4MOST - 4-metre Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope
4-m Multi-Object Spectroscopic Telescope
4MOST

News

Introducing the new leader of the Communication and Education WG

2023-06-12

Henri Boffin

The 4MOST Principal Investigator, Roelof de Jong, is very pleased to announce Henri Boffin as our new lead for the Communication and Education Working Group (formerly called Outreach WG). Henri is a Full Astronomer at ESO, working on binary stars, exoplanets, and clusters. Within the 4MOST Project, he is a member of the Survey 4SYS (S12).

Next to having a PhD in astronomy, Henri has a formal training as journalist from the École supérieure de journalisme de Lille, France. He joined ESO in 2003 as Astronomer and Press Officer, dealing with communication about all telescopes and projects of ESO, and became the Deputy Head of the ESO Public Affairs Department. There he dealt with all aspects of communication: writing press releases; communicating with journalists, the public, and politicians; being the technical editor of the Messenger; taking care of the web site; and producing press kits, exhibitions, and education material.

Henri is looking forward to working with all 4MOST members and the institutional Communication groups to develop an encompassing science communication strategy for the Project with the aim to develop the internal newsletter, develop the web site for astronomers, journalists, and the public, and its associated blog, write press releases and interact with journalists, develop educational material, and ensure a social media presence, among others.

Executing such an ambitious programme requires a large team and we are in the process of creating a new Science Communication and Education WG. We expect to issue a call for membership of this new WG in the next few weeks for all those 4MOST members with a keen interest in the area of science communication and education. Please consider joining Henri in this important effort.


Seeking 4MOST Ombudspersons

2023-06-09

A message from the Principal Investigator, Roelof de Jong:

As part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, the 4MOST Project has appointed Ombudspersons to help 4MOST members who experience problems or conflicts within the Project environment. More specifically, our Code of Conduct obliges us to have at least two Ombudspersons from different institutes at any time. As one of our current Ombudspersons will leave their position and we want to increase the number of Ombudspersons from two to three, we hereby invite nominations to fill these two open positions.

Role description:
Ombudspersons are officially appointed persons who provide independent, confidential, and neutral advice to 4MOST members in case of problems and conflicts within the Project. They should also be able to provide current information about services, programs, policies, and procedures. They will try to resolve problems through mediation or by making recommendations to the 4MOST leadership. Ombudsperson appointments are for 3 years initially, indefinitely renewable. When wanted or needed, the 4MOST Ombudspersons may receive special training for this important and responsible job. Information about the Ombudspersons can be found in the right-hand column of every page on our website, and in this more detailed description.

Qualifications:

  • Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion;
  • Familiarity with the functioning of the Project and its organisational structure;
  • No major leadership or supervisory role within 4MOST that may compromise impartiality.

Nomination and selection process:
We invite nominations (with consent from the candidate) or self-nominations from all 4MOST members. In case of self-nomination, we will request a letter of support from one or more persons well familiar with the candidate. A selection committee consisting of the current Ombudspersons, the Project Scientists, and the 4MOST PI, will review the nominations and make recommendations that are subject to final approval by the 4MOST Executive Board.

Nominations shall be sent to the 4MOST PI with the following contents:

  • Nominee's name.
  • Nominee's email.
  • Nominee's institutional affiliation.
  • Career stage that best describes the nominee for the next two years (e.g., graduate student; postdoctoral researcher; research staff scientists / engineer; junior / senior / emeritus professor).
  • Roles (if any) of the nominee in the Project.
  • Nominee's 4MOST-related interests (up to one paragraph).
  • Nominee's experience with the Ombudsperson's related activities, if any.
  • In case of a self-nomination, contact details of one or more persons who may be contacted for a letter of reference.

All nominations received by 30 June 2023 will receive full consideration.

We are looking forward to receiving nominations for a diverse set of Ombudsperson candidates.


Introducing the new extragalactic deputy Project Scientist

2023-01-18

Chris Frohmaier

The 4MOST Project Scientists, Karin Lind and Jon Loveday, are pleased to announce that Chris Frohmaier has been selected to be the new extragalactic deputy Project Scientist. Chris works in the field of Time-Domain Astronomy, specialising in the astrophysics of supernovae, their host galaxies, and their applications in cosmology. His career has been spent working on data from large all-sky surveys such as the Palomar Transient Factory and the Dark Energy Survey. He has made precise measurements of intrinsic transient rates and written software to simulate sky surveys. His software has been used to measure properties for populations of transients from the most common supernovae to the single discovery of a kilonova. Chris' research also focuses on the real-time discovery of unusual transient events, with a particular interest in faint-and-fast thermonuclear explosions.

