ann13075 — Announcement
A Decade of Successful Planet Hunting
18 September 2013: On 16-17 September 2013 a scientific meeting in Geneva entitled 10 Years of Science with HARPS celebrated a decade of full operation of the High-Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) — the world’s foremost planet hunter. The meeting paid tribute to the extraordinary scientific results HARPS has provided and the unrivalled window it opens onto one of the most exciting areas of current astronomical science — the search for and characterisation of planets around other stars. HARPS — an instrument on ESO's 3.6-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile — first officially started operation on 1 October 2003 and holds some impressive records in its field. It has discovered the least massive exoplanet ever measured, challenged theories of planet formation by finding exoplanets orbiting in the opposite direction to the rotation of their host star, found planets in the habitable zone of a nearby star and discovered hundreds of ...
ann13074 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 19 September 2013
17 September 2013: At the next Café & Kosmos evening on Thursday 19 September 2013 we will join Dr. Maximilian Fabricius (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics) for a discussion about the HETDEX (Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment) project at the McDonald Observatory in Texas. The large-scale distribution of galaxies in the Universe is not random. Instead, there is a typical scale — a typical average distance between galaxies — that can be used to study how the Universe expands over time. HETDEX is using the 9.2-metre telescope of the McDonald Observatory in Texas to search for a certain type of galaxies that can be observed over very large distances. In this way HETDEX can examine the expansion of the Universe at a time when it had just a quarter of its present size. Dr. Fabricius will explain the objectives and discuss how the preparations for this experiment are proceeding. The series of ...
ann13073 — Announcement
10 000th Paper from ESO Data
13 September 2013: The 10 000th scientific paper using data from ESO's facilities has just been published. The lucky paper that crossed the 10K line is "Galaxy Halo Truncation and Giant Arc Surface Brightness Reconstruction in the Cluster MACSJ1206.2-0847" by Eichner et al. (ApJ, 2013, vol. 774, p. 124), which uses observations from the VIMOS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, among others. This milestone was recorded in the ESO Telescope Bibliography (telbib) on 11 September 2013. Telbib is a database of refereed papers which have been published by the ESO users community, and contains papers dating back to 1996. It is maintained by the ESO Library. All papers use partly or exclusively data from ESO facilities. The database is compiled by scanning the major astronomical journals for scientific papers that contain any of the ESO-defined keywords (e.g., telescope and instrument names). All papers included in the ...
ann13072 — Announcement
2013 European Astronomy Journalism Prize Winner Announced
12 September 2013: The winner of the 2013 European Astronomy Journalism Prize is author and astronomy journalist Stuart Clark for his piece When the dust unsettles. The article was featured in the weekly British science magazine New Scientist and looks at cosmic dust, the starting point for building whole planets and much else besides. The award was announced at the British Science Festival 2013 media reception, sponsored by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), on 11 September 2013. The competition aims to promote coverage of astronomy and space science to further engage the public in science. This is particularly important as astronomy and space science are regularly referred to as core reasons that people are inspired to take up careers in science. The prize for the competition is a trip to Chile to see ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced optical instrument. The five judges on the panel were representatives ...
ann13071 — Announcement
A MUSE for ESO’s Very Large Telescope
11 September 2013: A new and uniquely powerful instrument for ESO’s Very Large Telescope has been completed and approved for shipping to Chile. MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) is the result of ten years of design and development headed by the Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, France. On 6–7 September 2013, the Observatoire de Lyon opened its doors to the press and scientific community for two days of presentations, tours of the instrument and discussions to allow the public, press and scientific community learn more about the science behind the project. In attendance were the French Minister of Higher Education and Research, Geneviève Fioraso and the ESO Director General, Tim de Zeeuw.  Over the next few weeks MUSE will be dismantled and shipped to its new home at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. MUSE is an instrument that has 24 integral-field spectrographs that can be used to record images and spectra simultaneously ...
ann13070 — Announcement
Step Inside the Headquarters of the Most Productive Ground-based Observatory in the World!
9 September 2013: On Saturday 19 October, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) will open its doors to the public between 11:00 and 18:00 CEST. The event is part of the Open House Day activities for the Garching research campus, near Munich, Germany. The whole campus — and several other institutes — will put on a programme of activities for astronomy and science fans of all ages, in German and English. Visitors to ESO (location number 29 on this map) will have the opportunity to experience the world of ESO first hand! Among the activities planned for the day are: Virtual and 3D tours — embark on all-inclusive journeys into and around some of ESO's most breathtaking sites and groundbreaking instruments, Live connection to Paranal and ALMA — connect to the largest astronomical project in existence, consisting of 66 antennas at an altitude of 5000 metres on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile, and to ...
ann13069 — Announcement
ESOcast 60: A Polarised View of Exoplanets
4 September 2013: In our newest ESOcast we explore a property of light that can be used to observe the otherwise invisible. By looking at polarised light astronomers can peer past the dazzling glow of stars to observe and study the planets that orbit them. This exploration of exoplanets boosts our chances of finding distant rocky planets like our own, and the life that might call them home. New instruments on the ESO Very Large Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope will take advantage of polarisation to delve deeper into planetary systems surrounding distant stars. To find out how, watch the mysteries of polarisation begin to unravel in ESOcast 60: A Polarised View of Exoplanets. More Information The ESOcast is a video podcast series dedicated to bringing you the latest news and research from ESO — the European Southern Observatory. Subscribe to our video podcast now to keep up with the latest ...
