ann14013-en-au — Announcement
Exoplanet Imager SPHERE Shipped to Chile
18 February 2014: SPHERE — the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument — is a powerful new facility for finding and studying exoplanets. The instrument has recently successfully completed testing in France, passed preliminary acceptance by ESO, and has now been shipped to Chile. It will then be installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) and first light is foreseen for May 2014. SPHERE was built by a consortium of astronomers and engineers in many ESO states in conjunction with industry [1]. The consortium is led by the Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, France. SPHERE’s main goal is to find and characterise giant exoplanets orbiting nearby stars by direct imaging [2]. This is an extremely challenging task as such planets are both very close to their parent stars in the sky and also very much fainter. In a normal image, even in the best conditions, the light from the star totally swamps ...
ann14012-en-au — Announcement
Austrian Superfast Adaptive Optics Algorithms for the E-ELT
13 February 2014: As part of the Austrian contribution when it joined ESO, a specialist team from institutes in Linz [1] has developed adaptive optics algorithms and software methods that are much faster than those using more traditional approaches. These methods are used for the correction of images that are degraded due to atmospheric turbulence — and are in particular intended for use with the future 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The challenging goal was to invent a new and different approach to this problem that is as effective as current techniques while, at the same time, greatly reducing the computing load on the computer that performs the calculations. This four-year project has just completed a very successful final review. The new adaptive optics algorithms are very fast and provide excellent quality results. This leads to enormous savings in computing power required to handle adaptive optics data from the E-ELT. But probably ...
ann14011-en-au — Announcement
3D Printing of VLT Components
10 February 2014: ESO has recently utilised the innovative technology of 3D printing [1] to manufacture moulds for the casting of two new telescope components. These are required for the MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and are part of the Adaptive Optics Facility project. The 3D printing technique offers great promise in the manufacture of complex custom items, which are often needed in astronomical instrumentation, delivering the components more quickly and cheaply, and with greater flexibility. The first item, which was manufactured by the German firm voxeljet AG, is the structural part of a new sensor arm [2] that was installed in the telescope to work with the MUSE instrument. This change was also needed to accommodate the GALACSI adaptive optics module to be installed in 2015. The sensor arm is a metallic structure that is used to hold three flat mirrors [3], which feed light beams into ...
ann14010-en-au — Announcement
Improved Adaptive Optics Mirror Delivered
4 February 2014: In December 2011, the French company Safran–Reosc delivered their first thin shell Zerodur mirror to ESO (ann12015). The company has now topped this by delivering a second shell mirror [1] of even higher quality than the first. Both mirrors are a mere 2 millimetres thin but 1.12 metres in diameter, and will be crucial for the upgrade of Unit Telescope 4 of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to a fully adaptive system [2]. A thin shell mirror is deformed several thousand times per second to compensate for turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. The result is a much sharper image, allowing astronomers to study the Universe in greater detail than possible before. The new shell features many improvements. It has a surface accuracy that is better by a factor of five than the older one and very small forces are needed to correct the shape of the mirror’s surface, half that ...
ann14009-en-au — Announcement
Girls' Day Event at ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany
31 January 2014: On 27 March 2014, ESO will participate in Germany’s nationwide Girls’ Day activities. The annual event sees technical enterprises, universities and research organisations open their doors to female school students, in order to provide an insight into science and technology professions. Such open days help girls to make well-informed decisions about their future and encourage them to choose careers in science and technology. The ESO Girls’ Day, An Introduction to the Work of the European Southern Observatory, comprises a series of talks in German and question-and-answer sessions with ESO staff and students. Many aspects of astronomy and engineering (optics, mechanical engineering, construction, software engineering etc) will be covered. To conclude this introduction to the world’s most productive astronomical observatory, there will be a live video link to ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Located 2600 metres above sea level on Cerro Paranal, the VLT is the world’s most advanced optical instrument ...
ann14008-en-au — Announcement
ALMA Transporter Online Game Now Available
30 January 2014: Have you ever wanted to try driving one of the huge ALMA transporters? If you answered “yes” to that question, then there is good news! A simple new multi-player game called Chajnantor: Race Against Time now gives you the chance to be at the controls of a transporter and to explore the top of the Chajnantor Plateau. Race the 130-tonne behemoths against the clock, or against another player, to try to successfully place the ALMA antennas at the required locations. Or maybe you just want to take a relaxing drive and take in the views of the starry night sky. The choice is yours! Play Chajnantor: Race Against Time in your web browser here as a Unity-based game. The game is also available in a stand-alone version (for Windows) with slightly higher quality. Download the game here. The game was designed and written by ESO engineer Juan Antonio Marrero Hernández in ...
