eso9829 — Organisation Release
High-Level Portuguese Visit to Paranal Observatory
19 July 1998
Just some weeks after the successful First Light Event of the first 8.2-m VLT Unit Telescope, cf. ESO PR 06/98 , the Paranal Observatory will today receive the visit of a high-ranking delegation from Portugal. It is lead by the Portuguese Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Mariano Gago , accompanied by the Ambassador of Portugal to the Republic of Chile, Mr. Rui Félix-Alves.
In 1990, an Agreement was signed that associates Portugal with the European Southern Observatory and accords this country observer status on the ESO Council and Committees. An additional, important provision is the declared intention that Portugal becomes a full member of the Organisation within a decade.
The present visit takes place at a time that discussions about the actual implementation of this long-term goal have begun. The Minister and his advisers will have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the recent progress of the Very Large Telescope project, now on track to provide astronomers in the ESO member states with the world's most powerful optical astronomical telescope within a few years.
During the past years, a rapid build-up of Astronomy and Astrophysics has taken place in Portugal. At the same time and guided by the provisions of the Agreement, a closer and mutually profitable relationship has evolved between ESO and Portuguese scientists, many of whom have become involved in joint research with colleagues in the ESO member states. A large fraction of the related projects is based on data obtained at the ESO telescopes.
See also the photos from the visit - ESO Press Photos eso9830.