows governs
Philipp Lang 10 their evolution. Given the different con­
Dieter Lutz 1 Near-infrared integral field unit (IFU) ditions prevailing in early SFGs, detailed
Ivelina Momcheva 11 spectrographs are powerful tools for in-situ observations are necessary to
Thorsten Naab 12 investigating galaxy evolution. We understand which processes regulate
Erica J. Nelson 1,13 report on our recently completed multi- their evolution, how the disc and spheroi-
Sedona H. Price 1 year KMOS3D survey of Ha, [N II] and dal components of present-day galaxies
Alvio Renzini 14 [SII] line emission of galaxies at redshift arise, and why star formation shuts down
Roberto Saglia 1, 2 z ~ 0.7–2.7 with the K-band Multi-Object at high masses.
Stella Seitz 2 Spectrograph (KMOS) at the Very Large
Taro Shimizu 1 Telescope (VLT). With deep observa-
Amiel Sternberg 15 tions of 745 targets spanning over two The role of near-infrared integral field
Linda J. Tacconi 1 orders of magnitude in galaxy mass, unit surveys and KMOS3D
Ken-ichi Tadaki 16 five billion years of cosmic time, and all
Hannah Übler 1 levels of star formation, KMOS3D pro- Spatially and spectrally resolved informa-
Pieter G. van Dokkum 17 vides an unparalleled population-wide tion on the kinematics, star formation,
Stijn Wuyts 18 census of spatially-resolved kinematics, and condition of the interstellar medium
star formation, outflows and nebular on sub-galactic scales provides insights
gas conditions. The dataset sheds new into the physics that drives the early evo-
Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterres- light on the physical mechanisms driv- lution of galaxies. Nebular emission lines
trische Physik, Garching, Germany ing the early growth and lifecycle of gal- such as Ha, [N II], [S II] and [O III] are
Universitäts-Sternwarte, Ludwig-Maxi- axies, and provides a rich legacy for the powerful tools for investigating these
milians-Universität, Munich, Germany astronomical community. properties. At z ~ 1–3, these optical lines
Research School of Astronomy & at rest are redshifted into the near-infra-
Astrophysics, Australian National red (near-IR, l ~ 1–2.5 µm) and strongly
­University, Canberra, Australia The regulated growth of galaxies at dimmed. Dissecting distant galaxies
ASTRO3D – ARC Centre for Excellence “cosmic noon” requires sensitive near-IR instrumentation
in All-Sky Astrophysics in 3D, and a large collecting area. Observations
­Canberra, Australia Extensive panchromatic look-back sur- with the Spectrograph for INtegral Field
Department of Physics, Durham veys have now mapped the global evolu- Observations in the Near Infrared
University, UK tion of star formation and nuclear activity, ­(SINFONI) at the VLT and other near-IR
Department of Physics and Astronomy, stellar mass buildup, and gas content of single-object IFUs on 8–10-metre tele-
University of California, Berkeley, USA galaxies out to redshift z ~ 3, spanning scopes (for example, Förster Schreiber et
Cosmic Dawn Center, Niels Bohr 85% of the Universe’s history. At z ~ 2, al., 2011; Glazebrook, 2013) yielded the
­Institute, University of Copenhagen, 10 billion years ago, the cosmic star first compelling evidence that the majority
Denmark ­formation and supermassive black hole of massive z ~ 2 SFGs are rotating yet
Physics and Astronomy Department, accretion rates peaked at ~ 20 times turbulent discs, rather than disturbed
University of California, Riverside, USA present-day levels, and cold molecular major mergers. These pioneering studies
Geneva Observatory, University of gas accounted for as much as half the uncovered the role of galaxy-internal pro-
Geneva, Switzerland baryonic mass of galaxies. At this epoch, cesses, such as violent disc instabilities,
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, often dubbed “cosmic noon”, ~95% of in the gas-rich SFGs at z ~ 1–2, laying
Heidelberg, Germany star-forming galaxies (SFGs) already lie some of the foundations of the equilib-
on a tight main sequence (MS), their star rium growth framework. With 24 deploya-

28 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

ble IFUs, KMOS at the VLT brought the or ~ 4 kpc at at z ~ 0.7–2.7. Down to Bulge formation, outer disc kinematics,
next breakthroughs by enabling near-IR SFRs ~ 1/7 of the MS (comprising 80% and the dominance of baryons
IFU surveys of much larger and more of the sample), 90% of the objects are
complete samples. detected in Ha and 80% of them are Dissipative processes should be particu-
resolved. Unsurprisingly, the detection larly efficient in discs at z ~ 1–3 given
We have carried out KMOS3D, a com­ rate drops among more quiescent their gas-richness and elevated turbu-
prehensive 75-night Guaranteed ­galaxies, but even ~ 25% of those are lence. The associated inward mass trans-
Time Observation (GTO) survey detected, and a third of them are port and angular momentum loss could
of ­H a+[N II]+[S II] emission of 745 mass- resolved. Selected key results are high- lead to bulge formation on Gyr times-
selected galaxies at z ~ 0.7–2.7 lighted here. cales. Massive stellar bulges are in place,
(Wisnioski et al., 2015). The cornerstones and large nuclear concentrations of
of the survey strategy were: 1) wide and molecular gas have been uncovered as
homogeneous coverage of galaxy stellar The prevalence of rotationally early as z ~ 2.5 in massive star-forming
mass, SFR, colours, and redshift; 2) the ­supported turbulent gas-rich discs discs (for example, Lang et al., 2014;
same spectral diagnostics across the Tadaki et al., 2017). Measurements of the
entire redshift range; and 3) deep integra- First and foremost, the spatially-resolved angular momenta of KMOS3D discs fur-
tions to map faint, extended line emis- gas motions derived from the Ha emis- ther support bulge formation via disc-in-
sion. The targets were drawn from the sion line profile across the KMOS3D gal- ternal mechanisms (Burkert et al., 2016).
Hubble Space Telescope (HST) 3D-HST axies robustly confirmed that the majority The specific angular momenta of the
Treasury Survey (for example, Momcheva (> 70%) of high-redshift SFGs are rotating discs anti-correlate with their galaxy-wide
et al., 2016), which provided a well discs (Figure 2). The data also confirmed stellar and gas mass surface densities,
­characterised parent sample with source the elevated gas turbulence of high- but exhibit no significant trend with stellar
detection and accurate redshifts relying redshift discs, with typical intrinsic disc mass surface densities in the inner 1 kpc.
on rest-optical properties, largely velocity dispersions s0 ~ 50 km s –1 at Accumulation of low angular momentum
­reducing the bias towards blue, actively z ~ 2.3 and ~ 30 km s –1 at z ~ 0.9 (Fig- material to form bulges in the disc cen-
star-forming galaxies resulting from ure 3). The increase of the velocity disper- tres thus appears to be decoupled from
rest-ultraviolet identifications. 3D-HST sions with redshift is in line with expecta- the mechanisms that set disc structure
overlaps with the CANDELS fields, with tions for gravity-driven turbulence in and angular momentum on global galac-
high-resolution HST optical and near- ­marginally stable gas discs and the cos- tic scales.
IR imaging, and with extensive X-ray to mic evolution in gas fractions, where
far-IR/radio coverage. heating is caused by rapid gas flows onto KMOS3D has strengthened the key finding
and within the galaxies (for example, from smaller samples that z ~ 1–2.5 SFGs
The KMOS 3D selection criteria were: Genzel et al., 2011; Krumholz et al., 2018). are not only gas-rich but also strongly
 > 109 M⊙ and a magnitude cut of
(1) M
KAB < 23 mag;
(2) a redshift 0.7 < z < 2.7;
(3) the emission lines of interest falling 100 3D-HST parent popuation 0.7 < z < 2.7
in atmospheric windows away from KMOS 3D YJ-, H-, K-band targets, detections × 10
KMOS 3D YJ-, H-, K-band targets, non-detections
bright sky lines.
By avoiding selection on colours or prop-
10 Figure 1. Distribution of
erties sensitive to star formation or AGN the 745 KMOS 3D targets
SFR/SFR(MS, z, log(M ) = 10.5

activity, and by covering five billion years MS in stellar mass versus

of cosmic time, KMOS3D is optimally SFR normalised to that
suited for population censuses and evo- of the MS at the redshift

of each galaxy and

lutionary studies. 1 log(M /M⊙) = 10.5. The
0 *
× 1/1 shape of the MS (from
Figure 1 shows the distribution of the Whitaker et al., 2014)
KMOS3D sample in stellar mass versus and offsets by factors of
4 and 10 above and
SFR. The K-band magnitude cut ensures 0.1 below the relationship
95% completeness for log(M /M⊙) > 9.7 are plotted as solid
at 0.7 < z < 1.1; log(M /M⊙) > 10.2 at lines. Coloured symbols
* represent targets
1.3 < z < 1.7; and log(M /M⊙) > 10.5 at
* observed in the YJ-, H-,
1.9 < z < 2.7 — these correspond to 0.01 and K-bands (as
the redshift slices where Ha is observed labelled). KMOS 3D
in the YJ-, H-, and K-bands, respectively. probes the underlying
The corresponding median on-source population of massive
galaxies at 0.7 < z < 2.7
integration times are 5, 8, and 9 hours and K AB < 23 mag well,
respectively, and range up to 20–30 hours. 10 9 1010 1011 the density distribution
The median resolution is 0.5 arcseconds, M (M๬ ) shown in grey shades.

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 29

Astronomical Science Förster Schreiber N. M. et al., Witnessing Galaxies with KMOS3D

Figure 2. Overview of the Ha velocity fields for 250

resolved and representative KMOS 3D galaxies (half
× 10
SFR at z ~ 0.9 and half at z ~ 2.3), plotted on the same
KMOS3D angular scale and in the same parameter space as in
SFRMS, log (M ) = 10.5
* ×4 Figiure 1. The monotonic velocity gradients, as well
10 as other characteristic properties of ordered rotation
Redshifted in discs, are identified in the majority of the g
­ alaxies,
and even among several galaxies well below the MS.
Velocity offset

MS Tully-Fisher relation: the gas and baryonic

Blueshifted fractions of the discs increase with look-
back time as enhanced cosmic accretion
promotes high baryon concentrations
at the centre of dark matter halos; these
× 1/4
halos have shallow profiles; and more
compact discs do not probe as far into
their host dark matter halo.
× 1/1

Recent exploration of the outer rotation

curves of high-redshift discs led to
1ೀ NSF
the exciting discovery of steep declines
in velocity beyond a peak at radius
r ~ 1.3 R1/2, in stark contrast to the find-
1010 1011 M (M๬ ) ings at low redshift. In very deep SINFONI
observations of six high-mass SFGs
probing out to 2–3 times the half-light
radius, the slopes are as steep as or
baryon-dominated on scales of disc circular velocity and mass, from steeper than the Keplerian decline
~ 10–15 kpc (Figure 3). Kinematic model- KMOS3D (Übler et al., 2017). A combina- (vrot r −1/2) for a disc purely supported by
ling of 240 well-resolved discs with tion of three factors can explain the rotation, and detailed modelling implies
high S/N data showed that gas and stars trends in both the mass budget and the dark matter fractions of 20% within
dominate the total dynamical mass
budget, making up ~ 55% of it on aver-
age and reaching ~ 90% at z ~ 2.3, *,.2 #CHRBR
­leaving little room for dark matter within

the disc’s half-light radius R1/2 at z > 2 

(Wuyts et al., 2016b). However, the scat-

ter in baryonic mass fractions at fixed
redshift is large as a result of correlations C HR B
with mass surface densities. These UD Q@ FDY
effects are reflected in the evolution of the  
Tully-Fisher relation, connecting the ,HKJX6@X

&' 2/$OHM@SDS@K 

#8- ,.&QDDMDS@K 
Figure 3. Disc velocity dispersions, baryonic mass ,
 2(-2*,.2 #&DMYDKDS@K 
fractions on disc scales, and composite r­ otation *1.22)NGMRNMDS@K 
curve of z ~ 0.7–2.7 discs. In the left panels, median
values and 68% percentiles of the distri­butions for (MjMHSDKX
KMOS 3D discs in three redshift slices are plotted as *,.2 #CHRBR SGHMCHRB
red circles and green boxes. In the top left panel,  ]
selected results from IFU observations of Ha from *,.2 #
other samples, and from individual galaxies with the 2(-2Y" 2(-%CHRBR

most detailed constraints, are included (see legend).

