Announcements

ann13051-en-us — Announcement
ALMA Early Science Period Extended
6 June 2013: Following the very busy period of the ALMA inauguration in March 2013, and as part of the activities towards the completion of the observatory later this year, the ALMA team has been engaged in a process of fine tuning and optimising ALMA for smoother science operations.  Excellent progress has been made both with verification of the scientific performance of some of the advanced science observing modes, as well as with array stability and infrastructure enhancements. It has now been decided to resume Early Science observations at the end of June in order to deliver more data to the astronomers and further test the telescope’s performance. Observations made in this Early Science mode have already delivered outstanding discoveries [1], showing the unprecedented power of ALMA, even when still working at a fraction of its final capacity. Before starting the next cycle of Early Science observations (Cycle 2), it has been decided to extend ...
ann13050-en-us — Announcement
European Astronomy Journalism Prize Expanded
3 June 2013: The European Astronomy Journalism Prize 2013 is launched today and this year has been expanded to now include entries from Europe and South America. The competition is run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the United Kingdom and ESO, in conjunction with the Association of British Science Writers and the Royal Astronomical Society. "Astronomy is a global research discipline, and excites and inspires millions of people every day around the world, so we believe it's appropriate to expand the prize to recognise a broader range of inspirational coverage of astronomy," ESO's Head of Education and Public Outreach, Lars Lindberg Christensen, said today. STFC Head of Communications Terry O'Connor said the inaugural competition in 2012 was open only to entries published or broadcast in English in the United Kingdom, but has now been extended to entries in English from any ESO Member State. "We're delighted to work with ...
ann13049-en-us — Announcement
Consultancy Contract for E-ELT Dome and Main Structure Awarded
31 May 2013: On 30 May 2013 ESO signed a contract with the Danish company Ramboll for consultancy services to support ESO during the procurement and construction of the dome and main structure of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The actual dome and main structure contract itself will be the largest ever placed by ESO, and will cover not only the giant telescope enclosure, which is almost 100 metres in diameter (the size of the Colosseum in Rome), but also the massive precision components that form the telescope’s mounting and tube. This big contract to build the dome and main structure is expected to be awarded towards the end of 2014. To supplement ESO’s own in-house efforts and provide expert advice for this contract over a wide range of disciplines, Ramboll will follow the dome and main structure contract alongside ESO. “This is an extremely ambitious project with colossal challenges, both technically and ...
ann13048-en-us — Announcement
Bavarian Minister of Sciences, Research and the Arts visits Paranal
27 May 2013: The Bavarian State Minister of Sciences, Research and the Arts, Dr Wolfgang Heubisch, made a special visit to ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile on 24–25 May 2013 at the end of an official trip that included working visits to institutions in Chile and other Southern American countries. Minister Heubisch was accompanied by a delegation of Bavarian academic authorities. ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, accompanied by the Director of Operations, Andreas Kaufer, ESO’s Representative in Chile, Fernando Comerón, and Head of Administration, Patrick Geeraert, welcomed Dr Heubisch to the observatory and acted as host for the Minister and his delegation. After a presentation on ESO by the Director General and a discussion on ESO activities, Minister Heubisch and his delegation were taken for a visit to the support facilities at the Paranal base camp. Later, they visited the telescope platform of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) — the most advanced ...
ann13047-en-us — Announcement
ESOcast 57: ESO’s VLT Celebrates 15 Years of Success
24 May 2013: Our new ESOcast celebrates the 15th anniversary of ESO’s flagship facility, the Very Large Telescope, with a spectacular visual review of some of the most impressive images from its years of operation. This anniversary marks an important milestone for the Very Large Telescope — the first light of the first of its four Unit Telescopes, on 25 May 1998. Since then the four original giant telescopes have been joined by the four small Auxiliary Telescopes that form part of the VLT Interferometer (VLTI). The VLT is the world’s most advanced optical instrument and one of the most powerful and productive ground-based astronomical facilities. More than 600 refereed science papers based in VLT or VLTI data were published in 2012 alone, and it keeps producing discoveries at an impressive pace. To watch this review of the images of the VLT, follow the link to ESOcast 57. More Information The ESOcast is ...
ann13046-en-us — Announcement
Start Receiving The ESO Media Newsletter in your Language
22 May 2013: Present and future journalists who subscribe to The ESO Media Newsletter can now receive this 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 (media only). We appreciate that some languages are officially spoken in more than one country. Subscribers will find an indication of both language and country in these cases. For example, in the preferred language dropdown menu, subscribers will find the options: German, German/Austria, German/Belgium and German/Switzerland. We recommend taking the country into account, because translated newsletters may also contain additional local announcements and events that are only relevant for that country. Aimed exclusively at media representatives — traditional media outlets, bloggers, freelance journalists, TV broadcasters, researchers and movie producers — The ESO Media Newsletter ...
ann13045-en-us — Announcement
Massimo Tarenghi Awarded Grand Cross by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs
16 May 2013: The former ESO representative in Chile, Massimo Tarenghi, was awarded the Grand Cross, highest rank of the Bernardo O'Higgins Order, by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a ceremony in Santiago on 10 May 2013. In the presence of government officials and representatives of the diplomatic corps, the Foreign Minister, Alfredo Moreno, granted Tarenghi this decoration in recognition of his 35 years devoted to the construction of major telescopes in Chile. "Massimo is not only a scientist, an outstanding professional and an entrepreneur, but also a friend who, over the years, has become a great promoter of our country. With his energy, experience and hard work, he has contributed to the process of making public the virtues of Chile," said Minister Moreno during the event. Since 1979, Tarenghi has been in charge of the construction and operation of several of the most important ESO telescopes in Chile, including the ...
ann13044-en-us — Announcement
ESO Astronomy Camp for Secondary School Students
13 May 2013: The European Southern Observatory (ESO) and its Science Outreach Network is collaborating with the science communication event organiser Sterrenlab to arrange the first ESO Astronomy Camp. The camp will take place from 26-31 December 2013 at the Astronomical Observatory of the Aosta Valley, located in Saint-Barthelemy, Nus, Italy. Several partners, including ESO, are providing for a total of, so far, five bursaries that will be awarded to the winning applicants. The camp will explore the theme of the visible and the invisible Universe through lectures, hands-on activities, and nighttime observations with the telescopes and instruments at the observatory. Social activities, winter sports, and excursions will contribute to making the camp a memorable experience for the participants. ESO will be responsible for the scientific programme for the ESO Astronomy Camp, and will, together with other partners, provide lecturers and material. Sterrenlab specialises in the organisation of international science camps for children ...
ann13043-en-us — Announcement
Challenges in Communication of Astronomy and Space Exploration
13 May 2013: The 2013 Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Conference will take place in Warsaw, Poland, between 14–18 October. Public information officers, communicators, journalists and formal and informal educators are invited to debate the latest challenges in communicating astronomy and share their success stories and lessons learnt. CAP2013 will expand the discussion topics to include space exploration, space tourism and commercial involvement in space-related activities. As the venue is a modern planetarium, special attention will also be given to audiovisual and multimedia communications in the widest sense. Popular topics from previous CAP conferences continue to be on the agenda. Interested participants are invited to submit abstracts before 21 June 2013 under the following major themes: Social media for astronomy outreach Media relations Multimedia communication, including tools and techniques Crowdsourcing and citizen science projects Alternative ways for communicating astronomy with the public Using astronomy outreach to thrill children with science and technology ...
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, ...
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