Press Releases

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eso9301 — Photo Release
"Toutatis" Observed with the ESO New Technology Telescope
29 January 1993: This photo is a composite of five exposures of Minor Planet no.~4179, also known as Toutatis, obtained with the 3.5-m ESO New Technology Telescope on December 21, 1992, by ESO-astronomer Jesper Storm. At this time, Toutatis was about 13 million km from the Earth, i.e. 33 times more distant than the Moon. On December 8, this Minor Planet passed within 3.6 million km from the Earth, but at that time it was not possible to observe it with ground-based optical telescopes, because it was situated between the Earth and the Sun. However, very good radar images were obtained which showed thecratered surface of the object.
eso9216 — Organisation Release
ESO to Help Central and Eastern European Astronomers
3 December 1992: The Council of the European Southern Observatory [1], meeting at the ESO Headquarters in Garching on December 1-2, 1992, has decided to initiate a Programme by this organisation, aimed at supporting some of the scientifically most active and internationally highly esteemed astronomical institutes and research groups in Central and Eastern Europe (C&EE).
eso9215 — Science Release
Mysterious GEMINGA on the Move
13 November 1992: Based on observations just obtained with the ESO New Technology Telescope at La Silla, a group of Italian astronomers [1] have securely identified the optical emission from the mysterious GEMINGA object. Although GEMINGA is the second strongest source of energetic gamma-rays in the sky, its optical image is extremely faint and the real nature of this strange object has long been a subject of debate. The present break-through became possible when the astronomers discovered and accurately measured the object's motion in the sky. As a consequence, GEMINGA is now believed to be the closest neutron star known to us, at a distance of no more than 300 light-years, possibly even smaller.
eso9214 — Science Release
New Planet Found in the Outer Solar System
2 October 1992: A new planet has just been found in the outer solar system. Although the observations do not yet allow an accurate determination of its orbit, it appears that it is situated about 6,000 million km away, outside the orbit of the outermost, known planet, Pluto. No other object has ever been found this far out in the solar system.
eso9213 — Science Release
ESO Exhibition Opens in Milan
14 September 1992: An exhibition about Astronomy and the European organization for astronomy (ESO) will soon open at the Science and Technical Museum "Leonardo da Vinci" in Milan, Italy.
eso9212 — Photo Release
A Minor Planet With a Tail!
18 August 1992: Minor Planet (4015) was discovered in 1979. It is of the Earth–crossing "Apollo" type and moves in an elongated orbit around the Sun; the period of revolution is 4.3 years.
eso9211 — Organisation Release
Remote Observations with the ESO NTT from Trieste
13 August 1992: Italian astronomers, working from the Astronomical Observatory in Trieste, have performed remote observations with the ESO 3.5 metre New Technology Telescope (NTT) at La Silla, Chile. This is the first time ever that such observations have been made directly from an astronomical institute in one of the ESO member countries. Quite unexpectedly, a "cosmic mirage", that is a gravitational lens in a distant cluster of galaxies, was found during these observations.
eso9210 — Photo Release
Comet Grigg-Skjellerup on July 10, 1992
10 July 1992: This photo shows Comet Grigg-Skjellerup, as imaged by the ESO 3.6 m telescope at the La Silla Observatory in the early morning of July 10, 1992, just 15 hours before the Giotto encounter with this comet. The observation was made by Dr. Klaus Jockers from the Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie (Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany), and in the course of a special monitoring programme in support of the Giotto Extended Mission. The digital image was transmitted to the ESO Headquarters in Garching via the permanent satellite link, immediately following the observations. The photo is a composite of four one-minute red-sensitive exposures. The other objects in the field are galactic stars.
eso9209 — Photo Release
Comet Grigg-Skjellerup
1 July 1992: This photo shows Comet Grigg-Skjellerup, which will be visited by the Giotto spacecraft of the European Space Agency (ESA) on July 10, 1992
eso9208 — Organisation Release
Riccardo Giacconi – ESO's Next Director General
10 June 1992: In its 67th meeting in Garching on June 4 and 5, 1992 the Council of ESO appointed Prof. Riccardo Giacconi as Director General for the period 1993-1997. He succeeds Prof. Harry van der Laan whose five year term ends this year.
