From European Southern Observatory: “GASP program receives 2.5 million euros from the European Research Council”

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From European Southern Observatory

8 May 2019
Calum Turner
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6670

Astronomer Bianca Poggianti of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica has been awarded a grant of 2.5 million euros by the European Research Council (ERC) for a project based on data from ESO facilities. GAs Stripping Phenomena in galaxies (GASP) is one of 222 projects across Europe to be awarded the highly competitive advanced grant, as announced by the ERC.

The ERC project GASP is based on the ESO Large Programme of the same name that studies the mechanisms of gas removal in galaxies and their consequences for star formation. GASP uses vast quantities of data, much of which was gathered with the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT)[below], as well as with ALMA [below] and APEX [below].

ESO MUSE on the VLT on Yepun (UT4)

According to Poggianti, this use of data across a wide range of wavelengths is one aspect that makes GASP unique, for the first time allowing astronomers to study various phases of gas and stars up to great distances from the centres of galaxies. GASP is also distinguished by its combination of highly detailed physical analysis, the statistical power of a large sample of studied objects, and the development of innovative methods to study the evolution of the spectra of galaxies at different cosmological eras.

Established in 2015, GASP has already proven itself; its first data release in November 2017 included valuable information such as the average star formation rates in 57 galaxies in different environments, and revealed a previously unknown way to fuel supermassive black holes. The second and final GASP data release is foreseen for May 2019.

This newly awarded ERC grant will allow six young researchers to join the team, supporting the ongoing project in its pursuit of answers to questions concerning the conditions under which stars can form, the role of a galaxy’s environment in “igniting” supermassive black holes into active galactic nuclei, and the processes that bring star formation to a halt.

The ERC is the foremost European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. ERC advanced grants are awarded to well-established top researchers whose host institution is based in an EU member state or associated country. They support pioneering work by giving researchers with a track record of scientific excellence the opportunity to pursue their best ideas.


GASP website

See the full article here. .


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ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre EEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

ESO/HARPS at La Silla

ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at Cerro LaSilla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

MPG/ESO 2.2 meter telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

ESO/Cerro LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
•KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
•MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
•YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo,

2009 ESO VLTI Interferometer image, Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
•KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
•MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
•YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).

ESO VLT 4 lasers on Yepun

Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres

Part of ESO’s Paranal Observatory, the VLT Survey Telescope (VISTA) observes the brilliantly clear skies above the Atacama Desert of Chile. It is the largest survey telescope in the world in visible light.
Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

ESO Speculoos telescopes four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes at ESO Paranal Observatory 2635 metres 8645 ft above sea level

ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

A novel gamma ray telescope under construction on Mount Hopkins, Arizona. a large project known as the Cherenkov Telescope Array, composed of hundreds of similar telescopes to be situated in the Canary Islands and Chile. The telescope on Mount Hopkins will be fitted with a prototype high-speed camera, assembled at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and capable of taking pictures at a billion frames per second. Credit: Vladimir Vassiliev