Chris has previously worked as a Data Intensive Science Research Fellow and is now an LSST:UK Senior Research Fellow and software engineer. 4MOST is primed as the best spectroscopic facility to follow LSST transient discoveries and create a revolutionary dataset for the community. Chris is keen to bring his time-domain experience to the extragalactic deputy Project Scientist role and is looking forward to contributing to an inclusive and dynamic research environment.

The Project Scientists and the Principal Investigator, Roelof de Jong, would also like to take this opportunity to thank Luke Davies for his excellent work as the previous Extragalactic deputy Project Scientist.


Introducing the new Chair of the Science Coordination Board

2023-01-17

Michelle Cluver

A message from the Principal Investigator, Roelof de Jong:

I am pleased to announce that at its last meeting, the 4MOST Science Coordination Board (SCB) selected Michelle Cluver (co-PI of S18) as its new Chair, after Joe Liske stepped down having chaired for eight years. The 4MOST Executive Board has now formally appointed Michelle as new Chair of the SCB.

Michelle has been involved in the planning and execution of large spectroscopic surveys since joining the Australian Astronomical Observatory and the GAMA (Galaxy And Mass Assembly) Survey in 2011. Her expertise is in infrared photometry and spectroscopy, pioneering the use of WISE as a tracer of stellar mass and star formation in combination with large redshift surveys. Her scientific interest lies in the evolution of galaxies within groups, a key environment in the transformation of galaxies from star-forming disks to bulge-dominated, relatively quiescent systems. Since the distribution of neutral gas, the fuel that drives star formation, is a singular tracer of past interactions, she co-leads the MeerKAT Habitat of Galaxies Survey (MeerHoGS) exploring (among other things) how the SKA and its Pathfinders will probe the cold intra-group medium and how this relates to accretion and shocks. Aside from enabling the unprecedented study of environment in combination with multi-wavelength tracers, Michelle is most excited about how 4MOST will uncover unexplored large-scale structures, including pushing deeper into the Zone of Avoidance compared to traditional extragalactic surveys (an interest sparked during her PhD and central to our understanding of mass and motion in the local universe). The 4MOST project is a pioneering survey model and Michelle feels privileged to lead the SCB as we navigate the challenges and opportunities in preparation for full survey operations.

The entire SCB and especially me personally would like to thank the outgoing Chair, Joe Liske, who will continue as the deputy Chair during the transition period. Joe has been instrumental for setting up the organisational structure and regulations of the science section of the 4MOST Project and for creating the path to a collaborative environment that enables the 4MOST operational model. Next to being deputy SCB Chair while Michelle gets up to speed, Joe will also remain lead of the Administration & Communication Tools Work Package.


Introducing the new Galactic deputy Project Scientist

2022-11-29

Michael Hayden

The 4MOST Project Scientists, Karin Lind and Jon Loveday, are pleased to announce that, following this call for applications, Michael Hayden has been appointed as the new Galactic deputy Project Scientist. Michael has worked in the field of Galactic Archaeology for his entire career, making some of the first complete maps of the chemical structure of the Galactic disk and developing detailed chemodynamical models to explain the evolution of the Galaxy. He is working on using the Milky Way as a benchmark for galaxy evolution, from developing IFU-like observations of the Galaxy to being one of the leaders of the large ESO-MUSE program GECKOS. He has worked extensively on large-scale surveys throughout his career and developed the observing strategy for the GALAH spectroscopic survey. Michael thus brings a wealth of experience in the design and operation of large spectroscopic surveys to 4MOST, and he is eager to help shape a productive and welcoming research environment to ensure that all of the 4MOST Surveys will be successful.

The Project Scientists are joined by the Principal Investigator, Roelof de Jong, in extending their thanks to Diane Feuillet for her excellent work as the previous Galactic deputy Project Scientist.


4MOST All Hands Meeting 2022

2022-09-27



Conference dinner at Biosphäre.

The 8th 4MOST All Hands Meeting (AHM) took place in Potsdam on 19 – 23 September 2022, bringing together 4MOST engineers, scientists, programmers, and managers from across the globe. The meeting was held in a hybrid format, with more than 100 4MOST members participating on site, while more than 150 members were registered to participate online. The meeting was was held at two locations: at the Albert-Einstein Science Park on the Telegrafenberg and at the AIP Campus site on the Babelsberg. The latter location allowed many of the participants to visit the AIP integration halls and labs to see the instrument being assembled.



Tour of the historic research facilities at the Telegrafenberg site.

