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


Introducing the new Operations Scientist


The new Operations Scientist: Peder Norberg

An announcement from the Principal Investigator, Roelof de Jong:

I am very pleased to announce that the extragalactic leader of the Survey Strategy Infrastructure Working Group (IWG2), Peder Norberg, has been appointed to to the newly introduced position of Operations Scientist. The role of the Operations Scientist is to coordinate the development of the survey strategy for the 4MOST survey programme. This includes setting requirements to the 4MOST Operations Model to satisfy the scientific needs of the surveys in terms of survey strategy. It also includes a coordinating role in the development of the relevant software tools, in particular all modules of the 4MOST Facility Simulator, and in the running of relevant simulations. The Operations Scientist is therefore the bridge between the Survey Strategy IWG (and thus the science needs of the Survey teams), the Operations System, and the Operations System Engineers.

Please give Peder all your support in his new (and old) role.

Workshop announcement: Planning for 4MOST – toward the 4MOST survey programme


4MOST is a state-of-the-art, high-multiplex, fibre-fed, optical spectroscopic survey facility currently under construction for ESO’s 4-m VISTA telescope. During the first five years of operations 4MOST will be used to execute a comprehensive, integrated programme of both Galactic and extragalactic Public Surveys. The 4MOST survey programme will consist of both Consortium Surveys and Community Surveys, ideally with a high degree of complementarity, both scientifically and in terms of observing efficiency. The process of selecting the Community Surveys was initiated by ESO in November 2019 by requesting "Letters of Intent for Public Spectroscopic Surveys" (LoIs) from the ESO community. Successful applicants have been invited by ESO to submit full proposals in December 2020.

ESO and the 4MOST Consortium are now jointly organising an online workshop to take place in the period 9-14 July 2020. This workshop is open to all team members of successful LoIs, both for Participating and Non-Participating Surveys, and ESO strongly encourages at least some representation at the workshop from all invited surveys.

The purpose of this workshop is to support the teams behind the successful LoIs in preparing their proposals, and to facilitate a well-matched and efficient joint 4MOST survey programme. Specifically, the goals of the workshop are:

  • to provide the invited teams with up-to-date information regarding the selection process
  • to provide the invited teams with an opportunity to present their operational requirements and to discuss their integration into the 4MOST operational model
  • to provide the invited teams with an introduction to the available tools to prepare their proposals (e.g. 4FS)
  • to foster scientific collaborations and to prepare for the integration of potential Participating Community Surveys into the 4MOST Science Team.

Due to the current situation, the workshop will be held entirely online. It will be split into four sessions, each lasting for approximately 4 hours, to be held on 9-10 and 13-14 July 2020. The timing of the sessions will take into account the different time zones of the participants to the extent that this is possible.

Invited participants should register on the workshop's website.

Fibre positioner integration


On 27 April 2020, Scott Smedley reported that the AESOP fibre positioner reached a significant milestone. All 2,448 spines were installed in their final configuration. Almost the entire AESOP team (comprising 24 people) were involved in the assembly and testing of spine modules. All 28 spine modules successfully passed their unit tests. System testing will commence once all four electronics cabinets are fully assembled and integrated with AESOP.

All 28 spine modules have passed unit testing and been integrated into AESOP.

The AESOP focal surface comprises 2,436 science spines + 12 guide spines + 24 fiducial probes.

A team of two dozen engineers and technicians is involved in the design, manufacturing, assembly and testing of each spine module. This picture shows Sufyan Baker, one of the team's mechanical technicians.

Consortium proposals submitted to ESO


28 February 2020 was the deadline for the ESO community to register their interest in using 4MOST by submitting Letters of Intent for ESO Public Surveys. At the same time, the 4MOST Science Team submitted ten proposals for Public Surveys to be carried out in the consortium's guaranteed time. This is major milestone for the 4MOST project and the Principal Investigator, Roelof de Jong, would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and strong commitment.

ESO's Public Survey Panel (PSP) will now rank the Letters of Intent and select those which will be invited to submit full proposals. The PSP will then judge the community proposals in terms of complementarity and possible synergies with the Consortium Surveys before recommending the final, joint 4MOST Survey Programme.

Delivery of LRS-A cameras and collimator


On 11 February 2020, Alban Remillieux reported the delivery of the three cameras and collimator of the first Low Resolution Spectrograph (LRS-A) to CRAL.

Two of the three cameras of LRS-A.

The collimator of LRS-A.

First HRS camera delivered


On 24 January 2020, Walter Seifert reported that the first camera for the High Resolution Spectrograph (HRS) had safely arrived at the Landessternwarte in Heidelberg. This is the camera for the green HRS channel. The system is now being characterized and is subjected to a variety of incoming tests. Following these tests the camera will be integrated into the spectrograph and the field lens will be sent to AIP for mounting on the detector head.

The HRS green camera arrived safely in Heidelberg. This picture shows the camera during unpacking.

The front of the HRS green camera.

The back of the HRS green camera.

This picture, showing optical designer and engineer Wenli Xu behind the HRS green camera, was taken during the acceptance meeting and tests in mid-December at the manufacturer's premises (KiwiStar Optics, New Zealand).

