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ann12070 — Announcement
Europe to the Stars Movie Available Now
4 October 2012: The highly anticipated Europe to the Stars documentary is now available for free download and purchase. The movie celebrates ESO’s first 50 years exploring the southern sky.It all began in 1962 with the signing of the ESO convention — the culmination of the dream of leading astronomers from five European countries, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Fifty years later, these original dreams have become reality thanks to ESO’s commitment to the mission.Europe to the Stars portrays the story of this epic adventure —  a story of cosmic curiosity, courage and perseverance. The story of discovering a Universe of deep mysteries and hidden secrets, and the story of designing, building and operating the most powerful ground-based telescopes on the planet. The documentary movie consists of eight chapters [1], each focusing on essential aspects of ESO’s history. From ESO’s birth to explaining how telescopes are built and used, Europe to ...
ann12069 — Announcement
ESOcast 48: Building Big
2 October 2012: Leading up to ESO’s 50th anniversary in October 2012, we are releasing eight special ESOcasts, each a chapter from the movie Europe to the Stars — ESO’s First 50 Years of Exploring the Southern Sky. The eighth and final episode of this series relates how ESO — based on experience gathered over the past fifty years as the most powerful observatory in history — is going to satisfy the eternal longing of astronomers: the construction of even bigger telescopes. The first of ESO’s next generation telescopes is almost finished on the Chajnantor Plateau. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter array (ALMA), a joint project of Europe, North America and Asia, will be composed of 66 high-precision antennas when it becomes fully operational in 2013. Acting together as a giant telescope, ALMA will reveal the finest details of the cool Universe, spotting the birth of the first galaxies and peeking inside the dusty ...
ann12068 — Announcement
German Federal Minister for Education and Research Visits Paranal
1 October 2012: The Federal Minister for Education and Research in Germany, Annette Schavan, made a special visit to ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile on 29–30 September 2012. The Minister and her delegation were hosted by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, the Director of Operations at the La Silla Paranal Observatory, Andreas Kaufer, and the Representative of ESO in Chile, Massimo Tarenghi. The delegation accompanying Minister Schavan included a State Minister, members of the German Parliament as well as senior representatives of German research organisations and universities. After a short presentation from ESO, Minister Schavan was given a tour of the Paranal base camp facilities, which include the award-winning Paranal Residencia, a unique building designed by the German architects Auer+Weber+Assoziierte, and which provides accommodation for astronomers, engineers, support staff and visitors staying at the observatory. The Minister then enjoyed a spectacular sunset, viewed from the platform of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) ...
ann12067 — Announcement
6-Hour Webcast with Live Very Large Telescope Observations for ESO’s 50th Anniversary
28 September 2012: On 5 October 2012, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) will broadcast A Day in the Life of ESO, a free, live event on the web, as part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations. There will be live observations from ESO’s flagship observatory, the Very Large Telescope (VLT), on Cerro Paranal in Chile’s Atacama Desert, as well as fascinating talks from astronomers at ESO’s Headquarters in Germany. Members of the public are invited to ask questions in advance of the event, or during the stream, by Facebook, Twitter, and email. A timetable for the webcast is available below and online. For the first time in ESO’s history, the VLT will be pointed towards an object in the sky selected by members of the public — the Thor’s Helmet Nebula (NGC 2359). This striking nebula was selected as part of the Choose What the VLT Observes competition. Brigitte Bailleul, from France, won the ...
ann12066 — Announcement
ESO Releases The Jewel on the Mountaintop
28 September 2012: ESO’s brand-new history book, The Jewel on the Mountaintop — The European Southern Observatory through Fifty Years, is a comprehensive account of the observatory, as well as a truly remarkable success story for European research. It is available for purchase in hardcover format from Wiley-VCH. Produced for ESO's 50th anniversary, The Jewel on the Mountaintop provides a deep insight into ESO’s history as told by the people who have made it what it is today. It tells of the battles fought, the mountains climbed and the hurdles overcome in order to obtain a better understanding of the Universe of which we are a part. The author, senior ESO adviser Claus Madsen, carried out extensive interviews with key players, from both inside and outside the organisation to allow him to accurately portray the evolution and significance of the organisation and its achievements. The book is divided into four sections, entitled Catching ...
