News and Updates

First data release of HARPS Radial Velocity catalog

Published: 12 Dec 2023

The first public data release of the HARPS Radial Velocities Catalog contains measurements obtained from 2003 to 2023 with the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph installed at the ESO 3.6m telescope in La Silla Observatory (Chile).

Second data release from the VISTA second cycle Public Survey VEILS

Published: 30 Nov 2023

The VISTA Extragalactic Infrared Legacy Survey (VEILS, PI: Banerji, Program ID:198.A-2005) is a deep J and Ks-band transient and wide-field survey being conducted using the VIRCAM camera with the primary goals of understanding the epoch of reionisation, the build-up of massive galaxies, and constraining the cosmological equation of state using both Type 1a supernovae and AGN dust lag measurements. The total VEILS surveyed area is 9 sq-deg of the extragalactic sky over three fields: XMM-LSS, CDFS and ELAIS-S1. The data acquisition for the VEILS survey was successfully completed in 2022 prior to the VIRCAM decommissioning.

Third and final release of the programme Investigating Stellar Population In RElics (INSPIRE)

Published: 14 Nov 2023

The scientific objective of the XShooter ESO Large Program 1104.B-0370 INSPIRE (PI: C. Spiniello, 2021A&A...646A..28S), is to create the first catalogue of spectroscopically confirmed relics in the redshift range 0.1<z<0.5, which bridges the gap between the three local confirmed relics and the high-z red nuggets galaxies. The availability of this sample of objects enables to put stringent constraint on the predictions from simulations on the initial intense phase of star formation in passive galaxies.

First release of X-shooter spectra from the young stellar objects observed under the PENELLOPE LP

Published: 25 Oct 2023

The PENELLOPE Large Programme (Prog ID 106.20Z8) is a multi-instrument spectroscopic survey aimed at obtaining complementary data to the targets of the ULLYSES program. The latter is a Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Director’s Discretionary Time that was executed in a three-year period, from HST Cycle 27 through Cycle 29 (2020-2022).

First Data Release of ePESSTO+, the advanced Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey of Transient Objects

Published: 18 Aug 2023

ePESSTO+ the advanced Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey of Transient Objects (PI: Inserra, ESO program IDs 1103.D-0328 and 106.216C) started in April 2019 and it is currently ongoing at the New Technology Telescope using the instruments EFOSC2 and SOFI. It is the second extension of the PESSTO survey (PI: Smartt).

ePESSTO+ targets supernovae and optical transients brighter than 20 mag for classification and selected science targets for detailed follow-up. It uses standard EFOSC2 setups with resolutions of 13-17Å between 3680-10320Å, SOFI spectroscopy for brighter science targets, with the blue and red (rarely) grisms (resolutions 23Å - 33Å), and SOFI imaging with broadband JHKs filters.

This first release includes spectra and images collected in the first 2.5 years of ePESSTO+ operations, from April 2019 to October 2021.

In this period spectra were taken for a total of 2138 objects; from that set, 178 ePESSTO+ Key Science targets were identified and followed-up for time series of EFOSC2 optical spectra, with the brighest also having SOFI spectra: 154 supernovae, 1 supernova imposter, 15 tidal disruption events (one of which is represented in the figure below), 2 LBV, 2 AGN, 4 supernova light echoes.

The higher resolution EFOSC grsims Gr#18 and Gr#20 were employed occasionally to allow higher spectral resolution for objects with H-Balmer lines in emission.

In total this release contains 14 GB of data: 2157 EFOSC2 spectra, 18 SOFI spectra, 480 SOFI images. The data products are available from the ESO Archive Science Portal or the Programmatic Access services, under the collection name ePESSTOplus, though the official name remains ePESSTO+.

More details about the release content can be found in the associated data release description.

The DOI assigned to the ePESSTO+ data collection is

Final data release (5.1) of the Gaia-ESO public spectroscopic survey

Published: 05 Jul 2023

Utilizing the UVES and GIRAFFE instruments, this comprehensive survey has encompassed all major components of the Milky Way, systematically studying 114,916 stars. The observed robust samples have enabled detailed observations of bulge, thick and thin disks, halo components, and open star clusters of various ages and Galactocentric distances.

