News 2003

Editorial: November 2003

Previous editorial: February 2003
Please note that OLBIN will not be updated during the period from 18 December 2003 to 26 January 2004. The editor will be on Christmas vacation and then on travel to the South Pole. OLBIN will resume upon his return.
In the meantime have a look at progress with the LBT through its rear and front webcams. See if Tony Travoullion is wins the babyfoot title by following his Antarctic Diary, or find out what the weather is like where he is through the AASTINO webcam. Keep an eye out for the 2004 ROSS NASA Research Announcement and the possibly the new Origins Probes NRA. Follow the news on the OLBIN Forum or on the Forum HRA.

03.12.18 Details of the Kick-Off Meeting for the OPTICON Joint Research Activity "Intergrating interferometry into the mainstream of astronomy" is now available at the EII-JRA4 webpage.
03.12.16 All six telescopes of the CHARA Array are now fully functional. On December 15, 2003 at about 10 pm Pacific Time fringes were obtained with the W2 telescope on the S1/W2 baseline. W2 was the last of the six telescopes to be made operational. See the fringes and group photo on the OLBIN Forum.
03.12.04 Theo ten Brummelaar returned to the CHARA Array in early November after having completed a stay of four months working with the SUSI group in Australia.
03.12.01 As described in Forum HRA, the French team from the University of Nice has reported preliminary results of seeing measurements taken in late November at Dome C in the Antarctic. The daytime seeing measurements show extended periods (several hours at a time) of seeing better than 0.4 arcseconds at a wavelength of 500 nm. The atmospheric coherence times implied by the DIMM measurements show in cases of very good seeing coherence times as long as 1 to 2 seconds, degrading down to milliseconds in poor seeing. See the above link for further details and plots of the measurements. Also of interest is thenews page at website of the Concordia Station.
03.12.01 The European Southern Observatory has issued the press release Biggest Star in Our Galaxy Sits within a Rugby-Ball Shaped Cocoon describing VLTI/VINCI measurements of Eta Carinae. For details see the Astron. Astrophys. letter Direct measurement of the size and shape of the present-day stellar wind of Eta Carinae by van Boekel et al.
03.11.26 As reported on the Forum HRA, the VLTI three-way imaging beam combiner Amber has now concluded its preliminary acceptance review for tests in Europe. Amber is now scheduled to leave Europe in January providing several modifications (already envisaged by the Amber Consortium) are put in place. Amber is scheduled to be commissioned at Paranal between 19 February and 25 March 2004.
03.11.25 Photographs from November 2003 show the first LBTI mirror being positioned in its cell in preparation for mounting on the telescope. See in particular the two sets of photographs from November 24, 2003.
03.11.21 A dummy mirror cell (counter-weight only) has now been mounted in the Large Binocular Telescope. See the photographs from November 18, 2003. The Homepage of the Large Binocular Telescope has been revised.
03.11.19 The W.M. Keck Observatory has an opening for an Interferometer Operator.
03.11.19 OPTICON's Interferometry JRA will hold its kick-off meeting 7-8 January 2004. Contact Alain Chelli (JMMC) for details.
03.11.14 The Ph.D. thesis of Pascal Bordé, titled Detection and characterization of extrasolar planets using very high precision photometry and infrared interferometry (Université Pierre & Marie Curie (Paris VI), 27 october 2003) is now available.
03.11.10 NASA has announced the selection of 5 Small Explorer (SMEX) Missions, two of which will be selected in fall 2004 for full development. The astrometry mission AMEX, which merged the US FAME and German DIVA initiatives, was not included in the selection. See the NASA Press Release for more information on the selected missions.
03.11.06 The proceedings of the meeting on The Scientific Outlook for Astronomy and Astrophysics Research at the CONCORDIA Station, held in Capri 28-30 April 2003, is now available online. This includes several presentations relating to possible future interferometry in the antarctic.
03.11.06 New webpages are available describing the work in stellar interferometry of the Coherent and Nonlinear Optics Department at the Institut de Recherche en Communications Optiques et Microondes (IRCOM) at the University of Limoges, France.
03.11.03 Angular diameters of stars from the Mark III optical interferometer, by D. Mozurkewich et al. is published in the November 2003 issue of the Astrophysical Journal. The Mark III ceased observations in January 1993.