Call for Letters of Intent for Public Surveys with 4MOST


During the initial 5-year period of 4MOST operations, 30% of the total available observing time will be available to the ESO community. The process of selecting the surveys to be executed during this time was kicked off by ESO on 26 November 2019 by issuing a Call for Letters of Intent for Public Spectroscopic Surveys with 4MOST (see also this announcement).

The submission deadline is 28 February 2020, 12:00 CET.

Note that letters of intent for 4MOST Community Surveys should be submitted in PDF format only to the following email: opo@eso.org. Please consult the Call for Proposals webpage and the 4MOST Public Survey policies for more information.

4MOST Mid-Term Reviews – next chapter


On 21-22 October 2019 the Project Office (Brynnel, Giannone, Bellido, Frey, de Jong and Cesarini) visited the Landesternwarte (LSW) in Heidelberg to meet with the High Resolution Spectrograph (HRS) team for the project-internal Mid-Term Review (MTR). In addition to feeling the pulse of the work package, we visited the just completed new LSW integration hall. This impressive facility was built for the integration of HRS. In parallel, opto-mechanical units are integrated and tested in the adjacent optics clean room. The review itself went very well, and the Project Office left LSW with a very good impression. We noted that, just like for the LRS, the HRS schedule is heavily dependent on deliveries from optics manufacturers. Other than this no concerns were raised, and we are looking forward to the Local Acceptance Review scheduled for November 2020.

Participants of the HRS Mid-Term Review (from left to right, in front of the HRS optical table in the new LSW integration hall): Walter Seifert, Joar Brynnel, Florian Rothmeier, Steffen Frey, Roelof de Jong, Domenico Giannone, Olga Bellido, Thomas Hahn.

4MOST All Hands Meeting 2019


The 4MOST All Hands Meeting 2019 took place in Potsdam on 16 – 20 September 2019. The meeting was hosted by the 4MOST Project Office at the Leibniz Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP) and took place at Potsdam University's beautiful "Neues Palais" campus.

This fifth annual All Hands Meeting (AHM) of the 4MOST Consortium brought together consortium members working to define, construct, operate and scientifically exploit the 4MOST Facility. This included the engineers, managers and scientists responsible for the delivery of the 4MOST Facility, the scientists planning the science operations in the infrastructure working groups, and the scientists from the large number of institutes involved in defining the ground-breaking consortium science surveys.

From a project management perspective, the project is in good shape, both financially and in terms of planning. Significant additional funding has been secured, and the hardware budget has remained remarkably stable. Major milestones have also been stable for the past 3-4 years. This is excellent performance for a project of this complexity and size! Of course, we have issues to deal with, but these are well identified and we are working diligently to mitigate the effects and to find solutions. Feedback from ESO regarding the AHM was remarkably positive, adding an outside perspective on how we are doing.

On the facility side of the project, a particular focus of the meeting was to add detail to the planning of the System Integration Phase. This phase, formally known as the Assembly, Integration, and Testing (AIT) phase, will take place at the AIP in the years 2020-2021. During this phase, all subsystems will be delivered to the AIP where system-level testing will take place. This is a complex process where high-level requirements and interfaces will be verified, including software. Steffen Frey, our AIT manager, said after the AHM: "The meeting was very useful for me to communicate the AIT planning and to receive real-time feedback from all our partners regarding important details".

On the scientific operations side of the project, discussions were centered on preparations for the Delta Call for Proposals Readiness Review, preparations for the Operational Rehearsals, the Consortium Survey Plan, as well as sharpening the requirements for the higher-level data products pipelines.

In addition, Andrea Merloni and Martin Roth presented highlight talks on the recently launched X-ray facility eROSITA and the latest developments in photonics for astronomical instruments, respectively.

The meeting's programme can be found here.

LRS Mid-Term Review


On 10 – 11 July 2019 the Project Office visited CRAL in Lyon to meet with the Low Resolution Spectrograph (LRS) team for the project-internal Mid-Term Review (MTR). This was the fifth MTR with more to follow. The purpose of this review is to assess the status of the work package – schedule, finances, product assurance, MAIT, interfaces, technical performance, and compliance matrix – approximately half-way between the Final Design Review and the Local Acceptance Review. The review panel (Brynnel, Giannone, Bellido, Frey, and Johl) concluded that the work package is in general performing very well, and no major issues were identified. During the mandatory lab visit, the review panel could see the two LRS optical tables assembled and integration and verification of the mounts for the optics in progress. ESO has already delivered the cryo-vacuum system and MPIA has delivered the control electronics. AIP will deliver three science-grade detectors in late July. The delivery of optics from various vendors remains on the critical path for the MAIT of the two LRSs. CRAL is actively monitoring these deliveries, and in spite of some delays the dates for the Local Acceptance Reviews of LRS-A and LRS-B were confirmed.

The Project Office would like to warmly thank the CRAL team for the excellent preparation of the LAR and for hosting us during the review.

Participants of the LRS Mid-Term Review (from left to right): Arlette Pecontal, Diana Johl, Domenico Giannone, Olga Bellido, Karen Disseau, Diane Chapuis, Johan Richard, Joar Brynnel, Florence Laurent, Alban Remillieux, Eric Daguise, Aurelien Jarno.