Announcements 2013

ann13042-en-us — Announcement
Portugal to Participate in the E-ELT
7 May 2013: Representatives of the Portuguese government have confirmed today that their country will join the list of participants in the ESO European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) programme. Thirteen ESO Member States have now confirmed their full participation in what will be the leading project in ground-based astronomy in future decades. Portugal joined ESO in June 2000 and its membership was ratified by the Portuguese Parliament in May 2001. Portugal’s additional contribution to the E-ELT is valued at a total of about 5.1 million euros over the ten years of construction. “I am thrilled to see yet another step towards making the E-ELT project reality,” says Tim de Zeeuw, ESO’s Director General, “With this important decision by Minister Crato, Portugal joins the list of Member States that will lead the advancement of ground-based astronomy in future decades. This decision will significantly benefit Portuguese astronomers, instrument builders and industry.”    The E-ELT is ...
ann13041-en-us — Announcement
Start Receiving ESO News in Your Language
7 May 2013: Present and future subscribers to ESO News can now receive our weekly newsletter in their native language. Current subscribers are invited to visit their Subscription Preferences, which can be found as highlighted in the images above, and choose a preferred language. New subscribers can choose their favourite language when they sign up. We appreciate that some languages are officially spoken in more than one country. Therefore, subscribers will find an indication of both language and country in these cases. For example, in the preferred language drop-down menu subscribers will find the options: German, German/Austria, German/Belgium and German/Switzerland. We recommend taking the country into account as well, because translated newsletters may also contain additional local announcements and events that are relevant for only one country. To see previous editions of translated newsletters for your country, check out the links below. Names of countries are available in official language(s): Österreich, België—Belgique—Belgien, Brasil, Česko, ...
ann13040-en-us — Announcement
ALMA Compact Array Completed and Named After Japanese Astronomer
7 May 2013: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has reached another milestone with the delivery of the last antenna forming the Atacama Compact Array (ACA) to the ALMA high site. The ACA is a subset of 16 closely separated antennas that will greatly improve ALMA’s ability to study celestial objects with a large angular size, such as molecular clouds and nearby galaxies. The 16 antennas forming the Atacama Compact Array, four 12-metre antennas and twelve 7-metre antennas, were produced and delivered by Japan. Japan’s participation in ALMA also includes some of the ultra-cooled radio receivers installed in the 66 ALMA antennas and the ACA correlator, a powerful special-purpose computer that combines the signals from the ACA antennas. ALMA was inaugurated on 13 March 2013 during an official ceremony. However, it had already started science operations in September 2011, when a reduced set of antennas was made available for observations. Astronomers worldwide rushed ...
ann13039-en-us — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 7 May 2013
3 May 2013: With Dr Iris Abt (Max Planck Institute for Physics) The discovery of Jupiter's moons by Galileo Galilei is an example of how one single observation can fundamentally change our view of the world. Galileo's small telescope has now been replaced by complex equipment, some located in special laboratories, others deep underground, and some on remote mountaintops. The construction and operation of such installations require armies of physicists, engineers and technicians. They are waiting for rare decays, or hard-to-detect signals from space. Even today, a single observation could still challenge our understanding of matter, or even of the whole universe. No one knows what we shall see — or whether we shall see it: dark matter, antiparticles, neutrino messengers from distant galaxies... Dr Iris Abt (Max Planck Institute for Physics) will give an insight into, and discuss, our new observation methods with the guests of the next Café & Kosmos, on ...
ann13038-en-us — Announcement
ASTRONET Workshop on Astronomy Education and Public Outreach
2 May 2013: On 17 and 18 June 2013 a workshop entitled Astronomy Education & Public Outreach: the European perspective will take place. It is organised by the ASTRONET Task 5.3 Working Group, made up of representatives from several European scientific organisations and chaired by ESO. The workshop’s main objective is to evaluate the European perspective on astronomy education and public outreach (EPO), in order to enable the definition of European priorities concerning this topic. ASTRONET Working Group members as well as international experts on astronomy education and public outreach will discuss which astronomy education and public outreach activities need support at the European level, and how the European Union can help to leverage national resources and share best practices as well as educational materials. Abstracts can be submitted up to 31 May, and registration is open until 10 June 2013. ASTRONET was created in 2005 as a consortium of the largest funding agencies ...
