Announcements

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ann1036 — Announcement
E-ELT opens for business - in virtual reality
30 June 2010: A breathtaking 3D light show in Linz, Austria gives audiences a virtual tour of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), before construction work has even begun in Chile. Lucky viewers can gain a sneak preview of what astronomers can hope to see once the planned observatory is up and running in 2018. The E-ELT will be the world’s biggest optical telescope and will peer deeper into the depths of space than any before it. Audience members at Ars Electronica, a “museum of the future” that focuses on the interplay of technology and art, are even suspended just above the telescope’s colossal 42-metre primary mirror. In reality, this viewpoint will be impossible without risking grave damage to the fragile reflective surface. They are also told of the amazing power of the E-ELT to see smaller and fainter objects than ever before, and how its revolutionary potential could be as great as ...
ann1035 — Announcement
New Presentation on ESO's Top 10 Science Discoveries Available
30 June 2010: What are the hottest science topics from the most productive observatory in the world? Find out in the new slide presentation “Top 10 Discoveries by ESO Telescopes”, now available online. From the many impressive discoveries based on data taken by ESO telescopes, this presentation introduces ten that have been selected as the most remarkable so far, based on their scientific relevance and implications. The presentation consists of 38 slides with explanations, impressive images, and links to related information on the ESO website. This product, designed for the non-specialist, will be particularly useful for educators or anyone who needs to give a presentation on this topic.
ann1034 — Announcement
ESO releases The Messenger No. 140
30 June 2010: ESO has just published issue 140 of its quarterly journal, The Messenger. This issue features a range of articles including: A roundup of proposed instruments for the planned E-ELT; An in-depth look at the FORS instruments on the VLT on the occasion of their double 10th anniversary; Updates on new advances in adaptive optics; How astronomers are using the CRIRES spectrograph on the VLT to search for exoplanets orbiting very low-mass stars and brown dwarfs; and Wolf-Rayet stars and the search for the origins of gamma ray bursts. The issue also details how ESO staff in Chile helped with humanitarian aid in the aftermath of February’s earthquake.
ann1033 — Announcement
All Eyes on E-ELT in UK Exhibition
28 June 2010: During the summer, in the UK, an exhibition including two innovative videos is showcasing inspirational plans to build the largest visible-light telescope in the world — the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). “Designing a Giant Eye on the Sky” is an exhibit at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition, part of See Further: The Festival of Science + Arts at the Southbank Centre in London. The exhibit features an innovative dance video “Get the Hex”. The film project involves students from The Royal High School in Edinburgh working with filmmaker and dance choreographer team Craig and Joanne Thomson to create a piece representing the science behind the mirror in the giant telescope. Tom Bacciarelli, who teaches at The Royal High School, says: “In the film, 60 of our students dance with silver hexagonal umbrellas to portray the giant mirror, Earth-like planets and galaxies. I hope other schools will be inspired ...
ann1032 — Announcement
"Nostalgia de la Luz" playing at Filmfest München
28 June 2010: One of the movies featured at this year’s Filmfest München, taking place between 25 June and 3 July 2010, is “Nostalgia for the Light” (“Nostalgia de la Luz”). Directed by Patricio Guzmán, the movie is set in Chile, and ESO’s Paranal Observatory is one of the locations featured. Here, at almost 3000 m altitude, astronomers observe the stars with ESO’s Very Large Telescope and make new discoveries about the Universe. Furthermore, in the same area of the Atacama Desert, the environmental conditions preserve human remains, including mummies, explorers, and also those of people who disappeared during the past dictatorial regime. Here, the movie follows a group of women who are digging through the desert soil in search of their disappeared relatives.
ann1031 — Announcement
ESO at SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation
25 June 2010: ESO astronomers and engineers are attending and presenting results at the international SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation symposium in San Diego, California, USA, from 27 June to 2 July, at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center. ESO will also present its projects in a sold-out exhibition, in which more than 70 companies are taking part. The meeting, with more than 2000 expected participants, is the most prestigious gathering of astronomical instrumentation experts in the world. Roberto Gilmozzi, Principal Investigator for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) project at ESO, will give a plenary talk on goals for the next generation of Extremely Large Telescopes, ranging from the quest for Earth-like exoplanets to the detailed study of the first objects in the Universe. Mark Casali, Head of ESO’s Instrumentation Division, is one of the symposium co-chairs. Thanks to great technological developments, the latest astronomical telescopes and instruments are giving ...
