Centrum Astronomiczne im. Mikołaja Kopernika Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Bartycka 18 St.
00-716 Warszawa

ESO Day 2022


Photo Credit: A. Duro/ESO

Tomasz Kamiński (CAMK PAN Toruń)

Interferometric observations, a stellar-merger remnantrotis via ALMA.

Abstract: V838 Mon erupted as a red nova in 2002 due to a collision of a binary within a hierarchical triple system. We have been tracing it evolution over the last two decades, trying to learn about the physics of stellar collisions, the nature of the coalesced object, and its circumstellar environment. I am going to present latest results on V838 Mon and similar Galactic objects, with a special emphasis on high-resolution imaging of the merger remnants acquired using the ALMA and VLTI interferometers available to us through Polish membership to ESO.

Michał Michałowski (IOA UAM)

Using ALMA to unravel stars exploding as supernovae.

Abstract: Understanding the endpoints of massive stars is very important for both stellar astrophysics and galaxy evolution. They are also crucial for the evolution of entire galaxies, because they are responsible for the production of some heavy elements and provide energetic feedback able to stop further star formation. However, very little is known about which progenitor stars explode as which type of supernova (SN) explosions. Type Ib (with no hydrogen) and Ic SNe (with no hydrogen or helium lines) are believed to originate either from core-collapses of extremely massive stars (> 30 Solar masses) or of less-massive stars (10-20 Solar masses) in binary systems, in which the companions are responsible for stripping the primary components of hydrogen and helium. I am leading a program at ALMA aiming at making this distinction. I aim at testing the extremely massive star and binary progenitor models of type Ib/c SNe, using the fact that these models predict different progenitor masses, which in turn imply different progenitor lifetimes and therefore different states of the parent molecular clouds at the time of explosion.

Joanna Mikołajewska (CAMK PAN)

ALMA imaging of the symbiotic binary R Aqr on suborbital scales.

Abstract: We have for the first time directly imaged the strong gravitational effects of the white dwarf secondary on the circumstellar wind leaving the AGB primary in CO lines and continuum. The CO maps reveal strong confinement to the equatorial plane and the formation of a double spiral. Our continuum maps show the innermost region of the nascent bipolar jets, and those with highest resolution reveal the presence of a clump that very probably corresponds to the emission from the white dwarf and its ionized surroundings and a bridge of material joining both stars, likely the stream of material flowing from the Mira to the accretion disk around the white dwarf. The relative position of the Mira and the companion is consistent with the known orbit of R Aqr, and the observation would be the first detection of mass transfer between the stars in a symbiotic system.

Magdalena Otulakowska-Hypka (IOA UAM)

VLTI observations of symbiotic recurrent novae.

Abstract: Two of only four known symbiotic recurrent novae erupted recently: V3890 Sgr in 2019 and RS Oph in 2021. These very rare events were monitored for the first time by the second-generation instruments at VLTI. Thanks to the ESO DDT channel we were able to react fast and collect VLTI data starting only a few days since the ignitions of both eruptions. For V3890 Sgr we used VLTI/GRAVITY instrument and for RS Oph all three VLTI instruments: PIONIER, GRAVITY, and MATISSE. We have resolved both objects spatially and spectroscopically. Our observations show complex structures and asymmetries which we model at milliarcseconds scale.

Przemek Mróz (OA UW)

Measuring the impact of satellite megaconstellations on astronomical observations.

Abstract: The number of satellites in the lower part of Earth’s orbit has increased sixfold in the past four years and will continue to grow with SpaceX, other companies, and national agencies planning to launch tens of thousands of communication satellites. There is a growing concern about their impact on ground-based astronomical observations, in particular, on wide-field surveys in the optical and infrared. I will discuss what can be learnt about satellite megaconstellations and their impact on wide-field surveys from the study of archival images collected by the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF).

Grzegorz Pietrzyński (CAMK PAN)

The Araucaria Project.

Abstract: Measuring cosmic distances has always been one of the most important and challenging tasks of astrophysics. The main goal of the Araucaria project is to significantly improve distance determinations to nearby galaxies and as the result provide more precise and accurate Hubble constant determination. All our distance determinations were based on ESO telescopes and very often in collaboration with ESO astronomers. I will present some of them and discuss future plans, which include even stronger collaboration with ESO.