Fifth release of UltraVISTA Public Survey data

Published: 05 May 2023

UltraVISTA is an ultra-deep near-infrared survey of the central region of the COSMOS field. The fifth UltraVISTA data release comprises stacked images in YJHKs and NB118 narrow-band filters, as well as single-band and dual-mode source lists. The data release also contains a five-band merged catalogue, created from the individual Ks-selected source lists. The release is based on the observations carried out from December 2009 to mid 2019, corresponding to 81125 individual images. This is three years more than DR4. The additional data have almost homogenised the exposure time in the “deep” and “ultra-deep” stripes in the J, H and Ks filters, which now reach the same depths to ∼0.15 mag.

Data Release of the MUSE Hubble Ultra-Deep Field surveys (AMUSED) mosaic cubes and catalogue

Published: 12 Apr 2023

The release of the MUSE Hubble Ultra-Deep Field survey (Programmes 094.A-0289(B), 095.A-0010(A), 096.A-0045(A), 096.A-0045(B) and 1101.A-0127, PI R. Bacon) includes the deepest spectroscopic survey ever performed. The MUSE mosaic data cubes, with their 3D content, amazing depth, wide spectral range, and excellent spatial and medium spectral resolution, are rich in information. The 3σ point-source flux limit of an unresolved emission line reaches 3.1×10-19 and 6.3×10-20 erg s-1 cm-2 at 10- and 141-hour depths, respectively. The redshifts of 2221 sources have securely been identified and measured. With the exception of eight stars, the collected sample consists of 25 nearby galaxies (z < 0.25), 677 [O ii] emitters (z = 0.25 - 1.5), 201 galaxies in the MUSE redshift desert range (z = 1.5 - 2.8) and 1308 Lyα emitters (z = 2.8 - 6.7). This represents an order of magnitude more than the collection of all spectroscopic redshifts obtained before MUSE in the Hubble ultra-deep field area (i.e., 2221 versus 292). At high redshift (z > 3), the difference is even more striking, with a factor of 65 increase (1308 versus 20).

ALPACA all-sky images from Paranal available in the Archive

Published: 06 Apr 2023


ALPACA - ALL-sky Paranal Apical CAmera is an all-sky camera at the Paranal Observatory. ALPACA supports the nigh-time science operations imaging the visible sky to monitor the sky condition. ALPACA images the sky 400-700 nm spectral window with a 95% transmission, using a gSENSE detector with a quantum efficiency with a 60% quantum efficiency at 600 nm. Its detector consists of a 7kx7k pixel array of 9 micrometers in size (update: was upgraded in October 2023 from the original 4k x 4x). These characteristics allow a high angular resolution in the imaging of the sky above Paranal (of order ~ 7arcmin/pixel). These and other specifications are listed in Table 1.

Exposure time could be auto adjusted depending on sky background brightness if required. Experience shows that with Moon halo images of 300+ seconds exposures are adequate. Currently, the data acquisition has been set to get 2 minutes exposure images with a cadence of 2 minutes and few seconds. The images are stored in FITS format. Keeping a standard exposure ensure a more stable condition for subsequent post-processing and analysis.

ALPACA comes with an enclosure that covers and protects the camera (Plexiglas hemispheric protection and camera system) from dust and weather during daytime. The camera operates from astronomical evening twilight, all through the night until the end of the astronomical twilight in the morning.

The data can be retrieved from the Archive main raw interface, selecting ALPACA as the instrument in the "Other" category.

An example of an ALPACA all-sky image is shown in Figure 3.


As to maximize the all-sky image down to the horizon, ALPACA has been located towards the south end of the VLT platform and away from the tall UT enclosures. Views of the setup are shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2.

GRA4MAT Narrow Off-Axis Mode / First Observations of Beta Pic b

Published: 04 Apr 2023

The Beta Pic dataset was obtained on 3 February 2023, in the course of the ESO-led development of a new GRA4MAT narrow off-axis mode. This new mode allows an observer to specify small offsets where to point MATISSE, with respect to the fringe tracking target. This mode is very similar to the dual on-axis mode of GRAVITY that was successfully applied to exoplanet spectroscopy. It will be offered to the community in the Call for Proposals for Period 112.

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