Announcements 2010

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ann1022-en-us — Announcement
ESO releases ESOcast 17 about ALMA Construction
28 May 2010: High on the Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes, work progresses at a frantic pace for building the Atacama Large Millimeter/ submillimeter Array (ALMA), which, in a few years from now, will consist of at least 66 antennas, working together at an altitude of 5000 metres. Once completed, ALMA will enable astronomers to study the cold Universe in unprecedented detail.ESO has just issued a new video podcast, ESOcast 17, entitled “Constructing ALMA — The World's Largest Observatory”, to illustrate the enormous progress achieved. The video is available in various formats, including HD, and can be watched or downloaded, also directly from iTunes.
ann1021-en-us — Announcement
ESO Director General Visits Austrian Minister of Science
25 May 2010: ESO Director General Tim de Zeeuw and astrophysicist Sabine Schindler visited the Austrian Minister of Science and Research, Beatrix Karl, on 21 May 2010.Minister Karl said she appreciated Austria’s participation in ESO projects, which include the Very Large Telescope in Chile, and the European Extremely Large Telescope project that is currently under development. "We all three agree that when Austria's joined ESO it was an important step for Austria's basic research programmes, and especially for astronomy," she said. Other disciplines, ranging from astrophysics and particle physics to mathematics and information science, will also benefit from Austria’s accession to ESO in 2008.Austrian scientists have access to the largest observatories in the world, along with ESO infrastructure to help analyse and understand the data gathered. "This naturally strengthens the attractiveness of Austria for researchers," said the minister. Universities in Austria benefitting from the new arrangement include the University of Innsbruck, University of ...
ann1020-en-us — Announcement
European Award Named After Former ESO Director General
18 May 2010: The European Astronomical Society (EAS) has created a new award to honour astronomers of outstanding scientific distinction. The award is named after Professor Lodewijk Woltjer, one of Europe’s outstanding astronomers of the second half of the twentieth century, and ESO Director General from 1975 till 1988. Under his leadership ESO established itself as one of the world’s leading astronomical institutes, and took the decision to build the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory. Professor Woltjer will give the first Lodewijk Woltjer Lecture at the opening session of the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science — JENAM 2010 on Monday, 7 September 2010, in Lisbon, Portugal.Read more on the EAS website.
ann1019-en-us — Announcement
Café & Kosmos
17 May 2010: A New Series of Astronomy Cafés Start in Munich If you have ever wanted to discuss the hottest topics of physics and astronomy with scientists in a relaxed atmosphere, now is your chance (provided you speak German). ESO, together with the Excellence Cluster Universe and the Max-Planck Institutes for Physics, for Astrophysics and for Extraterrestrial Physics, is starting a series of scientific cafés centred on topics related to the Universe. The series starts on 31 May 2010 with the theme “The Big Bang in the Tunnel”. Physicist Stefan Stonjek from the Max-Planck Institute for Physics will briefly tell us about the latest from the CERN Large Hadron Collider before leading a general discussion. The second meeting will take place on 5 July 2010 and to discuss the theme “Are we alone in the Universe?”with ESO astronomer Markus Kissler-Patig. From July, all the discussions will be held every first Monday of ...
ann1018-en-us — Announcement
Tycho Brahe Prize 2010 Awarded to ESO Telescope Designer
21 April 2010: The European Astronomical Society [1] announces that this year’s winner of its Tycho Brahe Prize is the British optical engineer Dr Raymond Wilson. The Tycho Brahe Prize is awarded annually in recognition of the development or exploitation of European instruments, or major discoveries based largely on such instruments. It carries a monetary reward of 6000 euros and is sponsored by the Klaus–Tschira foundation, based in Heidelberg, Germany. The prize will be awarded to Dr Wilson during the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (JENAM2010) [2] that will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, from 6–10 September 2010.Dr Wilson has made contributions of the utmost importance to the technology of astronomical telescopes during the last two decades of the 20th century. His profound theoretical and practical knowledge of optics and his vision for achieving optical perfection led him to the concept of active optics, which revolutionised the world of large telescopes: ...
ann1017-en-us — Announcement
Solar eclipse in Chile: Paranal will open its doors every weekend in July 2010
12 April 2010: People traveling from all over the world to Easter Island, Chile, to witness the total solar eclipse on 11 July 2010, now have the chance to add another astronomical destination to their route. ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory, will offer guided visits to the public every weekend in July 2010, and also on Friday 16 July in the week after the eclipse. Normally public visits to Paranal are scheduled for just the last two weekends of every month, except in December, but due to the high demand by amateur astronomy groups visiting Chile, ESO has added more weekend openings.Guided visits take place during the day only, so as not to disturb the science observations. They include a tour to the platform of the VLT and the unique opportunity to see the mirror of one of the four 8.2-metre telescopes on the site.Paranal Observatory ...
