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ann11014-en-us — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 4 April 2011
31 March 2011: How can we observe what is invisible? How were the chemical elements formed? How do we describe the Universe as a whole? Do we even know all the components of the Universe? Dr Bruno Leibundgut, from the European Southern Observatory, will give an insight into the state of current research, and discuss these questions with the audience. The Café & Kosmos series of discussions is organised jointly by ESO, the Excellence Cluster Universe and the Max-Planck Institutes for Physics, Astrophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics. The discussions take place on the first Monday of each month at Café Jasmin in Munich. After a brief introduction the scientists take questions from the audience and discuss current issues from the cosmos. Please note that the Café & Kosmos events take place in German. What: What is the Universe? When: 4 April 2011, 19:00 until approximately 20:30 Where: Café Jasmin, Steinheilstrasse 20 (U2, Theresienstraße). Admission ...
ann11013-en-us — Announcement
ALMA Invites Proposals for Early Science Observations
30 March 2011: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the most ambitious radio astronomy observatory ever built, is announcing the first opportunity for the worldwide astronomical community to submit proposals for new scientific observations. Using just 16 of the 66 state-of-the-art antennas that will be in the completed array, it will already surpass the capabilities of all existing telescopes of its kind. ALMA is getting ready to make Early Science observations. In this phase, the telescope will be used for scientific research for the first time, even though it is still under construction. Until now, observations made with the telescope have been made purely to test that its systems work as expected. ALMA is being built in the Andes, on the Chajnantor plateau at an altitude of 5000 metres in northern Chile. By detecting light at millimetre and submillimetre wavelengths — light invisible to the human eye and optical telescopes — ALMA will ...
ann11012-en-us — Announcement
Feel the Universe at Your Fingertips
28 March 2011: Access a universe of knowledge about the Universe with three new free iPad apps from ESO’s education and Public Outreach Department (ePOD), available just in time for the iPad 2. The free ESO Top 100 Images app brings users a selection of the best astronomical images taken by a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes from the Atacama Desert in Chile. Astonishing views of distant galaxies and nebulae, amazing night-sky landscapes, first-class telescopes with lasers shooting into the sky transform the iPad into an exciting window to the Universe. Each image is explained in a caption with additional information just a tap away. In the slideshow mode the Top 100 can be contemplated with background music from Zero Project, while each high resolution image makes full use of the bright iPad screen when used as wallpaper. Feel the Universe at your fingertips by downloading the ESO Top ...
ann11011-en-us — Announcement
ESO — World’s Most Productive Observatory for the Fourth Year
28 March 2011: A survey of scientific journals has shown that 2010 was the most productive year in ESO’s history. The ESO user community, using data from ESO telescopes, published more than 750 peer-reviewed papers. For the fourth year in a row, ESO is the most productive astronomical observatory in the world in terms of number of publications from its users. Counting the number of articles that are based on data from an observatory’s telescopes is an important indicator of how productive it is. As such, it is common practice for organisations like ESO to carry out regular reviews to determine their scientific productivity. ESO’s annual survey of the major scientific journals shows that, with a haul of more than 750 peer-reviewed papers published in 2010 by the ESO community, using data from ESO telescopes, the observatory has broken its previous record set in 2007. Every observatory uses slightly different methods to measure ...
ann11010-en-us — Announcement
ESO Releases The Messenger No. 143
21 March 2011: The latest edition of the European Southern Observatory’s quarterly journal, The Messenger, has been published. This issue features articles covering various ESO instruments and projects, including: A report on the results of ALMA radiometer testing — checking the array’s ability to correct the effect of water vapour on millimetre wavelength detections. An outline of the possibilities and goals for the upcoming VLTI astrometry instrument GRAVITY. A discussion on how we can use the strong appearance of ozone in the visible spectrum to hunt for exoplanets with Earth-like atmospheres. An article looking at how the SINFONI Integral Field Spectroscopy Survey will help us to understand how galaxies form. The results of the ESO Hidden Treasures astrophotography competition. The journal is available for download in PDF format. You can also subscribe to receive a free printed copy on The Messenger’s website.
ann11009-en-us — Announcement
ESOcast 27: An ESO Astronomer at Work
18 March 2011: Life as an ESO astronomer is demanding, but working on one of the world’s most powerful telescopes is also immensely rewarding. In this episode of the ESOcast, come with us as we follow ESO astronomer Henri Boffin through his day-to-day life. Learn all about what it takes to be a professional astronomer producing top-notch science, and see what it’s like working in exotic locations and collaborating with astronomers from around the world. Get a glimpse behind the scenes at the Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal, and see the site’s famous Residencia, a home-from-home for staff on duty at the observatory. More episodes of the ESOcast are also available. Credits ESO. Visual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser and Luis Calçada. Editing: Herbert Zodet. Web and technical support: Lars Holm Nielsen and Raquel Yumi Shida. Written by: Herbert Zodet and Sarah Reed. Narration: Dr. J and Gaitee Hussain. Music: zero-project ( ...