In the right panel, the effects of the elevated gas
­turbulence and baryon fraction at high redshift are ]
reflected in the composite rotation curve based on
stacked data and individual velocity curves from   3GHBJ 
(filled circles and grey polygons, respectively). The
decline at large radii is steeper than for pure rotation       
in a disc of ­s imilar mass, and is in stark contrast 11
to the much flatter slopes in massive z ~ 0 discs,  
including the Milky Way and M31, that are dominated
by dark m ­ atter in their outer disc regions (coloured            
lines). Y

30 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

Star-formation-driven outflows AGN-driven outflows

0.20 0.4
Hα [N II]
Full spectrum Full spectrum
Hα Narrow component Narrow component
0.15 Broad component 0.3 Broad component
Full model [N II] Full model
Spectral properties

[N II]

Normalised flux
Normalised flux

[N II] [S II]
0.10 0.2
Composite [S II] Composite
33 galaxies 30 galaxies [S II]
[S II]
0.05 0.1

0.00 0.0

– 2000 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 – 2000 0 2000 4000 6000 8000
Velocity (km s –1) Velocity (km s –1)

SF-driven outflows AGN-driven outflows

1 1
Offset from MS in log(SFR)

Offset from MS in log(SFR)

0 0

–1 –1
Fraction Fraction

–2 0.3 –2 0.6

0.2 0.4
–3 0.1 –3

0.0 0.0

9.0 9.5 10.0 10.5 11.0 11.5 9.0 9.5 10.0 10.5 11.0 11.5
log (M෪ /M๬ ) log (M෪ /M๬ )

a half-light radius (Genzel et al., 2017). rotation curves, with the considerable Figure 4. Distinct spectral properties and demo-
graphics of star-formation-driven (left) and AGN-
KMOS3D substantiated this break- dynamical support from random motions
driven (right) galactic-scale winds obtained from
through by showing, through a novel further steepening the falloff. These ~ 600 galaxies at 0.7 < z < 2.7 mostly from KMOS 3D.
stacking technique, that outer rotation results support the lesser role of dark The composite spectra (top panels) from the best
curves declining to 3–4 times R1/2 are matter on disc scales implied by the quality data are plotted with black lines, and the
best-fit narrow+broad component emission tracing
likely to be a widespread feature of mass budget and Tully-Fisher studies,
H II regions and outflows are shown in cyan and
log(M /M⊙) ~ 9.5 star-forming discs independently of assumptions about the orange, respectively. The trends in outflow incidence
around cosmic noon (Lang et al., 2017). light-to-baryonic-mass conversions. with stellar mass and offset from the MS at the
In local spiral galaxies, the typically flat These findings also link massive z ~ 1–3 mass and redshift of each galaxy (bottom panels)
are coded according to the colour bars in each
rotation curves are the hallmark of domi- SFGs to their descendants — high-mass
panel and sampled at the locations of the individual
nant dark matter in outer disc regions. early-type galaxies and strongly bulged objects.
At high redshift however, the dominance discs at z ~ 0 — which also have low
of baryons within the shallower inner central dark matter fractions.
dark matter potential leads to declining

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 31

Astronomical Science Förster Schreiber N. M. et al., Witnessing Galaxies with KMOS3D

Figure 5. Three exam- properties), thus reflecting the variability

ples from among 35 COS3_08390 z = 0.979
log(M ) = 11.0
of the AGN phenomenon in different
massive compact SFGs *
observed in KMOS 3D. ­tracers. The homogeneous sampling and
Their HST IJH-band deep integrations of KMOS3D observa-
morphologies reveal a tions indicate that the incidence trends
dominant dense com-
are not caused by S/N variations across
pact stellar component 1″
(left panels). KMOS galaxy parameter space. The outflows,
observations of their along with the elevated disc turbulence,
Ha velocity fields are are expected to efficiently redistribute
shown in the right
metals within the galaxies, and could
panel; the white circle
diameter corresponds explain the typically flat radial metallicity
IHJ nobs(Ha)
to the FWHM of the gradients inferred from KMOS3D maps
point spread function of of the diagnostic [N II]/Ha flux ratio
the data. Most of these
U4_26875 z = 1.365 (Wuyts et al., 2016a).
KMOS observations
log(M ) = 11.2
revealed clear signa- *
tures of ordered rota- The velocities of SF-driven winds vary
tion, supporting the sce- ­little with galaxy mass, implying that the
nario in which they are
relative bulk of expelled gas escapes
the immediate progeni- < 10.3 systems,
tors of compact disc-like 1″ only from log(M /M⊙) ~
quiescent galaxies at while more massive galaxies drive
high redshift. so-called “fountains”. Surprisingly,
inferred mass outflow rates M out are
only ~ 0.1–0.2 times the SFRs at all
IHJ nobs(Ha) ­galaxy masses, at odds with theoretical
work that requires
mass loading
factors h = M out /SFR above unity and
log(M ) = 11.1
z = 2.432 ∝ 1/M*0.35–0.80 to reproduce the observed
* slope of the galaxy mass–metallicity
and galaxy mass to halo mass relation-
ships at log(M /M⊙) < 10.7. This tension
could be alleviated if substantial amounts
1″ of mass, momentum, and energy are
contained in much hotter and/or colder
wind phases than the ~ 104 K ionised gas
probed by Ha, as inferred in nearby star-
burst winds.
IHJ nobs(Ha)

The faster, high-duty-cycle AGN-driven

Demographics and physical properties most massive galaxies hosting an AGN. winds at high masses have mass loading
of galactic outflows Analysis of Ha+[N II]+[S II] emission of factors comparable to those of the
~ 600 galaxies spanning 9 < log(M /M⊙) SF-driven winds but carry 10 times as
Galactic winds have long been observed < 11.7, mostly from KMOS3D, revealed much momentum and 50 times as much
in distant SFGs and luminous quasars via the distinct demographics and physical energy, so they can escape the galaxies,
high-velocity, blue-shifted absorbing gas properties of outflows (Figure 4, Förster contribute to heating halo gas, and
detected in galaxy-integrated rest-ultra­ Schreiber et al., 2018; also Genzel et al., help prevent further gas infall. Numerical
violet spectra. In rest-optical nebular line 2014). The prevalence of SF-driven out- simulations suggest that such a mecha-
emission, outflows manifest themselves flows depends on star formation proper- nism, which also acts at the modest AGN
as a broad component lying underneath ties, with fractions increasing above the luminosities and Eddington ratios of the
a narrower component from star forma- MS and reaching up to ~ 40% at SFR majority of the KMOS3D AGN, may be
tion; their separation is facilitated with surface densities > 1 M⊙ yr −1 kpc −2. In more effective at widespread and long-
IFU data. SINFONI observations of a few contrast, AGN-driven outflows are rare term galaxy quenching than ejective
tens of objects with ~ 1–2 kpc resolution below log(M /M⊙) ~ 10.7 and rapidly QSO-mode feedback in rare, high lumi-
detected star formation (SF)-driven out- become ubiquitous above this mass, nosity, high-Eddington-ratio AGN. The
flows, characterised by broad emission being present in ~ 75% of log(M /M⊙) > sharp increase in the incidence of AGN-
with FWHM ~ 400–500 km s –1, across 11.2 galaxies. Similar to AGN, their inci- driven outflows near the transition mass
the discs. They are typically associated dence depends primarily on stellar mass above which passive galaxies become
with brighter star-forming clumps, while and its central concentration, but is prevalent and both galactic molecular
faster winds (FWHM ~ 1000–2000 km s –1) higher than that of AGN identified by any gas fractions and specific SFRs drop
originate from the nuclear regions in the one diagnostic alone (for example, X-ray steeply, strengthens the notion of a

32 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

causal link between AGN activity and detected in ~ 20% of the KMOS3D targets kinematics, and systematically explore
quenching. classified as quiescent based on their their cold interstellar medium at all acces-
rest-frame colours (Belli et al., 2017). Half sible redshifts — paving the way towards
of them exhibit spectral signatures the Extremely Large Telescope and
Star-forming discs and rejuvenation in ­revealing the persistence of AGN activity James Webb Space Telescope era.
compact galaxies and gas outflows well into quenching.
In the other sources, the Ha luminosities
A strength of the KMOS3D strategy is to confirm the low star formation activity Acknowledgements
allow a systematic exploration of emis- with SFR(Ha) ~ 0.2–7 M⊙ yr −1, but, sur- We thank the ESO staff on Paranal for excellent and
sion line properties in rarer subsets of prisingly, their average [N II]/Ha ratio enthusiastic support throughout the five years and
galaxies, with consistent comparisons to ­indicates metallicities ~ 3 times lower numerous runs during which the KMOS3D observa-
the underlying population. Massive com- than in MS SFGs of the same mass, and tions were collected.
pact SFGs at z ~ 1–3 have received much half also exhibit resolved gas discs.
attention in recent years as potential These properties suggest rejuvenation, References
immediate progenitors of dense massive where the low-level star formation is
quiescent galaxies. In two-thirds of the fuelled by recent accretion of metal- Belli, S. et al. 2017, ApJ, 841, L6
Burkert, A. et al. 2016, ApJ, 826, 214
35 compact SFGs observed in KMOS3D, poor gas via cosmic flows or minor merg- Förster Schreiber, N. M. et al. 2011, The Messenger,
spatially resolved line emission reveals ers rather than being associated with 145, 39
rotating gas discs with up to twice the advanced stages of disc fading. Förster Schreiber, N. M. et al. 2018, ApJ Suppl.,
extent of the compact stellar cores (Fig- 238, 21
Genzel, R. et al. 2011, ApJ, 733, 101
ure 5; Wisnioski et al., 2018). Their kine- Genzel, R. et al. 2014, ApJ, 796, 7
matic properties are similar to those of Outlook Genzel, R. et al. 2017, Nature, 543, 397
mass-matched, more extended SFGs in Glazebrook, K. 2013, PASA, 30, 56
KMOS3D. They host AGN 1.4 times The rich scientific outcome of surveys Krumholz, M. R. et al. 2018, MNRAS, 477, 2716
Lang, P. et al. 2014, ApJ, 788, 11
more often, in agreement with other such as KMOS3D and other major cam- Lang, P. et al. 2017, ApJ, 840, 92
recent studies, and they commonly drive paigns at the VLT underscores the Momcheva, I. G. et al. 2016, ApJS, 255, 27
powerful nuclear outflows. The rotation ­tremendous value of large and coherent Tadaki, K. et al. 2017, ApJ, 834, 135
observed in the compact SFGs, and the observing programmes in advancing Übler, H. et al. 2017, ApJ, 842, 121
van der Wel, A. et al. 2014, ApJ, 788, 28
growing evidence from morphologies our knowledge of galaxy evolution. Whitaker, K. E. et al. 2014, ApJ, 795, 104
and stellar kinematics that high-redshift ­Comparable efforts in the future with Wisnioski, E. S. et al. 2015, ApJ, 799, 209
passive galaxies are disc-like systems, KMOS, other instruments at the VLT, and Wisnioski, E. S. et al. 2018, ApJ, 855, 97
support this evolutionary link. other facilities such as ALMA and Wuyts, E. et al. 2016a, ApJ, 827, 74
Wuyts, S. et al. 2016b, ApJ, 831, 149
NOEMA will be important to better trace
Pushing into a regime so far unexplored the baryon cycle in and out of galaxies,
with IFUs at z > 1, line emission was also constrain their stellar composition and

VLT colour-composite
image of the centre
of the starburst galaxy
NGC 1313; the filters
used are R, B, z and
narrow-band Ha, [O I]
and [O III].

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 33

Astronomical Science DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5111

Shedding Light on the Geometry of Kilonovae

Mattia Bulla 1 from kilonovae and highlighted the best and red — characterised by the presence
Stefano Covino 2 strategy to detect linear polarisation in of heavy elements (including lanthanides
Ferdinando Patat 3 future events. Our studies demonstrate with high opacities) — and a relatively
Koutarou Kyutoku 4, 5, 6, 7 how the detection of polarisation will bright and blue component at higher lati-
Justyn R. Maund 8 constrain crucial parameters of these tudes, characterised by relatively light
Masaomi Tanaka 9,10 systems, such as the inclination and elements. However, critical parameters of
Kenji Toma 9,11 composition, distribution and extent of the system like inclination, mass, velocity,
Klaas Wiersema 12,13 the different components of the ejecta. and composition and distribution of
Paolo D’Avanzo 2 the ejecta components are still uncertain
Adam B. Higgins 12 despite their being crucial, for example,
Carole G. Mundell 14 The first discovery (Abbott et al., 2017) in the estimation of kilonova rates, the
Eliana Palazzi 15 of both a gravitational wave source comparison of yields to cosmic abun-
GW170817 and its electromagnetic coun- dances, and the derivation of the Hubble
terpart AT 2017gfoa marked year zero of constant. This is where polarimetry can
Oskar Klein Centre, Department of the multi-messenger gravitational-wave come to the rescue.
Physics, Stockholm University, Sweden era, and has been the subject of about
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica–Brera 500 articles posted on the preprint server Polarisation is sometimes an unsettling
Astronomical Observatory, Merate, Italy arXiv 1 in the past year. The gravitational quantity to think about as, unlike the
ESO wave was generated by the merger of other two and more familiar properties of
Theory Center, Institute of Particle and two neutron stars and gave rise to an light — brightness and colour — it is
Nuclear Studies, KEK, Tsukuba, Japan electromagnetic transient — called a kilo- almost impossible to observe with the
Department of Particle and Nuclear nova — which was intensively monitored naked eye. It is, however, an extremely
Physics, Sokendai, Tsukuba, Japan with all the main ground-based and powerful tool for studying the geometry
Interdisciplinary Theoretical and Mathe- space-borne facilities. This single event of extragalactic sources such as kilo­
matical Sciences Program, RIKEN, provided the smoking gun for a number novae, which are otherwise too far away
Wako, Japan of unresolved discussions, for example, to be spatially resolved using other
Center for Gravitational Physics, on the nature of short gamma-ray bursts ­imaging techniques. Radiation from kilo-
Yukawa Institute for Theoretical and the origin of r-process elements in novae can be linearly polarised by elec-
­Physics, Kyoto University, Japan the Universe. tron scattering, or depolarised by interac-
Department of Physics and Astronomy, tions with atoms. Linear polarimetry is
University of Sheffield, UK Despite the general agreement between thus sensitive to the geometry of the
Astronomical Institute, Tohoku Univer- existing models and data, some crucial ejecta, the distribution of elements within
sity, Sendai, Japan ingredients are still missing. State-of-
National Astronomical Observatory of the-art simulations and the analysis of Figure 1. A cartoon illustrating the origin of polarisa-
tion in kilonovae. Photons escaping the ejected
Japan, National Institutes of Natural AT 2017gfo suggest that the material
material from the red component are preferentially
Sciences, Mitaka, Japan ejected in kilonovae is likely to be distrib- depolarised by line interactions, while those leaving
Frontier Research Institute for Interdis- uted in two distinct components (see the ejecta from the blue component are more likely
ciplinary Sciences, Tohoku University, ­cartoon in Figure 1): a component around to be polarised by electron scattering. These both
contribute to the total polarisation signal that could
Sendai, Japan the merger plane that is relatively faint
12 be observed in future kilonova events.
Department of Physics & Astronomy
and Leicester Institute of Space & Earth
Observation, University of Leicester, UK
University of Warwick, Coventry, UK eNAR
Department of Physics, University of
Bath, UK
INAF–Astrophysics and Space Science $KDBSQNM
Observatory, Bologna, Italy
We present the first results of a cam-
paign aimed at characterising the linear
polarisation signals and thus the geom- +HMD
etry of binary neutron star mergers 4M ONK@QHRD
(i.e., kilonovae). We carried out the first
polarimetric observations of a kilonova
called AT 2017gfo, using the FOcal
Reducer/low dispersion Spectrograph 2
(FORS2). We predicted for the first time
the polarisation signatures expected

