Announcements 2014

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ann14053 — Announcement
The Messenger No. 156 Now Available
30 June 2014: The latest edition of ESO's quarterly journal, The Messenger, is now available online. Find out the latest news from ESO on topics ranging from new instruments to the latest science discoveries. Highlights of this edition include: Exploring the Cold Universe at High Spectral Resolution using CRIRES+ NAOMI — a New Adaptive Optics Module for Interferometry The Austrian in-kind contribution on Adaptive Optics for the E-ELT ALMA resolves the disk of young starburst galaxy LABOCA and ALMA observe of sub-millimetre galaxies in CANDELS A report on the E-ELT workshop on exoplanets Download The Messenger in PDF format or visit The Messenger website to subscribe and receive a free printed copy.
ann14052 — Announcement
ESO Annual Report 2013 Now Available
27 June 2014: The ESO Annual Report 2013 is now available. It presents the many activities of the European Southern Observatory during the year, including: Research highlights from ESO facilities, with the latest results from fields covering aspects of astronomy stretching from observations of the Solar System out to the study of the early Universe. A summary of the activities at ESO’s observatories in Chile. The status of the telescopes and instruments at the La Silla and Paranal Observatory, describing in detail new instruments and upgrades. The latest news from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) projects. News about the ESO staff and buildings — including the new Headquarters extension in Garching.
ann14051 — Announcement
Free Fulldome Material for Planetariums
24 June 2014: With our upcoming ESO Supernova — Planetarium and Visitor Centre here in Garching in mind, the ESO education and Public Outreach Department has started producing high-quality material for use in fulldome planetarium shows in the facility from 2017. As part of our mandate to communicate astronomy with our Member States and beyond, we are making this material available for free to other planetariums. This was announced today at the 2014 meeting of the International Planetarium Society in Beijing. The first initiative we have undertaken in this respect is the ESO Ultra HD Expedition, where four world-renowned astrophotographers travelled to Chile to capture the Universe in ultra HD and fulldome format. We would like to share the fulldome results of the expedition through these dynamic links, which will update as more materials become available: UHD fulldome stills (fish-eye, 4K) (adding to ESO’s collection fulldome stills) UHD fulldome timelapses (adding to ESO’s ...
ann14050 — Announcement
Video News Release 43: E-ELT Groundbreaking event
20 June 2014: Yesterday, on 19 June 2014, a major milestone towards construction of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) was reached. Part of the 3000-metre peak of Cerro Armazones was blasted, as a step towards levelling the summit, paving the way for the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world. The groundbreaking event was marked at Paranal Observatory, 20 kilometres away from the blasting, and was attended by VIPs from both Chile and the ESO Member States as well as representatives of the local communities, senior officials from the project and ESO staff. This Video News Release for broadcasters provides a closer look at the event. Note that only natural sound is provided. More information in press release eso1419.
ann14049 — Announcement
Paranal–Armazones to be Connected to Chilean Power Grid
19 June 2014: ESO has signed an agreement with the company Grupo SAESA to connect its sites at Cerro Paranal and Cerro Armazones to the Chilean electric power grid. The new connection will reduce costs and provide greater reliability and stability, as well as reduce the observatory’s carbon footprint. The remoteness of the Atacama Desert presents significant challenges to ESO’s operations at its ALMA and Paranal observing sites as they currently have no connection to the Chilean power grid [1], relying instead on their own supply of energy. A power generating station currently operates at Paranal to supply the observatory [2]. Despite the addition of the VISTA and VST survey telescopes, power use has remained stable over the past few years at Paranal. As just one example, a new, more modern laser guide star was recently installed at Paranal (ann11039), effectively reducing the power consumption to less than a tenth of the old ...