ann13037-en-us — Announcement
Danish Industry Day at ESO
30 April 2013: On 16 May 2013, ESO will host an industry event for a Danish business delegation at its headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany. This meeting will provide representatives of Danish companies and institutions with information about ESO and the potential opportunities that are available to take part in ESO’s industrial activities. Modern astronomical telescopes and instruments are composed of many elements, which have to be designed by engineers and scientists, and are produced by scientific and technological companies and institutes. ESO operates some of the most powerful ground-based telescopes in the world, and will start constructing the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in the near future — tasks that are only possible with the support of a strong network of external partners in industry. This could offer new opportunities for Danish enterprises and institutes to cooperate, bid for contracts and develop the innovative technology needed. On 12 April 2013 representatives ...
ann13036-en-us — Announcement
ESOcast 56: Gentle Giants in the Desert
29 April 2013: For our newest ESOcast, we pose this puzzle: how do you move a 100-tonne giant ALMA antenna 30 kilometres up onto the oxygen-starved Chajnantor Plateau, 5000 metres above sea level and finish the job with millimetre precision? Thankfully we have Otto and Lore, the cutting-edge ALMA transporters. The numbers are staggering: 20 metres long, 10 metres wide, weighing 130 tonnes each, housing two blistering 700-horsepower engines and capable of reaching 20 kilometres/hour; Otto and Lore are moving megastructures. More than just gigantic workhorses, Otto and Lore are also triumphs of precision — gently moving parts of the world’s largest astronomical project into place to a hair’s breadth precision. To watch these gentle giants in action, follow the link to ESOcast 56. 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 ...
ann13035-en-us — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 24 April 2013
23 April 2013: With Dr Dietrich Baade (ESO) This theme complements the question of whether there is extraterrestrial life. Although life formed on Earth over three and a half billion years ago and has since then occupied almost all the available ecological niches in the biosphere, it is not at all obvious that during this time life should have evolved to ever more advanced forms. In fact, outside the incredibly thin film of the biosphere, the Universe is extremely hostile to life. The preservation of terrestrial life required a combination of numerous favourable astronomical circumstances, which, after a general introduction, Dr Dietrich Baade (ESO) will identify and characterise, together with the guests of the next Café & Kosmos, on Wednesday 24 April 2013. Note that, exceptionally, Café & Kosmos will take place on a Wednesday. Café & Kosmos events take place in German. What: How on Earth could terrestrial life survive for so ...
ann13034-en-us — Announcement
CAPjournal Issue 13 Now Available
16 April 2013: The 13th issue of Communicating Astronomy with the Public (the CAPjournal) is out now! Do you want to find out more — topics range from the cardinal rules of science writing to the most up-to-date research on astronomy communication? Sarah Reed, former science editor of the Universe Awareness project and the new editor-in-chief of CAPjournal, starts us off with her sage advice on how to be effective when writing for the young. Writing for children is not child’s play; but we hope that Sarah’s top tips will soon be inspiring the future Hubbles and Hawkings. A major problem with outreach is how to take a private activity, the science of astronomy, and make it public. Leading figures from the Chandra X-Ray Center present a case study in exactly this, with promising results. They ask the pertinent questions: Who do public science displays attract? And what happens afterwards? We get a ...
ann13033-en-us — Announcement
Denmark Confirms Participation in E-ELT
12 April 2013: Representatives of Denmark have confirmed that their country will participate in the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) programme. Twelve ESO Member States have now joined the E-ELT programme. Denmark joined the organisation in 1967, as the first new Member State three years after ESO’s foundation. The newly announced investment amounts to 8.5 million euros over the ten-year construction period. “This decision marks another important push forward for the E-ELT project,” comments Tim de Zeeuw, ESO’s Director General, “Denmark is a long-standing member of ESO and with this decision it has taken an important step to keep Danish science and industry at the forefront of astronomy for future decades.”   Denmark’s participation will be financed by the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education, as well as by the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University and the Technical University of Denmark. The three universities have agreed to finance the E-ELT additional contributions. Denmark ...