03.11.03 The proceedings of the 2002 JENAM Conference in Porto is now available as Volume 286 (Issues 1-2) ofAstrophysics and Space Science.
03.11.03 The National Institute for Space Research (SRON) have announced the availability of a position as Optical Engineer for the development of the Darwin imaging mode. (Courtesy of Jan Willem den Herder, SRON.)
03.10.27 The Magdalena Ridge Observatory is seeking applicants for Michelson Postdoctoral Fellowships with interests in design of aspects of the MRO Interferometer. For further details see the announcement at the OLBIN email list.
03.10.27 Major construction work is taking place at IOTA. For details and photographs see the Fall 2003 Construction progress reports at IOTA.
03.10.16 Chas Beichman is the new Executive Director of the Michelson Science Center, replacing Anneila Sargent. Shri Kulkarni now serves as the Faculty Director for the center at Caltech. See the Personnel webpage at the MSC for further details.
03.10.13 The European Space Agency is considering the possibility of including aspects of Darwin technology in the Proba-3 mission, scheduled for 2006 or 2007. The Project for On-Board Autonomy (Proba) is intended for technology demonstration for future ESA missions. The first Proba mission launched in October 2001.
03.10.09 Scientific data from MIDI science demonstration is now available. Access to these data is restricted to astronomers in the ESO member countries that are registered users of the ESO Science Archive.
03.10.08 The European Interferometry Initiative has been funded through OPTICON as part of the 6th European Framework Programme. The Initiative is now in the process of defining the timeschedule, deliverables, and the people involved to allow a start in January 2004, for a period of 5 years. The key themes are data analysis package, new VLTI instruments, working groups on atmospheric modelling and radiative transfer, and studies on the next generation interferometric facility. For further information, see the presentationJRA4: Integrating Optical Interferometry Into Mainstream Astronomy by Alain Chelli. (Courtesy of Eric Bakker.)
03.10.03 The website for the Infrared Spatial Interferometer has been revised and updated. It now includes a comprehensive listing of Publications and a new Photo Gallery. (Courtesy of David Hale.)
03.10.03 The Michelson Fellowship Program has announced that applications for the 2004 Michelson Fellowships are now open. Details of the application process for Graduate, and Postdoctoral fellowships are available. There is also new Michelson Educational Awards supporting educational activities that support Navigator program science. The deadline for applications is 14 November 2003.
03.10.03 The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has issued the press release A Galaxy Far, Far Away describing measurements with the Keck Interferometer of the active galactic nuclei of NGC 4151. See also a preprintof the paper by M. Swain et al., to appear in this weeks issue (October 20, 2003) of Astrophysical Journal Letters. Also see the press release on Planetquest.
03.09.08 September photos of the LBT Telescope Construction feature images of polishing the 8.4-m primary mirrors of the telescope.
03.09.08 The PRIMA website has been updated with tutorials and descriptions of the subsystems.
03.09.03 The new Project Manager for the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer is Mark Sirota, formerly with the Keck Observatory (1986-2000) and a previous member of the Keck Senior Management Team from 1991-2000. Also joining the MROI team is Michelle Creech-Eakman, formerly an astronomer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory working with the Palomar Testbed Interferometer (PTI) and with the development of the Keck Interferometer nuller. She now takes up the position of Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Physics at New Mexico Tech.
03.08.28 The first annual TPF Science, Technology, and Design Expo will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center, 14-16 October 2003 (Pasadena, California). The aim of the meeting is to report on the status of TPF and progress over the past year, to engage a wider community of scientists and engineers, and to provide insight into future plans for developing the mission.
03.08.28 The Magdalena Ridge Observatory has several job openings: Lead Software Control Engineer, Lead Mechanical Engineer, and Lead Optics Engineer. For details on these positions, please see the above links posted with other Job Openings at New Mexico Tech.
03.08.27 The deadline for applications for a permanent civil-service position at the US Naval Observatory with the NPOI project has been extended to September 26, 2003. Please see the job description posted on theOLBIN Jobs Page.
03.08.26 The Call for Papers for the 2004 SPIE conference on Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation is now available. The conference will be held 21-25 June 2004 in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom. The conference New Frontiers in Stellar Interferometry will span 2.5 days. Abstracts are due 24 November 2003.