eso9207 — Science Release
Comet Halley 1992
13 May 1992: This negative photo shows a small sky area in the direction of Comet Halley, obtained by ESO astronomers Alain Smette and Olivier Hainaut with the ESO 3.5-metre New Technology Telescope (NTT) in the morning of April 6, 1992
eso9206 — Science Release
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Discovers a High-Energy Jet in Galaxy NGC 38621
7 May 1992: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has revealed an unusual and fascinating new optical jet in the nucleus of the elliptical galaxy NGC 3862.
eso9205 — Photo Release
The ESO Very Large Telescope
22 April 1992: The photo shows a model of the ESO 16-metre equivalent Very Large Telescope (VLT), as it will appear on the Paranal mountain in the Chilean Atacama desert towards the end of the present decade. The VLT will become the world's largest optical telescope when it is ready.
eso9204 — Organisation Release
Inauguration of the REOSC Polishing Facility for the Very Large Telescope 8.2-metre Mirrors [1]
21 April 1992: On April 24, 1992, the French Minister for Research and Space, Professor Hubert Curien, will inaugurate a unique, new optical facility of R.E.O.S.C [2] , at Saint Pierre du Perray, near Paris. The delicate polishing of the giant mirrors for ESO's 16-metre equivalent Very Large Telescope (VLT) will take place here.
eso9203 — Science Release
First Optical Images of the "Invisible" Counter-Jet in Giant Galaxy M87
25 February 1992: Messier 87 (M87) is a giant galaxy, situated right at the centre of one of the largest and nearest clusters of galaxies, the Virgo Cluster; its distance is about 50 million light-years) and several thousand galaxies belong to this cluster, but none is brighter and heavier than Messier 87. Already in 1918, photos showed the presence of a jet in M87, i.e. a long and thin feature, extending in a westerly direction from the centre of this galaxy. This jet bears witness to the violent processes at the centre of M87 and has led many astronomers to think that there is a giant black hole in there. Recent observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have strengthened this suspicion.
eso9202 — Photo Release
Most Distant Minor Planet in the Solar System
24 February 1992: This photo shows the newly discovered minor planet 1992 AD which is the most distant in the solar system. It was obtained at the ESO La Silla Observatory on 5 February 1992. The telescope followed the planet whose 16.7 magnitude image is round; the stars in the field are seen as short trails. The diffuse trail at the upper right corner is that of a galaxy
eso9201 — Organisation Release
CONICA and FORS: Advanced Electronic Eyes for the VLT
5 February 1992: The ESO 16-metre equivalent Very Large Telescope (VLT) [1] will be equipped with technologically advanced instruments that record the light collected by the large mirrors.
eso9110 — Science Release
A Ground-based Image of Minor Planet (951) Gaspra
29 October 1991: This is a ground-based photo of the first minor planet ever to be visited by a spacecraft. On October 29, 1991, the NASA spacecraft Galileo will pass minor planet no. 951 Gaspra on its way to Jupiter where it will arrive in December 1995. The distance from Gaspra to the Earth will be 410 million km at the time of the fly-by.
eso9109 — Science Release
Most Distant Cosmic Mirage?
22 October 1991: Observations with telescopes at the La Silla observatory have revealed that the image of an extremely distant quasar, known as Q1208+1011, actually consists of two images very close to each other. It is the most distant and also the brightest quasar ever observed to have a double image.
eso9108 — Organisation Release
VLT Main Structure To Be Built in Italy
24 September 1991: ESO is now awarding a major contract for its Very Large Telescope (VLT) to the "AES Consortium" of three Italian companies. It concerns the construction of the main mechanical structures of the four 8-m VLT unit telescopes, each of which will weigh more than 440 tons and yet must be machined with sub-micron precision in order to allow astronomical observations of the highest quality.
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