ann11008-en-us — Announcement
Girls' Day Event at ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany
14 March 2011: Deutsche Version unten On 14 April 2011, ESO will participate in Germany’s nationwide Girls’ Day activities, in which technical enterprises, universities and research organisations arrange open days for girls, to give female school students an insight into science and technology professions and to encourage more of them to choose such careers in the future. The ESO Girls’ Day, An Introduction to the Work of the European Southern Observatory, presents a series of talks in German and question-and-answer sessions with ESO staff and students. The topics covered include astronomy and engineering, administration and human resources. To complete this introduction to the world’s most productive astronomical observatory, there will be a live video-link to Cerro Paranal, home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The Girls’ Day visitors will be able to talk with an ESO astronomer working 11 000 km away on this 2600-metre mountaintop in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Places are limited for ...
ann11007-en-us — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 14 March 2011
11 March 2011: The first light in the cosmos did not come from stars — it was emitted long before the first stars were formed, about 380 000 years after the Big Bang, when the matter had cooled just enough so that the Universe became transparent. The next Café & Kosmos 14 March 2011 (note: one week later than usual because of Rosenmontag) is all about this ancient image of the Universe: what does the cosmic microwave background tells us about the Universe as a whole and the formation of the structures it contains today? Dr. Torsten Ensslin of the Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics will present new observations obtained with the Planck satellite, launched in May 2009. The discussion will consider not only the tiny fluctuations in this background radiation, but also the many different kinds of objects that are between us and the background and cast a “shadow” over it. In early ...
ann11006-en-us — Announcement
ESO Call for Proposals for Period 88 released. Deadline is 31 March 2011
28 February 2011: The ESO Call for Proposals for Period 88 has been released. The deadline is 31 March 2011.
ann11005-en-us — Announcement
Hold the Universe in Your Hand
9 February 2011: Keeping up with the latest space news has just become a whole lot easier thanks to the new Portal to the Universe app, which gives iPhone and iPod Touch [1] users direct access to the Universe wherever they go. The Portal to the Universe app is a dynamic online news aggregator that showcases cutting-edge astronomy and space science breakthroughs gathered from hundreds of sources every day: news websites, blogs, video podcasts, audio podcasts, images, videos and more. With the release of the new app in iTunes, people on the go can now stay in the know. The free application allows users to: find out what’s new and exciting by reading posts featured by the editors of the Portal to the Universe access the portal offline watch and listen to astronomy podcasts search for articles on the Portal to the Universe You can install the application here. Credit: ESO/Victor R. Ruiz ...
ann11004-en-us — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 7 February 2011
2 February 2011: After our recent discussion about dark matter, the Café & Kosmos will now concentrate on the other invisible component of the Universe, the dark energy. With its share of 73 percent of the total energy budget, the dark energy dominates the Universe. It is the driving force that causes it to expand faster and faster. The discovery of this accelerated expansion dates back to 1998; it is still a fairly young field of investigation. In his research, Prof. Stefan Hofmann (Excellence Cluster Universe) investigates the question of how the dark energy fits into existing physical models. The cosmologist will expose various scenarios: is the model by Einstein satisfactory, with a cosmological constant or a vacuum energy, or should the scientists consider an alternative theory of the gravitation to explain the physics of the very large distances in the Universe? He will discuss the implications with the Café & Kosmos guests. ...
ann11003-en-us — Announcement
ESOcast 26: Life at the Paranal Observatory
1 February 2011: The barren landscape surrounding the Paranal Observatory in Chile is stunning, but for the ESO staff who work there, on-site recreational activities are important for entertainment and general wellbeing. In this episode of the ESOcast, we follow three staff members in a unique behind-the-scenes look at the Paranal Residencia at the observatory’s base camp — a remarkable hotel that has won architectural design awards — to see some of their leisure activities. More episodes of the ESOcast are also available. Credit ESO. Visual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser and Luis Calçada. Editing: Herbert Zodet. Web and technical support: Lars Holm Nielsen and Raquel Yumi Shida. Written by: Herbert Zodet. Narration: Dr. J and Gaitee Hussain. Music: zero-project ( and movetwo. Footage and photos: ESO, Mineworks, Stéphane Guisard ( and José Francisco Salgado ( Directed by: Herbert Zodet. Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen.
ann11002-en-us — Announcement
First "3D View" from the VLT Interferometer
26 January 2011: The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has made its first observations that combine super-sharp imaging with measurements of motion. New pioneering data from the VLTI/AMBER instrument not only show extremely fine details of the gas and dust disc surrounding the brilliant supergiant star HD 62623, but also, by using spectroscopy, reveal the motions of the material in the disc for the first time. The origin of this disc has been a mystery, as such a bright star, which is near to the end of its life, is expected to blow away the material surrounding it, and not to be surrounded by a dusty disc similar to those around very young stars. A team of astronomers led by Florentin Millour (Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Nice) has now found that the material is orbiting the star — just as the planets in the Solar System orbit the Sun. Surprisingly they ...