ann12065 — Announcement
New Coffee-table Book Published in Celebration of ESO’s 50th Anniversary
27 September 2012: The much-anticipated Europe to the Stars — ESO’s first 50 years of Exploring the Southern Sky, a sumptuously illustrated coffee-table book published in celebration of ESO’s 50th anniversary, is now available to download as a pdf from the ESO website, or for purchase in high-gloss hardcover format from Wiley-VCH. The book features three impressive panoramic foldout views of the observatories. The coffee-table book, which contains 300 spectacular hand-picked images selected from ESO’s impressive collection of over 100 000 images, tells a story of aspiration, inspiration and discovery as the reader follows ESO on its journey to become the most productive ground-based observatory in the world. From the signing of the ESO convention in 1962, to the the creation of the La Silla Observatory in Chile, the book is an accurate depiction of the instruments, discoveries and the people who have made ESO what it is today. Each book includes a ...
ann12064 — Announcement
Coming Soon “Water: a cosmic adventure” — new planetarium show
25 September 2012: Planetarium show lovers have an exciting adventure to embark on: the search for water in the Universe. In early October “Water: a cosmic adventure” will be released — a 30-minute planetarium show that follows astrophysicist Eva Luna as she explores the turbulent origins of the vital molecule. The show was created by the Association des Planétariums de Langue Française (APLF) in collaboration with Hamburg Planetarium and ESO. Realistic 3D animations and breathtaking footage will take you on a fascinating journey to the driest place on Earth, the Atacama Desert in Chile, where ESO’s ground-breaking telescopes search for planets that contain the essential molecule for life. Released during its 50th anniversary year, the show highlights ESO’s greatest achievements while presenting some of the most spectacular images of the La Silla Observatory, the Very Large Telescope at Paranal and never before seen 3D models of the biggest eye on the sky — ...
ann12063 — Announcement
Tribute to ESO's Unsung Heroes
24 September 2012: On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is releasing a video named Tribute to ESO’s Unsung Heroes, dedicated to the people — past and present — that through their passion, dedication and professionalism have taken ESO from a bold dream back in 1962 to the reality of the most productive ground-based observatory today. Although they often remain behind the scenes, these are the people who, through their everyday work, bring the organisation forward and contribute to achieving its ambitious programmes. From administrative staff and guides to cooks and drivers, from astronomers to engineers, everyone at ESO is an unsung hero. We invite you to meet some of them in this movie.The video is composed of a set of images most of which were taken by award-winning editorial and commercial photographer Max Alexander, who was visiting the ESO sites for a project dedicated to ESO’s anniversary. ...
ann12062 — Announcement
Science in School Issue 24: Out Now!
18 September 2012: The latest issue of the free magazine Science in School is now available online and in print. The European journal, dedicated to science teachers and educators offers numerous science articles and activities to help inspire and encourage school-aged students. Some of the highlights of this issue include an overview of what high energy astronomy can tell us about the Universe, how genetics can help prevent animal trafficking in Brazil, as well as a feature article on how to extract indigo, and some of its fascinating uses over time. The issue also includes a number of experiments and ideas to keep students actively learning and engaged with scientific discovery. Science in School is published by EIROforum, a collaboration between eight European intergovernmental scientific research organisations, of which ESO is a member. The journal addresses science teaching both across Europe and across disciplines: highlighting the best in teaching and cutting-edge research. You ...