03.08.25 Photographs of the LBT Telescope construction from August 2003 are now available.
03.08.25 Details of MIDI are available in support of the upcoming call for proposals for Period 73 (April to September 2004). See the MIDI Webpage at the European Southern Observatory website. The deadline for proposals will likely be 1 October 2003.
03.08.25 As noted in the recent TPF Newsletter, 10 proposals have been selected for contract negotiations in support of TPF technology development. The proposals are listed at the TPF Website.
03.08.25 The next TPF/Darwin Conference has been announced. "Dust Disks and the Formation, Evolution and Detection of Habitable Planets" will be held in San Diego, California, July 26-29, 2004.
03.08.13 The European Southern Observatory has announced the position of VLTI Astronomer to be stationed at Paranal and Santiago. The starting date is "as soon as possible". The deadline for applications is 30 September 2003.
03.08.08 The article "Seeing Sharper" by Rolf Danner and Ray Jayawardhana appeared in the July 2003 issue of Astronomy Magazine. The article had related online content: Cartoon Astronomy showing how interferometers work, a description of Future Interferometers, and Mizar A Movie.
03.08.04 A Python module has been written by John Young (COAST) for data manipulations with the interferometryData Exchange Standard. The module makes use of the PyFITS (STScI) interface to FITS formatted files. The module was written to add support for the Exchange Standard within the COAST data-reduction software (also written in Python). See the announcement by John Young. Visit the Python Language Website to learn more about scientific computing with Python.
03.08.04 Photos of SUSI (Parts I, II, III, and IV) as well as of the site of the Intensity Interferometer are now available. The photographs were taken on a visit to Narrabri (Australia) after the recent IAU General Assembly in Sydney.
03.07.31 Photos from the 2003 Michelson Interferometry Summer School, held at Caltech 7-11 July 2003, are available courtesy of W.J. Tango.
03.07.30 The contract for the star separator for PRIMA, the VLTI's narrow-angle astrometry instrument, has been awarded to TNO/TPD (The Netherlands). See the press release TNO Builds Star Splitter for Europe's Giant Telescope.
03.07.29 The article by Andrea Richichi, New opportunities in long-baseline interferometry: observing with the VLTI, appeared in the Magellanic Times on Day 8 of the IAU General Assembly, Wednesday 23 July 2003. The article describes the activities of the Working Group on Optical/IR Interferometry and future prospects with the VLTI.
03.07.29 The Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) has two postdoctoral positions available for work in Optical Interferometry. The deadline for applications is 22 August 2003. Further information and application details are available in the announcement (PDF) or at the INAF website. Also see the email announcementby Mario Gai.
03.07.29 The Bayesian model-fitting package mfit has been released. mfit is a tool for fitting simple parametrisations of the sky brightness distribution to optical (visible/IR) interferometry data. It includes asymmetric multi-component models, and four limb-darkening parametrizations. Interactive, command-line, and GUI interfaces are available. mfit supports the Data Exchange Standard for Optical/IR Interferometry. The code was written in Fortran 90 by Matthew Worsley and modified by John Young. See the Release Notes. (Courtesy of John Young.)
03.07.29 Christoph Leinert (MPIA, Heidelberg) has initiated a webpage devoted to IR Coatings used in interferometry. The current entries describe the coatings used at the entrance window and at the 50/50 beamsplitter of MIDI. This site is intended to serve as a information database. Other entries are encouraged. Please contact Christoph Leinert with contributions (leinertexternal image
03.07.29 The proceedings of the EuroWinter School Observing with the VLT Interferometer, edited by Guy Perrin and Fabien Malbet, is now available. The table of contents and individual chapters are available at theSchool Proceedings website. See also the original website of the school.
03.07.13 Progress the with SIM testbed, MAM, is reported in the popular science article Tiny Measurement Gives Big Boost to Planet Hunt at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
03.07.13 A preprint of the paper Angular diameters of stars measured with the Mark III optical interferometer by D. Mozurkewich et al. is now available. The paper will be published in the Astronomical Journal.
03.07.13 The Infrared Spatial Interferometer has recorded the first measurements of three simultaneous fringes and closure phase on a stellar source at a wavelength of 11.15 microns. See the email announcement by David Hale.
03.07.13 As reported in the June 20, 2003 SIM Newsletter, NASA has authorized SIM to enter Phase B of is development. Phase B is the 'Preliminary Design Phase' of a NASA Project. Construction of flight hardware begins with Phase C/D, which should begin October 2005.