ann14048 — Announcement
Final ALMA Antenna Arrives on Chajnantor Plateau
16 June 2014: The final antenna for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) project has been taken up to the high-level site at the ALMA Observatory, 5000 metres above sea level. Its arrival completes the complement of 66 ALMA antennas on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile — where they will in future work together as one giant telescope. The 66th ALMA antenna was transported to the Array Operations Site (AOS) on Friday 13 June 2014. It had been delivered to the ALMA Observatory for final testing in October 2013 (eso1342). The 12-metre diameter dish is the 25th and final European antenna to be transported up to the Chajnantor Plateau on . It will work alongside its European predecessors, as well as 25 North American 12-metre antennas and 16 East Asian (four 12-metre and twelve 7-metre) antennas. The global ALMA collaboration is the largest ground-based astronomical project in existence. ...
ann14047 — Announcement
All ESO’s Observatories Included in Google Street View
10 June 2014: ESO's observing sites at Paranal Observatory, La Silla Observatory and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and have now been included in spectacular 360-degree panoramic views from Google's Street View, now available on Google Maps. Google Street View team visited each of ESO’s three world-class observing sites in Chile: Paranal Observatory at an altitude of 2635 metres — home to the VLT at Paranal Observatory — ESO’s flagship facility; La Silla Observatory — ESO’s first observatory on the outskirts of the Atacama Desert — 2400 metres above sea level; as well as the two ALMA sites — the ALMA Array Operations Site (AOS), high on Chajnantor Plateau at 5000 metres above sea level and the international ALMA base camp at the Operations Support Facility (OSF) at 2900 metres. Instead of the perhaps more well-known Google Street cars, Google now is able to cover such high and remote locations using what ...
ann14046 — Announcement
New App Kiwaka Features ESO Material
6 June 2014: A new iPhone and iPad app named Kiwaka has been released today. Developed by the mobile app company LANDKA, in partnership with ESO and other leading scientific organisations, it is an “edutaining” app — combining education and entertainment — fusing gaming and learning about astronomy. Kiwaka is aimed at a broad audience and displays ESO imagery to delve deeper into interesting astronomical objects. Users will be provided with links to ESO content where they can explore the cosmos further on the ESO site. As the game progresses, the user journeys amongst the stars and learns about them along the way. A star map is provided after the game showing which constellations have been traversed. Kiwaka is an innovative method of astronomy outreach. Its combination of education with entertainment inspires the user both to have fun, and learn some astronomy, through easily accessible mobile technology — whilst utilising the wealth of ...
ann14045 — Announcement
ALMA Upgrade to Image the Event Horizons of Supermassive Black Holes
4 June 2014: Scientists have carried out a major upgrade to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) by installing an ultra-precise atomic clock at ALMA’s Array Operations Site — home to ALMA’s supercomputing correlator. The current rubidium-based time reference has been replaced by a more accurate hydrogen maser. This upgrade will benefit all ALMA users and will eventually allow ALMA to synchronise with a worldwide network of radio astronomy facilities to form an Earth-sized telescope with the magnifying power required to see details at the edge of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way [2]. This corresponds to a resolving power thousands of times greater than achievable with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Before ALMA can lend its unmatched capabilities to this and similar scientific observations, however, it must first transform into a different kind of instrument known as a phased array. This new version of ALMA will allow ...
ann14044 — Announcement
Spain Confirms Participation in the E-ELT
3 June 2014: On 3 June 2014, during the 131st meeting of the ESO Council, the Spanish delegation informed the Council that the Spanish Council of Ministers had approved the participation of Spain in the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) supplementary programme. The Council very much welcomed the statement of the Spanish delegation and unanimously approved the participation of Spain in the E-ELT programme. The ESO Council and the ESO Executive are delighted that all ESO Member States are now in the E-ELT programme. Spain joined ESO in July 2006 and its membership was ratified by the Spanish Parliament in February 2007. Further details of the country’s extensive involvement with ESO are available here. Spain will be the fourteenth ESO Member State to join the E-ELT programme. The total investment from Spain amounts to a total of about 38 million euros. The European Extremely Large Telescope is expected to yield great advances in ...