ann1030 — Announcement
European Commission and EIROforum pledge to extend collaboration
24 June 2010: Garching, 24 June 2010 — In a Statement of Intent signed today at the offices of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Garching, Germany, the European Commission (EC) and the members of EIROforum, including ESO, formalise their desire to maintain and further develop their cooperation, for the benefit of European science. In signing this statement, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science and Iain Mattaj, Chairman of EIROforum and Director General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), as well as the Directors General or equivalent of the other EIROforum members, agree to cooperate to further European research in general, and the European Research Area in particular. “As leaders in our fields of scientific research we play an active role, every day, in turning the European Research Area into a reality. At EIROforum we therefore have considerable experience and expertise, which we will strive to make available to ...
ann1029 — Announcement
Black Holes – press kit
24 June 2010: A press kit about black holes is now available for download in PDF format. The guide gives a concise and accessible explanation of what black holes are, why they are interesting, the latest on black hole research from ESO — and why scientists say they have “no hair”. It explains: How black holes were discovered; Why they exist; What scientists know about them today; and How a supermassive black hole lies at the heart of our own galaxy. The press kit is available in English, and features a full list of black hole related ESO press releases.
ann1028 — Announcement
Exoplanets – press kit
23 June 2010: A press kit about exoplanets is now available for download in PDF format. Exoplanets (or extrasolar planets) are planets that orbit stars other than our Sun. While astronomers have long suspected their existence, it is only in the past two decades that we have been able to detect them, with much of this cutting edge work done at ESO. This document explains in clear language: Why exoplanets are so hard to detect, and what strategies astronomers have used to find them; What these discoveries can tell us about the origins of our own Solar System and how the Earth was formed; How ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has allowed scientists to obtain the first image of an exoplanet; How the HARPS spectrograph on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope is the world’s foremost exoplanet hunter; and How future research could one day let us discover whether there is life on other planets. ...
ann1027 — Announcement
ESO Annual Report 2009 now available
18 June 2010: The ESO Annual Report 2009 is now available for download. It presents a comprehensive report of the many activities of the European Southern Observatory during 2009.
ann1026 — Announcement
Issue 8 of CAPjournal (Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal) is now available
18 June 2010: In this issue of Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal, the artist Tim Roth and his collaborators give us a behind the scenes look to their very successful science–art project Cosmic Revelation and our regular contributor, Matthew McCool looks back in time to the clash between science and the humanities. Between issues you can stay in touch through our website, www.capjournal.org, where you will find the current issues in PDF format, an astronomy communication and education job bank, submission guidelines and back issues. We also welcome astronomy and science communication events (conferences, meetings, etc.), training opportunities, job postings or courses offered. If you have astronomy and science communication-themed products such as books, DVDs, television programmes, magazines or websites that you would like to see reviewed by the CAPjournal editorial team, simply send the necessary information to: editor@capjournal.org. Any questions, comments or opinions can also be addressed there.
ann1025 — Announcement
Press Kit about the European Extremely Large Telescope available
17 June 2010: A Press Kit about the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is now available for download in PDF format, in English- and Spanish-language versions. The kit gives a concise but comprehensive overview of the background, current status, and future of what will be the world’s biggest eye on the sky.
ann1024 — Announcement
New ESO flyer available
17 June 2010: A new ESO flyer for download and printing is available in English and Spanish (PDF).
ann1023 — Announcement
ESO releases ESOcast 18: Exoplanet Caught on the Move
10 June 2010: For the first time, astronomers have been able to directly follow the motion of an exoplanet as it moves from one side of its host star to the other. The planet has the smallest orbit so far of all directly imaged exoplanets, lying almost as close to its parent star as Saturn is to the Sun. Scientists believe that it may have formed in a similar way to the giant planets in the Solar System. Because the star is so young, this discovery proves that gas giant planets can form within discs in only a few million years, a short time in cosmic terms. Together with the press release describing this discovery made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope, ESO has issued a new video podcast, ESOcast 18, entitled “Exoplanet Caught on the Move”, with our host, Dr J. The ESOCast provides a nice explanation of the discovery and its importance, ...
