eso9213-en-us — Science Release
ESO Exhibition Opens in Milan
14 September 1992
An exhibition about Astronomy and the European organization for astronomy (ESO) will soon open at the Science and Technical Museum "Leonardo da Vinci" in Milan, Italy.
The exhibition, jointly organized by this Museum and ESO, will be inaugurated on 21 September 1992. Beginning on the same day, the Museum will host a major international conference about observational cosmology with the participation of the world's foremost scientists in this field. The exhibition will stay open until 10 January 1993.
Several other important European cities, for instance Paris, Berlin, Bruxelles, Vienna and Copenhagen, have earlier hosted this comprehensive astronomy exhibition.
The exhibition introduces ESO, the European Southern Observatory, to the public and explains the many-sided scientific and technical activities of this international organization.
ESO operates the world's largest optical astronomical observatory. It is situated at La Silla in the Atacama desert in the northern part of Chile and has 15 large astronomical telescopes. One of them is the New Technology Telescope (NTT) with a 3.5 m diameter mirror and which became operational in 1990. It is a unique instrument of its kind, and represents a great step forward in telescope technology. It was to a large extent built by Italian firms.
ESO is now constructing the world's biggest telescope, the 16-metre VLT which will be installed on the top of the Paranal mountain in the Atacama desert. It will be ready in 1999-2000.
The ESO Headquarters are located in Garching near Munich, Germany. This is the administrative and technical seat of the organization and is also one of the world's major astronomical research centres. Scientists and engineers from all over the world meet there and work together on the various ESO projects.
Large photos, models and videos are on display at the exhibition, which also shows the ESO La Silla observatory in the middle of the desert. Some of the most recent and exciting scientific discoveries at ESO are also presented. For example, the violent birth of a new star in our galaxy, as well as images if newly-discovered, mysterious quasars. The recent observations of Comet Halley are also included.
At the exhibition it is also possible to see an 8-m panoramic picture of our galaxy — the Milky Way — the only existing photo of the whole Milky Way which shows this amount of details. There are more than 300,000 stars and many bright and dark nebulae and also many well-known sky objects like the Coal Sack nebula, the Magellanic Clouds, and the famous Andromeda Galaxy. The visitors will also see the famous Southern Cross and the Summer Triangle, that striking constellation in the summer sky of the Northern hemisphere.