To celebrate its 50th anniversary year, ESO is releasing the documentary Europe to the Stars — ESO's first 50 years of Exploring the Southern Sky. The movie captures the story of its epic adventure — a story of cosmic curiosity, courage and perseverance. The story of discovering a Universe of deep mysteries and hidden secrets. The story of designing, building and operating the most powerful ground-based telescopes on the planet.

The movie consists of eight chapters each focusing on an essential aspect of an observatory, while putting things in perspective and offering a broader view on how astronomy is made. From site testing and explaining the best conditions for observing the sky to how telescopes are built and what mysteries of the Universe astronomers are revealing. It has a total duration of 61 minutes. It is produced in full HD (1080p) and is available on blu-ray or DVD. It has a comprehensive bonus section, narration and subtitles in several languages.

  • Blu-ray, mastered in full HD, 1080p
  • 63 minutes
  • 8 chapters
  • Bonus material
  • Narration in English
  • Subtitles in 20 languages: Česky, Dansk, Deutsch, English, ελληνικά, Español, Français, íslenska, Italiano, Nederlands, Polski, Português, Português (Brasil), Pусский, Română, Slovenski, Suomen, Türkçe, Українська, हिन्दी.
  • Region-free
  • Formats: cardboard DVD, DVD in a plastic box and blu-ray

It is available in the ESOshop in the three formats:

Parts of the movie are available online:

ESOcast 41: Going South
— Special 50th anniversary episode #1

ESOcast 42 Special: Looking Up
— Special 50th anniversary episode #2

ESOcast 43 Special: Seeing Sharp
— Special 50th anniversary episode #3

ESOcast 44 Special: Changing Views
— Special 50th anniversary episode #4

ESOcast 45 Special: Reaching Out
— Special 50th anniversary episode #5

ESOcast 46: Catching Light
— Special 50th anniversary episode #6

ESOcast 47: Finding Life
— Special 50th anniversary episode #7

ESOcast 48: Building Big
— Special 50th anniversary episode #8

Shortened version of our 50th anniversary movie:

More file-formats are available

Europe to the Stars – Trailer:

More file-formats are available

Full Movie:

More file-formats are available

Fulldome version:

More file-formats are available

Movie Poster

Europe to the Stars Movie Poster


We are using the dotSUB service to let people easily translate the English-language transcripts for the 8 chapters — uploaded as ESOcast episodes — using a simple user interface. We credit all translators.

Those who wish to contribute a translation are kindly asked to write an email to with your full name (include how you would like it to appear in the credits), language, email address, and dotSUB username (you will need to create a free account at dotSUB).

Awards and recognition

The documentary received the Seal of Approval from the Erasmus EuroMedia Award Jury to testify that the production qualifies for the standards of Excellency of the European Society for Education and Communication.


An ESO production

Directed by: Lars Lindberg Christensen
Art Direction, Production Design: Martin Kornmesser
Producer: Herbert Zodet
Written by: Govert Schilling
3D animations and graphics: Martin Kornmesser & Luis Calçada
Editing: Martin Kornmesser
Cinematography: Herbert Zodet & Peter Rixner
Sound engineer: Cristian Larrea
Audio Mastering: Peter Rixner
Host & Lead Scientist: Dr J (Dr Joe Liske, ESO)
Narration: Sara Mendes da Costa
Soundtrack & Sound Effects: movetwo — Axel Kornmesser & Markus Löffler (
Additional music: John Stanford & zero-project (
Proof reading: Anne Rhodes
Subtitles: Mathieu Isidro
Technical support: Lars Holm Nielsen, Raquel Yumi Shida & Mathias Andre
DVD Authoring: Andre Roquette
Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen
Footage and photos: ESO, Christoph Malin (, Babak Tafreshi/TWAN, Stéphane Guisard (, José Francisco Salgado (, Alexandre Santerne, Nick Risinger (, Martin Kornmesser, Herbert Zodet, J. Dommaget/J. Boulon/J. Doornenbal/W. Schlosser/F.K. Edmondson/A. Blaauw/Rademakers/R. Holder, Mineworks, Daniel Crouch/Rare Books (, Getty Images, Royal Astronomical Society/Science Photo Library, Jay M. Pasachoff, Chris de Coning/South African Library/Warner-Madear, Africana Museum/Warner, Leiden University, G. Brammer, Mauricio Anton/Science Library, NASA/Spitzer Science Center/R. Hurt, VISTA/J. Emerson, Digitized Sky Survey 2, MPE/S. Gillessen/M. Schartmann, PIONIER/IPAG, Rainer Lenzen/MPIA Heidelberg, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Berlin by KolBerlin, Davide De Martin, Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit, IDA/Danish 1.5 m/R. Gendler and C. Thöne, Mario Nonino, Piero Rosati and the ESO GOODS Team, ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, Matthias Maercker, Igor Chekalin, Hans-Hermann Heyer, Edmund Janssen, Luis Calçada, Graeme Lufkin, Scott Kardel, Tom Jarrett, Kevin Govender, Sergey Stepanenko, ESA, NASA, IAU/IYA2009, T. Preibisch, R. Fosbury (ST-ECF), INAF-VST/OmegaCAM, OmegaCen/Astro-WISE/Kapteyn Institute, A. Fujii, J.-B. Le Bouquin et al., D. Coe (STScI)/J. Merten (Heidelberg/Bologna), Gemini Observatory/NRC/AURA/Christian Marois et al., M. Janson, Jean-Luc Beuzit, IAC (SMM) and ESPRESSO consortium, T.M. Brown (STScI), UltraVISTA team, TERAPIX/CNRS/INSU/CASU, World Wide Telescope.