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eso0013 — Science Release
6 April 2000: Astronomers working with a major new instrument at the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory have had a first taste of what is bound to become a research bonanza. Recent test observations with the Ultraviolet-Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) have demonstrated the exceptional science potential of this powerful facility.
eso0012 — Organisation Release
Major Conference about Astronomical Technology in Munich — Press Conference on Monday, March 27, 2000
16 March 2000: Which are the latest astronomical discoveries made with the new 8-10 metre class astronomical telescopes? Will it be possible to construct even more powerful instruments on the ground and in space to explore the near and distant Universe at all wavelengths from gamma-rays to radio waves? Which research areas in this dynamical science are likely to achieve break-throughs with emerging new technologies?
eso0011 — Organisation Release
14 March 2000: The European and U.S. partners in the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) project have awarded contracts to firms in Italy and the USA, respectively, for two prototype antennas.  ALMA is a planned telescope array, expected to consist of 64 millimeter-wave antennas with 12-meter diameter dishes. The array will be built at a high-altitude, extremely dry mountain site in Chile's Atacama desert, and is scheduled to be completed sometime in this decade.
eso0010 — Science Release
14 March 2000: Recent observations by an international team of astronomers  with the 15-metre Swedish-ESO Submillimetre Telescope at the La Silla observatory (Chile) have shown that the unusual, nearby galaxy Centaurus A is surrounded by shells in which carbon monoxide molecules are present. These new exciting results are the first of their kind. In addition to the intrinsic scientific value of this discovery, it also provides an instructive example of what will become possible for more distant galaxies with the projected Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), now in the planning phase.
eso0009 — Organisation Release
1 March 2000: Physics is everywhere . The laws of physics govern the Universe, the Sun, the Earth and even our own lives. In today's rapidly developing society, we are becoming increasingly dependent on high technology - computers, transport, and communication are just some of the key areas that are the result of discoveries by scientists working in physics. But how much do the citizens of Europe really know about physics? Here is a unique opportunity to learn more about this elusive subject!
eso0008 — Organisation Release
eso0007 — Photo Release
23 February 2000: In addition to their scientific value, many of the exposures now being obtained by visiting astronomers to ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) are also very beautiful. This is certainly true for this new image of the famous early-type spiral galaxy Messier 104, widely known as the "Sombrero" (the Mexican hat) because of its particular shape.
eso0006 — Science Release
Into the Epoch of Galaxy Formation — Infrared VLT Observations Identify Hidden Galaxies in the Early Universe
17 February 2000: Working with the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory, a group of European astronomers  has just obtained one of the deepest looks into the distant Universe ever made by an optical telescope. These observations were carried out in the near-infrared spectral region and are part of an attempt to locate very distant galaxies that have so far escaped detection in the visual bands. The first results are very promising and some concentrations of galaxies at very large distances were uncovered.
eso0005 — Organisation Release
8 February 2000: The commissioning of the FORS2 multi-mode astronomical instrument at KUEYEN , the second FOcal Reducer/low dispersion Spectrograph at the ESO Very Large Telescope, was successfully finished today. This important work -- that may be likened with the test driving of a new car model -- took place during two periods, from October 22 to November 21, 1999, and January 22 to February 8, 2000.
eso0004 — Organisation Release
28 January 2000: This was a night to remember at the ESO Paranal Observatory! For the first time, three 8.2-metre Very Large Telescopes (VLTs) were observing in parallel, with a combined mirror surface of nearly 160 metres squared. In the evening of January 26, the third 8.2-metre Unit Telescope, MELIPAL ("The Southern Cross" in the Mapuche language), was pointed to the sky for the first time and successfully achieved "First Light". During this night, a number of astronomical exposures were made that served to evaluate provisionally the performance of the new telescope. The ESO staff expressed great satisfaction with MELIPAL and there were broad smiles all over the mountain.
eso0003 — Organisation Release
eso0002 — Organisation Release
eso0001 — Organisation Release
eso9954 — Photo Release
One Hundred Thousand Galaxies at a Glance — The ESO/MPG Wide Field Imager Explores the Distant Universe
21 December 1999: A main scientific application of wide-angle imaging in astronomy is the census and photometric and morphological classification (i.e. by colour and shape) of large quantities of celestial objects in order to identify sources of particular interest that warrant in-depth follow-up observations. This is normally done by means of spectroscopy , a basic observing technique that allows much more comprehensive physical diagnostics than does an image. However, detailed spectral observations requires the great light-collecting power of large telescopes such as the Very Large Telescope (VLT). In the past, many important classes of astronomical objects have been discovered by such survey work. Another central goal of wide-field imaging is the identification and characterisation of structures that extend over large sky areas, e.g., of the Milky Way in which we live, of comparatively nearby galaxies, and even of the Universe as a whole. The structure of astronomical objects reveals much about their history of formation which, because of the inherently very long ("astronomical") timescales, cannot be directly observed.
eso9953 — Science Release
eso9952 — Organisation Release
14 December 1999: On December 14, 1999, REOSC , the Optical Department of the SAGEM Group , finished the polishing of the fourth 8.2-m main mirror for the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory. The mirror was today delivered to ESO at a ceremony at the REOSC factory in Saint Pierre du Perray, just south of Paris.
eso9951 — Organisation Release
eso9950 — Organisation Release
eso9949 — Organisation Release
29 November 1999: "First Light" was achieved in May 1998 for VLT ANTU, the first 8.2-m Unit Telescope at the Paranal Observatory. Since then, thousands of detailed images and spectra of a great variety of celestial objects have been recorded with this major new research facility. While some of these were obtained for scientific programmes and were therefore directed towards specific research needs, others were made during the "Commissioning Phases" in 1998/99 for the two major astronomical instruments, FORS1 (FOcal Reducer and Spectrograph) and ISAAC (Infrared Spectrometer And Array Camera). They were carried out in order to test thoroughly the performance of the telescope and its instruments before the new facility was handed over to the astronomers on April 1, 1999. The Commissioning data are accordingly of variable quality and, contrarily to the science data, normally not intensity calibrated. However, while some of these frames are short test exposures that mainly served to ascertain the image quality under various observing conditions, a substantial fraction still contains scientifically valuable data.
eso9948 — Organisation Release
17 November 1999: The first, major astronomical instrument to be installed at the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) was FORS1 ( FO cal R educer and S pectrograph) in September 1998. Immediately after being attached to the Cassegrain focus of the first 8.2-m Unit Telescope, ANTU , it produced a series of spectacular images, cf. ESO PR 14/98. Many important observations have since been made with this outstanding facility. Now FORS2, its powerful twin, has been installed at the second VLT Unit Telescope, KUEYEN. It is the fourth major instrument at the VLT after FORS1 , ISAAC and UVES. The FORS2 Commissioning Team that is busy installing and testing this large and complex instrument reports that "First Light" was successfully achieved already on October 29, 1999, only two days after FORS2 was first mounted at the Cassegrain focus. Since then, various observation modes have been carefully tested, including normal and high-resolution imaging, echelle and multi-object spectroscopy, as well as fast photometry with millisecond time resolution. A number of fine images were obtained during this work, some of which are made available with the present Press Release.
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