Exploiting VISTA: the Public Surveys

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


We are planning to use the new VISTA wide-field survey telescope in the Atacama desert of Chile, to make several near-infrared sky maps and associated catalogues of objects found. VISTA with its 4-metre mirror and 67-megapixel 3-tonne infrared camera will be the world's most powerful survey telescope when operational in 2008. We will contribute to the work of each of the teams working to deliver the products from five of ESO's VISTA Public Surveys (VHS - a hemispheric survey of 20,00 sqare degrees, VVV - a variability survey of the bulge and plane of our galaxy, VMC - a survey of the nearest galaxies the Magellanic Clouds, VIDEO - deep extragalactic observations and UltraVISTA - an ulradeep survey of a small area). This work will be coordinated with the respective team leaders, and involve strong interaction with the VISTA Data Flow System pipeline and archive products and staff. To check the quality of the science products we will be doing science with them and iterating with the processing teams, thereby improving the quality of the product and getting new science insights. We will contribute to survey generation, quality control of intermediate and final products. The fundamental data products for public release are images and catalogues generated from them including: - Image data stored as full 1.5 square degree fille 'tiles', separately for each passband, astrometrically calibrated with systematic errors below 0.1 arcsec rms, on a standard zeropoint scale, in the VISTA natural instrumental system. together with confidence maps used and generated during the production of the above images, including automated and/or manual masking of defective sub-regions. - Single-band catalogues separately for each passband, including discrete and continuous star galaxy classification parameters, aperture magnitudes in log-spaced apertures , etc. - Merged multi-band catalogues created from the full set of single-band catalogues in each tile. - Catalogues containing list-driven photometry in matched apertures in all bands for all objects selected The primary focus of this work will be to produce high quality products for public release to the international astronomical community. In doing this we will be exploring the science results that arise and exploiting them as appropriate (e.g. follow up spectra of exciting objects found etc). This work also builds a sound base to eventually exploit the full data products which will be available after the surveys complete (data taking takes 5 years), and we expect to seek further support after the three years covered by this application.


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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 http://www.eso.org/public/about-eso/search.html?q=VISTA&searchthis=Go%21
and the many pictures of VISTA itself at http://www.eso.org/public/images/archive/category/surveytelescopes/

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