ann12061 — Announcement
Media Advisory: Invitation to ESO’s 50th Anniversary Gala Event, 11 October 2012
18 September 2012: WHATMedia representatives are invited to participate as working journalists at the gala event celebrating 50 years since the signing of the ESO convention in 1962, which established the European Southern Observatory (ESO). WHOESO's Director General, Professor Tim de Zeeuw, and the Council President, Professor Xavier Barcons, will welcome Ministers and representatives from the Member States and the host country Chile, as well as the ESO Council, representatives of ESO committees, past ESO Directors General, renowned astronomers and other people who have played key roles for ESO. WHYThe event celebrates the first 50 years of the most productive ground-based observatory. Among the highlights of the night will be: Keynote speeches by Professor Brian Schmidt, Physics Nobel Prize Laureate 2011 and Professor Tim de Zeeuw, ESO Director General; Speeches by Professor Dr Annette Schavan MdB, Bundesministerin für Bildung und Forschung, Germany and Staatsminister Dr Wolfgang Heubisch MdL, Staatsminister für Wissenschaft, Forschung und ...
ann12060 — Announcement
Brigitte Bailleul and Thor’s Helmet — Winners of ESO’s 50th Anniversary Competitions!
10 September 2012: The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is pleased to announce the winners of the two competitions dedicated to the organisation’s 50th anniversary this year, Choose What the VLT Observes & Tweet Your Way to the VLT! The Thor’s Helmet Nebula (NGC 2359) received the most votes from the public in the first competition, and will be the target of these special observations with the VLT (Very Large Telescope). Brigitte Bailleul, from France, won the second competition and will travel to the Paranal Observatory in Chile to help make the observations. For the first time in the history of the Very Large Telescope, the VLT will be pointed towards an object in the sky selected by members of the public — the Thor’s Helmet Nebula (NGC 2359). The observations will be streamed live from the VLT on Paranal on the day of ESO’s 50th anniversary, 5 October 2012, with additional talks and ...
ann12059 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 11 September 2012
7 September 2012: with Prof. Dr. Peter Fierlinger (Excellence Cluster Universe) Our world owes its existence to a surprising breach of symmetry in the laws of nature: for each hundred million antimatter particles that were created during the first picoseconds after the Big Bang, there were one hundred million and one particles of matter, leaving a tiny surplus of matter after all the matter and antimatter particles annihilated, releasing energy. How can one explain this asymmetry? A possible answer is found in the neutron. The neutron is electrically neutral, but could display a very small separation of electric charge within the neutron itself, called its electric dipole moment. The existence of this dipole has remained hypothetical until very recently. At the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Research Neutron Source (Forschungs-Neutronenquelle Heinz Maier-Leibnitz, FRM II), the Technische Universität München has built one of the world's most powerful sources of ultra-cold neutrons. Using it, physicists are now studying, ...
ann12058 — Announcement
Winners of the first European Astronomy Journalism Prize Announced
5 September 2012: The winner of the first European Astronomy Journalism Prize, designed to help inspire the next generation of researchers, has been announced today (5 September 2012) at a reception in the House of Commons. Katia Moskvitch from the BBC was announced as the winner and awarded a trip to Chile by a panel of judges representing the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), who ran the competition, together with the Royal Astronomical Society and the Association of British Science Writers. The aim of the prize was to increase media coverage of the field, as a means of promoting the wonders of astronomy — a subject regularly cited as a key reason for students opting to take up careers in science.  The judges chose Katia as the winner for her remarkable series on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, located at the Paranal Observatory, Chile. [1] Katia’s prize ...
ann12057 — Announcement
ESOcast 47: Finding Life
3 September 2012: Leading up to ESO’s 50th anniversary in October 2012, we are releasing eight special ESOcasts, each a chapter from the movie Europe to the Stars — ESO’s First 50 Years of Exploring the Southern Sky. In this special episode – ESOcast 47 overall – we look at one of the greatest quests that astronomers have pursued over the centuries: the search for life in the Universe. ESO has played an important role in this exciting journey. The ESO 3.6-metre telescope is one of the most successful planet hunters. Thanks to its HARPS spectrograph, astronomers have discovered more than 150 planets. Other important milestones in the study of exoplanets have been reached by the Very Large Telescope (VLT). For instance, a team of astronomers took the very first image of a planet outside the Solar System in 2004 (eso0428). Moreover, astronomers have been also able to analyse the atmosphere of a ...