ann1016-en-us — Announcement
ESO Messenger No. 139 is available for download
23 March 2010: ESO Messenger No. 139 is available for download on
ann1015-en-us — Announcement
Successfully establishing new Research Infrastructures
22 March 2010: In a position paper presented at the European Conference on Research Infrastructures today, EIROforum, of which ESO is a member, presents the main challenges encountered by research infrastructure projects and offers to support and help new European research infrastructures to become world-class facilities for scientific research. “Creating new European Research Infrastructures and achieving world-class excellence requires concerted and sustained efforts by various stakeholders including governments, the European Commission, funders, administrators and scientists,” says Iain Mattaj, Director General of EMBL and present chairman of EIROforum. “EIROforum members have several decades of expertise in the construction and successful operation of large international research facilities, and would now like to make their experience available to the benefit of all.”Across Europe, cutting-edge research requires world-class research infrastructures, which help to support the continent’s competitiveness in scientific research, underpin its knowledge-based economy, and are essential to meet current and future challenges faced by Europe and ...
ann1014-en-us — Announcement
ESO employees engaged in "Solidarity Mission" in Chile
9 March 2010: Supported by the ESO Chile Solidarity Group, a “solidarity mission” involving ESO and Gemini South Observatory employees has been actively and successfully helping the people in Pelluhue area, on the coast of the Maule region in Chile. The region was one of the most affected by the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck the country on 27 February 2010.On 2 March 2010, three vehicles loaded with food, medicine, clothes, hygiene and essential items departed from the ESO offices in Vitacura, Santiago. The goods were distributed to victims of the earthquake both on the Maule coast and in nearby rural areas. The group not only distributed supplies, but also built a temporary rainproof shelter for an elderly couple living in the rural area of Salto de Pelluhue, whose house was devastated by the earthquake. The group came back after a week of traveling and helping on 8 March 2010.In the next days, ...
ann1013-en-us — Announcement
E-ELT Site Selection Advisory Committee Recommends Cerro Armazones in Chile
4 March 2010: ESO Council delegates met in Committee on 2–3 March 2010 and discussed the process for adoption of a baseline reference site for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). This will enable the successful conclusion of the detailed design of the telescope with the goal of preparing a proposal for construction in due course.ESO Council received a report with the main conclusions from the E-ELT Site Selection Advisory Committee. These conclusions confirm that all sites examined in the final short list (Armazones, Ventarrones, Tolonchar and Vizcachas in Chile, and La Palma in Spain) have very good conditions for astronomical observing, each one with its particular strengths. The technical report concludes that Cerro Armazones, near Paranal, stands out as the clearly preferred site, because it has the best balance of sky quality across all aspects and it can be operated in an integrated fashion with the existing ESO Paranal Observatory.The ESO Council ...
ann1012-en-us — Announcement
A Muse for the Very Large Telescope
1 March 2010: The first components for the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE), a second generation instrument for ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), are beginning to arrive. MUSE is an innovative 3D spectrograph with a wide field of view, providing simultaneous spectra of numerous adjacent regions in the sky. Such spectrographs are efficient explorers of the Universe in three dimensions (two for the on-sky positions, and one for the wavelengths). Poised to become a unique and powerful tool for discovering objects that cannot be found in imaging surveys, MUSE, which is based on a number of innovative technological developments, is bringing these advantages to a level never achieved before. “After many years of hard work, it is with great satisfaction that we see this dream becoming reality,” says Roland Bacon, who is leading the development of this instrument. “The MUSE concept, with its serial production of not just one, but 24, 3D spectrographs, ...
ann1011-en-us — Announcement
Update to Visiting Astronomers with planned trips to ESO observatories
28 February 2010: Update as of 8 March 17:30 CET:The operations of the Santiago de Chile airport are steadily improving to a point that we are now expecting only minor perturbations of both domestic and international flights to/from Santiago in the days to come. As a result, we would like to inform all visiting astronomers to ESO-Chile with an arrival in Chile scheduled for March 10, 2010 and beyond, that no more restrictions will be applied to their itinerary and that they should plan their trip as originally scheduled.Please keep checking this webpage before your departure as we will update its content in case of deviations from the current situation. Any questions, please email "".As of 28 February 21:00 CET:We urge Visiting Astronomers with observations planned at ESO observatories to put their trips to Chile on hold until further notice. International flights to and from Santiago International Airport are currently either cancelled or ...
ann1010-en-us — Announcement
ESO Expresses Support for Victims of Chile Earthquake; No Damage to ESO Observatories
28 February 2010: A magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck central Chile at 03:34 local time (07:34 CET) on Saturday 27 February 2010. The epicentre was 115 km north-northeast of the city of Concepción and 325 km south-west of the capital Santiago. The earthquake has caused significant casualties and damage in the country. ESO expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and its sympathy and support for all those affected by the earthquake. No casualties among ESO staff have been reported. At present, power cuts and network interruptions mean that communication may be limited. Disruption to staff travel plans within, to, and from Chile should be expected. We urge Visiting Astronomers with observations planned at ESO observatories to put their trips to Chile on hold until further notice. International flights to and from Santiago International Airport are currently either cancelled or diverted. Information about observing programmes will be provided at a later ...