03.07.13 The June 2003 issue of the ESO Messenger (vol. 112) contains the articles "MACAO-VLTI First Light" by R. Arsenault et al., and "MIDI Combines Light from the VLTI" by Ch. Leinert et al.
03.07.13 Impressive progress has been made in the construction of the frame for the Large Binocular Telescope. See the photos from June and July 2003.
03.07.13 Fabien Malbet has been awarded the 2003 Prix Jeune Chercheur by the SF2A, the french society of astronomy and astrophysics. He shares the 2003 award with Pierre-Alain Duc. The award cites Fabien's contributions to interferometry as Project Scientist of AMBER and his pioneering work in infrared interferometry observing and modelling T-Tauri stars. Also cited are his contributions to the organization of colloquia and schools that have helped prepare the European community to exploit the new generation of interferometers.
03.07.13 The Ph.D. thesis by Serge Correia, Haute resolution angulaire et interferometrie optique en Astrophysique: Applications au Large Binocular Telescope et au Very Large Telescope Interferometer [High angular resolution and optical interferometry in astrophysics as applied to the LBTI and VLTI] is now available for download (Universite de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, 2002).
03.07.13 The first scientific results from the Keck Interferometer are described in the press releases by JPLHawaiian Telescope Team Makes Debut Discovery. See also the Press Release at the PlanetQuest website. The paper by M.M. Colavita et al. Observations of DG Tau with the Keck Interferometer will appear as a Letter in the Astrophysical Journal.
03.07.13 The AIPS++ consortium was dissolved April 21, 2003. As noted in the statement of the AIPS++ Home Page "The end of the consortium means the withdrawal of the resources currently committed, the end of joint management meetings, and the end of the consortium executive. The AIPS++ code base generated by the consortium remains available to all. The code base is covered by the GNU Public License, held by Associated Universities."
03.07.13 The Lowell Observatory is advertising an opening for the position of observer at the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer (NPOI). See the Job Announcement at the Lowell website. (Note that the deadline has already passed but that applications are accepted until the position is filled.)
03.07.13 The VLTI has measured the flattened profile of the rapidly rotating star Achernar, as described in the ESO press release Flattest Star Ever Seen. The results are to be published in the paper The spinning-top Be star Achernar from VLTI-VINCI by Armando Domiciano de Souza et al., to appear as a Letter in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
03.06.21 The European Southern Observatory has announced the first observations of an active galactic nuclei with the 10-micron instrument MIDI. See the press release A first look at the doughnut around a giant black hole.
03.06.11 The CHARA Array obtained first fringes with its W1/S2 baseline on the night of 9 June 2003. The CHARA Array now has the three longest operational baselines of any optical/infrared interferometer. The fringes were obtained by running the interferometer from the Arrington Remote Operations facility in Atlanta. (Courtesy of Theo ten Brummelaar.)
03.06.09 The SIM newsletter Number 27 provides an update on activities as SIM progresses towards acceptance into Phase B.
03.06.07 Guaranteed Time Observations with MIDI are now underway (June 7-17, 2003) for science demonstration and "Paranalization" with the 8.2-m Unit Telescopes at ESO's Very Large Telescope.
03.06.04 The national newspaper "USA Today" ran a cover story on TPF and planetfinding in the June 4, 2003 issue.
03.06.04 The AMBER Guaranteed Observation Time Observation program is described in detail in the 257 page ESO document VLT-LIS-AMB-15830-0007. Details of Phase A and Phase B of the AMBER Science proposal program (now completed) are also available at the AMBER Consortium website (Courtesy of Fabien Malbet.)
03.05.28 The review paper Optical Interferometry in Astronomy by John Monnier, will appear in the May 2003 issue of Reports on Progress in Physics. Please see the Institute of Physics website for the final manuscript and copyright notice.
03.05.27 The May 2003 issue of Physics World includes the feature article Optical Interferometry by Chris Haniff andDavid Buscher.
03.05.22 A list of Pre-1998 refereed papers on astronomy with long-baseline stellar interferometers has been added to the OLBIN pages. Please send suggestions for additions or corrections to the editor.
03.05.22 The website of the Jean-Marie Mariotti Center has moved and now includes a link to the web-based (Java) version of ASPRO.
