eso9717 — Organisation Release
Aerial View of the ESO Headquarters in Garching
17 July 1997
ESO Press Photo eso9717a shows a recent aerial view of the modernistic building of the ESO Headquarters in the town of Garching, some 15 kilometres north of Munich, the capital of Bavaria, Germany.
The building, which was donated to ESO by the Government of the (then Federal) Republic of Germany was constructed in the late 1970's at a time when ESO's various divisions were still dispersed at several sites in Europe. The move into the Organisation's new European home took place in the summer of 1980.
The ESO Headquarters is the nerve centre of the Organisation. This is the site of the Office of the Director General and its associated functional units, for instance the Visiting Astronomers' Service and the Education and Public Relations Department. Here is also the Office of Science, the Data Management Division, the Very Large Telescope Division, the Instrumentation Division as well as the Administration. In addition, there are several highly specialised laboratories, such as the optical, infrared-, detector- and photographic laboratories, all engaged in research and development. About 200 people have their daily work at the ESO Headquarters.
Development of software for astronomical applications is an important activity at Headquarters. ESO also maintains and operates one of the largest data archives in astronomy with over a terabyte volume of observations. The Science Archive facility hosts all observations obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope and the ESO NTT and a large variety of other datasets like astronomical surveys and catalogues. Information about this data is available to the community via an on-line database that supports browsing through the observation catalogue, visualization of data previews and in some cases even on-line access to images - all accessible from the World Wide-Web.
Apart from the administrative and technical work, the ESO Headquarters is a bustling scientific centre with a very active group of scientists, engaged in many different frontline research programmes. Many scientists from the ESO member countries and beyond come to use ESO's computer facilities, to attend international conferences or workshops, or to work together with ESO staff on research projects spanning practically all areas of contemporary astronomy and astrophysics.
Also based at the ESO Headquarters, is the Hubble Space Telescope/European Co-ordinating Facility (ST/ECF) which is operated jointly by ESO and the European Space Agency (ESA). It is a select group of scientists and data specialists who assist European astronomers with their observations at the Hubble Space Telescope.
Communication between ESO's facilities in Europe and Chile is ensured by means of a permanent satellite link.