34 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

the ejecta, and the interplay between 0.8 Figure 2. Polarisation
predicted by our simula-
­different sources of opacity. This allows 1.5 days after the merger
tions as a function of
us to study properties that are not easily 0.7 the observer orientation,
2.5 days after the merger
constrained through the analysis of pho- from the equator
tometric light curves and spectra alone. 0.6 3.5 days after the merger (cos q obs = 0) to the pole
(cos q obs = 1). Different

Polarisation (%)
symbols correspond
0.5 to different epochs after
Polarisation of AT 2017gfo the merger of two neu-
0.4 tron stars. The blue
shaded area marks
We presented polarimetric data of
0.3 the range of polarisation
AT 2017gfo taken with FORS2 in Covino estimated for AT 2017gfo.
et al. (2017). Five epochs were secured,
spanning a range between about 1.5 and
10 days after the binary neutron star AT 2017gfo
merger. A polarisation signal of P = 0.50
± 0.07% and a polarisation angle, PA =
57° ± 4° were measured during the first
observation. Stringent upper limits 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0
were placed on the following epochs, all Equator cos θobs Pole
consistent with the former measurement.
nations of the system (i.e., for an equato- polarisation in future kilonovae will unam-
Despite the detection of a polarisation rial viewing angle; see Figure 2). biguously reveal the presence of a lantha-
signal in the first epoch, determining nide-free blue component of the ejecta.
what fraction of this is intrinsic to the kilo- Our simulations predict that the polarisa- Because of the competition between
nova and what fraction is due to polarisa- tion signal should reach a maximum at polarising radiation from the blue compo-
tion induced by dust along the line of around 7000 Å and become negligible nent and depolarising radiation from the
sight is not trivial. In fact, the polarisation about two or three days after the merger red component, the polarisation signal
percentage and angle observed for for all observer orientations. These pre- is predicted to be strongly dependent on
AT 2017gfo are both consistent with dictions are crucial for planning future the relative extent of the ejecta compo-
those shown by several stars in the field polarimetric campaigns, highlighting that nents for inclinations close to the merger
of view. This suggests that a good frac- early (within two days of the event) obser- plane. The detection of a polarisation sig-
tion of the signal detected is due to vations around 7000 Å are required to nal in future events at favourable orienta-
dust in our galaxy, and that the intrinsic detect polarisation in kilonovae. tions will therefore place constraints on
emission was therefore weakly polarised. the spatial and angular distribution of the
Our modelling also suggests that any sig- two ejecta components.
nal observed after three days would not
The origin of polarisation in kilonovae be intrinsic (see white diamonds in Fig-
ure 2) but rather due to intervening inter- A bright future ahead
In a follow-up paper, we predict the polar- stellar dust. Since dust polarisation is
isation signal expected from a kilonova for constant with time, this provides a simple In these studies, we have: (i) established
the first time, and identify the best strat- way to characterise the interstellar signal the origin of polarisation in kilonovae;
egy to constrain important parameters of from late-time polarimetry and remove (ii) made quantitative predictions about
the system in future polarimetric observa- it from the polarisation intrinsic to the the polarisation signal as a function of
tions (Bulla et al., 2018). We focus on the kilonova detected earlier. In the case of observer orientation and time; (iii) high-
optical emission, as this is where kilo­ AT 2017gfo, we estimated the interstellar lighted the best strategy to drive a future
novae are brightest and thus most easily polarisation to be 0.49 ± 0.05%, leading polarimetric observing campaign; (iv)
detectable using ESO facilities. to an upper limit on the intrinsic polarisa- identified a simple approach to estimate
tion of P < 0.18% (see shaded area in the interstellar polarisation from late-time
As illustrated in Figure 1, our work dem­ Figure 2). The better handle on the intrin- observations and thus to disentangle the
onstrates that the presence of two sepa- sic signal of AT 2017gfo allows us to intrinsic and interstellar signals from ear-
rate ejecta components gives rise to ­constrain the inclination of the system lier epochs; (v) constrained the system
a detectable polarisation signal in kilo­ to within 60° of the polar direction inclination of AT 2017gfo; and (vi) demon-
novae. While photons coming from the (cos q obs ≥ 0.4, see Figure 2), a value strated how the detection of polarisation
red component are typically depolarised which is consistent with independent in future kilonova events can unveil the
by interactions with atoms, photons from measurements from the literature. spatial extent of the two ejecta
the blue component are preferentially components.
scattered off, and polarised by, electrons. Although the polarisation signal is con-
This leads to a net polarisation signal that sistent with zero (i.e., unpolarised) in this The best is yet to come! LIGO, the
can reach ~ 1% levels for favourable incli- particular event, the detection of non-zero Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 35

Astronomical Science Bulla M. et al., Shedding Light on the Geometry of Kilonovae

Observatory and the Virgo interferometer Acknowledgements Links

will begin taking data again in a couple of 1
This study was based on observations collected  he astrophysics arXiv preprint server:
months, discovering many more kilono- at the European Organisation for Astronomical
vae that we could follow up with polarim- Research in the Southern Hemisphere under
etry. The flexibility and reliability of ESO ­European Southern Observatory programme
099.D-0116. We thank the ESO Paranal staff for Notes
facilities is a strong factor in this exciting
­c arrying out excellent observations under difficult
and innovative quest. conditions during a hectic period. a
 he name of the kilonova AT 2017gfo was assigned
by the Transient Name Server, the official IAU
The detection of polarisation in future server through which new astronomical transients
References are reported.
kilonova events, coupled to the
­predictions made by our modelling, will Abbott, B. P. et al. 2017, Physics Review Letters,
unambiguously reveal the presence of a 119, 161101
lanthanide-free blue component and Bulla, M. et al. 2018, Nature Astronomy, in press,
allow us to constrain important parame-
Covino, S. et al. 2017, Nature Astronomy, 1, 791
ters like the geometry of the ejecta com-
ponents and the inclination of the system.

V. Forchi/ESO

Unit Telescope 1 (called

Antu) hosts FORS2,
probably the most
­versatile instrument at
the VLT.

36 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

Astronomical News
The 3000 kg blank for the secondary mirror of
ESO’s ELT has been prepared by SCHOTT and is
now undergoing final grinding and p­ olishing by
Safran Reosc in France. The secondary mirror will
be the largest secondary employed on a tele-

scope, as well as the largest convex mirror ever

HARMONI Consortium

Members of the HARMONI consortium in Lyon.

The High Angular Resolution Monolithic Optical
and Near-infrared Integral field spectrograph
(HARMONI) will be one of the first instruments on

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 37

Astronomical News DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5112

ESO Conference Proceedings 2.0 at Zenodo

Silvia Meakins 1 declining, with proceedings papers Zenodo applies the FAIR guiding princi-
María Eugenia Gómez 1 becoming obsolete faster than scientific ples for scientific data management
Dominic Bordelon 1 literature in general (Lisée, Larivière & and stewardship 6 by assuring that
Uta Grothkopf 1 Archambault, 2008). In light of the deposited content is “Findable, Accessi-
reduced impact of conference proceed- ble, Interoperable, and Reusable”. The
ings, and because of the large effort ESO Conference Proceedings 2.0 project
ESO (on the part of authors and editors) as provides compelling advantages as con-
well as the costs involved in the produc- tent submitted to Zenodo is:
tion of conference proceedings, it was – Citable — Zenodo will assign DOIs
As of the past few years, ESO no longer decided to discontinue the symposia (Digital Object Identifiers 7) to all
publishes conference proceedings, series. The last volume was published in submissions.
mainly because of the large effort 2009. In the mid-2000s, some organisers – Discoverable — content will be directly
involved in their production and the rel- started posting presentation slides of retrievable at Zenodo; more importantly,
atively small impact of proceedings conferences on the web; however, this the ESO Library will notify ADS about
papers. In order to continue to preserve approach was inconsistent, and the con- the conference collection so that they
a record of ESO-hosted conferences, tent prone to deletion after the meetings. can harvest the metadata and make
the ESO Library has implemented a them retrievable through the NASA ADS
system called “Conference Proceedings Abstract Service.
2.0”. Presentation slides and posters Next-generation conference – A rchived — Zenodo will permanently
are made available through Zenodo, a proceedings preserve the material.
CERN-developed platform for the per-
manent storage of digital research Despite the cessation of ESO’s confer- In addition, the librarians create links
­output, ensuring that content is citable, ence proceedings series, the Library between the ESO conference programme
discoverable, and archived. still considered it important to preserve on the web and the Zenodo records.
the legacy of content presented at This enables easy retrieval of the pres-
ESO-hosted meetings. Obviously, the entation slides from the programme web
For many decades, conference proceed- problems encountered with the series page, and at the same time relieves ESO
ings formed a vital part of the astronomy volumes needed to be avoided, and of the task of storing the final versions
literature. Astronomers typically present establishing records of conference mate- of presentation slides and posters on the
their latest findings at scientific meetings, rial had to be as straightforward and ESO server.
and the resulting conference papers pro- cost-effective as possible. An idea was
vided valuable information about ongoing developed to take presentation slides In 2015, the ESO Library started to
research to those colleagues who could and poster PDFs (which are prepared for explain the benefits of Zenodo confer-
not attend the conference, and preserved the conference anyway), add descriptions ence proceedings to organisers in order
the results for posterity. For the research- (metadata) to the individual records, and to find out whether there was any interest
ers, writing up their presentations often archive them in a central place. In this in the idea. The ESO/ESA workshop on
formed the basis for a more detailed, ref- way, the Library sought to establish “ESO Science Operations (SciOps) 2015 was
ereed article. Conference Proceedings 2.0”, adapted to the first trial, and a success. As a result,
the digital age. the presentation slides and posters are
ESO has a long history of publishing pro- now easily retrievable and accessible (a)
ceedings volumes of the workshops In their search for a suitable platform, at Zenodo8 (see Figure 1), (b) via the
and conferences it hosted. From 1969 to the librarians encountered Zenodo 4. NASA ADS9, and (c) through the ESO
2002 ESO issued the ESO Conference Developed by the European Organization programme website (see the various links
and Workshop Proceedings which were for Nuclear Research (known as CERN) below 10, 11), and the content is perma-
produced and published in-house. In a in the context of the European Commis- nently preserved.
joint project involving the ESO Library sion’s OpenAIRE project 5, Zenodo is a
and the NASA Astrophysics Data System repository for all kinds of research arte- As of mid-2018, the librarians have
Abstract Service (ADS), many of these facts that form part of the scholarly pro- loaded 16 ESO-hosted conferences into
volumes have been scanned and made cess, and which are not published else- Zenodo, providing lasting records of con-
available in electronic format to the entire where. Such individual research output is ferences held at ESO Garching and Chile.
astronomy community. The PDF files can often referred to as “the long tail of sci-
be accessed via the Library c ­ atalogue 1 ence”. Zenodo’s lead software developer
or directly at the ADS . In the ­following describes the content as follows: “Data, Workflow at ESO
years, the ESO Astrophysics Symposia software and other artefacts in support of
series was published by Springer 3. publications may be the core, but equally In order to establish a default procedure
welcome are the materials associated for ESO-hosted meetings, the Library
However, 10 years ago the impact of with the conferences, projects or the has developed Conference Proceedings
­conference proceedings in the natural institutions themselves” (Nielsen, 2017). 2.0 at Zenodo. This is a workflow that
sciences was already known to be is presented to the Chair of the Science

38 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

bulk import. The Excel file along with the
zipped PDFs are uploaded via a tool
developed by the ESO librarians so that
all Zenodo records pertaining to a given
conference are created at once. During
the upload a check for duplicates and
missing information takes place. Once
the quality check is successfully com-
pleted, all talks and posters are published
at Zenodo by using an ESO-internal
Zenodo interface created by the Library.

Zenodo encourages users to share their

research as openly as possible to maxi­
mise use and reuse of research results.
Therefore, the default license under which
content is published is CC BY (­current
version: Creative Commons ­Attribution
4.0 International) 12. CC BY 4.0 allows
redistribution and reuse of a licensed
work under the condition that the original
creator is appropriately credited.

