VISTA - Consortium & PI: Commissioning, Acceptance and Science Verification tasks.

Lead Research Organisation: Queen Mary, University of London
Department Name: Astronomy Unit


The Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) is a wide field survey telescope facility equipped with an Infrared camera that will be used for a variety of surveys of the Southern skies from Chile. VISTA is being built for a UK Consortium of 18 Universities, led by Queen Mary University of London, and is due for delivery to the European Southern Observatory in late 2006 and expected to be producing first science results in 2007. The VISTA Project Office (VPO) is located at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, and is responsible for managing the technical aspects of delivering VISTA to Chile and commissioning it. The VISTA Principal Investigator (PI) and Consortium Director is Prof Emerson, who needs to be involved in aspects of the VISTA commissioning activities, and in particular to satisfy himself that the components of the system, and the system as a whole, performs to acceptable standards, prior to formal acceptance by Queen Mary, and subsequent transfer to ESO. Emerson also leads the Science Verification phase of VISTA. To enable him to do this for VISTA requires 40% of his time to be bought out for a period of 2 years from Sep 2005 together with associated travel & subsistence expenses of the PI. Further expenses are associated with necessary coordination meetings of the VISTA Consortium to ensure the best planning for exploitation of VISTA, and payment of sundry other costs that will arise in association with the handover to ESO. This is to be funded from the remaining JIF funds already awarded for VISTA. [A matching 40% of Emerson's salary will be provided via a separate application to PPARC using round 2 e-science funds allocatted the the VISTA Data Flow System (VDFS), (as part of the successful VEGA e-science round2 proposal) for which Emerson is Project Leader.]
Description EVALSO 
Organisation University of Trieste
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Science case for installation of fibre to connect ESO Paranal to Antofagasta and then Santiago to enable fast(er) data transfer to Europe.
Collaborator Contribution Partner from organisations involved including Italian & Chilean equivalents of Janet (GARR & REUNA)
Impact The publications are listed elsewhere. The fast access enabled all ESO telescopes to send their data to Europe in almost real time, rather than on disks by courier. It also improved academic network along Chile's backbone, and enable REUNA to improve connectivity yo Lima in Peru.
Start Year 2007
Description ESO VISTA press releases 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Poster Presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact See the press releases at
and the many pictures of VISTA itself at

Some of my images have been in ESOS's top 10 and top 100 (one was top image for many months)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013
Description Talks to Astronomical Societies 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Typically 20-30 amateur astronomers attended various talks given at various (~10) astronomical Societies around the country.

Audience seemed interested and impressed at UK building VISTA
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012
Description Talks to RAS and Universities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Raised awareness of VISTA and its capabilities.

Some became involve din using VISTA
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2009,2010,2011,2012