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ESO-SKAO meeting lays groundwork for joint surveys of southern sky


How can major observatories work together to maximise the science impact of their observations? That was the topic for the Coordinated Surveys of the Southern Sky symposium, jointly organised by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the SKAO from 27 February to 3 March.

More than 200 participants gathered in person at ESO’s headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany, and online, with a goal of planning how to get the most from surveys conducted by both organisations’ telescopes.

To achieve this, the symposium had sessions focusing on planned surveys and current and upcoming survey facilities, including SKA pathfinder and precursor instruments and the SKA telescopes, and ESO’s optical, near infrared and millimetre facilities. It covered a variety of research areas: science within the Milky Way galaxy and our own Solar System, galaxy evolution, the Epoch of Reionisation, cosmology and the high-redshift Universe, and transients and time-domain science. Time was also reserved for more focused discussion sessions to forge synergies between different teams and develop plans for collaborative surveys and cross-facility follow-up programmes.

“We were very happy with the outcome and the impressive turnout,” says Dr Anna Bonaldi, SKAO senior scientist and co-organiser of the meeting. “People were deeply engaged in suggesting and discussing synergetic science over the course of the symposium. Those ideas will be consolidated over the next months into a white paper, that will be a point of reference for collaborations going forward.”

The meeting brought together more than 200 researchers in person and online. Credit: ESO

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