If a conference presenter is not comforta-

ble with the CC BY approach, the
uploaded content does not necessarily
have to be open. Files can be embargoed
or even defined to be private. In order to
correct typos and other mistakes in the
metadata, the librarians can modify the
descriptions of records at any time. How-
ever, once a record has been published,
the associated file cannot be deleted. If
absolutely necessary, a revised version of
the PDF can be uploaded; this will result
in a new DOI for the record.

Should conference participants choose

not to make their contributions available
Figure 1. Screenshot of the Science Operations Zenodo. Once complete, they return the through Zenodo, they can opt out simply
(SciOps) 2015 community at Zenodo, the first
file to the librarians, along with the PDFs by informing the organisers.
ESO Conference Proceedings 2.0 community that
was curated by the ESO Library. of presentations and posters. Zenodo
records can also be complemented with If you are planning to organise a confer-
Organising Committee (SOC) as soon as additional files, such as write-ups of dis- ence at ESO and would like to get further
an event is announced. cussion sessions or videos. information about the Conference Pro-
ceedings at Zenodo, please do not hesi-
Well in advance of the conference, the The ESO librarians add further metadata, tate to contact the librarians.
organisers receive a Microsoft Excel tem- for example, the conference name, loca-
plate from the Library, prefilled with sam- tion, and dates. In parallel, they prepare
ple entries of the descriptive information the respective conference area (called Conclusion
(authors, affiliations, title, abstract, etc.) a community) at Zenodo where general
that is requested for each contribution. information about the meeting can be Organisers of ESO-hosted conferences
The Library also provides a sample email displayed, along with a logo and a link to increasingly use the library-developed
to the organisers that can be used to the conference website. Initially, the ESO Conference Proceedings 2.0 at Zenodo
inform conference participants about the librarians had to add each talk or poster to establish citeable, retrievable, and per-
Zenodo proceedings. Either during or manually to the newly created community manently archived records of the meeting
after the conference, the organisers fill space. In the meantime, Zenodo has content. The effort required to gather the
out the Excel spreadsheet with metadata made an application programming inter- material and the respective metadata is
of all the records that will be submitted to face (API) available that can be used for reasonable, since authors do not need to

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 39

Astronomical News

spend additional time on writing a sepa- Links 7

DOI (Digital Object Identifiers):
SciOps 2015 conference proceedings accessible
rate conference paper. With this Zenodo 1
Scanned versions of selected volumes of ESO at Zenodo:
solution, presentation slides and posters Conference and Workshop Proceedings are sciops2015/
presented at conferences are preserved accessible through the ESO Library catalogue: 9
SciOps 2015 conference proceedings at ADS:
and made available to the community nect?bibcode=2015scop.confE
promptly, in a professional way, and are 10
Conference%20and%20Workshop%20Proceed- SciOps 2015 conference ESO programme page
available for reuse and redistribution by ings%22&offset=0&sort_by=pubdate_dsc presentations – click expand all to see DOIs linked
other researchers. 2
Papers published in ESO Conference and Work- to Zenodo:
shop Proceedings are available at the NASA ADS: 2015/SciOps2015/program.html
11 SciOps 2015 conference posters:
References 3
ESO Astrophysics Symposia: https://link.springer. SciOps2015/posters.html
com/bookseries/3291 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Lisée, C., Larivière, V. & Archambault, E. 2008, 4
Zenodo: (CC BY 4.0):
Journal of the Association for Information Science 5
OpenAIRE: licenses/by/4.0/
and Technology, 59, 1776, DOI 10.1002/asi.20888 6
FAIR Principles:
Nielsen, L. H. 2017, DOI 10.5281/zenodo.802100

DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5113
Report on the ESO Workshop

A Revolution in Stellar Physics with Gaia and Large Surveys

held at the Warsaw University Library, Warsaw, Poland, 3–7 September 2018

Rodolfo Smiljanic1 included both theory and observations and was particularly encouraged during
Gaitee Hussain 2 of: low- and high-mass stars; evolution- one dedicated long break of 50 minutes.
Luca Pasquini 2 ary stages ranging from the pre-main
sequence to white dwarfs and black Setting the stage for the rest of the week,
holes; stellar ages; stellar clusters; and the first talk of the workshop was a
Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical stellar populations. review of Gaia DR2 by Elena Pancino.
Center, PAN, Warsaw, Poland The talk highlighted the impressive
ESO This workshop was co-organised by ESO ­numbers associated with Gaia, which
and the Nicolaus Copernicus Astro­ includes positions and G magnitudes
nomical Center, a research institute of the for more than 1.6 × 10 9 stars, astrometry
The exquisite astrometry and photome- ­Polish Academy of Sciences. Poland and colours for more than 1.3 × 10 9 stars,
try of ESA’s Gaia satellite combined became the 15th ESO member state in radial velocities for more than 7 × 10 6
with data from other large photometric, mid-2015. Hosting the workshop in stars, and effective temperatures for
spectroscopic, and asteroseismic ­Warsaw facilitated and encouraged the more than 160 × 10 6 stars. At the faint
­stellar surveys are enabling a revolution participation of the local community, end (G > 14 magnitudes), the astrometry
in our understanding of stellar physics. helping to strengthen the links between of Gaia DR2 already reached the
The goal of this workshop was to bring Polish astronomers and the wider ESO expected performance for the end of
together a diverse community working community — of the 117 participants, mission. The uncertainties and caveats
on or making use of various aspects 21 had Polish affiliation. The programme associated with the released data
of stellar physics. The discussions cov- comprised 16 invited talks, 43 contrib- were also discussed, stressing the need
ered both recent advances in the field uted talks and 40 posters. Details of the for users of Gaia data to familiarise
and expectations for when new data programme can be found via the work- ­themselves with the DR2 publications
and surveys become available. shop webpage1. Each talk was followed and documentation.
by a five-minute session dedicated to
questions and discussions. It was very
Taking place a few months after the pleasing to note that the level of parti­ Stellar physics and models
­second data release (DR2) of Gaia, the cipation during these sessions was very
­workshop was ideally timed to allow the high and that the number of questions Three invited talks reviewed the state-of-
presentation of the first results to come was certainly above average. Poster view- the-art stellar models, one focussing
out from those data. The topics covered ing took place during all coffee breaks on low-mass stars, another on high-mass

40 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

stars, and the third on internal transport using data from asteroseismology, eclips- Figure 1. Workshop participants on the steps inside
the impressive Warsaw University Library.
processes. Low-mass stellar models ing binaries and interferometry. Another
have many difficulties in accurately talk described an effort to improve the
describing the pre-main sequence phase modelling of core-helium-burning stars infrared photometry and spectroscopy.
and the reasons are not entirely clear. combining different types of observa- The differences in variability seen in
Magnetic fields, starspots, problems with tional data with modern fluid-dynamics ­Herbig Ae and Herbig Be systems sug-
the description of convection and/or simulations in 3D. An effort to use eclips- gest that the discs surrounding these
problems in the opacities all might play a ing binaries to provide an improved cali- stars have different properties. A series of
role, and getting masses for more eclips- bration of convective overshooting, one contributions showed work that com-
ing binaries would help to disentangle of the major weaknesses in stellar mod- bines Gaia data with other photometric
these effects. For high-mass stellar mod- els, was also presented. and spectroscopic surveys to study pop-
els before the supernova stage, the ulations down to M stars for several
main physical uncertainties include core star-forming regions, moving groups, and
overshooting, rotation, mass loss, and From star formation to the main young open clusters. A careful analysis
semi-convection. Mechanisms that trans- sequence of the chemical composition of stars in
port chemicals inside stars, such as the Pleiades suggests that inhomoge­
atomic diffusion, rotation, and thermoline An invited talk summarised the impact neities at the 0.04 dex level are present.
mixing were also discussed, with particu- of Gaia in the studies of star formation It was suggested that these chemical
lar emphasis on the impact of these and pre-main sequence stars. Gaia data ­differences might be related to planetary
processes on surface abundances used for stars in young clusters help to define material being engulfed.
to study stellar populations. cluster membership, to probe the internal
kinematics of several clusters (revealing
The contributed talks in this session that some are expanding), and to study Post-main sequence evolution
included the presentation of a new set of stellar and circumstellar properties. This
evolutionary tracks and isochrones from is providing new insights into how star One invited talk covered the asymptotic
the PAdova and TRieste Stellar Evolution formation takes place and the evolution giant branch (AGB) and post-AGB phases
Code (PARSEC), computed with a new of discs and angular momentum in young of low- and intermediate-mass stars.
convective overshooting calibration which stellar systems, as well as identification Besides the complexities typical of these
improves the position of the red giant of eclipsing binaries in the Upper Sco star- stages (for example, thermal pulses and
branch bump in 47 Tuc. New empirical forming cluster. envelope ejection), the models inherit
relations for the estimation of stellar the uncertainties from the earlier phases
masses and radii were presented. The Contributed talks included a study of (regarding, for example, rotation, deep
relations which have a precision and intermediate-mass pre-main sequence mixing and magnetic fields). Gaia itself
accuracy better than 10%, were derived stars combining Gaia DR2 data with has had little impact on these stars so far,

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 41

Astronomical Science Smiljanic R. et al., Report on the Workshop “Stellar Physics with Gaia and Large Surveys”

but the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub- also in the field of exoplanets. Another stellar interaction. Unstable mass transfer
millimeter Array (ALMA) has been particu- invited talk highlighted the opportunities in common-envelope evolution is an
larly important in unveiling their circum- that stem from combining photometric important source of uncertainties in
stellar environments. surveys with Gaia data. They include the binary evolution. Gaia will be important
unveiling of new physics using calibrated in extending the size of the samples
Another invited talk covered the white colour-magnitude diagrams (CMD) for ­available for study. It was stressed that
dwarf stage. Important progress in large stellar samples and time domain the evolution of stars in triple systems
this field came with SDSS but Gaia DR2 studies, which are important, for exam- enhances the occurrence rate of mass
has now increased the sample of known ple, for the understanding of the evolu- transfer, the merger rate of compact
white dwarfs. White dwarf main tion of stellar rotation. The Large Synoptic objects, and the formation of compact
sequence binary systems are particularly Survey Telescope (LSST) will expand binaries.
valuable as the age can be derived these opportunities in the future.
from the white dwarf while metallicity can One contributed talk discussed cataclys-
be measured in the MS star companion. On the spectroscopic side, one invited mic variables and how Gaia is helping
Some of these objects show signs of talk presented a summary of three to constrain the surface gravity of the
accretion of planetary material in their high-resolution large surveys: the Apache white dwarf companions and their space
atmospheres, opening a window to stud- Point Observatory Galactic Evolution density. Another talk discussed the dis-
ying the chemical composition of this Experiment (APOGEE); Gaia-ESO; and crepancy between evolutionary, spectro-
material. Objects that might have sur- Galactic Archaeology with HERMES scopic, and dynamical mass estimates,
vived a SNIa explosion have also been (GALAH). Surveys such as these are pro- stressing the need to combine multiple
identified, giving some unique insight into viding chemical abundances that are observables in solving the problem.
these rare events. Future massive spec- important data for stellar physics studies. A discussion of the properties of short-­
troscopic surveys will play an important Another invited talk discussed recent period binaries identified in the GALAH
role in advancing the field. progress in modelling stellar photo- survey was also presented.
spheres, which are important tools for
Contributed talks included: the report the determination of chemical abun- Another talk presented a study of binary
of 300 new red-clump Li-rich giants iden- dances. Results based on 3D non-local disruption that shows that, in most cases,
tified from spectra obtained with the thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) the ejected star moves slowly. The
Large sky Area Multi-Object fibre Spec- ­models suggest changes in abundances observed runaway fraction of O-type
troscopic Telescope (LAMOST); a chemi- that might significantly impact our under- stars exceeds by a factor of 10 that pre-
cal analysis of intrinsic and extrinsic standing of stellar physics and stellar dicted by models. On a similar topic,
S-type stars with precise positions in the populations. another talk discussed how Gaia is help-
Hertzsprung Russell (HR) diagram thanks ing to exclude and select between
to Gaia parallaxes; the presentation of Contributed talks included a study of the the likely ejection mechanisms that can
a new catalogue of ~ 260 000 high-con­ rotation curve of the Milky Way and the explain the presence of hypervelocity
fidence white dwarfs identified with description of a search for extremely stars. The detection of spectroscopic
Gaia data; and the search for stellar-mass ­metal-poor stars with the Pristine photo- binaries in the Gaia-ESO Survey was also
black holes using microlensing with metric survey and Gaia. Follow-up spec- presented, confirming that the frequency
OGLE and Gaia data. Recent progress troscopy has revealed a high efficiency of single-lined binaries (SB1) decreases
in understanding the nature of sub-dwarf in identifying stars with [Fe/H] < – 3.0 dex. with metallicity and that the frequency
A-type stars was also presented. Some Such stars offer an opportunity to study of both single- and double-lined binaries
of these objects seem to be old, metal- early star formation and the first super­ (SB2) increases with spectral type. Hot
poor halo objects, others are extremely novae. Another talk presented a study of subdwarfs were discussed in another
low mass white dwarfs, but the nature of spectroscopic and astrometric radial talk, a field where Gaia is helping with the
many of these objects remains a mystery. velocities (RVs) using stars in the Hyades. identification of large volume-limited
The study demonstrates that spectro- ­samples and with parallaxes to constrain
scopic RVs with accuracy of 20–30 m s –1 the stellar masses.
Surveys and techniques are possible. Moreover, the internal veloc-
ity dispersion of the cluster, the rotation
An invited talk reviewed the power of gradient and the gravitational redshift Stellar variability
asteroseismology in probing stellar phys- have been determined.
ics, highlighting important results such One invited talk highlighted the impact
as the discovery of constant core rotation of Gaia on variability studies. Gaia is
in red giants. Synergies between Gaia Binaries and multiple stars repeatedly scanning the sky over many
and asteroseismology were discussed years and providing nearly simultaneous
and the need for interferometry to provide An invited talk reviewed the evolution of photometry and spectroscopy for all
accurate stellar temperatures was stellar binaries and triples, focusing on the different types of variable stars. With
stressed. This will bring further progress the comparison between observed prop- Gaia data it is possible to position these
not only in the study of stellar physics but erties and models that take into account stars accurately in the HR diagram and to

