eso0301 — Organisation Release
ESO PR Highlights in 2002
7 January 2003
The past year was marked by ESOs 40th anniversary and the associated events. On this occasion various outreach material was prepared, notably a 50-min video film about ESO's past, present and future. A major planetarium show about ESO and modern astronomy is now running at many planetaria in Europe.
ESO and its member countries were pleased to welcome the United Kingdom as the 10th member state from July 1st, 2002.
Several new instruments were installed at ESO telescopes, e.g. VIMOS, FLAMES and MIDI . Following tests with all four 8.2-m unit telescopes, the VLT Interferometer (VLTI) moved closer to normal operation. A rapidly increasing number of new scientific results were obtained on the basis of data from ESO telescopes, some of which were highlighted in ESO Press Releases. A number of beautiful images were published - they were very well received by the public, as shown by record numbers of visitors to the ESO website.
Good progress was made towards the realisation of the ALMA project in a unique European-North American collaboration (with Japan likely to join later) and the advanced conceptual studies of a 100-m optical/infrared telescope (OWL) also proceeded well.
The ESO Educational Office was involved in various programmes, also via the EIROforum collaboration with CERN, ESA, EMBL, ESRF, EFDA and ILL. They included the web-based "Catch a Star!" and "Sci-Tech: Couldn't Be Without It" projects, organised with EC sponsorship in connection with the 2002 European Science and Technology Week.
Many of these developments are described in ESO's Press Releases, most with Press Photos and several also with PR Video Clips. Some of last year's ESO PR highlights may be accessed directly via the clickable image above.
Looking back at many successful achievements in the past year, ESO and its staff in Europe and Chile continue their exciting work within several front-line scientific and technological ventures. The next years will be decisive for European astronomy and astrophysics, with wonderful opportunities ahead - all in a creative atmosphere of optimism and great expectations.