Announcements

ann13083-en-gb — Announcement
Trailer for IMAX 3D® Cosmic Experience Hidden Universe Released
10 October 2013: If you are still not looking for a theatre location nearby to watch the 3D production Hidden Universe, we invite you to take a look at this trailer to see what you are missing out.  Recorded last October at several locations, including Paranal in Chile, the site of ESO’s Very Large Telescope, and at the site of the ALMA Observatory, the film combines live action scenes with 3D versions of celestial objects, offering an immersive cosmic experience. You will witness the stunning magnificence of the Universe and the equally amazing tools that astronomers use to reveal its secrets in the cinematic medium that does it best. To check the most up-to-date list of theatre locations where the movie is available, go here.
ann13082-en-gb — Announcement
E-ELT Talk in Portugal to be Webcast Live
9 October 2013: ESO astronomer Joe Liske (a.k.a. Dr J, star of the Hubblecast and ESOcast video podcasts) will be visiting the Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto (CAUP) in Portugal on 15 October, to give a talk on the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The talk will also be webcast live, so those unable to attend can still catch up on the latest news from the project. There will be facilities for live web chat on the website which will allow audience members at home to participate in the Q&A. During the talk, Dr J will provide a preview of the largest optical telescope ever, and will discuss the science and technology of this megaproject. What is dark energy? Are we alone in the Universe? What did the first galaxies look like? These are some of the most fundamental questions of our time, and it is hoped that the E-ELT will help ...
ann13081-en-gb — Announcement
ESO Calendar 2014 Now Available
8 October 2013: The European Southern Observatory’s 2014 calendar is now available to buy from the ESO online shop, or to download as a free PDF file. The calendar’s cover features a spectacular image of the Carina Nebula captured by the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. The calendar itself is packed full of images of the cosmos as well as pictures of the ESO telescopes in the desolate landscapes of the Atacama Desert. Highlights include a landscape picture for the month of May that shows the beautiful pastel colours of the sky seen from Paranal as the Sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. October shows the deep darkness of the Chilean sky shattered by the brilliant beam of the VLT’s Laser Guide Star — part of the VLT’s adaptive optics system that allows the observatory to take exceptionally crisp images of the heavens. Each month also marks the dates of ...
ann13080-en-gb — Announcement
ESO Releases The Messenger No. 153
7 October 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: ESPRESSO — An Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observation HARPS observations of the Transit of Venus 2012 Following the G2 Gas Cloud towards the Galactic Centre The Magellanic Stream — A Tail of Two Galaxies Science Days at ESO Download The Messenger in PDF format or visit The Messenger website to subscribe and receive a free printed copy.
ann13079-en-gb — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 8 October 2013
7 October 2013: With Drs Jan Machacek & Karl Rieger, Max Planck Institute for Physics The particle accelerators used for research in high-energy physics are among the largest and most expensive scientific instruments ever built. They are like giant microscopes that have allowed us to discover the fundamental laws of the Universe —from the Big Bang, to the Standard Model of particle physics, and even to the actual structure of the cosmos. In order to continue exploring new areas of physics with particle accelerators, scientists are now investigating new ways to make them not only more powerful, but also smaller. In the very promising plasma wakefield accelerators, "wake waves" are generated in an ionised gas (plasma). Electrons and positrons, their antiparticles, can “surf” that wake and be accelerated to speeds corresponding to over 1000 times the energy that they could get from current particle accelerators. The final aim is to reduce the distance ...
ann13078-en-gb — Announcement
Handback of 2.2-metre Telescope
30 September 2013: As of 1 October 2013, the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, will no longer be offered to the ESO community. Up to now 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 and its instruments were also made available to Chilean astronomers and this will also continue in the future. The MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope 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 — achieved in 1983 — ...
ann13077-en-gb — Announcement
ESO Celebrates 1000th Press Release
18 September 2013: The press release this week, a new image of the Prawn Nebula, is a small milestone in itself —  it is ESO’s 1000th press release. This impressive number is a reflection of ESO’s status as the most productive ground-based astronomy organisation in the world in terms of number of scientific papers produced [1]. On a coincidental note, this week also marks the release of ESO’s 10 000th scientific paper. The ESO outreach department, which is behind ESO’s public communication, was created in 1986, during the exciting period of the 1985–86 Halley apparition, making it one of the oldest astronomical outreach departments in the world. It started life with a somewhat different remit under the name of the ESO Information and Photographic Service (IPS, reflecting the origins of key staff in the former ESO Sky Atlas Laboratory). With growing experience came the realisation that information for the public was a commodity ...
ann13076-en-gb — Announcement
Participate in Origins 2013
18 September 2013: CERN, ESA, ESO and UNESCO in partnership with the Italian Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), invite the public to participate in Origins 2013, a unique event to take place simultaneously in Geneva, Paris and Bologna on European Researchers’ Night, Friday 27 September 2013. People around the world can follow the event live through webcasts. What do particle physics, astrophysics and space research have in common? They all address fundamental questions linked to our origins: the origin of matter, the origin of the Universe, and potentially, the origins of life itself. In the last few months, the Large Hadron Collider, with the discovery of a Higgs boson, and the Planck satellite, with the release of the most precise picture so far of the very early Universe, have achieved major scientific breakthroughs. In addition, the ALMA telescope array was recently inaugurated in Chile. ALMA is the largest astronomy project in existence and will ...
ann13075-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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-en-gb — 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 ...
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