ann11001-en-us — Announcement
Hot Off the Press: Issue 10 of CAPjournal
7 January 2011: Articles include an overview of how Disney Television Italy worked alongside the Education and Public Outreach office of the INAF Astronomical Observatory of Padua in Italy to help promote astronomy to children. The authors discuss the differences between the working practices of an entertainment company and an astronomical observatory, and how these were overcome to form a successful partnership. This issue also tackles some difficult topics in science communication, such as the problems encountered when explaining complex scientific theories to a general audience and the misperceptions that can arise as a result, and how well the public interprets astronomical images. Also in this issue, how new and existing tools can be used by science communicators, including a look at the Virtual Observatory, which is an international project that provides an infrastructure for sharing vast amounts of astronomical data online. And how microblogging sites such as Twitter can be much more ...
ann10102-en-us — Announcement
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 Secretariat to Close at the End of the Year
20 December 2010: The closure of the IYA2009 Secretariat marks the end of the largest project that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has ever embarked upon. In July 2007, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) established the IYA2009 Secretariat at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Headquarters in Garching, Germany. The Secretariat’s role was to act as a hub for IYA2009 activities. It coordinated projects from the planning stages through to evaluation, and was a central contact and resource centre for the hundreds of national nodes, international organisations, global projects, the media and the general public. The Secretariat was embedded in ESO’s education and Public Outreach Department, which provided invaluable support and expertise for IYA2009. The IYA2009 was a huge success, involving 148 countries around the world organising hundreds of thousands of individual activities reaching hundreds of millions of people. Feedback has been extremely positive. The impact of IYA2009 on the scientific literacy of the ...
ann10101-en-us — Announcement
Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility to Close After 26 Successful Years
17 December 2010: The Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility, a unique collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory, will close on 31 December 2010 after 26 years. ESA’s continuing partnership with NASA on the Hubble mission ensures that European astronomers will continue to have access to observing time. The Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF), the scientific and technical co-ordination centre for the Hubble Space Telescope in Europe, will close its doors at the end of December 2010. This is part of a process in which the European Space Agency is streamlining its operations and concentrating astronomical operations, archiving and data reduction expertise at its European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Spain. The ST-ECF was formed in 1984, six years before Hubble’s launch, as a key plank in ESA’s partnership with NASA and as a vital element in maximising Europe’s scientific return in the pre-internet age. Rather than ...
ann10100-en-us — Announcement
ESOcast 25: Chasing Gamma-ray Bursts at Top Speed
16 December 2010: Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the Universe and are thought to follow cataclysmic events, such as the collapse of a massive star. But to observe these fleeting events, astronomers need to be lightning quick. In this episode of the ESOcast, Dr. J explains how the VLT’s Rapid Response Mode makes it possible to observe gamma-ray bursts within minutes of detection by space-based telescopes. More episodes of the ESOcast are also available. Credits Visual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser and Luis Calçada. Editing: Herbert Zodet. Web and technical support: Lars Holm Nielsen and Raquel Yumi Shida. Written by: Herbert Zodet. Narration: Dr. J and Gaitee Hussain. Music: movetwo. Footage and photos: ESO, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Stéphane Guisard ( and José Francisco Salgado ( Directed by: Herbert Zodet. Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen.
ann1099-en-us — Announcement
ESO Releases The Messenger No. 142
15 December 2010: This latest edition, issue 142, of the European Southern Observatory's quarterly journal The Messenger features articles on subjects that include: Observations of multiple stellar populations in globular clusters with FLAMES at the VLT The instrumental polarisation of NAOS–CONICA The first part of the VIMOS upgrade Manufacture of the Adaptive Optics Facility The evolution of the mass–metallicity relation at z >3 The journal is available for download in PDF format. Interested individuals are also able to subscribe to paper copies free of charge via The Messenger's webpage.
ann1098-en-us — Announcement
ESO Takes Delivery of State-of-the-art Receiver that will Help ALMA See “Water, Water Everywhere…”
15 December 2010: The world’s most sensitive receiver for radio waves with wavelengths around 1.5 millimetres has been delivered to ESO. Its final destination is the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), which is under construction 5000 metres above sea level in northern Chile, on the Chajnantor plateau. ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile, and ESO is the European partner in ALMA. The receiver — operating in a wavelength range known as Band 5 at ALMA — will allow scientists to trace water vapour in the nearby Universe, and will also provide an unprecedented view of the most distant galaxies. The delivery is an important milestone for the project for ALMA Enhancement of Early Science, funded by the 6th Framework Programme of the European Commission. The project has developed new technologies from scratch in just five ...
ann1097-en-us — Announcement
Live Webcams at ESO
13 December 2010: Four web cameras have been placed at the ESO sites, allowing anyone to see ESO’s advanced telescopes in action and admire the fascinating Milky Way over one of the driest deserts in the world at any time. The 24/7 live transmission from the webcams offers multiple streams that are not to be missed: VLTCam: Follow astronomers and engineers as they work at the VLT — the largest visible-light telescope in the world — and see how the four Unit Telescopes are operated or maintained. ALMACam: Spot the ALMA antennas as they are being built and tested by ESO and partners. The camera looks through the hot dry air of the Atacama Desert at the Operations Support Facilities near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. APEXCam: Watch the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope at an elevation of 5100 metres, at one of the highest observatory sites on Earth. La Silla NightCam: Admire ...