ann12058 — Announcement
Winners of the first European Astronomy Journalism Prize Announced
5 September 2012: The winner of the first European Astronomy Journalism Prize, designed to help inspire the next generation of researchers, has been announced today (5 September 2012) at a reception in the House of Commons. Katia Moskvitch from the BBC was announced as the winner and awarded a trip to Chile by a panel of judges representing the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), who ran the competition, together with the Royal Astronomical Society and the Association of British Science Writers. The aim of the prize was to increase media coverage of the field, as a means of promoting the wonders of astronomy — a subject regularly cited as a key reason for students opting to take up careers in science.  The judges chose Katia as the winner for her remarkable series on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, located at the Paranal Observatory, Chile. [1] Katia’s prize ...
ann12057 — Announcement
ESOcast 47: Finding Life
3 September 2012: Leading up to ESO’s 50th anniversary in October 2012, we are releasing eight special ESOcasts, each a chapter from the movie Europe to the Stars — ESO’s First 50 Years of Exploring the Southern Sky. In this special episode – ESOcast 47 overall – we look at one of the greatest quests that astronomers have pursued over the centuries: the search for life in the Universe. ESO has played an important role in this exciting journey. The ESO 3.6-metre telescope is one of the most successful planet hunters. Thanks to its HARPS spectrograph, astronomers have discovered more than 150 planets. Other important milestones in the study of exoplanets have been reached by the Very Large Telescope (VLT). For instance, a team of astronomers took the very first image of a planet outside the Solar System in 2004 (eso0428). Moreover, astronomers have been also able to analyse the atmosphere of a ...
ann12056 — Announcement
ESO Call for Proposals for Period 91 Released
30 August 2012: The ESO Call for Proposals for Period 91 has been released. The deadline is 27 September 2012, 12:00 noon CEST.
ann12055 — Announcement
An Even Sharper View of the Universe
24 August 2012: An updated version of ESO’s popular Top 100 Images App is now available to download from iTunes. The new version, released in time for ESO’s 50 years anniversary celebrations, takes full advantage of the third generation iPad retina display and quad core graphics. The free app transforms the iPad into an exciting window to the Universe and allows users to enjoy 100 spectacular images of distant galaxies and nebulae, dramatic night-sky landscapes and pictures of some of the world’s most powerful telescopes. Thanks to the super-sharp retina display technology (containing 1 million more pixels than HDTV) these pictures look more spectacular than ever. The pictures, complete with explanatory captions, are continuously updated to keep up with the influx of  new images taken by ESO’s suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The photos are also easy to download and display as impressive ...
ann12054 — Announcement
Help Build the E-ELT: ESO Industry Event
21 August 2012: On 16–17 October 2012, ESO will host an industry event at the Press Club of the Allianz Arena, Munich. The event is to provide information for companies from the ESO Member States who may be interested in participating, whether as prime contractors or as subcontractors, in the construction of the dome and main structure of the European Extremely Large Telescope, the world’s biggest eye on the sky. All participants will be offered the opportunity to display a poster about their company and to make a short (5-minute) presentation to introduce themselves. To register your interest in participating in this event, please contact the Industrial Liaison Officer for your country or ESO at
ann12053 — Announcement
ESOcast 46: Catching Light
1 August 2012: Leading up to ESO’s 50th anniversary in October 2012, we are releasing eight special ESOcasts, each a chapter from the movie Europe to the Stars — ESO’s First 50 Years of Exploring the Southern Sky. ESOcast 46 is the sixth special episode of this series. It describes how state-of-the-art cameras and spectrographs help ESO’s powerful telescopes collect and analyse the faint light from the distant Universe. Without these instruments, ESO’s eyes on the sky would be blind. Today’s astronomical images are very different from those from the 1960s. Back then, astronomers used large photographic glass plates, which were not very sensitive and hard to handle. Nowadays, ESO’s telescopes use some of the largest and most sensitive electronic detectors in the world. They catch almost every cosmic photon and recover almost every possible bit of information. For instance, the VLT Survey Telescope’s camera — OmegaCAM — has 32 detectors, which team ...
ann12052 — Announcement
ESO Releases The Messenger No. 148
30 July 2012: The latest edition of ESO’s quarterly journal, The Messenger, is now available online. Find out the latest from ESO, with topics ranging from new telescopes and instruments to the latest discoveries. Highlights include: A report on the progress of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) project. A description of POPIPlaN, an image catalogue of newly discovered southern planetary nebulae. A study of massive stars beyond the Magellanic Clouds using the X-shooter spectrograph. The story behind the use of renewable energy at the Paranal Observatory.