The entire team was very excited about the good progress the hardware is making, realising that the shipment of the instrument to the telescope is now scheduled to start in less than a year. The instrument engineers used their time to plan in detail the further assembly and testing process of the hardware in Potsdam, and to work on the integration and verification plans of the instrument on VISTA in Chile. The scientists continued to refine their plans for how to optimise the observing strategy based on the latest survey simulations, and discussed the data release plan. The operations branch of the project discussed the many operation rehearsals scheduled for the coming year and refined the requirements on the pipelines. Two new working groups kicked off at the meeting, one to establish detailed requirements for the early calibrations and science verification phase, and one to plan the data curation and data releases once the data flows from the various data reduction pipelines.

After a hiatus of three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all participants enjoyed the opportunity to connect directly with many colleagues. The possibilities to personally connect were further enhanced during the tour of the historic research facilities at the Telegrafenberg site, at the conference dinner in the hot tropical rain forest environment of the Potsdam BioSphäre, and while visiting the modern research facilities and 4MOST hardware at the AIP site.


4MOST science presentations

2022-09-24

The 4MOST Science Team will present the science that 4MOST will address in a mini-series of six online seminars, one per month from October 2022 to March 2023. In each 2 h session we will enjoy three 20 min presentations (each with an additional 20 min for discussion) from Consortium and Community Surveys that work on closely related science. The seminars will be at a level understandable by the wider scientific community and highlight key progress made and current challenges faced. After each seminar, its recording will be made available here. The zoom connection details will be distributed by email.

Timetable of seminars (all times are CET):

20 Oct 2022 14:00 – 16:00 The Milky Way halo and satellite galaxies S1, S2, S14
29 Nov 2022 14:00 – 16:00 Galaxy clusters and cosmology S5, S8, S15
02 Dec 2022 10:00 – 12:00 The Milky Way disk and bulge S3, S4, S11
18 Jan 2023 14:00 – 16:00 AGN and quasars S6, S16, S17
14 Feb 2023 14:00 – 16:00 Young stars, clusters, and the Magellanic clouds S9, S12, S13
14 Mar 2023 10:00 – 12:00 Galaxy evolution and supernovae S7, S10, S18

Seeking 4MOST deputy Project Scientists

2022-09-05

A message from the Principal Investigator, Roelof de Jong, and the Project Scientists, Karin Lind and Jon Loveday:

The 4MOST Project seeks two deputy Project Scientists among our Project members to support the Project Scientists in their responsibilities.

The 4MOST science activities have been ramping up steadily in the past years and will continue doing so for the coming years. Especially the upcoming activities related to ESO’s Provisional Acceptance Europe review, the final survey preparation, and the commissioning, operations, and science verification will mean a very busy schedule for the coming two years.

Managing all these activities will be a too large a task for our two Project Scientists on their own and therefore we are seeking to fill two deputy Project Scientist positions in the 4MOST organisational structure, one galactic and one extra-galactic. The exact division of tasks will be defined between the current PSs and the new deputy PSs. The work split may allow the current PSs to concentrate on strategy and planning, while the deputy PSs could work on progress monitoring and managing smaller working groups for instance.

Job summary:
The 4MOST deputy Project Scientists support the Project Scientists in their 4MOST activities. As such they play a key role in building a collaborative culture in the 4MOST Science Team. They help reviewing the deliverables for the science team at each project milestone and maintaining the schedule to produce these deliverables. They support the Instrument Scientist and the Operations Manager and Scientist in the management and verification of requirements. They promote 4MOST science to the external science community to ensure a strong engagement of the community in 4MOST. They support the 4MOST PI in maintaining a long-term science vision for the 4MOST Project as required by the latest science developments.

Tasks:

  • support the Project Scientists in guiding to the science development effort of 4MOST
  • help building a collaborative Science Team by supporting the organising of meetings, setting up communication channels and engaging 4MOST members in activities
  • contribute to the reviewing of deliverables of the Science Team for each Project milestone
  • help maintain the schedule for the Science Team deliverables
  • review of documents and templates relevant to the management of the Science Team
  • support the Instrument Scientist in managing and verifying the 4MOST instrument requirements
  • support the Operations Manager in managing and verifying the 4MOST operations requirements
  • support the Operations Scientist and the Survey PIs in developing the optimal 4MOST survey strategy
  • support the Project Scientists in their science and public outreach activities by giving presentations, by organising meetings, and by writing publications

Selection criteria (not all necessarily required):

  • for the deputy Galactic Project Scientists: a good knowledge -including the recent literature- of stellar spectroscopy and analysis, and of models of the evolution of stars and stellar populations in and/or models of the formation and evolution of the Milky Way and its satellites that can be spectroscopically analysed with 4MOST, with preferably a publication track record in several of these areas
  • for the extragalactic deputy Project Scientist: a good knowledge -including the recent literature- of spectral analysis of galaxies and AGN, of deriving cosmological and galaxy/AGN parameters from redshift survey observations, of galaxy and AGN evolution models and of cosmological models, with preferably a publication track record in several of these areas.
  • experience with spectroscopic observations and data analysis
  • good communication skills
  • collaborative and inclusive mindset
  • time commitment (at least 20% of time, at peaks more, not funded by the Project)

Applications are reviewed by a selection panel that contains the 4MOST Project Scientists and is chaired by the 4MOST PI.