ann13068 — Announcement
Celebrating 50 years in Chile
26 August 2013: The new brochure ESO & Chile celebrates the 50 year anniversary of ESO in Chile. It describes an important relationship between ESO — the foremost intergovernmental astro­nomy organisation in Europe — and the country which hosts its observatories. A country with some of the best conditions for astronomy in the world. This bond began in 1963, when Chile was chosen as the site for the first ESO observatory and the Convenio (also known as the Acuerdo) — the agreement between Chile and ESO — was signed. At that moment ESO became an important cultural bridge between Europe and Chile. “This brochure summarises the history of half a century of joint achievements, the current facilities in the country, the future heralded by the European Extremely Large Telescope, and the ways in which the cooperation between ESO and Chile is taking place nowadays” says Fernando Comerón, ESO’s Representative in Chile. Over time, ...
ann13067 — Announcement
ALMA Filmed with Hexacopter
23 August 2013: High on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes these 58 antennae — eventually to become 66 — make up the largest astronomical project in existence, the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre array (ALMA). Now, the true magnitude of this array has been captured in full HD video as seen in this fantastic aerial footage. In July of this year aerial photographs of ALMA were taken using a hexacopter, with exciting results. The same craft used for the aerial photography — designed to withstand the harsh conditions of this high altitude region — was then equipped with an HD camera, video stabilizer, GPS, landing gear and signal transmitter. The craft, with six sets of rotors and all of its parts installed, weighs a total of 2.3 kilogramme. This may not seem like much but at an altitude of 5000 metres above sea level the air is so thin that an object of this ...
ann13066 — Announcement
Media advisory: Press Conference to Announce Major Result from Brazilian Astronomers
20 August 2013: An international team led by astronomers from the University of São Paulo in Brazil has used the UVES spectrograph on ESO’s Very Large Telescope to shed light on a long-standing mystery about stars like our own Sun. The Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics, and Atmospheric Sciences (IAG) at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil, in collaboration with the European Southern Observatory, will hold a press conference to announce the results and assess their implications, offering journalists the opportunity to discuss with and interview the scientists. The conference presenters are: Postdoctoral fellow TalaWanda R. Monroe (University of São Paulo) Prof. Dr. Jorge Meléndez (University of São Paulo) Dr. Claudio Melo (ESO) The conference will be held on 28 August 2013, at 10:30 local time (BRT) and will take place in Portuguese with a summary in English. The event takes place in São Paulo, at the IAG Headquarters: Rua do Matão, 1226, Cidade ...
ann13065 — Announcement
ESO Awards Contracts for Cameras for New Planet Finder
7 August 2013: ESO has signed contracts with Winlight Systems (France) for the construction of two cameras for the powerful new exoplanet-finding instrument, ESPRESSO. ESPRESSO (Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations) is an ultra-stable spectrograph that will be installed at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile in 2016. It will be capable of combining light from all four Unit Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to create a virtual 16-metre aperture telescope [1]. ESPRESSO is being developed by a consortium consisting of ESO and seven further scientific institutes: Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto (Portugal) Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, CAAUL & LOLS (Portugal) INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy) INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy) Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain) Physikalisches Institut der Universität Bern (Switzerland) Université de Genève (Switzerland). ESPRESSO will build on the foundations laid by the hugely successful High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) ...
ann13064 — Announcement
Aerial Pictures from ALMA in Operation
31 July 2013: The full magnitude of the ALMA Observatory is revealed in these spectacular new images of the antenna array, surrounded by snow on the Chajnantor Plateau in northern Chile. The images were recently captured using a camera mounted on a hexacopter. The flight, which is being registered as a Guinness World Record for multi-rotor aircraft at high altitude, was achieved thanks to the remote-controlled aircraft’s lightweight carbon fibre platform. The hexacopter, which has six sets of rotors, also features autonomous functions that assist with navigation and allow the aircraft to return to its point of departure in the event of signal loss.    "Before we arrived at the ALMA site there was no record of such a device flying so high. The low atmospheric pressure means that the lift from the propellers is greatly reduced," states photographer Ariel Marinkovic, who led the photography session. The only solution was to reduce the ...
ann13063 — Announcement
ESOcast 59: Chile Chill 4
26 July 2013: Our new ESOcast — Chile Chill 4 — explores the wealth of stunning astronomical images produced over a period of almost 30 years by the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. Up until this year the telescope has been operated by ESO and made available to the ESO community, as well as users from the Max Planck Society (MPG). In future ESO will no longer offer the telescope to its users, although the Max Planck Society will continue to use it. The telescope had an interesting early history. It was originally constructed by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (Heidelberg, Germany) and intended to be sited in Namibia. It was not installed there and later offered to ESO under an agreement where ESO undertook the installation of the telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile and managed its subsequent operation. The telescope was made operational ...