ann13032-en-us — Announcement
Fernando Comerón becomes ESO Representative in Chile
2 April 2013: Yesterday, 1 April 2013, European Southern Observatory (ESO) astronomer Fernando Comerón became ESO’s new Representative in Chile. He replaces Massimo Tarenghi, who has been ESO Representative since 2008. “I’d like to build on the deep relationship of trust and mutual benefit that ESO has developed with Chile throughout the years. This relationship and collaboration is a key element in understanding the impressive growth that both European and Chilean astronomy have experienced in these last decades. One of my immediate goals will be to nurture and develop this relationship even further in this very special year for ESO and Chile, as we celebrate 50 years of ESO’s presence in Chile”, said Comerón. Fernando Comerón began his career as a professional astronomer in 1988, when he obtained his Bachelor in Physics from the University of Barcelona. Four years later, he was made Doctor in Physics from the same institution. During his career, ...
ann13031-en-us — Announcement
ESO Releases The Messenger No. 151
20 March 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: A report on six years of science with TAROT at the La Silla Observatory. A summary of ALMA’s Cycle 0. An article on the nature and properties of ultra-faint dwarf spheroidal galaxies. A report on the workshop The First Year of ALMA Science. Download The Messenger in PDF format or visit The Messenger website to subscribe and receive a free printed copy.
ann13030-en-us — Announcement
2013 Tycho Brahe Prize Awarded to Massimo Tarenghi
19 March 2013: The European Astronomical Society has awarded the 2013 Tycho Brahe Prize to Massimo Tarenghi, in recognition of his central role in the development of the European Southern Observatory facilities that have resulted in Europeʼs world-leading role in ground-based astronomy. The Tycho Brahe Prize recognises outstanding use and development of European instruments, and honours ground-breaking discoveries made using such instruments. Tarenghi's work has led to several new paradigm-changing observational techniques and methodologies. Throughout 35 of ESO's 50-year history, Massimo Tarenghi has played a sequence of pivotal roles in the development of the organisation, up to its current-day status as a large, world-leading multi-facility observatory. Becoming an ESO Staff Member in 1979, he was Project Scientist, and later Project Manager, for the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope erected and operated by ESO on La Silla. This telescope is still in operation and, using the Wide Field Imager, is responsible for many of the survey ...
ann13029-en-us — Announcement
Chief Scientific Adviser to the European Commission visits ESO’s Paranal Observatory
18 March 2013: On 16 March 2013, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the European Commission, Prof. Anne Glover, visited ESO’s Paranal Observatory. Upon arriving, she was welcomed by ESO’s Director General, Prof. Tim de Zeeuw. Anne Glover is Chief Scientific Adviser to Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, who also visited the observatory earlier this year (see eso1305). As such, she provides him with expert advice on topics relating to science, technology and innovation, and acts as an ambassador for European science. During the visit, Prof. Glover gave a presentation to ESO staff on the role of the European Commission in supporting and promoting world-leading European science, followed by an open Q&A session. Later, at night, she visited the Control Room where observations are done and extensively engaged with astronomers and technicians to discuss their observations and work. While visiting, she declared: “I’m thrilled to visit ESO’s observatories in Chile. ...
ann13028-en-us — Announcement
Austrian and Portuguese Ministers Visit ESO’s Paranal Observatory
18 March 2013: The Federal Minister for Science and Research of Austria, Karlheinz Töchterle and the Portuguese Minister of Education and Science, Nuno Crato, visited ESO’s Paranal Observatory on 15 March 2013, as part of their official visits to Chile. The Ministers and their delegations were hosted by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw.Ministers Töchterle and Crato visited the summit of Cerro Paranal where the telescopes are located, at an altitude of 2635 metres. This provided great views of the desert area, the observatory, nearby Cerro Armazones and the Pacific Ocean. The Ministers watched the opening of the telescopes before the start of the night’s observations and enjoyed a spectacular view of the sunset from the platform. Later in the evening both ministers visited the control room and interacted with the astronomers observing with the Very Large Telescope. During his visit, Minister Töchterle hiked up the famous Star Track that leads from the award-winning Residencia ...