ann12056 — Announcement
ESO Call for Proposals for Period 91 Released
30 August 2012: The ESO Call for Proposals for Period 91 has been released. The deadline is 27 September 2012, 12:00 noon CEST.
ann12055 — Announcement
An Even Sharper View of the Universe
24 August 2012: An updated version of ESO’s popular Top 100 Images App is now available to download from iTunes. The new version, released in time for ESO’s 50 years anniversary celebrations, takes full advantage of the third generation iPad retina display and quad core graphics. The free app transforms the iPad into an exciting window to the Universe and allows users to enjoy 100 spectacular images of distant galaxies and nebulae, dramatic night-sky landscapes and pictures of some of the world’s most powerful telescopes. Thanks to the super-sharp retina display technology (containing 1 million more pixels than HDTV) these pictures look more spectacular than ever. The pictures, complete with explanatory captions, are continuously updated to keep up with the influx of  new images taken by ESO’s suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The photos are also easy to download and display as impressive ...
ann12054 — Announcement
Help Build the E-ELT: ESO Industry Event
21 August 2012: On 16–17 October 2012, ESO will host an industry event at the Press Club of the Allianz Arena, Munich. The event is to provide information for companies from the ESO Member States who may be interested in participating, whether as prime contractors or as subcontractors, in the construction of the dome and main structure of the European Extremely Large Telescope, the world’s biggest eye on the sky. All participants will be offered the opportunity to display a poster about their company and to make a short (5-minute) presentation to introduce themselves. To register your interest in participating in this event, please contact the Industrial Liaison Officer for your country or ESO at
ann12053 — Announcement
ESOcast 46: Catching Light
1 August 2012: Leading up to ESO’s 50th anniversary in October 2012, we are releasing eight special ESOcasts, each a chapter from the movie Europe to the Stars — ESO’s First 50 Years of Exploring the Southern Sky. ESOcast 46 is the sixth special episode of this series. It describes how state-of-the-art cameras and spectrographs help ESO’s powerful telescopes collect and analyse the faint light from the distant Universe. Without these instruments, ESO’s eyes on the sky would be blind. Today’s astronomical images are very different from those from the 1960s. Back then, astronomers used large photographic glass plates, which were not very sensitive and hard to handle. Nowadays, ESO’s telescopes use some of the largest and most sensitive electronic detectors in the world. They catch almost every cosmic photon and recover almost every possible bit of information. For instance, the VLT Survey Telescope’s camera — OmegaCAM — has 32 detectors, which team ...
ann12052 — Announcement
ESO Releases The Messenger No. 148
30 July 2012: The latest edition of ESO’s quarterly journal, The Messenger, is now available online. Find out the latest from ESO, with topics ranging from new telescopes and instruments to the latest discoveries. Highlights include: A report on the progress of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) project. A description of POPIPlaN, an image catalogue of newly discovered southern planetary nebulae. A study of massive stars beyond the Magellanic Clouds using the X-shooter spectrograph. The story behind the use of renewable energy at the Paranal Observatory.
ann12051 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 10 July 2012
6 July 2012: with Dr Ralph Blumenhagen (Max Planck Institute for Physics) String theory is a framework for a unified description of all forms of matter, and of all the interactions between them. It started with a very simple theory, namely that all the fundamental objects are tiny, oscillating strings. The mathematical analysis of that hypothesis leads to a completely new approach to theoretical physics, in which our common notions of space and time are completely challenged. The Strings 2012 conference will take place in Munich at the end of July, and will bring together the world specialists in string theory. On 10 July 2010, Dr Ralph Blumenhagen (Max Planck Institute for Physics) will discuss the themes and the future results that he expects from this exciting research field with Café & Kosmos guests. Please note that the Café & Kosmos events take place in German. What: String theoryWhen: Tuesday, 10 July 2012, ...