ann1009-en-us — Announcement
ESO Call for Proposals for Period 86 released. Deadline is 31 March 2010
26 February 2010: ESO Call for Proposals for Period 86 released. Deadline is 31 March 2010.
ann1008-en-us — Announcement
Around the World in 80 Telescopes is first runner up in IYA2009/Mani Bhaumik Prize for Excellence in Astronomy Education and Public Outreach
26 February 2010: The Around the World in 80 Telescopes webcast has been awarded the first runner-up position in the IYA2009/Mani Bhaumik Prize for Excellence in Astronomy Education and Public Outreach. Around the World in 80 Telescopes was a record-breaking and unprecedented, live, 24-hour public webcast featuring most of the research-grade astronomical observatories both on and off the planet. During the webcast, astronomers at observatories around the world talked about their work and presented exclusive images and video. It was part of the 100 Hours of Astronomy Global Cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. The webcast was coordinated and executed by the ESO education and Public Outreach Department, and hosted from the ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany. “We are delighted and honoured that Around the World in 80 Telescopes has been recognised in this way, and we also thank and congratulate all the observatories around the world that took part. ...
ann1007-en-us — Announcement
ESO videos are now available for subtitling in your own language
18 February 2010: Would you like to see our astronomy outreach videos, such as the ESOcast video podcasts, subtitled in your own language? We are now uploading our videos to dotSUB, where members of the public can contribute subtitle translations. We want to bring the excitement of ESO astronomy to an even wider international audience, and we’d like your help! Read more on
ann1006-en-us — Announcement
European Young Scientist Prizewinner Visits ESO Facilities in Chile
17 February 2010: Julian Petrasch, the 17-year-old German student who won the special ESO prize at the 21st European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), enjoyed the trip of a lifetime to two of ESO’s observatories in Chile from 7–13 February 2010. In Julian’s winning project, “Sky Alignment Simulator (SAMS) — improved determination of minor planet positions”, he developed software to measure the positions of asteroids more precisely. He used the new software to pinpoint the positions of about twenty asteroids and two space probes. Julian reports that some publications on this topic from the Berlin Observatory have already used data processed with this new method. “It was amazing to walk between these giant telescopes and see how such large machines can be controlled and moved so precisely just by one person,” says Petrasch after his visit to Paranal Observatory. Julian, who became an amateur astronomer when he was only six years old, ...
ann1005-en-us — Announcement
World's Most Precise Stellar Spectrograph Gets Polarised Vision
15 February 2010: The very successful HARPS spectrograph, attached to ESO's 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla, Chile, has just been enhanced with a new capability: the world's most precise polarimeter for the study of stars. Polarisation describes the preferential direction in which light vibrates as it travels and it is measured with a polarimeter. The first observations with the HARPS polarimeter show that this new capability already exceeds expectations [1]. Furthermore, it is the only polarimeter of its kind in the southern hemisphere, opening up almost half the Universe to new studies. Nikolai Piskunov from Uppsala University in Sweden and Principal Investigator of the HARPS polarimeter project is enthusiastic: “This new, unique polarimeter opens up exciting new windows for studying the origins and the evolution of magnetic fields in stars of various masses, temperatures and ages. It is also important for the discovery of new exoplanets: The capability to diagnose starspots will be ...
ann1004-en-us — Announcement
"Noticias del Universo" travels to Northern Chile
21 January 2010: How have human beings been able to interpret information coming from space? That is the question that the itinerant exhibition Noticias del Universo (News from the Universe) answers, showing different tools developed throughout history to learn about the “invisible” world around us. Beginning from the simple telescope used by Galileo Galilei centuries ago to the powerful Very Large Telescope, the exhibition explains astronomical concepts through interactive activities and clear explanations. The next destination of News from the Universe is the town of Tocopilla, in Northern Chile. The exhibition will be at the Sagrada Familia School (Serrano 1156), from 22 January to 4 February. It can be visited daily from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 15:00 to 20:00. This exhibition was developed in 2009 by the Explora-Conicyt Program in Chile, in collaboration with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and other local partners, as part of the celebrations in the country of ...
ann1003-en-us — Announcement
Voices from the Universe book launched at ESO Chile
20 January 2010: A new book Voices from the Universe, written by poet Margarita Schultz and astronomer María Teresa Ruiz, includes spectacular astronomical images from the European Southern Observatory (ESO). As the celebrations of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 come to their end, the book Voices from the Universe was presented on 14 January at the ESO Office in Santiago, Chile. Voices from the Universe is an English–Spanish publication featuring poems by Chilean writer and philosopher Margarita Schultz, inspired by a previous book, Sons of the Stars, by the astronomer María Teresa Ruiz. The book includes dozens of large pictures captured by ESO telescopes at the La Silla and Paranal Observatories which, according to the authors, “show the beauty of Chilean skies” to the whole world. For Tim de Zeeuw, ESO Director General, the poems in this book aim to “connect scientific answers and questions to the immortal spirit of Astronomy, that ...
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