ann13027-en-us — Announcement
The ALMA Inauguration Video News Release and ESOcast
14 March 2013: On 13 March 2013, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Observatory was formally inaugurated during an official ceremony held at the ALMA site on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes (eso1312). ALMA is a partnership between Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The guest of honour was the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera. Many high-level officials and representatives of the ALMA international partnership were also present, along with ALMA workers and people from the nearby communities. ALMA is the largest astronomical project in the world and this ceremony marks its formal transition from a construction project to a fully fledged observatory. ALMA consists of an array of 66 antennas spread over an area 16 kilometres in diameter. More than 50 of ALMA’s antennas are already in operation, and all 66 are fully assembled. The ALMA correlator, a record-breaking supercomputer — the only one ...
ann13026-en-us — Announcement
New Movie: ALMA — In Search of Our Cosmic Origins
13 March 2013: To mark the occasion of the inauguration of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) [1] on 13 March 2013, ESO, with its international partners, has released a new movie called ALMA — In Search of Our Cosmic Origins. This 16-minute video presents the history of ALMA, from the early days of the project several decades ago to the recent first science results. The movie is illustrated by dramatic helicopter footage and has a soundtrack that includes expressive music especially composed by Toomas Erm (ESO). You are taken on a journey to ALMA’s home on the Chajnantor Plateau, at an altitude of 5000 metres, in the unique environment of the Chilean Atacama Desert. The movie tells the story of the project from its earliest beginnings, when Europe, North America and East Asia developed a common concept for a new, large telescope for millimetre and submillimetre wavelength observations to observe the coldest and ...
ann13025-en-us — Announcement
In Search of Our Cosmic Origins Photo Book Released
13 March 2013: The biggest astronomy project in the world, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), will very likely make rivers of ink run in science journals around the world very soon, but before that happens, it has been portrayed in detail in the beautiful photo book In Search of Our Cosmic Origins. Produced especially for the ALMA inauguration, which is to be held today at an official ceremony at the ALMA site in the Chilean Andes, the photo book looks at the history of the project and the people who have made it possible. The images take the reader on a tour, from the first plans to create a big radio interferometer and the birth of the idea of a common international project, through the search for the perfect location, the technical and logistic challenges of ALMA’s construction, and, finally, to the successful completion of the project, marked by the first impressive ...
ann13024-en-us — Announcement
New Brochure Details ALMA’s Construction
13 March 2013: To mark the inauguration of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the ALMA partner organisations have produced a brochure explaining how scientists and engineers from Europe, North America and East Asia, in cooperation with the Republic of Chile, have collaborated on the largest ground-based astronomical project in existence. The challenges of planning and building a science facility like ALMA are enormous. Its remote location and the extreme environment on the Chajnantor Plateau, 5000 metres up in the Chilean Andes and in the driest desert of the world, the Atacama, put harsh demands on both people and technology. This brochure outlines how the participating organisations have built ALMA and details each region’s contribution to the project. Each one of these contributions is vital to ALMA’s success and such a project would not have been possible for any single nation to achieve. ALMA, an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, ...
ann13023-en-us — Announcement
The Atacama Elders' Vision of the Cosmos
13 March 2013: While the construction of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) on the Chajnantor Plateau was in progress another remarkable project was developing in the San Pedro de Atacama area in the Chilean Andes. This was an ethnological research project aiming to reconstruct the traditional vision of the Universe of the inhabitants of the local communities. On the occasion of the observatory’s inauguration today, Wednesday 13 March 2013, a booklet will be presented unveiling some of the results of this project through the voices of the key protagonists. This document describes the origin, evolution and some of the highlights of this important project for ALMA and the Atacameño community that hosts it. This work was carried out in collaboration with the R. P. Gustavo Le Paige, S. J. Museum of the Universidad Católica del Norte and a group of local researchers. Its aim was to facilitate access to, and bring, the ...
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