42 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

add to that the time axis, allowing the can also limit the accuracy of the results dances with time. The use of Gaia paral-
observation of how the pulsating stars themselves, particularly in star forming laxes to improve spectroscopic analysis
move in the diagram through their varia- regions. in the context of the GALAH survey
bility cycles. was discussed in another talk. The last
Contributed talks included a report on talk discussed Galactic chemical evolu-
Another invited talk described mainly the determination of ages for the Gaia tion models and their comparison with
the results of the Optical Gravitational benchmark stars, a series of stars used abundances from the APOGEE and the
Lensing Experiment (OGLE), a time as references for Gaia and many spectro- AMBRE project.
domain survey aiming to identify micro- scopic surveys. Gyrochronology was dis-
lensing events that also provides light cussed in another talk where new models Several themes recurred throughout
curves for billion of stars. Amongst other that take into account magnetism and the workshop, including the need to
achievements, OGLE has discovered stellar winds were described. The lack of combine several types of data to uncover
extrasolar planets and new types of vari- — and need for — information on slowly the limitations of current stellar models.
ables like blue large-amplitude pulsators. rotating old M stars was highlighted. Gaia The requirement for higher quality chemi-
The observed fields include the Galactic is providing crucial data on cluster mem- cal abundances from spectroscopic
disc and bulge as well as the Magellanic bership, masses, absolute magnitudes, ­surveys was also stressed many times.
Clouds. Other surveys like the All Sky and rotation periods that are going to The community is working hard to use
Automated Survey (ASAS), BRIght Target help gyrochronology to improve the the data that are currently available but it
Explorer (BRITE), Solaris and Pi of the accuracy of stellar age estimates. is also looking forward to future Gaia
Sky were also mentioned. data releases, new missions like NASA’s
The use of chemical abundance ratios as Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
A series of contributed talks discussed stellar clocks was discussed in one talk. (TESS) and LSST, and new massive
Cepheids. Discussions included the use A Bayesian tool called the Unified tool to spectroscopic surveys like the 4-metre
of Cepheids as standard candles, their estimate Distances, Ages and Masses (of Multi-­Object Spectrograph Telescope
use in constraining models of the evolu- stars) (UniDAM) was the topic of another (4MOST) and the WHT Enhanced Area
tion of intermediate-mass stars, and talk. This tool has been used to provide Velocity Explorer (WEAVE). It is an excit-
how measuring masses of Cepheids in ages for about 5.5 × 10 6 stars observed ing era for studies of stellar physics, and
binary systems is important to constrain by many spectroscopic surveys. One talk many p ­ articipants already expressed the
period-mass-radius relations. Another presented the combined use of Gaia and wish to meet again for a similar workshop
contributed talk described the use of LAMOST to derive ages to be used in after the release of Gaia DR3.
­Cepheids and RR Lyrae observed with studies of Galactic archaeology.
OGLE to study the structure of the
Magellanic Clouds. These stellar tracers Demographics
suggest no evident connection between Stellar populations
the clouds. A discussion of dynamical The gender balance among the speakers
phenomena in RR Lyrae using K2 light An invited talk discussed the needs of reflected the 1:3 (female:male) distribu-
curves was also presented, revealing Galactic archaeology in terms of reliable tion of the participants, though the SOC
how Gaia DR2 has enabled the discovery ages, which are needed to complement had a corresponding ratio of 4:7 (­female:
of many more RR Lyrae systems in the information on chemistry, masses, and male). The speakers constituted a mix
original Kepler field. Another talk pre- evolutionary stages coming from spectro- of early career researchers (students and
sented the combination of the ASAS-SN scopic and asteroseismic surveys. It was postdocs) as well as more senior staff.
photometric survey with APOGEE spec- stressed that, for giants in particular,
troscopy to study variable stars. isochrone fitting is the main way to obtain
ages but that models suffer from key Acknowledgements
uncertainties. Significant improvements We thank ESO for financial support and for the
Stellar ages are coming from the study of the second- opportunity to host the workshop in Poland. We
ary red clump in clusters, as well as dou- would like to thank the LOC, the SOC, and the ses-
An invited talk described the determina- ble-lined eclipsing binaries, and from sion chairs for all their help before and during the
workshop. We are also grateful to the administrative
tion of stellar ages using stellar models asteroseismic data. staff of the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical
and colour-magnitude diagrams from Center for their support with the organisation of the
Gaia. General applications to pre-main Galactic archaeology using spectro- event.
sequence stars, open clusters, and single scopic surveys like APOGEE, the Gaia-
stars were also discussed and the ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey and
need to use robust statistical techniques GALAH, were discussed in a series of
was highlighted. Models do not always talks, also including smaller samples of 1
 he workshop webpage includes links to the
fit the observations, which emphasises stars. The topics covered the under- ­p resentations that speakers have uploaded:
that there is missing physics in the mod- standing of the disc populations, radial
els, particularly for M stars. A lack of and vertical gradients, and the evolution
metallicity and extinction measurements of metallicity and other chemical abun-

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 43

Astronomical News DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5114

Report on the ESO Workshop

Take a Closer Look: The Innermost Region of Protoplanetary Discs and its
Connection to the Origin of Planets
held at ESO Headquarters, Garching, Germany, 15–19 October 2018

Carlo F. Manara 1 close-in planets? How are close-in

P. Christian Schneider 2 ­planets related to the inner disc and how
Gaitee Hussain 1 can we observe these regions of the
Stefano Facchini 1 disc? How are inner and outer discs con-
Anna Miotello 1 nected and what mechanisms drive their

ESO We now have solid evidence for the exist-
Hamburg Observatory, Germany ence of a large population of exoplane-
tary systems, some of which comprise
several planets very close to the central
About 150 scientists from all over the star, i.e. at distances of 0.1–1 astronom­
world convened at the ESO Headquar- ical units (au), even around late-type pre-
ters to discuss the origin of close-in main sequence stars that are younger
exoplanets and the properties of the than 5 Myr (called T Tauri stars). These
inner regions of protoplanetary discs, planets are usually slightly bigger than
where these planets are formed. In a the Earth and can reach the size of Nep-
cordial atmosphere, made possible by tune, while Jupiter analogues are rarer.
the collaborative attitude of the very This finding differs from what we observe
diverse group of attendees, the discus- in our own Solar System and raises the
sion led to a deeper appreciation of the question of how such planets form. From
importance of several observing tech- a theoretical point of view, it is still chal-
niques and of advances in modelling to lenging to show that these planets
tackle key open questions. In addition, formed in situ, but it is similarly difficult to Figure 1. The conference poster.
the participants had the chance to explain this population of close-in planets
experience a special show at the ESO as the result of migration through the disc.
Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre, for example, by both short and long-last-
which highlighted the potential of this To advance our understanding of the for- ing dimming events. This rapid evolution
facility. mation and migration mechanisms of is likely to impact the formation of plan-
these planets, it is crucial to know the ets. Finally, a fraction of discs known as
conditions within the inner parts of their transition discs show a deficit of dust in
Motivations for the workshop progenitor protoplanetary discs. The the inner few au of the disc, which could
innermost disc region is where most of be related to the mechanisms driving disc
Radial velocity and transit surveys have the processes related to star-disc interac- evolution in this planet-forming region.
discovered an impressive population tion take place. The magnetic field of the
of close-in exoplanets, but their origin central star truncates the disc at a few Studies of this key disc region require
remains unclear. What are the physical stellar radii and channels material onto innovative techniques and a wide range
and chemical conditions of protoplan­ the central star. Magnetic fields also drive of instrumentation, because radio inter-
etary discs that foster the formation of the ejection of fast-collimated jets and ferometers, typically used for disc studies,
slow winds. Also, the inner disc region cannot resolve spatial scales smaller than
Figure 2. The conference workshop photograph. undergoes rapid evolution, as evidenced, ~ 10 au in most discs. New observ­ations

44 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

with instruments on the ESO Very Large A time-slot on Thursday was reserved for ~ 3 days and with sizes ~ 2 R ⊕. It is now
Telescope (VLT) and the Very Large Tele- special breakout sessions, to allow dis- possible to try to reproduce these obser-
scope Interferometer (VLTI), as well as cussions on particular subjects that vations with different formation mecha-
with other telescopes and radio interfer- may not have been equally relevant to all nisms, for example based on different
ometers, provide us with unprecedented participants. The main breakout session chemical properties of the host star, or
information probing a range of scales in the auditorium dealt with a peculiar as the result of the evolution of planetary
­relevant to disc evolution and it was this object, RW Aur. This session consisted atmospheres due to photoevaporation
that motivated this workshop (Figure 1). of five highly focused five-minute talks driven by ultraviolet radiation coming
Specifically, this workshop was convened which briefly presented recent results, from their host stars. The latter model
to discuss the current knowledge of: followed by a lively and wide-ranging dis- seems to explain most of the observa-
the morphology and composition of the cussion lasting for more than an hour. tions, in particular the “evaporation valley”
innermost regions of the disc; the star- This allowed everyone working on this — a gap in the distribution of planets with
disc interaction processes; the theories target to get acquainted with the latest sizes of between 1.5 and 2.0 R ⊕. One of
to describe the inner disc evolution; and results from other groups, and to explore the major open issues in this quest is the
the formation of close-in planets. the possible explanations fitting the determination of the masses of these
wealth of observational and theoretical planets, in particular below ~ 2 M⊕. In this
constraints. A parallel session in the mass range, the magnetic activity of the
The workshop programme Pavo Room was organised by Mihkel host star and its rotational modulation
Kama on observations of the inner contribute a radial velocity signature that
With these themes defined, the workshop regions of H­ erbig Ae/Be star discs, and has a larger amplitude than the effect
was aimed at scientists working on a this was also very well attended. Lastly, due to the planet. A lot of effort is being
number of related topics, including devel- a group of colleagues took advantage of invested into disentangling these effects;
oping planet formation models, perform- being together to discuss the reduction approaches include precisely modelling
ing observations of exoplanets and and analysis of still proprietary data from the physical processes causing the stellar
discs, and working on current and future GRAVITY, the second-generation VLTI contributions to radial velocity variability
high-resolution instrumentations. With instrument. — for example, by viewing the Sun as a
150 participants (see Figure 2), 15 invited star — or accounting for these effects by
talks and reviews, 40 contributed talks, The workshop closed with a final discus- applying robust statistical techniques to
and about 70 posters, the workshop sion led by four Science Organising Com- well monitored radial velocity time series.
hosted a sizeable fraction of the target mittee (SOC) members based on anony-
community 1. In order to facilitate discus- mous questions put into a “Magic Box” On the other hand, the search for the
sions, we decided to have contributed (Figure 3) by the participants during the youngest exoplanets is even more chal-
talks of 15 minutes, followed by five min- week. This allowed more participants to lenging. Radial velocity signatures from
utes for questions. This was generally ask any big questions, including ques- stellar magnetic activity are even more
found to be a good balance between tions they may not have had the courage
space for new results and time for follow to ask during the workshop. Indeed,
up questions; it also ensured keeping ­several Magic Box questions turned out Figure 3. This is the “Magic Box” in which partici-
pants could confidentially post their most burning
to schedule. Each session included two to be tricky and even provocative (in the questions over the duration of the workshop. These
invited review talks, one from a theo­ most positive sense). The resulting lively questions were used to drive the discussion on the
retical and one from an observational discussion revealed a large variety of last day of the workshop.
perspective. Four additional invited opinions and constructive answers.
talks were focused on current and future
high-resolution facilities. All talks and posters are available via the
Zenodo platform 2, where they will be
Furthermore, we had two dedicated stored and assigned a Digital Object
poster sessions that were well attended, Identifier (DOI). In the following sections,
with lively discussions. Poster presenters we summarise the subject matter of the
were each asked to provide a single- workshop, broadly following the various
page PDF slide to promote their main programme sessions.
result. These were used to create a slide-
show that was shown during the breaks
in the main auditorium. Finally, a panel Exoplanet detection and formation
of four judges selected three outstanding mechanisms
posters, one of which was named the
“best poster”; all three authors were given As described in the review by Raphaëlle
prizes from the ESO shop and their post- Haywood, the large number of close-in
ers were further advertised in the audito- exoplanets detected to date gives us the
rium during breaks on the last day. possibility to explore the observed lack
of planets at orbital periods shorter than