03.05.21 ESO has awarded a contract to TNO TPD of the Netherlands for the design, development and manufacturing of two Star Separators for PRIMA. The PRIMA instrument, a part of the VLTI System in Chile, will enable interferometric imaging of very faint objects and high precision astrometry. Using the Star Separator, a bright reference star can be used for fringe tracking, whilst integrating on the faint science object. The Star Separators are scheduled for delivery in 2005. (Courtesy of Fred Kamphues, TNO TPD.)
03.05.19 The position of System Engineer (CIT10419MEB) and Manager for the Science Operations System (CIT10420MEB) have been advertised at the Michelson Science Center for work with the Space Interferometry Mission. See details at the IPAC Jobs Page.
03.05.19 The construction of the LBT Telescope continues, with the structure of the tower now in place. See the pictures from May 13, 2003, and have a look at the front and rear webcams.
03.05.19 The agenda of the Michelson Interferometry Summer School has been recently updated and is now complete.
03.05.13 The U.S. Naval Observatory expects to have available, in the very near future, a long-term civil service position within the NPOI project. This position will be located in Flagstaff, AZ and will be at the GS-12 ($56,463 - $73,403) or GS-13 ($67,143 - $87,289) level, depending on experience. U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status is required. Principle duties would involve collaboration with other project members on improving astrometric and imaging algorithms and software, and work in support of a survey of the bright stars using the co-phased 6-element NPOI array. Other activities might include work related to detector performance, system throughput, and system stability. There will also be opportunities for the successful candidate to pursue other research of their choosing. For further information, please contact Don Hutter at djhexternal image or (928) 779-5132, extension 263.
03.05.13 The agenda for the conference Long Baseline Interferometry in the Mid-Infrared, to be held at Ringberg Castle 1-5 September 2003, is now available.
03.05.07 May 2003 marks the fifth year that OLBIN has been edited by Peter Lawson. OLBIN was started by Stuart Shaklan in January/February 1995 and was revamped in July 1997. Peter Lawson began work on OLBIN in May 1998, shortly after taking up his current post at JPL.
03.05.07 Christian Hummel (currently with the U.S. Naval Observatory and the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer) will be starting as a staff astronomer in the VLTI group on August 1, 2003. His office will be in Santiago, Chile.
03.05.06 Unit Telescope 2 at the Very Large Telescope is now equipped with adaptive optics. The second MACAO adaptive optics system is to be installed in Unit Telescope 4 in August. (Courtesy of Markus Schoeller.) Also see the ESO press release Sharper and Deeper Views with the MACAO-VLTI.
03.05.06 The Magdalena Ridge Observatory is seeking to employ a Controls System Engineer for the interferometer. (See the Job Description at the webpages of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.) The interferometer, currently scheduled for completion in 2008, will consist of an array of 10 telescopes sited at 10,000ft altitude. MROI are currently in the process of hiring the core technical team responsible for the engineering specification, design, construction, testing and integration of the array.
03.04.16 Ben Lane defended his Ph.D. thesis High precision infra-red stellar interferometry at Caltech on February 20, 2003. He has been awarded a Pappalardo Fellowship in Physics at MIT, and will be moving to Boston in July. His plans include working on adaptive optics with Paul Schechter, as well as continuing his interferometry collaborations.
03.04.16 During testing at Astrium Friedrichshafen a deep (>100,000) and stable null has been achieved on the Astrium/TNO/TU Vienna-Nulling Breadboard. A press release will be issued later this week. Detailed information will be presented next week by Astrium and TNO at the "Toward Other Earths" conference in Heidelberg in Germany, April 22-25. (Courtesy of Fred Kamphues, TNO TPD.)
03.04.14 The April 3, 2003 photos of the construction of the LBT show closeup views of assembly work within the enclosure.
03.04.07 The May issue of Sky and Telescope magazine includes the feature article "Optical interferometry comes of age" by Peter Lawson. This issue is available now through until the end of April 2003.
03.04.07 The Data Exchange Standard for Optical/IR Interferometry (the OI Exchange Format) has now been frozen. Further releases of the standard are anticipated but will henceforth include increments of the revision numbers of any changed tables. John Monnier's OI-DATA IDL Utilities have been revised to reflect these changes. Please consult the announcement at the OLBIN News Forum for further information. (Courtesy of John Young, Tom Pauls, and John Monnier.)
