Astronomical Events

Venus Transit

A transit of Venus took place on 8 June 2004. ESO Headquarters in Garching organised series of public observations in recognition to this unique astronomical event

On this page you will find information about upcoming and past astronomical events in which ESO has played, or will play, an important coordinating role. The list below provides an overview of the available information.

For more information about upcoming astronomical events and ESO's activities around these events please contact the ESO Department of Communication.

Information about important observations with telescopes at the ESO observatories at La Silla and Paranal are regularly published via ESO Press Releases. They may relate to all kinds of different astronomical objects, from comets to variable stars, and from supernovae to distant gamma-ray bursts.

Information about these observations, observations with other telescopes, and major astronomical events is available on IAU Circulars, as communicated by observers and published by the IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT). Please note that new Circulars are only placed on the Web after they have been distributed by email to the regular subscribers. It may therefore happen that the most recent link below is not yet active. If so, try again later.

Total Solar Eclipse 2019

2 July 2019

On Tuesday, 2 July 2019, we invite you to witness darkness during the day as a total solar eclipse passes over ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. Total solar eclipses are a rare phenomena — one occurs on average at any specific location every 360 years. For people watching a total solar eclipse in the path of totality, it is an experience of a lifetime. More information.

The Comet McNaught 2007

January and February, 2007

Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, has been delighting those who have seen it with the unaided eye as a spectacular display in the evening sky.
Press Photo's eso0507 and eso0707. A collection of beautiful images is available.

Deep Impact, 4 July 2005

4 July, 2005

Information about ESO's Campaign to Study the Aftermath of the Deep Impact spacecraft that collided with Comet 9P/Tempel 1.

The Venus Transit 2004

8 June, 2004

Comprehensive information about the Venus Transit 2004.

The Leonids 1999

17-18 November, 1999

This famous Meteor Shower became very impressive this year.

Solar Eclipse at ESO HQ

11 August, 1999

The ESO Headquarters were located near the line of maximum totality.

The Leonids 1998

November 1998

This famous Meteor Shower was early but became very impressive.

Mars Pathfinder


The NASA Mars Pathfinder mission landed the first remotely controlled robot vehicle on the surface of Mars.

Comet Hyakutake


When Comet Hyakutake passed only 15 million km from the Earth in March 1996, it became a most impressive sight in the sky.

SL-9 and Jupiter


Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashed into Jupiter in July 1994, producing many surprising effects.

Comet Hale Bopp


Information and pictures of the Comet Hale Bopp (1995 01).