ann14043 — Announcement
ESOcast 65: The Chilean Sky in Ultra High Definition
30 May 2014: In March and April 2014, ESO’s videographer Herbert Zodet and three ESO Photo Ambassadors: Yuri Beletsky, Christoph Malin and Babak Tafreshi embarked on the ESO Ultra HD Expedition. Their goal was to capture footage at ESO’s three observing sites in Chile using state-of-the-art Ultra HD tools [1]. This ESOcast tells their story and shows some of the spectacular results. First the team visited ESO’s Paranal Observatory, home to the Very Large Telescope array (VLT) — ESO’s flagship facility. They then drove to ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array — a huge new facility dedicated to studying the cool Universe. Finally, the team headed to La Silla, ESO’s first observatory. The almost perfect atmospheric conditions in each of the sites provided crystal-clear views of the night sky. The expedition team collected a wide range of content including time-lapses, stills and panoramas in Ultra HD quality that can now be demonstrated in ...
ann14042 — Announcement
Second ESO Astronomy Camp for Secondary School Students
30 May 2014: The European Southern Observatory (ESO) and its Science Outreach Network are collaborating with the science communication event organiser Sterrenlab to arrange the second ESO Astronomy Camp — Measuring the Universe. The camp will take place from 26 December 2014 to 1 January 2015 at the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley, located in Saint-Barthelemy, Nus, Italy. Several partners, including ESO, are providing bursaries that will be awarded to the winning applicants. The camp will explore the theme of distances in astronomy through lectures, hands-on activities, and nighttime observations with the telescopes and instruments at the observatory. Social activities, winter sports, and excursions will contribute to making the camp a memorable experience for the participants. ESO will be responsible for the scientific programme for the ESO Astronomy Camp, and will provide lecturers and material together with several other partners. A registration fee of 500 euros covers full ...
ann14041 — Announcement
Austrian Software Tools Developed for ESO
30 May 2014: As an additional part of the Austrian contribution when it joined ESO, two specialist teams from institutes in Austria have developed software tools that offer significant improvements over traditional methods. A team from the University of Innsbruck [1] has developed atmospheric correction algorithms and software methods, and at the University of Vienna [2], a team of astronomers and mathematicians has developed software for the automatic combination of data from separate astronomical observations in order to create final mosaicked products. The new atmospheric correction approach models and corrects for the influence of the Earth’s atmosphere on observational data obtained with ground-based telescopes. It saves valuable observing time whilst allowing very accurate correction — leading to a more efficient use of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Stefan Kimeswenger from the University of Innsbruck says: “We are convinced that the daily scientific work carried out by astronomers conducting telescope observations becomes much easier ...
ann14040 — Announcement
ALMA Website for Children Launched
27 May 2014: ALMA Kids is a new mini-site created especially for children. It aims to familiarise them with astronomy, so that they understand what we know about the Universe, and help them to appreciate the contribution of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The content of this new ALMA educational space includes comics, discoveries explained in simple words, videos, and games, all within a playful design. This colourful virtual platform, which has both Spanish and English versions, was launched on 27 May 2014 at Constitution Plaza, Santiago, Chile, as part of the Santiago Student Science and Technology Fair. At the fair, children of all ages, from preschool to high school, will exhibit the scientific projects they have completed in public schools in the district of Santiago. At ALMA’s booth, visitors will be able to learn about astronomy and the functioning of the largest radio telescope in the world. There will also be ...
ann14039 — Announcement
New Dutch Prize for Young Talent in Astronomy
20 May 2014: A new prize called the De Zeeuw–Van Dishoeck Graduation Prize for Astronomy has been established to encourage young talent in astronomy in the Netherlands. It is named after ESO Director General, Tim De Zeeuw and Ewine van Dishoeck, respectively Professor of Theoretical Astronomy and Professor of Molecular Astrophysics at the University of Leiden. The Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) officially announced the new prize at its annual meeting on 17 May 2014. The award consists of a certificate and cash prize of 3000 euros and will be awarded annually to the the best masters thesis in the field of astronomy written by a student studying at a Dutch university. “Smart students are the future of our field and we would like to encourage students to conduct independent, innovative research as early as possible,” said Ewine van Dishoeck, who, together with ESO Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, has ...