Łukasz Wyrzykowski (OA UW)

Ground support for Gaia space mission and its black hole microlensing candidates.

Abstract: Detection of single black holes in the Milky Way becomes possible with the gravitational microlensing phenomenon, which temporarily causes a background star to brighten up and shift its original position. Gaia is a significant game-changer in this field with its all-sky photometric and astrometric long-term superb data. However, complementary ground-based observations are necessary to rule out false detections and fully characterise candidates for stellar remnants. I will discuss how ESO’s facilities and a global network of small-sized telescopes can be instrumental in the hunt for black holes. I will present the results of detailed follow-up observations of Gaia microlensing events and will demonstrate our tool for coordinating the observations and data processing from a network of telescopes (

Suzanne Ramsay (ESO)

ESO instrumentation.

Abstract: The European Southern Observatory organisation was formed with the mission of “constructing and operating powerful ground-based observational facilities that are beyond the capabilities of individual member states” and  “fostering international cooperation in astronomy”. The many instrumentation projects that have been, and are still being, developed for ESO telescopes are excellent examples of this cooperation. Each new instrument demonstrates what can be achieved by scientists and engineers from ESO and institutes in the member states, and beyond, working together across international boundaries. This talk will present some of the recent successes of the ESO instrumentation programme. A glimpse into the future of instruments on the ESO telescopes will also be given, highlighting the ambitious suite of instruments being developed for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope.

Andrzej Niedzielski (IA UMK)

ANDES- polish participation.

Abstract: ANDES, the high resolution spectrograph for the ELT will be a versatile instrument and serve a broad range of science cases. The primary scientific goals include: the detection and characterization of exoplanet atmospheres; the characterization of the protoplanetary disks; the dynamics and chemical composition of stellar atmospheres (with focus on cool stars); the detection and characterization of primitive stars; the detection of near-pristine gas in the early Universe; the characterization of the epoch of reionization; the circum-galactic medium of early galaxies; attempt to provide constraints on the cosmological variation of the fundamental constants of Physics; trace the evolution of the CMB temperature; the measurement of the redshift drift. Poland will contribute to the instrument with the internal calibration system.

Rodolfo Silva Smiljanic (CAMK PAN)

CUBES project.

Abstract: The Cassegrain U-Band Efficient Spectrograph (CUBES) is a new UV optimized spectrograph being built for the 8 meter Very Large Telescope of ESO. The CUBES consortium includes institutions in Italy, Germany, Poland, Brazil and the UK. CUBES will be able to obtain spectra between 300-400 nm in two resolutions, R ∼ 6000 and 24000. Thanks to its high efficiency, CUBES will be competitive even against the 42-m Extremely Large Telescope, which will be optimized for observations in the red and infrared. In this talk, I will present the current status of the project and briefly discuss the scientific motivation for this new instrument.

Łukasz Tychoniec (ESO Garching postdoc)

The career paths of young scientists in ESO-Garching.

Abstract: I have started my Fellowship in Garching in 2020, right after obtaining my PhD degree in Leiden Observatory. In my research I specialize in observations of star and planet formation with sub-mm interferometry (ALMA) and infrared observations with JWST. As I’m entering my final year of the Fellowship, I will present my perspective on opportunities and benefits of being a research Fellow at ESO Garching.  I will show examples of my own research that benefited from the opportunities brought by being at ESO and how functional duties inspire me to broaden my horizons.

Aleksandra Solarz (ESO Paranal)

The career paths of young scientists in ESO-Chile.

Abstract: I am a last year ESO fellow with duties in Chile. At Paranal, I support UT1 and UT2 and I am a part of the Instrument Team supporting the VLT Imager and Spectrometer for mid-Infrared (VISIR) instrument. In my talk, I will present the typical and not-so-typical paths fellows working at Paranal take; where they come from and what lies ahead. I will focus on describing the Observatory life and how 'peeking behind the scenes’ of ground-based observations and instrument operations can help us to develop not only our science goals but also to grow into well-rounded scientists.

Krzysztof Czart (Polish Astronomical Society)

ESO webpage: polish version.