ann13062 — Announcement
ESO releases The Messenger No. 152
5 July 2013: 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: A report on the ALMA inauguration A review on the commissioning of the AGPM vector vortex coronagraph An article entitled The Wide View of the Galactic Bulge as seen by the VVV ESO Public Survey An account of ESO’s Early Seeing Expedition to South Africa in the 1950s Download The Messenger in PDF format or visit The Messenger website to subscribe and receive a free printed copy.
ann13061 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 9 July 2013
5 July 2013: With Dr Jörg Dietrich (Universitäts-Sternwarte der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) Astronomers believe that all the matter we know of, in the whole Universe, has been accumulating on an invisible scaffold made of dark matter over the history of the Cosmos. Stars and galaxies have formed over billions of years on the invisible threads of this network. Attracted by the nodes of the scaffold, they have clumped together to form galaxy clusters and superclusters. However, until now, the dark matter has escaped direct observation. All we know about the structure of this invisible scaffold is through the distribution of the ordinary matter that we can see and measure. An international research group from Observatory of the Ludwig-Maximilians University has recently succeeded, for the first time, in detecting a thread of this invisible cosmic scaffold between the adjacent clusters of galaxies Abell 222 and Abell 223. Dr. Jörg Dietrich, the leader of the team which ...
ann13060 — Announcement
SAURON Receives 2013 Group Achievement Award of the Royal Astronomical Society
4 July 2013: The Royal Astronomical Society (UK) has awarded the 2013 RAS "A" Group award to the SAURON team, including Tim de Zeeuw, Harald Kuntschner and Eric Emsellem from ESO, as well as Davor Krajnović, a recent ESO fellow. This prize honours groups that have made an outstanding contribution to astronomy. The prize was presented at the 2013 UK National Astronomy Meeting, in St Andrews, Scotland on 3 July 2013. SAURON is an integral field spectrograph with a 33 x 44 arcsecond field of view, custom-built at the Observatoire de Lyon for the 4.2-metre William Herschel Telescope on the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, Spain. The particular science focus of the team that set up the SAURON project was to understand the evolution of elliptical galaxies by making detailed observations of samples of nearby objects. The SAURON initiative combines an optimised instrument design, refined analysis and modelling methods to ...
ann13059 — Announcement
Win Tickets for the Hidden Universe IMAX® Movie in Copenhagen and Cleveland
4 July 2013: ESO, in collaboration with MacGillivray Freeman Films, the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, is organising a competition that gives Twitter users the chance to win free entrance tickets for themselves and their family or friends to the IMAX® production Hidden Universe. Winners can see the movie in 2D at Great Lakes Science Center and at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium. Released in IMAX® theatres and giant-screen cinemas around the globe, the film shows the workings of ESO’s state-of-the-art telescopes in high resolution time-lapse, as well as mesmerising celestial structures and a simulation of the Universe. Narrated by Golden Globe and BAFTA Award-winning British actress, Miranda Richardson, the movie is produced by Australia’s award-winning production company December Media in association with ESO, Film Victoria, Swinburne University of Technology and MacGillivray Freeman Films. Read more about the movie here. The competition runs from ...
ann13058 — Announcement
ESA Astronaut Pedro Duque visits ESO's Headquarters
27 June 2013: On 27 June 2013, one of ESA’s astronauts, Pedro Duque, visited ESO Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany. He was received on his arrival by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw. Duque is a member of ESA’s European Astronaut Corps, and currently is head of the Flight Operations Office located at the Columbus Control Centre near Munich. During the visit, Mr Duque was briefed about ESO’s programme and had the chance to tour the facilities at ESO Headquarters and see some of the instrumentation being developed in house, including hardware for the future European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). After lunch with ESO representatives, Duque addressed a large audience of ESO staff and students about his experiences as an astronaut and his current work. As an ESA astronaut, Duque took part in two space missions. First as Mission Specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-95 mission, in 1998, and later in ...
ann13057 — Announcement
Senior Chilean Delegation Visits ESO Headquarters
24 June 2013: Today, 24 June 2013, a delegation of Chilean representatives visited ESO’s Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany. It was led by the Chilean Minister for Economy, Mr. Félix de Vicente, and included the Chilean ambassador to Germany, Mr. Jorge O’Ryan Schütz. The Chilean Delegation also included the Director of ProChile Germany, Ms Bettina Stengel, the Vice-President of the Committee of Foreign Investments, Mr Matías Mori, and the Head of Cabinet of the Minister of Economy, Juan José Bouchon. Following their visit to ESO, the Chilean Delegation will also participate in an event entitled “Chile neu entdecken” organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria. ESO enjoys excellent relations with Chile and has a long and fruitful history of collaboration with Chile's government, universities and industry. Chile is a crucial partner in ESO’s activities, hosting all of ESO’s observatories and the ESO premises in Santiago de ...
ann13056 — Announcement
ESO Annual Report 2012 Now Available
10 June 2013: The ESO Annual Report 2012 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 of ESO’s telescopes. The status of the astronomical instruments at the La Silla Paranal Observatory, describing in detail new instruments and upgrades.  
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