ann14038 — Announcement
Invitation to Watch and Broadcast the E-ELT Groundbreaking
16 May 2014: On Thursday 19 June 2014 there will be a media event at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile to mark the blasting of the top of Cerro Armazones, the 3000-metre peak that will be the home of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). To enable people from around the world to witness first-hand this exciting milestone, a live video stream will be webcast on Livestream from 16:30 UTC until around 18:30 UTC [1]. Limited places are still available for members of the media to attend in person the ceremony and to visit ESO’s Paranal Observatory. Please express your interest before Friday 23 May by filling out the ESO media visit form, noting that you wish to attend the E-ELT Groundbreaking under “Objective of the Visit.” Please note that further details for media are available here. Television broadcasters who cannot make it to the event will be offered full broadcast quality ...
ann14037 — Announcement
ALMA Centre of Expertise in Portugal
14 May 2014: ESO has named the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, of the Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL) in Portugal as an ALMA Centre of Expertise, as an addition to the European ALMA Regional Centre network, in recognition of its ability to support the use of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). As an ALMA Centre of Expertise, CAAUL will have access to the European infrastructure that manages and develops this instrument, supporting its use within Portugal. The specific capabilities that CAAUL has developed in recent years will also be used to support ESO and the ALMA Regional Centre nodes in Europe in verifying ALMA data before they are delivered to scientists worldwide. José Afonso, Director of CAAUL, says that "it is gratifying to see once again the quality of Portuguese research recognised internationally. Our researchers are now using the most powerful telescope available, and the recognition of ...
ann14036 — Announcement
AstroCamera 2014 Competition Open for Entries
12 May 2014: ESO invites you to take part in AstroCamera 2014 — an international competition in support of the popularisation of astronomy and astrophotography. As an honorary sponsor of the competition organised by the Hewelianum Centre, ESO will award prizes for the honourable mentions in the form of books and DVDs, while the winners will receive grants from the organisers. Launched initially on 28 January 2011 in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of the birth of the 17th century astronomer, Johannes Hevelius, the competition is open to all astronomy and astrophotography enthusiasts. The life and achievements of Hevelius, a renowned observer of the night sky, have been an inspiration for the Hewelianum Centre to make the AstroCamera competition a regular event. This is the fourth time it has been held. The competition is organised into the following categories: Category I: deep sky objects (photographs of star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, etc.), Category II: ...
ann14035 — Announcement
First Results from the ESO Ultra HD Expedition
9 May 2014: The ESO Ultra HD Expedition may now be over, but there is much work being done behind-the-scenes to process and combine all the footage the team has taken — a staggering 10 TB of images and video. With four times the resolution of HD, Ultra HD takes our view of the night sky into a new, immersive dimension. The expedition team can now present some of their first results in dramatic Ultra HD footage — bringing the Universe closer than ever before. While the production of Ultra HD TV displays and cameras has flourished, very little Ultra HD content has been made universally available until now. ESO is now changing this by delivering free Ultra HD content to all, from consumer to broadcaster, under a very liberal licensing model. A little over a month ago, ESO’s videographer Herbert Zodet and the three ESO Photo Ambassadors: Yuri Beletsky, Christoph Malin and ...
ann14034 — Announcement
ESO and Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias Sign Agreement on Adaptive Optics Collaboration
5 May 2014: During the course of a visit by the ESO Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, to the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain, an agreement was signed between ESO and the IAC to perform experiments at the Teide Observatory related to forefront technology in the field of laser guide stars for adaptive optics. This technique will shortly be used at the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) and will be essential to the successful operation of the future 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) to be built by ESO in Chile. This collaboration between the IAC and ESO is intended to optimise aspects of laser guide star systems. These laser systems are some of the technology used in the technique of adaptive optics, which compensates for the atmospheric turbulence that affects ground-based observations. An artificial guide star is produced by shining a powerful laser into the sky — ...
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