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VST Beyond 2021

VST_tramonto.jpg

 

VST (an acronym for VLT Survey Telescope) is one of the largest telescopes in the world designed for wide-field surveys in the optical bands. The telescope has a 2.6-m aperture and is equipped with a single dedicated focal plane instrument: OmegaCAM, which is sensitive in the optical (0.3 - 1.0 microns) range over a 1 square degree field of view.


VST is located at the ESO Paranal Observatory, one of the best astronomical sites in the
world, and delivers excellent image quality with a negligible technical down time. VST is the result of a joint collaboration between INAF, which designed and built the telescope, an international a consortium of institutes in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy (with major contributions from ESO) that designed and built OmegaCAM, and ESO that supervised the construction and currently operates the telescope.


From Apr 2022 the INAF-ESO agreement for the VST operations in Paranal will expire, and INAF will gain full ownership of the telescope.


Time is ripe to re-analize the scientific purposes and operating modes of the VST telescope to evaluate possible scenarios of its operation under the INAF responsibility, taking into full account the changing international scientific landscape. In the last years, indeed, new observation infrastructures have been or will soon be introduced, first of all The Vera Rubin Telescope, providing the Italian and international community with new possibilities in the field of large field surveys. On the other hand the development of transient and multimessenger astrophysics has introduced innovative scientific cases, where a telescope like VST can be particularly productive.


To explore the various options, INAF has appointed a working group "VST beyond 2021" to review the scientific potential of the VST telescope and to present to the INAF management the potential options on the future of telecope operations.


The working group is composed of:

Maria Teresa Botticella, INAF OA Capodimonte
Paolo D’Avanzo, INAF OA Brera
Marco Gullieuszik, INAF OA Padova
Alessandro Papitto, INAF OA Roma
Pietro Schipani, INAF OA Capodimonte

To accomplish its task, the WG has first organized a call for ideas  aimed at surveying the INAF community interest in the use of the VST, and then an international workshop entitled “VST beyond 2021” in June 2020, that gathered about 170 participants to discuss the future scientific exploitation of VST. A link to the workshop website is provided below.
In November 2020 the WG has concluded the task and delivered the final report to the INAF management, that is also made available below.


Links and documents:
International Workshop “VST beyond 2021”, June 10-12 2020
https://indico.ict.inaf.it/event/1014/

VST beyond 2021 Working Group Report

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