ann12051 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 10 July 2012
6 July 2012: with Dr Ralph Blumenhagen (Max Planck Institute for Physics) String theory is a framework for a unified description of all forms of matter, and of all the interactions between them. It started with a very simple theory, namely that all the fundamental objects are tiny, oscillating strings. The mathematical analysis of that hypothesis leads to a completely new approach to theoretical physics, in which our common notions of space and time are completely challenged. The Strings 2012 conference will take place in Munich at the end of July, and will bring together the world specialists in string theory. On 10 July 2010, Dr Ralph Blumenhagen (Max Planck Institute for Physics) will discuss the themes and the future results that he expects from this exciting research field with Café & Kosmos guests. Please note that the Café & Kosmos events take place in German. What: String theoryWhen: Tuesday, 10 July 2012, ...
ann12050 — Announcement
ESOcast 45: Reaching out
2 July 2012: Leading up to ESO’s 50th anniversary in October 2012, we are releasing eight special ESOcasts, each a chapter from the movie Europe to the Stars — ESO’s First 50 Years of Exploring the Southern Sky. ESOcast 45 — Reaching Out — is the fifth special episode of this series. In it we focus on ESO’s mission of curiosity, wonder and inspiration, proclaimed through cooperation and outreach. Indeed, cooperation has always been the basis for ESO’s success, ever since the organisation was founded fifty years ago. Together, ESO’s Member States enable the best possible astronomical science at the world’s largest observatories. ESO also works closely with industry, universities and research institutes around the world in developing state-of-the-art technologies. Furthermore, through engagement with the public, ESO provides countless ways to participate in the discovery of the cosmos, inviting everyone to join this exciting adventure. Watch this episode to discover more about how, ...
ann12049 — Announcement
ESO Annual Report 2011 now available
2 July 2012: The ESO Annual Report 2011 is now available. It presents the many activities of the European Southern Observatory throughout the last year, covering topics including: Research highlights from ESO facilities, with the latest results from fields such as exoplanets and planet formation; the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way; the study of active galactic nuclei; the first stars; and the reionisation of the Universe. A summary of the activities of ESO’s telescopes. The status of the astronomical instruments at the La Silla 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.
ann12048 — Announcement
Self-steering Mars Rover tested at ESO’s Paranal Observatory
20 June 2012: When ESA wanted to test concepts for future Mars roving vehicles they needed a landscape as similar to the surface of Mars as possible. The Atacama Desert at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile fitted the bill perfectly. Rovers on Mars cannot be driven directly from Earth — it takes radio signals up to 40 minutes to make the trip to Mars and back. Instead, they are given instructions to carry out autonomously. But current rovers can only move slowly and need frequent updates from Earth. The ESA team is testing concepts that will allow future rovers to travel much further on their own. ESO’s Paranal Observatory acted as host for the rover experiments and provided welcome respite for the team and its equipment during the cold and windy nights. For two weeks the team put the prototype rover, called Seeker, into action within a particularly Mars-like zone not far ...
ann12047 — Announcement
Science in School Issue 23: Out Now!
18 June 2012: The latest issue of the free magazine Science in School is now available online and in print. The European journal dedicated to science teachers and educators offers numerous interesting articles and activities for students. Many exciting topics are covered in issue 23, including science education projects in which students can build their own radio telescope or seismograph at school, or study solar and lunar eclipses in the classroom. Cutting-edge science is also featured, in articles on research into how cancer can be triggered when chromosomes are torn apart, and why some people are born exhibiting features of both sexes. Other articles explain how solar cells offer an alternative source of energy, report the experiences of a teacher at CERN, reveal how mathematics is found where you might not expect it, and explain how an expedition to Antarctica could help in planning a mission to Mars. Science in School is published ...
ann12046 — Announcement
World Renowned Astrophotographer Serge Brunier Blogs Live from ESO’s Observatories
18 June 2012: World renowned astrophotographer and ESO Photo Ambassador, Serge Brunier, has returned to ESO’s observatory sites in Chile and this time he is sharing his experiences on a live blog hosted by the Skypix Science et Vie website. The blog posts are available in English and in French. You can also follow Serge’s adventures on Twitter by searching for the hashtag #ESOlive. Serge was at the La Silla Observatory, located on the outskirts of the Atacama Desert, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres. On this site ESO operates some of the most productive 4-metre-class telescopes in the world. After La Silla, Serge is heading further north in Chile to the Paranal Observatory, home of the Very Large Telescope and nearby Cerro Armazones, where ESO will be building the European Extremely Large Telescope — the world’s biggest eye on the sky.
ann12045 — Announcement
Media Advisory: Invitation to ESO@50 Science Workshop
15 June 2012: Media representatives are invited to attend the ESO@50 scientific workshop, an event organised in celebration of ESO’s 50th anniversary. ESO@50 will take place between 3 and 7 September 2012 at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany. Some of the most prominent scientists from Europe and around the world will participate. During the 5-day workshop journalists will have the opportunity to join the astronomers to get an overview of the main scientific topics where observations at ESO facilities have contributed to major progress in astronomy, from Solar System astronomy to fundamental physics. Original perspectives on the scientific challenges of the coming decades will also be presented. Interviews with participants will also be possible. Among the invited speakers are: Richard Ellis: ESO's impact on ground-based astronomy Marijn Franx: High-redshift clusters and proto-clusters Reinhard Genzel: The Milky Way centre Alvio Renzini: How ESO changed astronomy in Europe A full list is available ...