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 45

Astronomical News Manara C. F. et al., Report on the Workshop “Take a Closer Look”

pronounced in young stars, as discussed retical models. A particularly striking new between the disc and the star. A number
later in the workshop by Gaitee Hussain result is the evidence from spectroscopy of observing campaigns have been
and Colin Hill. Direct imaging also remains (mainly from the ultraviolet and infrared), planned to tackle this problem, bringing
challenging. While the recent discovery from near-infrared interferometry, and together complementary techniques, such
of a planetary-mass object in the disc of from scattered light observations, that as mapping the stellar magnetic field and
PDS 70 was reported in a talk by Miriam many discs appear to have a misalign- tracing the accretion geometry, while
Keppler, the lack of Hα emission at the ment between the inner and the outer simultaneously intensively moni­toring
location of the claimed planet in the disc disc. In extreme cases the inner disc can lightcurve variability (as discussed during
of another system LkCa 15 (shown by be close to edge-on, whereas the outer talks by Paola Pinilla and Silvia Alencar).
Ignacio Mendigutía) casts doubts on its disc is almost face-on. Systems known
existence and highlights the need for to have dips in their light curves, possibly From an observational point of view, it is
careful characterisation and long-term caused by extended disc material close currently possible to probe the properties
monitoring of these candidate planets. to the star, are observed with a range of the gas in the inner au or so only with
Furthermore, Luca Ricci showed high- of different inclinations of the outer disc. spectroscopy, mainly in the infrared, as
resolution ALMA observations of proto­ Megan Ansdell and Paola Pinilla discussed shown by Melissa McClure and Andrea
planetary discs, which reveal a large num- how some of these “dipping” stars have Banzatti, or by observing the accretion
ber of gaps and rings (also see p. 19). If shadows that appear to be cast by the process. Indeed, Laura Venuti explained
these structures are caused by exoplanets, inner disc onto the outer disc. Megan in her review talk that current data can
they imply planetary masses smaller than Ansdell cautioned that non-accreting sys- place strong constraints on the evolution
the minimum detectable by current direct tems could also have “dipper” light- of the accretion processes in time, on
imaging instruments. Once those planets curves, so a number of mechanisms may both short and secular timescales. More-
are identified, VLTI data provide a new be responsible for the “dipping” observa- over, Rebecca García López discussed
way of retrieving their spectra, as shown tional phenomena. how near-infrared interferometric obser-
by Karine Perraut for β Pic b. vations of possible tracers of accretion
From this point of view, it is crucial to (for example, Brγ) could constrain the
Owing to the difficulty of detecting young model what can cause misalignments emitting regions of the line, and thus the
exoplanets, the main formation mecha- between the inner and outer discs. The origin in either accretion stream or winds.
nism remains unclear. In his review talk, effects of binaries and of misaligned The modelling of these observables is
Chris Ormel reported that there are three planets are being studied, as shown by still under way, mainly from the wind/­
main theoretical scenarios that aim to Stefano Facchini, Rebecca Nealon and outflows perspective, as discussed by
describe the formation of these planets: Hossam Aly, but other processes can Somayeh Sheikhnezami.
“in-situ” formation; formation in the outer also play a role. In the breakout session
disc followed by inward migration; and a about the peculiar dipping star RW Aur, The inner disc is evolving both physically
pebble-driven formation and migration there was extensive discussion of the and chemically. In particular, Arthur
scenario. In the current assessment there idea that winds arising from the inner disc ­Bosman and Richard Booth showed how
are some problematic aspects in all the regions could lift dust and cause dips as chemical tracers and metallicity in the
scenarios under consideration, for exam- well as explaining other observables, for very inner disc could be used to help
ple, regarding efficiencies (which can example, an increase in polarisation and constrain the radial transport of both gas
be either too high or too low), and regard- the emission of strong iron lines in the and solids in protoplanetary discs. The
ing the final composition of the planets. X-ray regime. Whether this process could need for more sophisticated (in particular
Many of these issues, and some alterna- happen in other objects and somehow 2D) models was clearly highlighted.
tive scenarios, were addressed in several mimic the effects of a misaligned inner
theoretical contributed talks on this topic, disc has yet to be understood.
but it was broadly highlighted that better Main conclusions and ways forward
information on the precise morphology,
chemical properties, and evolution mech- Evolution of the inner disc This workshop demonstrated spectacu-
anisms of discs is necessary to constrain larly how our knowledge of the properties
such models. The question arises of what processes of the inner disc is currently evolving from
cause the rapid evolution of the inner a picture of a quasi-static environment
disc. For a few years there has been a to one of a highly dynamic region, with
Morphology of the inner disc growing consensus that magnetically rapid changes in morphology, chemical
induced winds can be responsible for the composition, and emission properties. In
The theoretical review by Stefano Fac- observed evolution of discs (as described this context, the workshop revealed an
chini, the observational review by Stefan by Giovanni Rosotti in his review talk, and impressive wealth of diagnostic methods
Kraus, and the invited talk by Andrea by Jake Simon). However, to constrain encompassing X-ray, ultraviolet, optical,
Banzatti all presented evidence for the mechanisms such as this, further effort infrared, millimetre and even centi­metre,
rapidly evolving inner regions of proto­ must be invested into understanding the wavelengths — with the need for multi-­
plan­etary discs; this is challenging to properties of the gas in the inner disc wavelength observations increasingly
observe directly and to describe via theo- regions and of the related interaction being recognised by the community.

46 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

100% 100%
90% 90%
80% 80%
70% 70%
60% 60%
50% 50%
40% 40% Other
30% 30% Student
20% 20%
Female Postdoc
10% 10%
0% Male 0% Staff

























r ti
r ti





v it




tr i



Figure 4. This shows how the distribution of the gen- weekend travel — at least for European promoting the work of early-career scien-
der and career level of the participants compared
participants — the workshop started on tists, with about 40% of the talks given
with the corresponding distribution of speakers and
organisers. Monday after lunch and finished at lunch- by staff in tenured or tenure-track posi-
time on Friday. The Local Organising tions, about 50% of the invited talks given
Committee (LOC) also organised child by post-doctoral scientists, and 20% of
We also saw an equally impressive rate care in the ESO child-parent room for contributed talks given by PhD students.
of progress in the theoretical understand- the children of two participants, who These statistics further underline what
ing of the evolution and properties of could then attend the whole workshop. was generally noted during the workshop
discs. These models must contend with a The costs of this service were also — that the diversity of the participants
wealth of new observational constraints ­partially covered by the workshop funds. and the efforts made by the organising
that are continuously coming in. It is now The workshop funds also covered the committees to ensure everyone was
evident that static models need to be costs of lodging for four participants and encouraged to actively participate both
replaced by dynamic ones, which include provided financial support to ten helped to drive engaging discussions,
magnetic fields and disc misalignment. partici­pants. and to provide a platform on which
These should provide clearer observa- to build future productive collaborations.
tional predictions to further guide the The selection of SOC members and, in
efforts of observers, ultimately leading to turn, of invited speakers was based solely
planet formation theories stringently con- on scientific merit and the relevance of Acknowledgements
strained by observations. the research activity for the workshop. The organisers are very grateful to ESO for providing
The SOC comprised six male and five support with both funding and logistics. In particular,
The dedication and constructiveness female scientists. Also, the selection of we would like to acknowledge the invaluable time
showcased at this workshop prove that invited and contributed talks based on and effort invested by our colleague Stella Chasiotis-
Klingner with helping to set up and run the workshop
the community is clearly ready for this scientific excellence resulted naturally in itself. The members of the Science and Local Organ-
challenge. The diverse audience included an even gender balance (see Figure 4), ising committees are warmly thanked, the former
many early career scientists, clearly demonstrating their success in overcom- for their expertise in devising an excellent science
demonstrating the ­growing nature of this ing unconscious biases. programme, and the latter for their excellent ideas
ensuring maximum participation and the smooth
field and the intense interest in the inner running of the workshop itself. The judges for the
regions of protoplanetary discs, their For our workshop, we were keen to poster prizes are gratefully acknowledged for giving
­evolution and the role they play in planet quantitatively evaluate the distribution of up time during the poster sessions to judge the
formation. During this timely workshop, it participants, both in terms of gender many excellent posters. Thanks also to Luis Calçada
for the workshop photo. The ESO Supernova coordi-
also became clear that ESO is providing and career stage. In order to monitor this, nator, Tania Johnston, arranged a spectacular plane-
the current and future instrumentation we requested permission from partici- tarium show that was greatly enjoyed. Many thanks
that will help scientists stay at the fore- pants to collect the corresponding infor- also to the librarians for helping us publish the excel-
front of this study for some time to come. mation; the response was extremely pos- lent posters and talks via Zenodo.
itive and the results are shown in Fig­-
ure 4. These confirm a good gender
Demographics ­balance amongst the speakers, and
amongst the participants overall, sug- 1
 he workshop programme:
Our workshop was organised with the gesting that this research area has close sci/meetings/2018/tcl2018/program.html
goal of being inclusive and encouraging to an even gender balance. The “aca- Zenodo link:
as diverse an audience as possible to demic age” distribution of the invited and
attend. In order to limit the amount of contributed speakers was also aimed at

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 47

Astronomical News DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5115

Fellows at ESO

Chian-Chou Chen

彗星, a book about comets first attracted

me to astronomy. It was on a shelf in a
seemingly unremarkable bookstore sur-
rounded by food vendors in a typical
night market in Taichung in Taiwan. At
first I was enjoying the fried chicken
and bubble milk tea more as I casually
flipped through the book. After a few
pages, I put aside my food, sat down,
and finished the whole book. Despite the
hot summer the book gave me goose
bumps, with fascinating photos and mys-
terious facts, describing this thing that
is flying across the Universe, a concept
that effectively blew my mind.

Despite being inspired by a book, I was

in fact a wild child with no interest in
reading. If anything, it was thanks to my
father that I would read about physics.
For example, books by Richard Feynman
got me thinking about things like an-
gular momentum before it was taught in
school. The black holes that appear in
Stephen Hawking’s books would get me
thinking about space and time the whole
day. My father would tell me about
­Einstein’s theories of relativity and we
would both be overwhelmed by the
­concept of converting mass into energy.

I was fortunate enough to carry on my

passion about physics during undergrad- Chian-Chou Chen
uate studies, at which time I got into the
summer research programme offered by gap year – I became motivated to apply ing something completely different,
the Academia Sinica Institute of Astron- for PhD programmes in the USA, which involving larger physical scales: galaxies,
omy and Astrophysics in Taipei. During unlike European ones do not need a galaxy clusters, and cosmology. During
those two months, I worked on my first master’s degree. After a huge amount of that time I was taking a course with
ever project about astrophysics, using work putting in applications, an accept- Len Cowie about these topics, and
the SubMillimeter Array (SMA) to study ance email from the University of Hawaii thought why not combine my skills in the
the molecular gas and dust around pro- came out of the blue during the Chinese submillimetre with galaxies. Fortunately,
tostars. I reduced the data, analysed the New Year in 2008. I was dancing with my Len happened to have a project on
results, made plots, and presented a mother, picturing what life ought to be in exactly that idea at the same time, and
poster at a local conference. In hindsight, the next five years in the island paradise. after a few chats we decided to team up,
that summer programme was extremely along with Amy Barger and Wei-Hao
valuable, allowing me a first taste of being Besides regular courses, in order to help Wang — close collaborators of Len — to
a real astronomer, and I liked it. with the search for ideas for PhD topics, work on my second graduate project;
the university requires students to under- the starting point of my now decade-long
After undergraduate studies, I entered the take two one-year research projects in research career on the submillimetre
military, as a result of mandatory public the first two years of the PhD; these two ­galaxies. It in the end it went so well that
service in Taiwan. Because it is public projects can cover vastly different topics. we published the results not long after
service, I got to meet people from a vari- I carried out my first graduate research the end of the second year.
ety of backgrounds, whom I would prob- project with Jonathan Williams, making
ably never have had a chance to meet good use of my knowledge and skills What came after the end of the second
had I not joined the military. We would about the SMA and protostars, which project was also the good news
talk about our lives and the plans for the eventually led to one of my first publica- about the commissioning of the new
future, and during this time – effectively a tions. For the second project, I was eye- submillimetre camera, SCUBA-2,

48 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

mounted on the James Clerk Maxwell for people with small children, is unparal- skies. Lying down in the grass near a
Telescope (JCMT). The community at leled. Perhaps most importantly, the lake, listening to singing frogs; this is how
that time had long been waiting for this goodwill from people to make ESO a bet- I started becoming a stargazer, watching
revolutionary camera to survey the ter working place can be seen in almost the moving celestial sphere, the brightest
submillimetre sky at an unprecedented every corner. Overall, it has been eye- planets and our Milky Way rising over the
speed. Given the timing, it seemed opening for me personally to experience horizon. However, at that time I was not
­natural to work with Len on a PhD topic such a motivational environment, and I thinking of studying celestial bodies — I
about submillimetre galaxies using will for sure bring these values to wher- was just a dreamer, amazed in the face of
SCUBA-2. On the other hand, I realised ever I go for the next step of my career. the Universe.
that It could be risky to rely on a new
instrument for the whole PhD, so I I had a normal high school education, not
decided to use SCUBA-2 for only half of Alexandre Gallenne really oriented towards continuing on to
my thesis, and designed the other half university, but rather aiming for a profes-
involving the SMA, the facility that I knew I was not dedicated to being an astrono- sional degree so that I could start work-
well and that was working. Luckily, with mer, or even a scientist. But at one point ing as soon as possible. I actually did
the invaluable help of Len and Amy, both in my life I was looking for something not really like studying and I wanted to
halves worked well and the thesis was exciting, interesting, and more impor- escape it as soon as I could. After my
successful. tantly — to do work I really like. Now here high school degree, I started working as
I am, working at the most productive an electrical engineer for various com­
My skills and first-hand experience with worldwide observatory, and operating panies. Although it was quite interesting,
SCUBA-2 led me to my first postdoc at the most advanced instruments and tele- I did not really like it, and I did not see
Durham University in the UK, working scopes. Here is my story. myself doing that kind of job all my life.
with Ian Smail on ambitious SCUBA-2 So I started to look for other interesting
legacy surveys and various follow-up pro- I spent my childhood in the Normandy things to do. I tried to join the Air Force,
grammes using the Atacama Large countryside, in the northwest of France, via a three-day test to become a fighter
­Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and and this is where my passion for amateur pilot, but I failed during the second day.
ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). astronomy began. The countryside is I then went to the army to be a para-
­During this time I also had the freedom to an amazing place as it is free of light pol- trooper; however I quickly realised that
explore and build up my own research lution, giving access to astonishing night such a life was not for me. Fortunately, a
projects, moving towards becoming a
completely independent researcher. It
was not easy, and most proposals failed.
It was when these failures happened
that I really appreciated working in a well-­
established group, with many other
­projects that are also worth pursuing;
mitigating the possible damage from
these failures to one’s career. Luckily
after many tries I started to slowly build
up a research programme, at which
time Ian suggested the ESO fellowship.

