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See detailThe Central Role of FORS1/2 Spectropolarimetric Observations for the Progress of Stellar Magnetism Studies
Schöller, M.; Hubrig, S.; Ilyin, I. et al

in The Messenger (2016), 163

The spectropolarimetric mode of the FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrographs (FORS), which was first implemented in FORS1, and then moved to FORS2 seven years ago, has made it possible to probe the ... [more ▼]

The spectropolarimetric mode of the FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrographs (FORS), which was first implemented in FORS1, and then moved to FORS2 seven years ago, has made it possible to probe the presence of magnetic fields in stars of different spectral classes at almost all stages of stellar evolution. While in the early days of FORS1, many of the observations were related to magnetic Ap/Bp stars and their progenitor Herbig Ae/Be stars, recent spectropolarimetric studies with FORS2 have involved more challenging targets, such as massive O- and B-type stars in clusters and in the field, very fast rotating massive stars with magnetospheres, Wolf-Rayet stars and central stars of planetary nebulae. The role of FORS observations for stellar magnetic field measurements is summarised and improvements in the measurement technique are described. [less ▲]

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See detailAn Unbiased Near-infrared Interferometric Survey for Hot Exozodiacal Dust
Ertel, S.; Augereau, J.-C.; Absil, Olivier ULg et al

in The Messenger (2015), 159

Exozodiacal dust is warm or hot dust found in the inner regions of planetary systems orbiting main sequence stars, in or around their habitable zones. The dust can be the most luminous component of ... [more ▼]

Exozodiacal dust is warm or hot dust found in the inner regions of planetary systems orbiting main sequence stars, in or around their habitable zones. The dust can be the most luminous component of extrasolar planetary systems, but predominantly emits in the near- to mid-infrared where it is outshone by the host star. Interferometry provides a unique method of separating this dusty emission from the stellar emission. The visitor instrument PIONIER at the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has been used to search for hot exozodiacal dust around a large sample of nearby main sequence stars. The results of this survey are summarised: 9 out of 85 stars show excess exo- zodiacal emission over the stellar photospheric emission. [less ▲]

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See detailThe B Fields in OB Stars (BOB) Survey
Morel, Thierry ULg; Castro, N.; Fossati, L. et al

in The Messenger (2014), 157

The B fields in OB stars (BOB) survey is an ESO Large Programme collecting spectropolarimetric observations for a large number of early-type stars in order to study the occurrence rate, properties, and ... [more ▼]

The B fields in OB stars (BOB) survey is an ESO Large Programme collecting spectropolarimetric observations for a large number of early-type stars in order to study the occurrence rate, properties, and ultimately the origin of magnetic fields in massive stars. A total of 98 objects was observed over 20 nights with FORS2 and HARPSpol to July 2014. Preliminary results indicate that the fraction of magnetic OB stars with an organised, detectable field is low. This conclusion, now independently reached by two different surveys, has profound implications for any theoretical model attempting to explain the field formation in these stars. We also discuss some important issues addressed by our observations (e.g., the lower bound of the field strength) and the discovery of some remarkable objects. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh Contrast Imaging with the New Vortex Coronagraph on NACO
Mawet, D.; Absil, Olivier ULg; Girard, J. H. et al

in The Messenger (2013), 152

The installation and successful commissioning of an L'-band annular groove phase mask (AGPM) coronagraph on VLT/NACO is presented. The AGPM is a vector vortex coronagraph made from diamond sub-wavelength ... [more ▼]

The installation and successful commissioning of an L'-band annular groove phase mask (AGPM) coronagraph on VLT/NACO is presented. The AGPM is a vector vortex coronagraph made from diamond sub-wavelength gratings tuned to the L'-band. The vector vortex coronagraph enables high-contrast imaging at very small inner working angles (here 0.09 arcseconds, the diffraction limit of the VLT at L'), potentially opening up a new parameter space in high-resolution imaging. During technical and science verification runs, we discovered a late-type companion at two beamwidths from an F0V star, and imaged the inner regions of β Pictoris down to the previously unexplored projected radius of 1.75 astronomical units. The circumstellar disc of β Pic was also resolved from 1 to 5 arcseconds. These results showcase the potential of the NACO L'-band AGPM over a wide range of spatial scales. [less ▲]

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See detailCOSMOGRAIL: Measuring Time Delays of Gravitationally Lensed Quasars to Constrain Cosmology
Tewes, Malte; Courbin, Frédéric; Meylan, Georges et al

in The Messenger (2012)

COSMOGRAIL is a long-term programme for the photometric monitoring of gravitationally lensed quasars. It makes use of several medium-size telescopes to derive long and well-sampled light curves of lensed ... [more ▼]

