OnTheFringe is a series of four schools designed to train young astronomers in optical interferometry. Optical interferometry is a new technology enabling observations with angular resolution an order of magnitude larger than the largest single telescopes available, at visible and infrared wavelengths. Optical interferometry is the only technology allowing the systematic direct detection and characterization of Earth-like planets orbiting other stars, playing a key role in ESAs long-range plan through the Darwin mission, and in NASAs Origins programme.
On the ground Europe has achieved world leadership with the ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). Interferometry from the ground will play a central role in: a) the understanding the lifecycles of stars in the Milky Way; b) the discovery and characterization of planets orbiting stars in the neighborhood; c) the understanding of the energy conversion mechanisms in Active Galactic Nuclei.
The goal of the schools is to train a new generation of astronomers in the use of the VLTI, building critical mass in this emergent field, applying it to astrophysical areas of European leadership, optimizing the scientific use of the VLTI investment, overcoming fragmentation and uneven distribution of knowledge in optical interferometry in the European research area. The proposed activities will therefore increasing European competitiveness in the scientific ground and space programme enable by optical interferometry.
The schools consist in: a) two data reduction schools were young astronomers will learn the essentials to become proficient users of the VLTI and its instruments (MIDI/AMBER and PRIMA; b) two thematic schools where optical interferometry is presented in context with other very high angular resolution techniques in key astrophysical areas of European leadership (AGNs and circumstellar disks and planets).
The schools will have a dedicated web site making relevant materials available to those who cannot attend (e.g. lectures� presentations, data reduction software). Proceedings will be edited and provided to the participants.
The programme is supported by 15 EU member states, including new member states, through the European Interferometric Initiative, thus integrating the entire European optical interferometry community.
1 January 2006
31 December 2008