ann12044 — Announcement
Foundation Stone Laid for ESO Headquarters Extension
11 June 2012: On 11 June 2012 at 18:00, a ceremony took place at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany, to mark the laying of the foundation stone of a major new extension to the ESO building. A time capsule containing a scroll listing the names of the ESO Council delegates, the latest issue of The ESO Messenger and a copy of a local newspaper for the day was also sealed and placed in the foundations during the ceremony. The Headquarters extension will feature an office building, a technical building and a covered bridge that will connect the new buildings to the original Headquarters. The buildings will make extensive use of natural light sources and there will be two inner courtyards. This striking and innovative design is in keeping with the current building and retains the same curved shapes. Further details about the building are available here: eso1215. The new office building, ...
ann12043 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 12 June 2012
11 June 2012: with Dr. Anita Winter (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, MPE) Cosmic X-rays give us important information about high-energy events happening in the Universe. But to observe this type of energetic radiation astronomers need to work with satellites equipped with powerful telescopes, whose mirrors consist of numerous concentric shells. Traditional methods for manufacturing these shells led to heavy mirrors, which is a major restriction as they need to be launched into space. The Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) has developed a new, special technique using glass panes, which results in significantly lighter mirrors and thus enables the construction of telescopes with larger collecting surfaces. On 12 June, Dr. Anita Winter (MPE) will discuss the opportunities and challenges that these new technologies are bringing. Please note that the Café & Kosmos events take place in German. What: Technology of the future for new X-ray telescopesWhen: Wednesday, 12 June 2012, ...
ann12042 — Announcement
ALMA Telescope Upgrade to Power New Science
5 June 2012: Before its construction is even completed, the new telescope ALMA — the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array — is embarking on an upgrade that will help astronomers investigate the earliest galaxies and search for water in other planetary systems. The oversight board for ALMA has authorised the design and building of an additional set of receivers with state-of-the-art performance, which will enable the telescope to access a part of the spectrum of light that it cannot currently study. ALMA is the world’s largest astronomy project, and this powerful new facility on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile is giving astronomers insight into both how the Universe and its galaxies have evolved since the Big Bang, and how stars and planetary systems formed in our own galaxy. Although only half of its final total of 66 antennas are currently in place at the high-altitude site in northern Chile (see ann12035), ALMA is already ...
ann12041 — Announcement
ESOcast 44: Changing Views
5 June 2012: Leading up to ESO’s 50th anniversary in October 2012, we are releasing eight special ESOcasts, each a chapter from the movie Europe to the Stars — ESO’s First 50 Years of Exploring the Southern Sky. ESOcast 44 — entitled Changing Views — is the fourth special episode of this series. Since its birth, fifty years ago, ESO has helped to improve our knowledge of the Universe by means of successive generations of powerful optical ground-based telescopes. But there are other ways to collect the light from distant objects. In this episode, we discover how ESO has helped astronomers to explore the Universe at longer wavelengths, such as the infrared and radio regimes. The human eye is only sensitive to a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. We are not able to see light with wavelengths longer than red, or shorter than violet. But by observing the sky at longer wavelengths, ...
ann12040 — Announcement
Presidential Summit to take place on Paranal
4 June 2012: On Wednesday 6 June, the Presidents of four Latin-American countries will gather at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert, where the Fourth Summit of the Pacific Alliance is due to take place. Paranal is the home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory. Presidents Sebastián Piñera of Chile, Ollanta Humala of Peru, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, and Felipe Calderón of Mexico will hold a meeting to ratify the Framework Agreement of the Pacific Alliance, to promote regional integration and higher growth, development and competitiveness between the Member Countries of the Alliance, with the aim to move progressively towards the goal of achieving free movement of goods, services, capital and persons. Representatives from Costa Rica and Panama were invited as observers, and officials from Canada, Japan and Australia were also invited as guests. The President of the ESO Council, Xavier Barcons, the Director ...
ann12039 — Announcement
Communicating Astronomy With the Public Journal Issue 12 Now Available
31 May 2012: The 12th issue of the free peer-reviewed journal for science communicators, Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAPjournal), is now available for download. One of the highlights of the issue discusses the different tools science communication specialists use to gauge how well they reach their target audiences — in other words, how they know what actually works. Another article is focused on the Mars Crowdsourcing Experiment, a crowdsourcing project that investigates whether the players of a computer game can support scientific research by tagging surface features on Mars. Also in this issue, there is an article on the project Multiverso, a cultural initiative in which an astronomer and a rock musician team up, combining their passions to create awareness about astronomy. Since late 2009, the project has reached tens of thousands people in Spain through various events such as the release of an album and a set of concert-talks.