03.03.21 A plot of stellar angular diameters measured by interferometers is availabe courtesy of Peter Lawson.
03.03.17 The ESO press release A family portrait of the Alpha Centauri system describes measurements of Alpha Centauri A and B, recently published by Pierre Kervella et al.
03.03.17 LBT telescope construction photos from March 2003 show the installation of the C rings of the elevation bearing.
03.03.14 The Michelson Science Center has now made available the suite of software including nbCalib, wbCalib, getCal, and the library utilities mscLib. Information about these packages can be found through the MSC Software webpage. The software itself is available through the MSC Download Portal. Registration is required for users new to the portal. (Courtesy of Andy Boden.)
03.03.13 Theo ten Brummelaar, Associate Director of the CHARA Array, will take up a New South Wales Residency Award to work at Sydney University from July to September 2003. The Residency Awards are given to boost educational and research opportunities within New South Wales and to allow expatriate Australian researchers to maintain links with Australian-based institutions. The proposed research is a collaboration between the groups at the Sydney University Stellar Interferometer and CHARA (Georgia State University) to observe spectroscopic binary stars.
03.03.11 Progress with the assembly of the elevation structure of the Large Binocular Telescope can be seen in aleft rear view from a webcam inside the enclosure. See the images from 12:00 hrs and 14:00 hrs local time on March 11, 2003.
03.03.06 The list of sources for MIDI Guaranteed Time Observations (PDF, 134kB) is available through the ESO MIDI homepage.
03.03.06 The VLTI Visibility Calculator VisCalc is now available from ESO's Exposure Time Calculators and Simulators webpage. VisCalc was prepared in collaboration between ESO and the Jean-Marie Mariotti Center (Grenoble, France).
03.03.05 The proceedings of SPIE Conference 4838, Interferometry for Optical Astronomy II (edited by Wes Traub), are now available.
03.03.04 The elevation structure of the Large Binocular Telescope is being assembled inside the enclosure on Emerald Peak, Arizona. See views through the webcams at the rear and front inside the telescope enclosure. Compare these views with the photos from June 2001 of the assembly in Milan.
03.03.03 The 2003 NASA Research Announcement "Research Opportunities in Space Science" (NRA 03-OSS-01) now includes an amendment entitled Terrestrial Planet Finder Foundation Science Notices of Intent to propose are due April 11, 2003, and proposals are due June 13,2003.
03.03.03 The DIVA webpage reports that "the German Aerospace Center (DLR) informed S.Roeser, PI of the DIVA project, that the DIVA mission had to be cancelled due to financial problems: After the delegations of ESA's Science Programme Committee voted against a support of DIVA at their last meeting (November 4-5, 2002), DLR was unable neither to close the funding gap of some 15 million EUR within its own budget nor to get a firm commitment by other potential partners before the end of 2002."
03.03.03 A new MIDI webpage is now available at the VLTI website. Also available is a MIDI webpage for astronomers which includes the MIDI User's Manual and calibrator catalog.
03.03.03 The Call for Proposals for Period 72 at the VLT states that "ESO is concentrating efforts on bringing online new interferometric facilities such as the adaptive optics and fringe tracker systems that will enable a very high performance of VLTI with the UTs. Because of this the test instrument VINCI with the siderostats will no longer be offered. The Mid-Infrared interferometric instrument for the VLTI (MIDI) is expected to be offered in Period 73 for observations starting as early as January/February 2004."
03.02.25 The proceedings of the Workshop on VLTI Calibrators is now available on the web, courtesy of Andrea Richichi. The proceedings include the presentations in PDF format, as well as the List of VLTI Calibrators.
03.02.25 The second and final annoucement for the 2003 Michelson Interferometry Summer School has been issued. The agenda for the school is now available. Applications are due by 7 March 2003.
03.02.18 John Monnier has written IDL Reader/Writer software for the Data Exchange Standard for Optical/IR Interferometry. The pre-release of OI Exchange Format has been revised and the specification should be frozen in April 2003.
03.02.18 Prof. Harold McAlister, the director of the CHARA Array, is now the new director of the Mount Wilson Institute. The directorship became effective in January 2003. He replaces Dr. Robert Jastrow. (The Mount Wilson Institute is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization formed in 1986 to realize for public benefit the maximum scientific and educational potential of the Mount Wilson site and facilities.)
