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ann11019 — Announcement
ESOcast 28: How Amateur Astrophotographers Uncovered ESO's Hidden Treasures
19 April 2011: The observations from ESO’s powerful ground-based telescopes are veritable treasures, stored in a huge archive usually only visited by professional astronomers on a mission. And yet, an amateur astrophotographer from Russia managed to uncover a real gem from ESO’s Hidden Treasures, winning a trip to Chile to observe with the Very Large Telescope and take part in the observations. How did he manage it? And could you do the same? This podcast episode takes you behind the scenes of ESO’s Hidden Treasures competition and shows you how a group of determined and talented amateur astrophotographers managed to find and produce stunning astronomy pictures. Watch more podcast episodes of the ESOcast.   More information Credit: ESO Visual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser and Luis Calçada. Editing: Herbert Zodet. Web and technical support: Lars Holm Nielsen and Raquel Yumi Shida. Written by: Oana Sandu, Sarah Reed, Olivier Hainaut and Herbert Zodet. Narration: ...
ann11018 — Announcement
Space Scoop: Astronomy News for Children
13 April 2011: Life has just become much easier for parents and educators dealing with enthusiastic children curious about astronomy! ESO has teamed up with the educational project Universe Awareness (UNAWE) [1] to produce Space Scoop — versions of its latest Science and Photo Releases that are written specifically for children aged between 7 and 11 years old. In a world where children are sometimes more technically savvy than grown-ups, Space Scoop is meant to feed their curiosity about the Universe, by allowing them to access ESO releases in their own language. “Astronomy is an incredibly dynamic subject; ESO astronomers continue to uncover new clues about how the Universe works, and we want to share the excitement of this journey of discovery with a younger audience,” says Lars Lindberg Christensen, Head of ESO’s education and Public Outreach Department. Parents can also use the service to read about the latest discoveries in astronomy and ...
ann11017 — Announcement
Science in School Issue 18 Now Available
8 April 2011: The latest issue of Science in School, the European journal for science teachers, is now available online and in print. Issue 18 marks five years since Science in School was launched in March 2006. The journal promotes inspiring science teaching by encouraging communication between teachers, scientists and everyone else involved in European science education, and every issue is jam-packed with informative articles. This issue features cutting-edge science news, teaching activities, science education projects, events, and much more besides. ESO contributions in this issue include news about the first super-Earth atmosphere being analysed by astronomers using ESO telescopes, and an account of a student winning an ESO prize in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, which took him on the trip of a lifetime to the Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal in Chile. Science in School is published by EIROforum, a collaboration between eight European intergovernmental scientific research organisations, of ...
ann11016 — Announcement
Hot Off the Press: ESO and Industry
5 April 2011: The European Southern Observatory (ESO) operates some of the most powerful ground-based telescopes in the world. Building and maintaining such grand instruments requires external help, and ESO has forged many strong working relationships with industry to secure the necessary technical expertise. Since 2005, ESO has awarded contracts worldwide totalling more than 600 million euros, the vast majority of which have been placed with companies in the ESO Member States and Chile. You can find out more about ESO’s relationship with industry, as well as the opportunities that are available for the ESO Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), for which construction is due to begin by the end of this year, in the new printed flyer, ESO and Industry. To download a copy of the flyer, please go to
ann11015 — Announcement
The World At Night Comes to Santiago
4 April 2011: A prestigious worldwide photography exhibition called The World At Night (TWAN) — One People, One Sky will open to the public for one month from 8 April 2011, at Casas de Lo Matta cultural centre in Santiago, Chile [1]. The European Southern Observatory (ESO) produced a dedicated version for Chile of this non-profit exhibition, as part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. The exhibition has been touring around the country, and it is now returning to the capital city. It features a collection of stunning photographs of the world’s most beautiful and historic sites, set against a backdrop of stars, planets and celestial events. The TWAN photographs were taken by some of the world’s best night-sky photographers. ESO Photo Ambassador Stéphane Guisard contributed several outstanding images that were taken in Chile, such as The Milky Way over the Atacama Desert, Sunset at Paranal and Moon, Planets and Santiago. Furthermore, ...
ann11014 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 4 April 2011
31 March 2011: How can we observe what is invisible? How were the chemical elements formed? How do we describe the Universe as a whole? Do we even know all the components of the Universe? Dr Bruno Leibundgut, from the European Southern Observatory, will give an insight into the state of current research, and discuss these questions with the audience. The Café & Kosmos series of discussions is organised jointly by ESO, the Excellence Cluster Universe and the Max-Planck Institutes for Physics, Astrophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics. The discussions take place on the first Monday of each month at Café Jasmin in Munich. After a brief introduction the scientists take questions from the audience and discuss current issues from the cosmos. Please note that the Café & Kosmos events take place in German. What: What is the Universe? When: 4 April 2011, 19:00 until approximately 20:30 Where: Café Jasmin, Steinheilstrasse 20 (U2, Theresienstraße). Admission ...
