Press Releases 1998

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eso9823 — Organisation Release
At the Moment of First Light
18 June 1998: We publish here two photos that were obtained in the VLT Control Room at the moment of First Light Event for the UT1 on May 25, 1998.
eso9822 — Organisation Release
VLT Unit Telescope 1 in its Enclosure
17 June 1998: A wide-angle photograph has been obtained that shows for the first time the complete structure of the first 8.2-metre VLT Unit Telescope (UT1) in its enclosure on Paranal.
eso9821 — Organisation Release
The VLT Sharpens its View
10 June 1998: Following the very successful First Light Event in late May, the first 8.2-m Unit Telescope (UT1) of the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) has continued to demonstrate its great potential. These developments are reported on a dedicated webpage with new VLT Information.
eso9820 — Organisation Release
A Great Moment for Astronomy
27 May 1998: The European Southern Observatory announces that First Light has been achieved with the first VLT 8.2-m Unit Telescope at the Paranal Observatory. Scientifically useful images have been obtained as scheduled, on May 25 - 26, 1998.
eso9819 — Organisation Release
First Large VLT Mirror Successfully Coated
21 May 1998: One of the most crucial operations before the VLT UT1 First Light was successfully concluded late last evening at Paranal. For the first time ever, an astronomical mirror with a total surface of more than 50 m 2 has been coated with a thin (less than 0.0001 mm) and highly reflective layer of extremely pure aluminium. The very good result of this critical operation guarantees that the VLT UT1 will now be able to capture efficiently the faintest light from celestial objects.
eso9818 — Organisation Release
VLT 8.2-m Mirror Ready for Coating
19 May 1998: With the VLT UT1 First Light just one week away, the ultimate activities that lead up to this important event have started at the Paranal Observatory. Following successful optical alignment tests, cf. ESO Press Release 05/98 , the 8.2-m primary mirror has been removed from the first Unit Telescope (UT1). It is now in the Mirror Maintenance Building (MMB) and is being prepared for coating with a thin, highly reflective aluminium layer.
eso9817 — Organisation Release
Expectations Increase as VLT First Light Approaches
13 May 1998: Two weeks before the moment of "First Light" of Unit Telescope no. 1 of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) , the ESO Team at the Paranal Observatory reports good progress of the preparatory work.
eso9816 — Organisation Release
Photos from Science Writers' Symposium
13 May 1998: In December 1987, the ESO Council decided to embark upon the Very Large Telescope (VLT), Europe's astronomical flagship facility for the early 21st century.
eso9815 — Organisation Release
Paranal - April 1998
30 April 1998: This is another video clip with recent footage from the Paranal Observatory, illustrating the continuing progress of the VLT project. It was obtained in mid-April 1998 by the ESO EPR Video Team and forms part of the video tape ( UT1-FLE-VNR1 ) with selected video material for broadcast use, issued in connection with the VLT First Light Event.
eso9814 — Organisation Release
Optical Alignment Tests Start at the VLT UT1
27 April 1998: Following the successful installation of the 8.2-m Zerodur main mirror at the first of the four Unit Telescopes (UT1) of the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) on April 16, work now continues on the optical alignment of the complex system.
eso9813 — Organisation Release
World's Largest Mirror Installed on First VLT Unit Telescope
17 April 1998: The world's largest optical mirror - with 8.2-m diameter and a surface of more than 50 m 2 , polished to the highest perfection - was today put in place at the First VLT Unit Telescope (UT1) at the Paranal Observatory.
eso9812 — Organisation Release
Secondary Mirror Unit in Place on First VLT 8.2-m Unit Telescope
24 March 1998: The assembly work on the first VLT 8.2-m Unit Telescope (UT1) at Paranal is now entering the final phases. The excellent progress continues and the project is on schedule for the First Light Event in late May.
eso9811 — Organisation Release
ESO and Fokker Space Sign Contract about VLTI Delay Line
11 March 1998: The European Southern Observatory is building the world's largest optical telescope, the Very Large Telescope (VLT) , at the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile. The VLT consists of four 8.2-m unit telescopes and several smaller, moveable Auxiliary Telescopes. When coupled as the giant VLT Interferometer (VLTI) , they will together provide the sharpest images ever obtained by any optical telescope. It will in principle be able to see an astronaut on the surface of the Moon, 400,000 km away.
eso9810 — Organisation Release
Another Job Well Done at Paranal
10 March 1998: The VLT assembly work at the ESO Paranal Observatory continues in great strides. During the past week, the mirror cell for the 8.2-m main mirror (the M1 cell ) was successfully attached to the bottom of the telescope tube of Unit Telescope 1 (UT1). The present `picture story' illustrates the various phases of this delicate operation.
eso9809 — Organisation Release
Getting ISAAC Ready for the VLT
5 March 1998: We continue the publication of video clips which illustrate the rapid progress of the VLT project. The present footage of the ISAAC (Infrared Spectrometer and Array Camera) instrument for the ESO Very Large Telescope was obtained last week by the ESO EPR Video Team at the ESO Headquarters in Garching.
eso9808 — Organisation Release
Tests of FORS - the First Major VLT Instrument
3 March 1998: We continue the publication of video clips which illustrate the rapid progress of the VLT project. The present footage of the FORS (FOcal Reducer/low dispersion Spectrograph) instrument for the ESO Very Large Telescope was obtained by the ESO EPR Video Team during a recent mission to DLR (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.) in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich (Germany).
eso9807 — Organisation Release
Pointing the First 8.2-m VLT Telescope
17 February 1998: Now that the big mechanical pieces of the first 8.2-metre unit telescope (UT1) of ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) have been assembled, the work areas have shifted towards the many other components that are needed to make the first giant optical telescope in the southern hemisphere operational. Although most of these items may be of less impressive dimensions, they are equally indispensable to make a telescope of this size and weight point towards a given direction and follow the motion of the celestial objects to be observed with superior accuracy.
eso9806 — Photo Release
The Unusual Tails of Comet Hale-Bopp
30 January 1998: While famous Comet Hale-Bopp continues its long voyage towards the outer reaches of the solar system, observations proceed with telescopes in the southern hemisphere. These research programmes aim at a better understanding of the further development of this very active comet as it moves away from the Sun and slowly cools. Among the key questions are for instance: "When will it cease to display a dust tail?" and "Will the nucleus undergo outbursts during which much fresh material will be dispensed into space, as this has occasionally happened by other comets (e.g. Halley)?"
eso9805 — Organisation Release
Entering SOFI's Wonderful World
29 January 1998: SOFI, ESO's new infrared imager/spectrometer, saw first light at the NTT telescope on December 6, 1997, as planned and less than two years after the start of its detailed design. The acronym stands for 'Son OF ISAAC', the larger Infrared Spectrometer And Array Camera being built by ESO for the VLT.
eso9804 — Organisation Release
High-resolution Photos from the Paranal Observatory
23 January 1998: We show here five high-resolution photographic images (4-6 Mbytes) from the ESO Paranal Observatory, the site of ESO's Very Large Telescope Array (VLT).
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