Special Session SS20  5 July 2024

The VLTI at the ALMA, JWST and ELT era

Aims and scope

The VLTI remains the general purpose facility providing the highest angular resolution with sub-milliarcseconds imaging and astrometry in the 10s of microarcseconds regime. The unique capacities of VLTI will even improve in the coming years, thanks to the ongoing GRAVITY+ upgrade, bringing a jump in sensitivity and performances. This session aims at replacing the VLTI in the exciting scientific context of ALMA and JWST. ALMA and VLTI produces images of evolved stars to understand the interplay between stellar surface features and mass loss; While ALMA and JWST image the cold dust and gas of YSO at large scales, VLTI provides images of the inner AU, where the disk interacts most strongly with the star and where the inner planets form; JWST is unrivalled for producing spectra of planets and brown dwarfs, but the VLTI accesses systems much closer to their host stars, and is the best facility to provide astrometric orbits of planets and brown dwarfs enabling precise orbitography and dynamical masses; VLTI is unrivalled at imaging the galactic centre and providing ever constraining tests to the nature of Sgr A*; VLTI images the inner parsec of AGNs and QSO, offering unique constrains to the standard model of AGNs, and providing unique SMBH dynamical mass measurements, even at intermediate red-shifts. Using the VLTI is still perceived as complicated. Great efforts in the past years have led to a small yet open ecosystem supporting users from observations preparation to data analysis and interpretation. Users support has 3 pillars: ESO, the VLTI expertise centres (coordinated by the European Interferometry Initiative -- EII) and the community of expert users who provide open tools. This session will review recent results showcasing both aspects: outstanding scientific results and lively user support ecosystems. Although the session will be animated mostly by VLTI experts, it is not aimed at experts but rather at astrophysicists wanting to use VLTI, curious about its upcoming capabilities, and willing to connect directly with actors of its users support network (ESO, the VLTI Centres and the open community at large).


  • Review of results and opportunities on fields heavily represented at this EAS week: protoplanetary disks, exoplanets, and AGNs
  • Contributed talks on recent results illustrating the synergies between VLTI, ALMA and/or JWST
  • Presentation on future capabilities of VLTI: GRAVITY+, ASGARD, etc.
  • Overview of the community: ESO, expertise centres, European Interferometry Initiative
  • Panel discussion with invited speakers

Invited speakers

To be confirmed

Scientific organisers

  • Chair: Antoine Mérand (ESO, Germany)
  • Jean-Philippe Berger (Grenoble University, France)
  • Abigail Frost (ESO, Chile)
  • Sebastian Hoenig (Southampton University, UK)
  • Foteini Claire Lykou (Konkoly Observatory, Hungary)
  • Claudia Paladini (ESO, Chile)


Antoine Mérand: amerand @ eso.org

Updated on Thu Jan 18 08:59:26 CET 2024