ann14007-en-au — Announcement
Introducing the ESO Ultra HD Expedition
27 January 2014: ESO has launched a pioneering expedition into the Ultra High Definition Universe. This campaign will document the travels and work of four world-renowned astrophotographers and ESO Photo Ambassadors as they journey through the Chilean Atacama Desert, equipped with the powerful tools of imaging technological leaders. ESO’s videographer Herbert Zodet and the three Photo Ambassadors, Yuri Beletsky, Christoph Malin and Babak Tafreshi embark on their expedition with the goal of capturing footage at ESO’s three unique observing sites in all their grandeur — using state-of-the-art Ultra High Definition 4K still and video cameras The team will first travel up to Paranal, home to ESO’s flagship facility Very Large Telescope array (VLT), before continuing to ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array at 5000 metres above sea level. Their trip will finish at La Silla, ESO’s first observatory in Chile. The team will capture crisp Ultra High Definition time-lapse images, stills, videos and ...
ann14006-en-au — Announcement
Ultra HD Adds a New Dimension to ESO Videos
22 January 2014: ESO first introduced HD video as a format for its public videos in 2008 and we now have over 1600 videos in this format in our video archive. The newer Ultra HD format has now been added as one of the many video formats that are offered for parts of the video collection [1]. The Ultra HD format [2] has twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of the standard 1080p HDTV format — four times as many pixels. The format has been under development since 2003, but rose to prominence in 2013 and has since become standard on many high-end TV displays. This popular new format has also recently had a lot of media exposure, including extensive coverage at the International Consumer Electronics Show, which took place in late 2013. Ultra HD content is so far quite difficult to find, although internet streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant ...
ann14005-en-au — Announcement
All ESO Outreach Products in One
22 January 2014: The first edition of the ESOshop catalogue has been launched — a catalogue in PDF format that brings together the entire collection of outreach material and merchandise made available by the European Southern Observatory in an easier format to browse. From educational material to branded fleece jackets, books, DVDs and mounted images, the catalogue brings to light educational products, as well as starry gift ideas for those passionate about astronomy. Our cost policy in the ESOshop is one of no additional charges. The shop is not-for-profit, and almost all our products can be downloaded as PDF's for free. The online prices cover the production cost and the handling work invested in making the products available to you. This makes it possible for us to deliver high quality products at reasonable prices. For re-sellers we have special bulk rates, depending on the amount ordered. A complete list of bulk rates can ...
ann14004-en-au — Announcement
ESA/ESO Collaboration Successfully Tracks Its First Potentially Threatening Near-Earth Object
21 January 2014: The first Near-Earth Object (NEO) recovery campaign has been successfully carried out by a new collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and ESO. Up to now the asteroid 2009 FD had been ranked among the top five objects in a list of the most dangerous objects, but new observations with ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) have now shown that it is far less likely to hit the Earth than had been feared [1]. NEOs are asteroids or comets with orbits around the Sun that come very close to the Earth's orbit. More than 600 000 asteroids are known in the Solar System, and more than 10 000 of them are NEOs. Their sizes range from metres to tens of kilometres. Some NEOs could hit our planet and, depending on their size, produce considerable damage. While the chance of a large object hitting the Earth is very small, it could ...
ann14003-en-au — Announcement
ESOcast 62: Three Planets Found in Star Cluster
15 January 2014: In this ESOcast we look at how astronomers have used ESO's HARPS planet hunter in Chile, along with other telescopes around the world, to discover three planets orbiting stars in the cluster Messier 67. Although more than one thousand planets outside the Solar System are now confirmed, only a handful have been found in star clusters. Remarkably one of these new exoplanets is orbiting a star that is a rare solar twin — a star that is almost identical to the Sun in all respects. 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 news from ESO: the ESOcast is available via iTunes in HD and SD. It's also available on YouTube, Vimeo and dotSUB and is offered for download in several ...
ann14002-en-au — Announcement
CAPjournal 14 Now Available
15 January 2014: The 14th issue of Communicating Astronomy with the Public (the CAPjournal) is out now! This issue includes articles from Pamela Gay on science communication with Google+, and Edward Gomez on how to engage with celebrities in astronomy outreach through Twitter. In the resources, research and applications section we look at Hertzsprung and Russell, and the legacy of using flow maps to illustrate astronomical data. There is also an article on quantifying the aesthetic appeal of outreach images. Ryan Wyatt writes on how visual language and visualisation can be used to communicate astronomy, and there is a report on the Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2013 conference, which took place in Warsaw, Poland, in October. There is all this, and more, in this free, peer-reviewed journal for astronomy communicators — now available for download.
ann14001-en-au — Announcement
New ESO app for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.1 Tablets and PCs
10 January 2014: A free app bringing ESO's unique vistas of the Universe, as well as images of its frontline telescopes, is now available for users of the Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.1 tablets and PCs under the name "European Southern Observatory". The app features 52 of the best ESO images — including high resolution versions. Further information about the featured astronomical objects, such as their type and distance, is also provided. The app was independently developed by EspooTeam 2013, making use of our images released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. The app for Windows 8.1 tablets and PCs can be downloaded for free here, while the app for the Windows Phone 8 can be downloaded here. Features compatible with Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.1 Tablets and PCs: Supported processors: x86, x64, ARM Language: English Approximate size: 23.9 MB 52 coolest images: image description high resolution image type of ...
