2nd EUROCAL Management Committee Meeting

The EuroCal project Management Committee (consisting of the University of Crete representative and project PI Prof. V. Charmandaris, the Max-Plank Institute for Radioastronomy representative Prof. J.A. Zensus, and Caltech representative Prof. A.C.S Readhead) held its second meeting in April of 2014, in Hreaklion, Crete, Greece. Prof. Zensus joined by telecon for part of the meeting, while his representative, Dr. E. Angelakis of MPIfR, was there for the entire duration of the meeting. The Committee also met with all the other EuroCal task leaders (Prof. I. Papadakis, Prof. V. Pavlidou, and Prof. K. Tassis) to discuss progress on individual EuroCal tasks and plan for the next two years of the project.

The Committee revisited its agreed-upon road map for attacking the EuroCal project tasks. As a reminder, the original road map focuses on two main themes: Active Galactic Nuclei, and Exceptionally Luminous Galaxies. Targets originally laid our were: A) transfer of knowledge; B) strengthening of existing collaborative projects and starting of new collaborative projects; C) bridging theory and observations.

As far as Active Galactic Nuclei are concerned, the Committee noted the successive conclusion of a full year of observations with novel optopolarimeter RoboPol, mounted at the 1.3m telescope of the Skinakas observatories. This new data naturally generates fertile ground for new collaborative projects (target B), that were agreed upon and started during the second RoboPol Collaboration meeting held in parallel with the Management Committee meeting. These projects include: study of TeV blazars; a statistical study of polarization swings in Active Galaxies and their cross-correlation with gamma-ray data; and cross-correlation of optopolarimetric and radio properties of active galaxies, the latter continuously probed with the radio facilities of Caltech and MPIfR. The anticipated papers on the single-epoch survey and the RoboPol pipeline systems have been concluded. The paper on the instrument design has been, however delayed, and its publication has been rescheduled for the end of 2014. In contrast, the serendipitous observations of polarization from a gamma-ray burst and a Be X-ray binary have opened additional avenues of optopolarimetric collaboration between our institutions, and produced unexpected publications.

These collaborative projects are to be pursued actively during the mutual secondments of AGN scientists from the European partners to Caltech and vice versa, which are also going to serve as the main continued channel through which transfer of knowledge (target A) is achieved. Scheduled visits include those of V. Pavlidou (U. Crete), E. Angelakis (MPIfR) and I. Myserlis (MPIfR) to Caltech during summer of 2014, and the visit of I. Papadakis (U. Crete) to Caltech in the fall of 2014; the visits, to be combined with RoboPol observing, of MPIfR and Caltech scientists to Crete (M. Balokovic, T. Hovatta, O. King, Myserlis, S. Kiehlmann); and the visits of Caltech scientists to MPIfR (A. Readhead). All these scientists will also be expected to give talks and/or closely interact with scientists and students at the host institution to maximize transfer of knowledge. Theorists and observers within our teams will be working closely to interpret RoboPol, radio, and gamma-ray data, and thus make progress on target (C).

The collaborative activities on the Exceptionally Luminous Galaxies theme revolve around the analysis and interpretation of infrared observations obtained with Herschel Space Observatory, both for the GOALS sample as well as other sources.To advance these studies, the following actions were agreed upon:

FORTH graduate students Psychogios (observer), Panopoulou (theorist) and Tritis (theorist) will be seconded to Caltech in 2014. They will be accompanied by FORTH researcher and U. of Crete faculty Tassis (task leader of task 2.2), to collaborate with the Caltech members of the project on: (a) learning the Herschel data analysis of GOALS sample (including 90 (U)LIRGs ); combining with HST observations; and trying to study the morphology using non parametric coefficients of these galaxies (Psychogios); (b) reduce and theoretically interpret RoboPol and ground-based radio observations of interstellar clouds (Panopoulou); develop theoretical multi-dimensional chemodynamical models of interstellar cloud evolution (Tritis). The FORTH students, under the guidance of Tassis and Caltech collaborators, will be trained in their respective projects and will interact actively with the Caltech research environment (target A); they will achieve progress on our open collaborative projects and seek topics of new collaborative investigations (target B); and they will jointly attack their respective research problems from a theoretical and observational perspective, with the assistance of local Caltech experts (target C).

Administrative comments:

The Committee welcomed to the collaboration new students Kiehlmann (MPIfR, WP 1); Balokovic (Caltech, WP 1); Tritsis (FORTH, WP2); Liodakis (FORTH, WP2).

The Committee noted that MPIfR has up to now only been involved with the Active Galaxies part of the project; however, MPIfR hosts a strong group on star formation, and decided to pursue recruiting MPIfR members to join the project on the exceptionally luminous galaxies theme.

The Committee decided to fully support a new field of collaboration that came about during the 3rd RoboPol Collaboration Meeting in Heraklion, Crete: that of using optopolairmetric monitoring of the interstellar medium with RoboPol to constrain foregrounds for searches of inflationary signatures in the cosmic microwave background polarization. The theme has the potential to lead to a fruitful collaboration with revolutionary results affecting our understanding of fundamental physics and cosmology. The collaboration in this direction promotes targets A (transfer of knowledge between Caltech, which hosts a celebrated cosmic microwave background program, and MPiFR and FORTH who are leaders in polarimetry); B (new collaboration directions); and C (bridging theory and observations: inflation and the microwave and optical sky). And the theme is consistent with the original direction of the project (the connecting link being interstellar dust emission, which is responsible for both microwave background polarization foregrounds, and the ultra-luminous emission from starburst galaxies). For this reason, the Committee decided to include this theme as part of its "Exceptionally Luminous Galaxies" efforts.

Project EUROCAL is supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, through an International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) Marie Curie Action, under grant agreemen PIRSES-GA-2012-316788.