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eso9734 — Organisation Release
eso9733 — Organisation Release
19 December 1997: The present collection of twelve high-resolution photographic images illustrates the transport of the first VLT 8.2-m Zerodur mirror (M1) to Paranal. They are suitable for high-quality reproduction and complement the digital, less detailed ESO Press Photos 33a-f/97 which were published one week ago with information about this important event.
eso9732 — Organisation Release
eso9731 — Organisation Release
12 December 1997: Another historic event in ESO's Very Large Telescope Project has just occurred. The first giant mirror is on the mountain! The blanks for the four 8.2-metre VLT mirrors of Zerodur were produced by the Schott Glaswerke (Mainz, Germany) and have been polished at the REOSC factory (St. Pierre du Perray, France). For more information, see ESO Press Release 15/95. The first of the four mirrors left France in early November 1997 en route to Paranal. The transport was organized by the Gondrand company.
eso9730 — Organisation Release
2 December 1997: The main structure of the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) has been designed, produced and assembled by an Italian consortium composed of Ansaldo Energia (Genova), European Industrial Engineering (Venice) and SOIMI (Milan). A total of four identical structures have been built, one for each of the four VLT 8.2-m Unit Telescopes.
eso9729 — Science Release
24 November 1997: When is a minor object in the solar system a comet? And when is it an asteroid? Until recently, there was little doubt. Any object that was found to display a tail or appeared diffuse was a comet of ice and dust grains, and any that didn't, was an asteroid of solid rock. Moreover, comets normally move in rather elongated orbits, while most asteroids follow near-circular orbits close to the main plane of the solar system in which the major planets move.
eso9728 — Organisation Release
eso9727 — Organisation Release
22 October 1997: During the past month, there has been much action in many different areas at the ESO Paranal Observatory. Work has continued on the assembly of various components of the telescope structures and on the surface of the summit platform, as well as in connection with the maintenance and storage facilities near the base camp at the foot of the mountain.
eso9726 — Photo Release
8 October 1997: After having passed behind the Sun (as seen from the Earth), Comet Hale-Bopp is now again well visible to observers in the southern sky. Although this famous object is now three times farther away than when it passed its closest point to the Sun (the perihelion) on April 1, 1997, it is still quite bright, especially when compared to other comets that have been observed at the same distance. Its magnitude is now around 5, i.e. when seen in a dark sky it is just visible with the unaided eye. However, it is seen better through moderate-size binoculars and is of course still more interesting when observed with a large, professional telescope.
eso9725 — Organisation Release
eso9724 — Organisation Release
10 September 1997: In this continuing series of views from the ESO Paranal Observatory, most have been related to developments around the VLT telescopes and their enclosures. While this assembly work is very important and now rapidly progresses towards the crucial moment of First Light , other activities are also going on which will ensure the proper functioning of the small, isolated community at Paranal, in the middle of the extreme Atacama desert.
eso9723 — Organisation Release
eso9722 — Organisation Release
12 August 1997: One more important step within the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) project has just been successfully accomplished. After a journey of more than 12,000 km, the enormous coating plant for the 8.2-m VLT Zerodur mirrors has just arrived safely at the Paranal Observatory in the Atacama desert. Here it is now being installed in the Mirror Maintenance Building (MMB) , a large and complex structure that has been constructed next to the base camp, at the foot of the Paranal mountain.
eso9721 — Organisation Release
8 August 1997: The installation of the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in the Chilean Atacama desert continues at good pace. As the moment of first light of the first 8.2-metre telescope is getting closer, the assembly of the enormous, 400-ton mechanical structure proceeds according to schedule.
eso9720 — Science Release
First Look at a Major Transition Period in the Early Universe — New Observations of Intergalactic Helium Absorption
1 August 1997: Observations of the bright southern quasar HE 2347-4342 with telescopes at the ESO La Silla Observatory and with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) have provided a group of European astronomers  with an exceptional glimpse into an early, still unexplored transition period of the Universe.
eso9719 — Science Release
Hints About Dark, Light-Bending Matter in the Distant Universe — New infrared observations of a gravitational lens
25 July 1997: About 20 cases of gravitationally lensed (GL) quasars are known. This special physical effect, also known as a cosmic mirage, occurs when the rays of light of a distant quasar on their way to us pass near a massive object, for instance a galaxy. As a result, two or more images of the same quasar will be seen near each other. This phenomenon is described in more detail in the Appendix. A new study by a group of three European astronomers, headed by Frederic Courbin ( Institut d'Astrophysique, Universite de Liege, Belgium, and Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, France) , has led to the discovery of the object responsible for the double images of a remote quasar in the gravitational lens HE 1104-1805 . The investigation is based on infrared observations at the ESO La Silla Observatory in Chile and the `lensing system' turns out to be a distant, massive galaxy. Nevertheless, the geometry of the object is unusual and an additional gravitational lens of `dark' (invisible) matter may possibly be involved.
eso9718 — Science Release
22 July 1997: In the course of the major observational programme of asteroids by the Institute of Planetary Exploration of the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR)  in Berlin, two of the staff astronomers, Stefano Mottola and Gerhard Hahn, have discovered a small satellite (moon) orbiting the asteroid (3671) Dionysus.
eso9717 — Organisation Release
eso9716 — Organisation Release
17 July 1997: The following seven photos are part of an extensive series that was obtained in mid-June 1997. The first three are aerial views which demonstrate the good progress of the extensive work at the top of the mountain where the four large enclosures for the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes, the interferometric tunnel system and the control building are now steadily approaching completion.
eso9715 — Organisation Release
17 June 1997: On this photo, two major astronomical instruments equipped with state of the art infrared array detectors are seen undergoing final integration and testing at the Assembly Laboratory at the ESO Headquarters (Garching, Germany) prior to being shipped to the ESO observatories in Chile. It was obtained a few days after a visit to this laboratory by the ESO Council at the time of its June 1997 meeting in Garching.
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