ann1022 — Announcement
ESO releases ESOcast 17 about ALMA Construction
28 May 2010: High on the Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes, work progresses at a frantic pace for building the Atacama Large Millimeter/ submillimeter Array (ALMA), which, in a few years from now, will consist of at least 66 antennas, working together at an altitude of 5000 metres. Once completed, ALMA will enable astronomers to study the cold Universe in unprecedented detail.ESO has just issued a new video podcast, ESOcast 17, entitled “Constructing ALMA — The World's Largest Observatory”, to illustrate the enormous progress achieved. The video is available in various formats, including HD, and can be watched or downloaded, also directly from iTunes.
ann1021 — Announcement
ESO Director General Visits Austrian Minister of Science
25 May 2010: ESO Director General Tim de Zeeuw and astrophysicist Sabine Schindler visited the Austrian Minister of Science and Research, Beatrix Karl, on 21 May 2010.Minister Karl said she appreciated Austria’s participation in ESO projects, which include the Very Large Telescope in Chile, and the European Extremely Large Telescope project that is currently under development. "We all three agree that when Austria's joined ESO it was an important step for Austria's basic research programmes, and especially for astronomy," she said. Other disciplines, ranging from astrophysics and particle physics to mathematics and information science, will also benefit from Austria’s accession to ESO in 2008.Austrian scientists have access to the largest observatories in the world, along with ESO infrastructure to help analyse and understand the data gathered. "This naturally strengthens the attractiveness of Austria for researchers," said the minister. Universities in Austria benefitting from the new arrangement include the University of Innsbruck, University of ...
ann1020 — Announcement
European Award Named After Former ESO Director General
18 May 2010: The European Astronomical Society (EAS) has created a new award to honour astronomers of outstanding scientific distinction. The award is named after Professor Lodewijk Woltjer, one of Europe’s outstanding astronomers of the second half of the twentieth century, and ESO Director General from 1975 till 1988. Under his leadership ESO established itself as one of the world’s leading astronomical institutes, and took the decision to build the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory. Professor Woltjer will give the first Lodewijk Woltjer Lecture at the opening session of the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science — JENAM 2010 on Monday, 7 September 2010, in Lisbon, Portugal.Read more on the EAS website.
ann1019 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos
17 May 2010: A New Series of Astronomy Cafés Start in Munich If you have ever wanted to discuss the hottest topics of physics and astronomy with scientists in a relaxed atmosphere, now is your chance (provided you speak German). ESO, together with the Excellence Cluster Universe and the Max-Planck Institutes for Physics, for Astrophysics and for Extraterrestrial Physics, is starting a series of scientific cafés centred on topics related to the Universe. The series starts on 31 May 2010 with the theme “The Big Bang in the Tunnel”. Physicist Stefan Stonjek from the Max-Planck Institute for Physics will briefly tell us about the latest from the CERN Large Hadron Collider before leading a general discussion. The second meeting will take place on 5 July 2010 and to discuss the theme “Are we alone in the Universe?”with ESO astronomer Markus Kissler-Patig. From July, all the discussions will be held every first Monday of ...
ann1018 — Announcement
Tycho Brahe Prize 2010 Awarded to ESO Telescope Designer
21 April 2010: The European Astronomical Society [1] announces that this year’s winner of its Tycho Brahe Prize is the British optical engineer Dr Raymond Wilson. The Tycho Brahe Prize is awarded annually in recognition of the development or exploitation of European instruments, or major discoveries based largely on such instruments. It carries a monetary reward of 6000 euros and is sponsored by the Klaus–Tschira foundation, based in Heidelberg, Germany. The prize will be awarded to Dr Wilson during the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (JENAM2010) [2] that will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, from 6–10 September 2010.Dr Wilson has made contributions of the utmost importance to the technology of astronomical telescopes during the last two decades of the 20th century. His profound theoretical and practical knowledge of optics and his vision for achieving optical perfection led him to the concept of active optics, which revolutionised the world of large telescopes: ...
ann1017 — Announcement
Solar eclipse in Chile: Paranal will open its doors every weekend in July 2010
12 April 2010: People traveling from all over the world to Easter Island, Chile, to witness the total solar eclipse on 11 July 2010, now have the chance to add another astronomical destination to their route. ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory, will offer guided visits to the public every weekend in July 2010, and also on Friday 16 July in the week after the eclipse. Normally public visits to Paranal are scheduled for just the last two weekends of every month, except in December, but due to the high demand by amateur astronomy groups visiting Chile, ESO has added more weekend openings.Guided visits take place during the day only, so as not to disturb the science observations. They include a tour to the platform of the VLT and the unique opportunity to see the mirror of one of the four 8.2-metre telescopes on the site.Paranal Observatory ...
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