COSMOGRAIL is a long-term programme for the photometric monitoring of gravitationally lensed quasars. It makes use of several medium-size telescopes to derive long and well-sampled light curves of lensed quasars, in order to measure the time delays between the quasar images. These delays directly relate to the Hubble constant H0, without any need for secondary distance calibrations. COSMOGRAIL was initiated in 2004, and has now secured almost a decade of data, resulting in cosmological constraints that are very complementary to other cosmological probes. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey
Gilmore, G.; Randich, S.; Asplund, M. et al

in The Messenger (2012), 147

The Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey has begun and will obtain high quality spectroscopy of some 100000 Milky Way stars, in the field and in open clusters, down to magnitude 19, systematically ... [more ▼]

The Gaia-ESO Public Spectroscopic Survey has begun and will obtain high quality spectroscopy of some 100000 Milky Way stars, in the field and in open clusters, down to magnitude 19, systematically covering all the major components of the Milky Way. This survey will provide the first homogeneous overview of the distributions of kinematics and chemical element abundances in the Galaxy. The motivation, organisation and implementation of the Gaia-ESO Survey are described, emphasising the complementarity with the ESA Gaia mission. Spectra from the very first observing run of the survey are presented. [less ▲]

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See detailTRAPPIST: TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope
Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Gillon, Michaël ULg; Queloz, D. et al

in The Messenger (2011), 145

TRAPPIST is a 60-cm robotic telescope that was installed in April 2010 at the ESO La Silla Observatory. The project is led by the Astrophysics and Image Processing group (AIP) at the Department of ... [more ▼]

TRAPPIST is a 60-cm robotic telescope that was installed in April 2010 at the ESO La Silla Observatory. The project is led by the Astrophysics and Image Processing group (AIP) at the Department of Astrophysics, Geophysics and Oceanography (AGO) of the University of Liège, in close collaboration with the Geneva Observatory, and has been funded by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.-FNRS) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). It is devoted to the detection and characterisation of exoplanets and to the study of comets and other small bodies in the Solar System. We describe here the goals of the project and the hardware and present some results obtained during the first six months of operation. [less ▲]

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See detailStudying the Magnetic Properties of Upper Main-sequence Stars with FORS1
Hubrig, Swetlana; Scholler, Markus; Briquet, Maryline ULg et al

in The Messenger (2009), 135

We summarise the results of our recent magnetic field studies in upper main-sequence stars, which have exploited the spectropolarimetric capability of FORS1 at the VLT extensively.

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See detailBehind the Scenes of the Discovery of Two Extrasolar Planets: ESO Large Programme 666
Minniti, Dante; Naef, Claudio; Udalski, Andrzej et al

in The Messenger (2008), 133

This is the story of the Large Programme 666, dedicated to discover sub-stellar objects (extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs), and to measure their masses, radii, and mean densities. We hunt selected OGLE ... [more ▼]

This is the story of the Large Programme 666, dedicated to discover sub-stellar objects (extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs), and to measure their masses, radii, and mean densities. We hunt selected OGLE transit candidates using spectroscopy and photometry in the ‘twilight zone’, stretching the limits of what is nowadays possible with the VLT. [less ▲]

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See detailCircular Polarimetry Now Offered at EFOSC2
Saviane, Ivo; Piirola, Vilppu; Bagnulo, Stefano et al

in The Messenger (2007), 129

Starting from period P79, circular polarimetry measurements can be carried out with EFOSC2 at the ESO 3.6-m telescope. Here we describe the motivations behind the upgrade of the instrument, and a few ... [more ▼]

Starting from period P79, circular polarimetry measurements can be carried out with EFOSC2 at the ESO 3.6-m telescope. Here we describe the motivations behind the upgrade of the instrument, and a few results from the commissioning runs are used to show the excellent performance of the new polarimetry unit. [less ▲]

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See detailTowards Precision Photometry with FORS: A Status Report
Freudling, Wolfram; Møller, Palle; Patat, Ferdinando et al

in The Messenger (2007), 128

The two FOcal Reducer and low-dis-persion Spectrographs (FORS) are the primary imaging instruments for the VLT. Because they are not direct imaging instruments, the accuracy of photometry which can ... [more ▼]

The two FOcal Reducer and low-dis-persion Spectrographs (FORS) are the primary imaging instruments for the VLT. Because they are not direct imaging instruments, the accuracy of photometry which can routinely be obtained is limited by significant sky concentration and other effects. This article reports on the progress of a long-term project to improve the photometric calibration of the FORS instruments. [less ▲]