Beside the competence, motivation and availability of candidates, the selection committee will also pay attention to gender and diversity balance and implications for early career scientists. We encourage all interested individuals, including women and underrepresented minorities, to apply.

The 4MOST deputy Project Scientist position will normally allow one to qualify for a permanent 4MOST Science Team membership. Deputy Project Scientists qualify for co-authorship on all 4MOST publications relevant to their position.

The positions are foreseen to have a term for three years initially, with the possibility for renewal.

Application instructions:
Please send your applications (≤1 A4 page) with

  • a statement supporting your qualification, relevant background, and special considerations for the deputy Project Scientist position
  • a short vision on how you would implement your role as deputy Project Scientist
  • your commitment of time in your role as 4MOST deputy Project Scientist
  • a short CV (separate A4 page)

to the 4MOST PI (pi@4most.eu). The selection process will start 30 September 2022, and will continue until the positions are filled.


4MOST Calibration System arrives in Potsdam

2022-08-18

The Project Manager, Joar Brynnel, is pleased to report that on 15 August 2022 the 4MOST Calibration System hardware arrived safely at the AIP in Potsdam from NOVA (Dwingeloo). It was received by AIP staff, and shortly thereafter Ramon Navarro and Ioannis Politopoulos from NOVA arrived as well. The shipping boxes were unpacked and no damage was noted. Over the next few days, the Calibration System will be reintegrated and tested. At the same time, the LRS-A spectrograph is being cooled down, and the Calibration System will be connected to LRS-A for the first time in order to verify the performance of both subsystems. We are very excited to take this next step in the 4MOST system integration and validation process!

Joar Brynnel: “I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that the management of the Calibration System WP has now been officially transferred from Johan Pragt to Ramon Navarro. Johan will now move to another project, and we would like to thank him for his efforts and contributions to the 4MOST project over the past years. In particular, the dinner at the Bospub during the 2017 Busy Week in Dwingeloo was an event that we will never forget! Again, many thanks to Johan, and a warm welcome to Ramon.”

Ramon Navarro and Ioannis Politopoulos from NOVA among the Calibration System hardware in the AIP integration hall.


Closing the loop between AESOP and Metrology

2022-08-17

One of the more complex functions of 4MOST is the process of positioning all fibre tips exactly on the objects to be observed for every observed field. To accomplish this all the fibres are backlit and their positions are measured very precisely by four cameras mounted on the M2 spider of the VISTA telescope during telescope and instrument setup. Deviations from the desired positions are then sent to the fibre positioner(called AESOP) as corrections. This process is repeated until (essentially) all fibres are in the correct position.

Roland Winkler reports: “After months of development time, the Instrument Control Software is now able to control AESOP’s spines in closed loop with the Metrology system. In the AIP integration hall four Metrology cameras were mounted inside the MetCam Test Frame. This was connected to the Focal Surface Alignment Stand, which in turn contained AESOP.

Getting all electronics and software components ready and working with each other was a joint achievement by AAO, LSW, AIP and ESO. The team had to overcome a large number of obstacles, of which some had been foreseen but many others were unexpected, such as AESOP electronics failures and computer network problems. Through the diligent support of Gerard Zins (ESO), the background software within the ESO software framework was completely rewritten in python to be able to quickly iterate on functionality and for ease of development.

Prior to closing the control loop, we were able to prove the capability of the Metrology system to measure spots with a precision of better than 3 µm. This precision is currently limited by residual errors in the optical model of the test stand (as the flat mirrors have quite a substantial surface profile), and by seeing in the lab. With better quality optics in the telescope, the first problem will go away while we expect roughly the same impact of seeing in the telescope.

Currently, a complete fibre re-configuration takes around 3 minutes for 7 AESOP iterations. The requirement for the combined system is 2 minutes, with a goal of 1 minute. We are confident to be able to reach the 2 minute requirement, as small amounts of measurement performance can be traded for large amounts of time savings during the coordinate transformation step.”

This is a major step forward for 4MOST system testing in Potsdam. While there is still work remaining, it is very encouraging that the system is now fundamentally working and showing promising performance. Congratulations to all involved!

AESOP (foreground) and the Metrology Test Stand in the AIP integration hall.

Backlit fibre tips before positioning them with the Metrology system.

Backlit fibre tips after positioning them with the Metrology System.