The offer from ESO came rather early, an

excellent gift for Christmas. After some
serious discussions with my partner we
decided to take our newborn child to
Germany — a country where I had lived,
for a brief period of time, when I was five.
Despite that, at first we worried that life
could be a bit difficult since we don’t
speak the language, but the idea of hav-
ing complete freedom to do research
in Munich overcame that worry. In hind-
sight, coming to ESO was perhaps one of
the best decisions I’ve ever made. The
vibrant atmosphere of the research envi-
ronment at ESO constantly fosters new
projects and collaborations. The logistical
support that ESO provides, in particular Alexandre Gallenne

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 49

Astronomical News Chen C.-C., Gallenne A., Wylezalek D., Fellows at ESO

few days before leaving the army, some- have contributed. During this project, my to become a mature and independent
thing triggered in my brain while I was supervisor asked me if I would be willing astronomer, create new collaborations
alone in the dormitory looking through an to continue this exploratory work on (and friends), and start new research
astronomy magazine. I actually do not ­circumstellar envelopes of Cepheids for a ­projects. After about three years in
remember exactly what happened, but PhD, and I obviously accepted. As part ­Concepción, it was time to look for a job
this was the moment I decided to start to of this PhD, he also asked if I would be again. An astronomer job is quite pre­
study again, with the goal of becoming interested in applying for an ESO stu- carious, and you can spend years looking
an astronomer. dentship programme and going to Chile for a permanent position — if you are
for two years. This was a hard choice to lucky enough to get one.
I gathered a lot of information on how to make as going to a new country meant
reach that goal, and I realised that this that I would have to deal with a different After Concepción, I was awarded a four-
was a long-term objective, with at least culture, language, money and have a year ESO Fellowship. Here I am now, an
eight years of study, requiring patience, ­different way of life without my family and astronomer at the Very Large Telescope
motivation and determination. But this friends. This was not like going to Spain Interferometer (VLTI), the interferometric
did not scare me. I had to leave the coun- or England because Chile is 12 000 km part of the ESO Paranal Observatory.
tryside for the nearest big city and spent from France, so it was not possible to As a fellow, I am part of the Science
two years at University of Rouen starting come back for the weekend. It had been Operations team, where 50% of my work
to learn general physics. However, once a long time since I decided to start study- consists of mainly supporting observa-
I became aware that the university did ing again, but I was still determined and tions for the community. We can also
not specialise in astrophysics, I moved to motivated so I saw this opportunity as a be involved in other operations related
the capital, to one of the best universities new adventure that could only be of ben- projects, for example, the development or
in Europe specialising in science and efit to me. When ESO awarded me the improvement of operations or instrumen-
medicine, called Pierre & Marie Curie studentship, I was obviously happy, but tation. In my case, I developed several
University or Paris VI. There I studied fun- also anxious at the thought of starting a tools for the VLTI that help during night
damental physics, astronomy and astro- new and completely different life. operations, for instance an automatic
physics and after a few years I obtained fringe search panel for the Precision Inte-
my master’s degree. It was a long and At ESO, I was co-supervised by Antoine grated Optics Near-infrared Imaging
hard road to the degree because such a Mérand, an ESO staff astronomer. These ExpeRiment (PIONIER) instrument, and a
high level of study requires time and lot two years of my PhD resulted in one of real-time data display for the VLTI, specif-
of effort. the best parts of my personal and profes- ically for interferometric data. The VLTI
sional life. I met a lot of people; some is probably the most complex part of the
It was almost the end of the road; I was are now friends, while others became observatory as it combines the light com-
about to start a PhD, which is actually collaborators. This studentship enabled ing from four telescopes, passing through
where you really start investigating and me to be in direct contact with an opera- tunnels and mirrors, and the light path
learning how to become a researcher. tional observatory, its instrumentation, between all the telescopes needs to be
The choice of PhD project is very impor- and to collaborate closely with astrono- perfectly controlled. I am one of a few
tant as, for most of us, it determines our mers across various fields of research. astronomers who have the privilege to
future field of research. In my case, my This work in an international environment operate four 8-metre class telescopes
PhD topic was influenced by my master’s provided a great experience at the most simultaneously, which is amazing. With
thesis. Before starting my PhD, I spent productive ground-based astronomical this fellowship, I have improved my tech-
three months at the Observatoire de Paris observatory in the world. Unfortunately, nical and scientific knowledge in various
for my end of year master’s project. I everything has to end, and after two fields. I learnt how an observatory works,
worked under the supervision of Pierre years I had to come back to France to fin- and I am proud to have been part of the
Kervella with MID-infrared Interferometric ish my PhD. Nine years have passed operation and to have participated in the
instrument (MIDI) data, an ESO first- since I took the decision to study astron- improvement of some VLTI tools.
generation interferometric instrument. The omy. This long journey led me to obtain a
topic of this master’s thesis was to spa- PhD and I was now an astronomer. I am now starting the fourth year of my
tially detect nearby infrared emission fellowship. After 240 nights of operating
around Cepheid stars, caused by possi- However, all this was the “easy” part. I ESO instruments and telescopes, I am
ble circumstellar envelopes. then had to find a postdoctoral position, not going to Paranal any more as there
and maybe after some years, a perma- are no longer any functional duties. I can
This work was really exploratory, as we nent job in a University, research institute now focus mostly on my research, whilst
did not know anything about these enve- or observatory. Because of the strong also taking time to apply for my next
lopes, which had only recently been dis- links I have with this country, I came back position. I do not know what the future
covered. I reduced and analysed the MIDI to Chile for a postdoctoral position at will bring, but I do still love what I am
data for two Cepheids, which resulted Universidad de Concepción, in the group doing, which is probably the most impor-
in the detection of nearby warm infrared under Wolfgang Gieren, a recognised tant thing.
emission. This work led to a scientific ref- expert in the field of Cepheids and the
ereed publication, to which I am proud to distance scale. This position allowed me

50 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

Dominika Wylezalek

“Der Mensch muss bei dem Glauben ver-

harren, dass das Unbegreifliche begrei-
flich sei; er würde sonst nicht forschen.”
“One must hold fast by the belief that
the incomprehensible is comprehensible;
otherwise one would not search.”
J. W. v. Goethe

What may sound like a cheesy quote

from a different century actually
describes quite well why I became an
astronomer. I also chose this quote for
the first page of my PhD thesis.

When I was five or six years old, on clear

starry nights, outside in my parent’s gar-
den, I started to wonder how big the
­Universe was and what was behind its
boundaries. Neither my Mum nor my Dad
could ever give me a satisfactory answer
apart from “it’s infinite”. When I protested:
“No, but it has to have a boundary and
there must be something behind it”, they
would just repeat the same sentence:
“It’s infinite.” That did not satisfy me at
all. I think it was then that I decided —
although it was not a conscious decision
— to learn and study hard enough
to become an astronomer and work on
understanding the Universe better.

As a teenager, I did not always have this

goal in mind. I was easily interested in
and excited by many different topics and Dominika Wylezalek
my “dream job” included everything from
being a vet, medical doctor, politician, to ple, refilling liquid nitrogen at the end of inspired by the academic environment in
restaurant owner. However, I still enjoyed the night). In the current era of remote Cambridge. I vividly remember finding
physics the most and decided to start my and queue observing, I realise now that Stephen Hawking’s office during one of
studies at the University of Heidelberg, my experience at Lick was quite unusual my first weeks there and taking a selfie
which offers a wide range of astronomy and valuable (especially spending more with the name plaque.
classes as part of the physics curriculum. than a week completely alone at the top
of a remote mountain). This experience When I received an offer from ESO for a
In my third year in Heidelberg, I started to helped me to develop a deep under- PhD position in 2011, I did not hesitate
work at the Landessternwarte Heidelberg standing of what it takes to operate and to accept it. My thesis project focused on
(Heidelberg Observatory) for my bachelor run a telescope, how much fun it is, and investigating distant galaxy clusters,
thesis project on polarisation measure- how important it is for an astronomer especially those associated with power-
ments of variable active galactic nuclei to understand where and how data are ful, radio-loud active galactic nuclei
(AGN). I also got in touch with the extra- being taken. (AGN), and I was supervised by Carlos
solar planet search group there and got De Breuck and Joël Vernet. Galaxy clus-
the chance to lead observing runs at Lick After finishing my BSc in Heidelberg, I ters are the largest gravitationally bound
Observatory, USA. As there is no tele­ moved to the University of Cambridge in structures in the Universe and pushing
scope operator provided at the Coudé the UK to obtain my master’s degree. the observations to the highest redshifts,
Auxiliary Telescope at Lick Observatory, I Although that year was probably the which I did during my PhD, allows us to
had to familiarise myself with the tele- most study-intensive year of my life, I draw conclusions about the build-up
scope, the software, the operation of the greatly enjoyed having the opportunity of structure in the Universe over several
dome, the guiding system and even the to attend lectures by some of the top billion years.
maintenance of the instrument (for exam- astronomers in the world and was highly

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 51

Astronomical News Chen C.-C., Gallenne A., Wylezalek D., Fellows at ESO

About one year into my PhD, I was given bilities of the JWST. In late 2016, I put a great job of educating the public about
the opportunity to spend six months together a team of world experts in my astronomical research and communicat-
at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory field to write a proposal for Early Release ing ESO’s mission to the public. My own
(JPL) and Caltech working with Daniel Science observations with the JWST passion for science has been nurtured by
Stern, the Principal Investigator of the to observe three high redshift quasars local outreach activities, and I enjoy very
project. During these six months, I with the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI) much “giving back” to society by joining
­continued working on my primary PhD and the Near InfraRed Spectrograph in such events, now not as a participant
project but started to become heavily (NIRSpec) instruments in IFU mode. The but as a scientist. I have, for example,
involved in other large collaborations on effort was rewarded and the proposal given talks during the ESO Open House
distant galaxy clusters. I even got the was accepted, making my team one of Day and the European Researchers Night
chance to assist the team with observa- 13 teams worldwide that will obtain and and to high school students in both the
tions at the Keck Observatory and receive some of the first data taken with USA and Germany. Seeing the sparkle in
­Gemini Observatory in Hawaii. Spending the JWST. Although the launch of JWST the eyes of children, teenagers and adults
two full nights at 4200 m for the Gemini has been rescheduled twice in the last alike when I talk about galaxies and black
run was certainly quite tough but we 12 months, preparing the proposal and holes in the Universe is very rewarding,
were rewarded with great science data the observations and working with the and I hope to inspire some of the younger
and amazing views from the top of the data has been and will certainly be one generation to consider a career in sci-
summit in the early morning hours. In my of the highlights of my career. ence. In particular, I hope to act as a role
final year as an ESO PhD student, I also model for the next generation of female
joined the K-band Multi-Object Spectro- In 2017, I moved back to ESO as a scientists, who continue to be underrep-
graph (KMOS) team for a science verifica- Research Fellow where I continue to work resented in the fields of physics and
tion run to the Paranal Observatory. I on AGN, AGN feedback processes and astronomy.
tested parts of the reduction pipeline and galaxy evolution. After having worked on
instrument operation procedure and this topic mainly with collaborators in the I spend most of my free time cooking,
received training in the commissioning of USA and South America, I am now look- travelling, horse riding and hiking in the
this unique instrument. ing forward to growing my scientific net- Bavarian and Austrian Alps. When I am
work in this field in Europe. out at night in the middle of the moun-
After finishing my PhD degree in 2014, I tains or visit my parents, who also live
accepted an offer of a postdoctoral For my functional duties at ESO — which quite remotely, I am still amazed by the
researcher position in Nadia Zakamska’s I spend 25% of my time on — I chose night sky and the vastness of the Uni-
group at the Johns Hopkins University in to become a member of the Multi Unit verse. Although I understand the many
Baltimore, USA. In Baltimore, I shifted Spectroscopic Explorer narrow-field components of the Universe much better
my research focus from studying clusters mode (MUSE NFM) commissioning team. today than 25 years ago when I first
around powerful AGN to studying the Throughout the last year, I have been started to wonder about the size of the
AGN themselves and AGN feedback pro- working very closely with adaptive optics Universe, I am more aware than ever
cesses in detail. I am extremely fasci- engineers, software developers, instru- before how much we still do not know,
nated that the energy output of AGN can ment scientists, the Instrument and Oper- and how much is still waiting to be dis-
impact the evolution of their host galaxies ations Team, and part of the consortium, covered and understood. Contributing
and the build-up of their stellar mass, including assisting with two commission- my share to this endeavour is what
even though the difference in physical ing runs at Paranal. I became responsible drives me and my research every day.
size spans many orders of magnitude. for various aspects, including: the per­
I use multi-wavelength photometric and formance analysis; developing perfor-
spectral (preferably spatially resolved, mance models; checking on the fulfilment
integral field unit [IFU]) observations of the specifications; and working with
to address various aspects in the field of software developers to implement these
AGN feedback studies and galaxy models into the exposure time calculator
evolution. for MUSE. I have been greatly enjoying
working and communicating with experts
The Physics Department of the Johns from different professions. This work also
Hopkins University shares a campus with allows me to exploit MUSE much better
the NASA Space Telescope Science for my own science because I know and
Institute (STScI) which operates the understand all its capabilities, limitations
Hubble Space Telescope, and is heavily and operation modes in much greater
involved in the development and man- detail than before.
agement of the James Webb Space Tele-
scope (JWST). The proximity to STScI With the opening of the ESO Supernova
allowed me to work closely with instru- Planetarium & Visitor Centre, the
ment and telescope scientists and to Garching campus has been enriched by
become familiar with the expected capa- an amazing outreach centre that is doing

