Swedish Involvement with ESO

Sweden was one of the founding members of ESO, in 1964.

Sweden currently contributes 2.97% of ESO’s revenue, worth 4 825 000 EUR.

Discoveries by Swedish astronomers using ESO telescopes

In June 2016, Erik Zackrisson at Uppsala University was part of the team which detected glowing oxygen in a distant galaxy seen just 700 million years after the Big Bang. This was the most distant galaxy in which oxygen has ever been unambiguously detected. ALMA was used to make the discovery.

In September 2016, Matthew Hayes at Stockholm University was part of a team which discovered the true nature of a rare object in the distant Universe called a Lyman-alpha Blob. They used ALMA, along with ESO’s Very Large Telescope.

Additional Involvement

The Swedish–ESO Submillimetre Telescope (SEST) was built on behalf of the Swedish Natural Science Research Council (NFR) and ESO on La Silla. It was the only large sub-millimetre telescope in the southern hemisphere at the time of first light. SEST was decommissioned in 2003 and superseded by APEX and ALMA on Chajnantor.

Number of Swedish astronomers and staff working at ESO

There are currently four Swedish nationals employed at ESO or working as students. Two are in Garching and two are in Santiago in Chile.

Swedish Contributions to Technology

APEX, the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, is a collaborative effort between the Onsala Space Observatory and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany, and ESO. (ann17026)

SEPIA stands for “Swedish ESO PI receiver for APEX” and its goal is to search for water and other molecules in the Universe. It was designed and built by the Onsala Space Observatory's Group for Advanced Receiver Development (GARD) at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, and supported by ESO. (eso1543)

GARD also worked with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK, and ESO to make the original designs and prototypes for ALMA’s Band 5 receivers. After successful testing, the first receivers were produced and delivered to ALMA by GARD and NOVA (Netherlands), and used for first light. Since then 73 more receivers have been built and delivered. (ann15059, eso1645)

Sweden are involved with adapting ESO’s VLT instrumentation in order to conduct a search for planets in Alpha Centauri. They will be working with the University of Liège in Belgium to develop a new coronagraph for the VISIR instrument. (eso1702)