FAQ ESO & Australia

  1. Are the benefits for Australian astronomers and industry restricted or will Australia be equally treated as a Member State?
  2. What is the financial contribution of Australia? Is it capped or does it vary with each year of collaboration?
  3. Will ESO use this money for the ELT?
  4. Does the Australian industry have access to contracts connected with the ELT?
  5. Does this affect ESO’s name? With Brazil and Australia almost full members, will ESO continue to be called the European Southern Observatory?

Q: Are the benefits for Australian astronomers and industry restricted or will Australia be equally treated as a Member State?

A: Australian astronomers and industry will have access to the La Silla Paranal Observatory only, — specifically, the Very Large Telescope, the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, VISTA, VST, the ESO 3.6-metre telescope, and the New Technology Telescope. They will also have the opportunity to collaborate with ESO Member State institutions on upcoming instruments at these observatories.

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Q: What is the financial contribution of Australia? Is it capped or does it vary with each year of collaboration?

A: Australia will pay 7.8 million euros (2018 economic conditions) each year for the ten-year period. The annual amount of Australia’s contribution for the La Silla Paranal operational costs in each calendar year can vary slightly, and are set relative to Australia’s national share of the projected LPO operational budget, including instrumentation and overheads. This national share is calculated by a standard formula using OECD economic data.

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Q: Will ESO use this money for the ELT?

A: The ELT is ESO’s highest priority and specifically its Phase II. The Australian contribution will also help to bring this forward.

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Q: Does the Australian industry have access to contracts connected with the ELT?

A: Under this arrangement, Australian industry will not have access to contracts for the ELT. This would change if Australia becomes an ESO Member State.

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Q: Does this affect ESO’s name? With Brazil and Australia almost full members, will ESO continue to be called the European Southern Observatory?

A: ESO will not change its name, which formally is the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, or colloquially the European Southern Observatory.

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