ann13102-en-au — Announcement
1000 Views of ESO
31 December 2013: In February 2011 we opened a Flickr Group, called “Your ESO Pictures” to encourage people to share their photos that revealed interesting aspects of ESO. Visitors to our sites often say that it is a life changing experience and we were curious to know what impresses them most. The initiative proved to be very popular, recently passing the 1000 photos milestone, for which we would like to thank all our Flickr friends! Many of the photos shared with us became Pictures of the Week on the ESO homepage, as we wanted to recognise people’s excellent work, while some of the contributors were invited to join our network of Photo Ambassadors. We invite you to discover 1000 views on ESO and contribute your own to Your ESO Pictures. As a new idea for the Flickr we also encourage pictures that show “ESO from the inside” — either from staff or visitors. ...
ann13101-en-au — Announcement
Reaching New Heights in Astronomy
19 December 2013: A new ESO brochure, entitled Reaching New Heights in Astronomy, has been published and is available as a PDF for download (in 12 languages initially, including English). Printed copies can be ordered from the ESO shop, or collected directly from ESO Headquarters. This 28-page publication describes the ESO sites in Chile and ESO’s state-of-the-art technology. It also highlights some of ESO’s biggest discoveries over more than half a century of pushing the boundaries of astronomical science. Accompanying the text are full colour photos depicting the ESO sites against the backdrop of the beautiful Atacama Desert, along with many spectacular images of astronomical discoveries. This new brochure is a complete update of the older Universe of Discoveries brochure. Bulk discounts are available in the ESO shop.
ann13100-en-au — Announcement
The Messenger No. 154 Now Available
18 December 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: The ESO Public Surveys — Milestones and Completion Overview Summaries of the progress of the individual ESO Public Surveys Paranal Instrumentation Programme 2013-2020: Development Plan Characterising Exoplanet Atmospheres with High Resolution Spectroscopy VLTI/MIDI Large Programme on AGN Download The Messenger in PDF format or visit The Messenger website to subscribe and receive a free printed copy.
ann13099-en-au — Announcement
E-ELT Construction Work to Start
10 December 2013: At a ceremony at ESO’s Vitacura offices in Santiago on 9 December 2013 the ESO Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, and senior representatives of the Chilean company ICAFAL Ingeniería y Construcción S.A., signed a contract for the construction of a road to the summit of Cerro Armazones, the levelling of the top of the mountain and additional civil works. The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the ESO project team. Cerro Armazones will be the site of the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The 3000-metre peak is located twenty kilometres from ESO’s Paranal Observatory, in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The work specified in the contract will begin in March 2014 and is expected to take 16 months. It includes the laying and maintenance of a paved road, the construction of the summit platform and the construction of a service trench to the summit. These civil works ...
ann13098-en-au — Announcement
Roberto Tamai Named as E-ELT Programme Manager
6 December 2013: The ESO Council, at its meeting this week in Garching, has approved the appointment of Roberto Tamai as Programme Manager for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), effective 1 February 2014. Roberto replaces Alistair McPherson who has very successfully steered the E-ELT project through its early stages. Alistair is returning to the United Kingdom as Deputy Director General/Head of Project for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), based at Jodrell Bank near Manchester. Roberto comes from Naples and was educated in Italy and at Berkeley, Calfornia. He started his career working on the ESA Hypersonic Plasma Wind Tunnel Project and subsequently has had a distinguished career at ESO, both in Chile and in Garching. In 1999 he moved to Paranal as a mechanical engineer and became the Head of the Engineering of Paranal Observatory, and then Deputy Director of the La Silla Paranal Observatory. In 2008 he moved back to Garching ...
ann13097-en-au — Announcement
Rob Ivison Appointed as Next ESO Director for Science
6 December 2013: The ESO Council, at its meeting this week in Garching, has approved the appointment of Rob Ivison as the next ESO Director for Science. Ivison will take up his post on 31 March 2014. Ivison is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh's Institute for Astronomy, based at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, and holds an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council. He has a strong and broad track record in astronomy, with expertise covering optical, infrared, submillimetre, and radio wavelengths. His research interests range from the formation and evolution of galaxies, to mass loss in cataclysmic variable stars and the generation of cosmic dust in supernovae. He has previously worked at the University of Toronto, Caltech, University College London, and was a Project Scientist at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh. Rob has played a central role in many important cosmological and extragalactic research programmes, ...
ann13096-en-au — Announcement
ESO Stars in Space Night
28 November 2013: ESO is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the German television station Bayerischer Rundfunk. The most recent installment in their long-running evening television series Space Night features many images and video segments provided by ESO. The programme, which has been running for almost 20 years, features images and video sequences of both the cosmos and the Earth seen from space. The spectacular visuals come from ESO, ESA and NASA and are set to relaxing electronic chillout music that has been created by fans of the show under the creative commons licensing scheme. This year’s Space Night runs almost every night as part of the Bayerischer Rundfunk BR-Alpha evening show, and can also be viewed online at the Space Night website.
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