52 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

Astronomical News DOI: 10.18727/0722-6691/5116

Riccardo Giacconi (1931–2018)

Xavier Barcons 1 Riccardo’s group moved to Harvard in changed the way we build and operate
Jason Spyromilio 1 1973. From then on he invested a good facilities. It enabled the construction
fraction of his (boundless) energy pushing of data archives that can be reduced
for imaging X-ray telescopes, his priority and rereduced long after the teams that
ESO being image resolution above any other built the instruments, or the PIs of the
consideration. That approach resulted in programmes that took the data, have
the resounding success of the Einstein moved on.
Opening a new window on the Universe Observatory (1978–1983), which demon-
strated that the X-ray sky at high galactic In 1993, Riccardo left the HST with a
There are few people who have had such latitudes is largely populated by active recovery plan in place and arrived at ESO
a great influence across all of astronomy galactic nuclei which make up most at a particularly busy time, whence he
as Riccardo Giacconi (b. Genoa 1931, of the cosmic X-ray background that embarked upon the changes necessary
d. San Diego 2018). He studied physics Giaconni had discovered in 1962. His to deliver the VLT programme. The VLT
and obtained a PhD in Milan under the tireless efforts ultimately led to NASA’s programme was in full swing, and had
renowned cosmic-ray physicist “Beppo” current X-ray observatory workhorse, been structured according to manage-
Occhiliani in 1956. Soon after that he Chandra, which was launched in 1999. ment techniques appropriate to its size
moved to the USA, and following stints in The Chandra telescope optics deliver and complexity. Riccardo implemented
Indiana and Princeton, he joined Ameri- sub-arcsecond X-ray imaging, enabling this transformation across the entire
can Science and Engineering (AS&E). the deepest X-ray surveys to date. organisation and rapidly aligned the
Bruno Rossi — another giant in the field organisational goals with the success of
— suggested that Riccardo develop A community of thousands of astrono- the VLT. He insisted that everything ESO
an X-ray astronomy programme. At that mers have grown up using X-ray observ­ did had science and the astronomical
time the only X-ray source known was ations, following in Riccardo’s wake. community as the key drivers. He empow-
the Sun, and judging from the solar X-ray The field that he initiated, X-ray astron- ered teams to address the challenges
to optical flux ratio, it was clear that omy, has transformed — starting from and see the job through; he followed their
the detection of X-rays from other stars two known sources in 1962 (coinciden- work closely, and was always there to
would be challenging, to say the least. tally the year when ESO was founded) question and challenge, but also to pro-
to almost a million X-ray sources that vide support. He contributed the vision
A major stride was made in 1962 when have been catalogued to date. Despite and drove ESO to a path of success with
one of the AS&E rockets rose above the insisting at various science conferences tireless enthusiasm and a piercing
atmosphere (80 km) for a few minutes, that astronomy should not be qualified intellect.
thus setting the scene for Riccardo’s with prefixes such as “X-ray” or “optical”,
2002 Nobel prize. The payload consisted it was Riccardo who placed X-rays at He instituted annual VLT reviews, which
of three mica X-ray counters a that the centre of observational astrophysics, later evolved into today’s annual over-
scanned the sky thanks to the spin of the for example, by promoting the Chandra view, and focused ESO staff on the base-
rocket. The objective of that rocket mis- Deep Field South project, one of the very line project. He became convinced
sion was to observe the Moon’s albedo in first cosmological deep fields studied at that ESO needed to evolve and to that
X-rays. However, the telemetry of the two all wavelengths. end convinced Council both to increase
working detectors revealed a very bright the resources (financial and human) of
X-ray source (Sco X-1 — later identified the organisation and to curtail the pro-
as an X-ray binary) and a pervasive X-ray Moving the Hubble Space Telescope gramme — pausing the VLT Interferome-
radiation dubbed the X-ray background. (HST) and ESO’s Very Large Telescope ter (VLTI) — in order to provide the organ-
That date, 12 June 1962, is considered (VLT) forward isation with room to manoeuvre and
the beginning of X-ray astronomy. to successfully complete the VLT. Paus-
Riccardo is also remembered for guid­- ing the VLTI ruffled many feathers but
The opening of a new observational win- ing the HST through the near catastrophe ­Riccardo ensured the infrastructure was
dow on the Universe provided Riccardo, that was the spherical aberration in there to resume when the organisation
Herbert Gursky and others at AS&E the its primary mirror. Assembling teams to was ready to do so. The famous tele-
momentum they needed to convince solve technical problems, providing scope baseline never lost the ability to do
NASA to launch the first X-ray observa- the backing for them to operate, and interferometry and, indeed, by the end of
tory into orbit to conduct a census of convincing the powers that be that these Riccardo’s tenure the interferometer was
the X-ray sky. Uhuru (the Swahili word for teams could and would address the back.
freedom) was launched from Malindi, problems were skills that Riccardo
Kenya in 1970, and it discovered that simply had. Beyond the successful tech-
accreting black holes — which have nical and scientific operation of pretty The legacy to ESO
much higher X-ray to optical light ratios much everything he laid his hands on,
than the Sun — dominated the X-ray sky. ­Riccardo’s vision of how observatories Riccardo recognised that the next
should operate, calibrating the instrument big project after the VLT and VLTI would
and not just the data, has profoundly require a global effort. The plans in

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 53

Astronomical News Barcons X., Spyromilio J., Riccardo Giacconi (1931–2018)

Europe (ESO/Onsala/Institut de radioas- been accomplished by building the NTT, ESO, with financial discipline, technical
tronomie millimétrique [IRAM]/Nether- nor will it be accomplished by building excellence, managerial competence and
lands Foundation for Research in Astron- the VLT or the VLTI. It should be under- a firm commitment to quality at its core,
omy [NFRA]) for a Large Southern Array stood as an ongoing process in which, is very much part of Riccardo’s legacy.
merged with plans for the MilliMetre from time to time specific facilities or
Array (MMA) in the USA, to become the instruments are built, but the overarching
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter role is to support and foster astronomi­- References
Array (ALMA). Riccardo launched ALMA cal research in the member states and in Giacconi, R. 1993, The Messenger, 72, 1
from the ESO side, ensuring Europe Europe.
would become an equal partner with the
USA in that programme. After he left ESO These simple declarations have a number Notes
in 2000, he became the natural leader for of obvious consequences which it may, a
 he flight spare of that legendary payload can still
Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) in the however, be worth stating. The manner in be seen at the Air & Space Museum in Washington
USA, closing the loop on ALMA from the which we conduct the ESO programmes DC, USA.
other side of the ocean. must be directed to maximise scientific
returns over the long run. In building new
“The immediate purpose of ESO is to facilities we cannot sacrifice current
provide European astronomers with first- research which prepares the astronomer
rate observational capabilities of a size who will use them.”
and complexity which are not achievable
in the national programmes of the mem- So Riccardo began his address to the
ber states. In achieving this goal ESO can ESO council in Florence in June 1993,
place European astronomy at a competi- when taking up the duties of Director
tive level with respect to astronomical General (Giacconi, 1993). This enduring
research worldwide. ESO’s task has not vision continues to guide us. Modern-day

54 The Messenger 174 – December 2018

Astronomical News

Personnel Movements

Arrivals (1 October – 31 December 2018) Departures (1 October – 31 December 2018)

Europe Europe

Belfiore, Francesco (IT) Fellow Guillard, Nicolas (FR) Student

Engelhardt, Max Emanuel (DE) Product Manager Man, Wing Shan (CN/HK) Fellow
Hellemeier, Joschua Andrea (DE) Student Peest, Peter Christian (DE) Student
Hughes, Meghan (UK) Student Scholtz, Jan (CZ) Student
Iani, Edoardo (IT) Student Arrigoni Battaia, Fabrizio (IT) Fellow
Kemper, Francisca (NL) European ALMA Programme Scientist Barna, Barnabás (HU) Student
Kokotanekova, Rosita (BG) Fellow Brunetto, Enzo (IT) Project Engineer
Leveratto, Serban (IT) Mechanical Engineer Löbling, Lisa (DE) Student
Martocchia, Silvia (IT) Student Lu, Hau-Yu (TW) Fellow
Maud, Luke (UK) ALMA Regional Centre Scientist Reiss, Roland (DE) Electronic Engineer
Pala, Anna Francesca (IT) Fellow Tax, Tomáš (CZ) Student
Petit dit de la Roche, Dominique (NL) Student IMPRS Tulloch, Simon Mark (UK) Detector Engineer
Watkins, Laura (UK) Fellow
Whitehouse, Lewis James (UK) Student

Chile Chile

Belmar, Francisco (CL) Telescope Instruments Operator Plunkett, Adele (US) Fellow
Berg, Trystyn (CA) Fellow Sanchez, Miguel (ES) Deputy Program Manager
Gendron-Marsolais, Marie-Lou (CA) Fellow Sanchez, Joel (MX) Fellow
Hartke, Johanna (DE) Fellow Watson, Linda (US) Fellow
Le Gouellec, Valentin (FR) Student
Mazzucchelli, Chiara (IT) Fellow
Nuñez, Barbara (CL) Press Officer in Chile
Roa, Luis (CL) Mechanical Technician

The ELT secondary mirror blank leav-

ing SCHOTT in Germany. It will
undergo final grinding and polishing by
Safran Reosc in France.

The Messenger 174 – December 2018 55

ESO, the European Southern Observa- Contents
tory, is the foremost intergovernmental
astronomy organisation in Europe. It Telescopes and Instrumentation
is supported by 16 Member States: Jehin E. et al. — The SPECULOOS Southern Observatory Begins its Hunt
Austria, B­ elgium, the Czech Republic, for Rocky Planets 2
Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, de Wit W.-J. et al. — The Life and Times of AMBER: The VLTI’s Astronomical
Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Multi-BEam combineR 8
Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland Möller T. et al. — Modelling Data in CASA 14
and the United Kingdom. ESO’s pro-
gramme is focussed on the design, Astronomical Science
construction and operation of powerful Andrews S. M. et al. — ALMA Observations of the Epoch of Planet Formation 19
ground-based observing ­facilities. ESO Evans C. et al. — A First Spectroscopic Census of the Dwarf Galaxy Leo P 24
operates three observatories in Chile: Förster Schreiber N. M. et al. — Witnessing the Early Growth and
at La Silla, at P
­ aranal, site of the Very Life Cycle of Galaxies with KMOS3D 28
Large Telescope, and at Llano de Bulla M. et al. — Shedding Light on the Geometry of Kilonovae 34
Chajnantor. ESO is the European partner
in the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub- Astronomical News
millimeter Array (ALMA).­Currently ESO Meakins S. et al. — ESO Conference Proceedings 2.0 at Zenodo 38
is engaged in the construction of the Smiljanic R. et al. — Report on the ESO Workshop “A Revolution in
Extremely Large T ­ elescope. Stellar Physics with Gaia and Large Surveys” 40
Manara C. F. et al. — Report on the ESO Workshop “Take a Closer Look:
The Messenger is published, in hard- The Innermost Region of Protoplanetary Discs and its Connection to
copy and electronic form, four times a the Origin of Planets” 44
year: in March, June, September and Chen C.-C., Gallenne A., Wylezalek, D. — Fellows at ESO 48
December. ESO produces and distrib- Barcons X., Spyromilio J. — Riccardo Giacconi (1931–2018) 53
utes a wide variety of media c ­ onnected Personnel Movements 55
to its activities. For further information,
including postal subscription to The
Messenger, contact the ESO education
and Public Outreach Department at:

ESO Headquarters
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85748 Garching bei München, Germany
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The Messenger:
Editors: Gaitee A. J. Hussain,
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­Typesetting: Jutta Boxheimer,
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Design, ­Production: Jutta ­Boxheimer;
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Unless otherwise indicated, all images Front cover: A rare opportunity to see the Moon through
in The Messenger are courtesy of ESO, the VLT. Following the decommissioning of VIMOS —
except authored contributions which one of the VLT’s longest-serving instruments — ESO engi-
are courtesy of the respective authors. neers and astronomers pointed the telescope at the
Moon d­ uring twilight and projected its image into a screen.
© ESO 2018 Credit: G. Hüdepohl (
ISSN 0722-6691