Press Room

Welcome to the Press Room of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), brought to you by the Department of Communication. Here you will find information about media visits, press releases, our image and video libraries, and more.

To start receiving our news items for the media, please fill in our press subscription form. Subscribed journalists and other bona-fide members of the media receive press releases under embargo (when applicable), usually 48h in advance of public dissemination, through our Media Newsletter. This advance notice system is meant to provide journalists with lead time to prepare their stories and encourage in-depth science reporting. The advance access does not imply a certain degree of importance of the news item that is sometimes understood with embargoed stories.

People interested in receiving ESO news who are not member of the media, can subscribe to our other newsletters.

For more information, please contact the ESO Public Information Officer Bárbara Ferreira at pio@eso.org.

Media Visits

ESO welcomes journalists, science writers and producers interested in visiting the observatory sites in Chile for production of news stories, documentaries, photo books and other projects. Please refer to our media visits page for our guidelines and information on how to apply for a media visit. If you have questions, please contact ESO at contacto@eso.org.

Media visits to ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany, can also be arranged; for more information, please email pio@eso.org.

Press Releases

ESO press releases highlight exciting scientific discoveries done with ESO telescopes, astronomical images with broad public appeal or important organisational news. The goal of these press releases is to share exciting discoveries and the beauty of the Universe with the general public.

ESO publishes three different types of press releases, all of which have journalists as their primary target audience:

  • Science Release
    A science release describes scientific results usually appearing in a peer-reviewed journal that involve data from ESO observatories. These press releases explain the significance of the findings and provide contact information for the scientists announcing their results.
  • Organisation Release
    Organisation releases cover a range of themes related to ESO operations, including news on current and future observatories and new astronomical instruments.
  • Photo Release
    ESO selects the best astronomical images taken with its telescopes and presents them to the public in periodic photo releases. These photo releases provide a detailed description of the object in the image and highlight the science associated with it (where applicable).

ESO press releases are provided in multiple languages, including all languages of ESO members, host and partner states, courtesy of the ESO Science Outreach Network (ESON). ESONers also serve as local contacts for the media.

ESO also publishes announcements and pictures of the week on its website. Announcements highlight news and information about ESO of interest to astronomers, astronomer enthusiasts, and the wider public. Pictures of the week, published every Monday, showcase beautiful photographs of ESO observatories or stunning images taken with ESO telescopes.

Media Newsletter

The ESO Department of Communication offers journalists and the public a number of newsletters to keep updated with the latest ESO news. The Media Newsletter is aimed at journalists who can subscribe by filling in the form below. We reserve the right to check the correctness of the information and grant access only to those that provide accurate information.

Bona fide members of the press, as well as brodcasters may sign up to receive the Media Newsletter in English or a local language at their choice. The newsletter contains ESO press releases sent about 48 hours in advance of public dissemination (when applicable). This advance notice system is meant to provide journalists with lead time in preparing their stories and encourage in-depth science reporting. The advance access does not imply a certain degree of importance of the news item that is sometimes understood with embargoed stories.

In certain cases, ESO press releases may also be sent “For Immediate Release” or at different times with specific embargo conditions (for example, for some papers published in Nature or Science).

Apart from press releases and accompanying materials, the Media Newsletter also contains latest pictures of the week, announcements or video materials that media representatives could find useful.

Embargo conditions

As a general rule, ESO press releases are sent to media representatives subscribed to our Media Newsletter, under embargo (when applicable) usually 48 hours in advance of their public release, giving them access to the full press release text and associated multimedia.

Wherever possible, we do our best to issue a release at (or close to) the same time as the paper’s publication in an academic journal. We recognise that material that is already public (for example, abstracts, online preprints, published papers) is fair game for journalists. However, we consider that our press release package (with its less technical text, quotes from the scientists, and rich images and video) provides significant added value for journalists over the academic paper alone.

If a journalist publishes a story using the material from our press release package (for example, quotes, additional information, or associated multimedia) before the advance notice period ends, we consider this breaking the embargo conditions. In most cases, and if the article in breach of the embargo is not removed immediately, we will remove the journalist in question from the Media Newsletter mailing list without further notice and add them to the public newsletter(s) that deliver(s) news at the time of public release, without priority access.

Image and videos

The image gallery is a collection of photographs, images and illustrations conveying the beauty of the Universe and the ESO observatories that probe its mysteries. A range of image qualities and formats is available, including the files in the highest resolution available.

ESO's expansive video library includes a variety of videos, including footage from ESO observatories, animations created to accompany press releases, as well as video podcasts. Most videos are available in HD (720/50p) or ultra HD, but please refer to the video formats page for detailed technical information about the video file types available.

ESO images and motion pictures may be reproduced on a non-exclusive basis without fee so long as ESO is clearly credited as the source of the video material. Please consult the copyright notice for full terms of use.

Learn more about the specific video news reels and video compilations for broadcast use.