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See detailFORS1 is getting Blue: New Blue Optimised Detectors and High Throughput Filters
Szeifert, Thomas; Reiss, Roland; Baksai, Pedro et al

in The Messenger (2007), 128

Ground-based observations in the ultraviolet part of the electromagnetic spectrum are notoriously difficult owing to absorption of the atmosphere, of optical elements and the poorer efficiency of ... [more ▼]

Ground-based observations in the ultraviolet part of the electromagnetic spectrum are notoriously difficult owing to absorption of the atmosphere, of optical elements and the poorer efficiency of detectors. Now that CCD detectors with excellent UV response and cosmetic quality have become available, it was time to optimise FORS1 for imaging, low-resolution spectroscopic and polarimetric observations in the blue-UV. As a bonus, a new set of broadband filters with very high trans-mission and carefully defined filter bands were installed. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Host Galaxies of the Brightest Quasars: Gas-Rich Galaxies, Mergers, and Young Stars
Courbin, Frédéric; Letawe, Géraldine ULg; Meylan, Georges et al

in The Messenger (2006), 124

Because they are faint and hidden in the glare of a much brighter unresolved source, quasar host galaxies still challenge the most powerful telescopes, instrumentation and processing techniques ... [more ▼]

Because they are faint and hidden in the glare of a much brighter unresolved source, quasar host galaxies still challenge the most powerful telescopes, instrumentation and processing techniques. Determining their basic morphological parameters and their integrated colours is feasible, but difficult, from imaging alone. However, detailed information on their stellar and gas contents and on their dynamics is achievable with deep spectroscopy. [less ▲]

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See detailDeep Impact at ESO Telescopes
Kaufl, Hans-Ullrich; Ageorges, Nancy; Bagnulo, Stefano et al

in The Messenger (2005), 121

This article is a first summary of the observations done with ESO telescopes and instrumentation in the context of NASA's Deep Impact (DI) space mission. The ESO observers were part of an extremely active ... [more ▼]

This article is a first summary of the observations done with ESO telescopes and instrumentation in the context of NASA's Deep Impact (DI) space mission. The ESO observers were part of an extremely active, communicative and thus successful worldwide network of observers. Through this network all information was freely exchanged and highlights are reported here as well. [less ▲]

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See detailThe UVES Paranal Observatory Project: A Library of High- Resolution Spectra of Stars across the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram
Bagnulo, S.; Jehin, Emmanuel ULg; Ledoux, C. et al

in The Messenger (2003), 114

We present the UVES Paranal Observatory Project, consisting of acquisition, reduction, and public release of high-resolution, large wavelength coverage, and high signal-to-noise ratio stellar spectra ... [more ▼]

We present the UVES Paranal Observatory Project, consisting of acquisition, reduction, and public release of high-resolution, large wavelength coverage, and high signal-to-noise ratio stellar spectra obtained with the UVES instrument of the ESO Very Large Telescope. Data for about 400 stars across the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram have been taken and reduced by members of the Paranal Science Operations Team and made publicly available through a WEB interface at www.eso.org/uvespop. [less ▲]

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See detailThe XMM Large Scale Structure Survey and its multi-lambda follow-up
Pierre, M.; Alloin, D.; Altieri, B. et al

Article for general public (2001)

We present a unique European project which aims at mapping the matter distribution in the distant universe from hundreds of megaparsecs to galaxy scales. This comprehensive scientific approach constitutes ... [more ▼]

We present a unique European project which aims at mapping the matter distribution in the distant universe from hundreds of megaparsecs to galaxy scales. This comprehensive scientific approach constitutes a new step in the synergy between space- and ground-based observatory resources and therefore a building block of the forthcoming Virtual Observatory. [less ▲]

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See detailAchieving 1% photometric accuracy with the ESO Wide Field Imager
Manfroid, Jean ULg; Selman, F.; Jones, H.

in The Messenger (2001), 104

The highly successful Wide Field Imager on the ESO/MPG 2.2-m telescope offers the possibility of undertaking photometry over a half-degree field. The authors discuss findings concerning the photometric ... [more ▼]

The highly successful Wide Field Imager on the ESO/MPG 2.2-m telescope offers the possibility of undertaking photometry over a half-degree field. The authors discuss findings concerning the photometric performance of the camera. They describe strategies for dealing with the flat-field calibration error, which is often underestimated by observers. [less ▲]

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See detailLensed quasars: a matter of resolution
Courbin, F.; Lidman, C.; Burud, I. et al

in The Messenger (2000), 101

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See detailDeconvolving spectra of lensing galaxies, QSO hosts, and more ...
Courbin, F.; Magain, Pierre ULg; Sohy, Sandrine ULg et al

in The Messenger (1999), 97

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