03.02.06 The Space Interferometry Mission at JPL has announced a Request for Proposals in support of the SIM stellar grid verification program.
03.02.06 The European Interferometry Initiative has issued a call for ideas regarding advanced instruments concepts and software packages. The deadline for replies is 12 February 2003. The Euro-Interferometry Initiative is a (candidate) OPTICON working group and intends to apply for funding by the 6th Framework Program of the European Union.
03.02.05 The School of Physics at the University of Sydney is advertising up to three research fellowships open to all areas of research within the School, including the Sydney University Stellar Interferometer (SUSI) programme. There are up to two Denison Research Fellowships and a Professor Harry Messel Research Fellowship. Applications close on 27 February. For further information, please contact John Davis (davisexternal image, Bill Tango (tangoexternal image, or Peter Tuthill (gekkoexternal image
03.02.05 A press release by TNO TPD details the latest test results on the TNO Achromatic Phase Shifter and Nulling Breadboard (courtesy of Fred Kamphues).
03.02.03 The NASA announcement for Research Opportunities in Space Science (ROSS NRA) for 2003 has been released. For details see the ROSS 2003 NRA website.
03.01.16 A workshop on Long Baseline Interferometry in the Mid-Infrared will take place at Ringberg castle, Germany, September 1-5, 2003. This workshop will showcase new science with MIDI.
03.01.15 The VLTI website has been updated with preprints from the SPIE and JENAM conferences.
03.01.13 Applications for the 2003 Michelson Interferometry Summer School, to be held 7-11 July 2003 at Caltech, are now open. The application form is available at the website of the Michelson Science Center. The application deadline is March 7, 2003. For more information, please contact Gerard van Belle, gerardexternal image
03.01.13 The Conference New Geometry of Nature, to be held at the Kazan State University (Kazan, Russia) 25 August - 5 September 2003, will include a workshop on VLTI: New Look to Depths of the Universe.
03.01.03 Number 110 of the ESO Messenger, December 2002, contains the articles The VLTI - 20 Months after First Fringes and The Auxiliary Telescopes for the VLTI: a Status Report. In 2003 numerous new subsystems will in integrated into the VLTI - about one every two months. The new fringe tracking unit FINITO will be first, followed by two MACAO adaptive optics systems, then the first two Auxiliary telescopes, then AMBER, and three new delay lines. It will be a very busy year at Paranal.
03.01.03 The Newsletter of the Terrestrial Planet Finder describes the activities of the TPF Science Working Group and upcoming research opportunities with TPF. You can sign up to the mailing list through the Planet Quest web site.
03.01.03 Dr. Grote Reber, a pioneer of radio astronomy, born December 22, 1911, Wheaton, Illinois - passed away peacefully on December 20, 2002, at Ouse District Hospital, Tasmania, Australia. Privately cremated. (From the newspaper Mercury Bothwell, Tasmania).

Upcoming News in 2003

The following are likely upcoming events. I'm speculating on the exact dates and would appreciate corrections. - PRL.

  • PTI Calibrator catalog to be published, B. Lane and M. Creech-Eakman.
  • Call for papers for the SPIE 2004 Interferometry Meeting.
  • Second MACAO adaptive optic system installed at UT4 of VLT in mid August 2003.
  • Funding for European Interferometry Initiative announced, August 2003.
  • First Auxiliary Telescope to be installed at VLTI in September 2003.
  • MIDI call for proposals (VLTI), September 2003.
  • FINITO commissioned (VLTI), October 2003.
  • Second Auxiliary Telescope to be installed at VLTI by December 2003.
  • Provisional acceptance of AMBER in Grenoble in December 2003.
  • Delay lines 4,5, and 6 to be installed at Paranal in Sept-Dec 2003.
  • MIDI Commissioning Phase 3, Paranal, 11-16 December 2003.
  • PTI ceases observations permanently in December 2003.
  • AMBER commissioned with first fringes at Paranal in early 2004.
  • AMBER to obtain phase closure with 3 UTs, March 2004.
  • Light from first two VLTI Auxiliary Telescopes to be combined in May 2004.
  • AMBER to obtain phase closure with 3 ATs.