ann11013 — Announcement
ALMA Invites Proposals for Early Science Observations
30 March 2011: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the most ambitious radio astronomy observatory ever built, is announcing the first opportunity for the worldwide astronomical community to submit proposals for new scientific observations. Using just 16 of the 66 state-of-the-art antennas that will be in the completed array, it will already surpass the capabilities of all existing telescopes of its kind. ALMA is getting ready to make Early Science observations. In this phase, the telescope will be used for scientific research for the first time, even though it is still under construction. Until now, observations made with the telescope have been made purely to test that its systems work as expected. ALMA is being built in the Andes, on the Chajnantor plateau at an altitude of 5000 metres in northern Chile. By detecting light at millimetre and submillimetre wavelengths — light invisible to the human eye and optical telescopes — ALMA will ...
ann11012 — Announcement
Feel the Universe at Your Fingertips
28 March 2011: Access a universe of knowledge about the Universe with three new free iPad apps from ESO’s education and Public Outreach Department (ePOD), available just in time for the iPad 2. The free ESO Top 100 Images app brings users a selection of the best astronomical images taken by a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes from the Atacama Desert in Chile. Astonishing views of distant galaxies and nebulae, amazing night-sky landscapes, first-class telescopes with lasers shooting into the sky transform the iPad into an exciting window to the Universe. Each image is explained in a caption with additional information just a tap away. In the slideshow mode the Top 100 can be contemplated with background music from Zero Project, while each high resolution image makes full use of the bright iPad screen when used as wallpaper. Feel the Universe at your fingertips by downloading the ESO Top ...
ann11011 — Announcement
ESO — World’s Most Productive Observatory for the Fourth Year
28 March 2011: A survey of scientific journals has shown that 2010 was the most productive year in ESO’s history. The ESO user community, using data from ESO telescopes, published more than 750 peer-reviewed papers. For the fourth year in a row, ESO is the most productive astronomical observatory in the world in terms of number of publications from its users. Counting the number of articles that are based on data from an observatory’s telescopes is an important indicator of how productive it is. As such, it is common practice for organisations like ESO to carry out regular reviews to determine their scientific productivity. ESO’s annual survey of the major scientific journals shows that, with a haul of more than 750 peer-reviewed papers published in 2010 by the ESO community, using data from ESO telescopes, the observatory has broken its previous record set in 2007. Every observatory uses slightly different methods to measure ...
ann11010 — Announcement
ESO Releases The Messenger No. 143
21 March 2011: The latest edition of the European Southern Observatory’s quarterly journal, The Messenger, has been published. This issue features articles covering various ESO instruments and projects, including: A report on the results of ALMA radiometer testing — checking the array’s ability to correct the effect of water vapour on millimetre wavelength detections. An outline of the possibilities and goals for the upcoming VLTI astrometry instrument GRAVITY.  A discussion on how we can use the strong appearance of ozone in the visible spectrum to hunt for exoplanets with Earth-like atmospheres. An article looking at how the SINFONI Integral Field Spectroscopy Survey will help us to understand how galaxies form. The results of the ESO Hidden Treasures astrophotography competition. The journal is available for download in PDF format. You can also subscribe to receive a free printed copy on The Messenger’s website.
ann11009 — Announcement
ESOcast 27: An ESO Astronomer at Work
18 March 2011: Life as an ESO astronomer is demanding, but working on one of the world’s most powerful telescopes is also immensely rewarding. In this episode of the ESOcast, come with us as we follow ESO astronomer Henri Boffin through his day-to-day life. Learn all about what it takes to be a professional astronomer producing top-notch science, and see what it’s like working in exotic locations and collaborating with astronomers from around the world. Get a glimpse behind the scenes at the Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal, and see the site’s famous Residencia, a home-from-home for staff on duty at the observatory. More episodes of the ESOcast are also available. Credits ESO. Visual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser and Luis Calçada. Editing: Herbert Zodet. Web and technical support: Lars Holm Nielsen and Raquel Yumi Shida. Written by: Herbert Zodet and Sarah Reed. Narration: Dr. J and Gaitee Hussain. Music: zero-project ( ...
ann11008 — Announcement
Girls' Day Event at ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany
14 March 2011: Deutsche Version unten On 14 April 2011, ESO will participate in Germany’s nationwide Girls’ Day activities, in which technical enterprises, universities and research organisations arrange open days for girls, to give female school students an insight into science and technology professions and to encourage more of them to choose such careers in the future. The ESO Girls’ Day, An Introduction to the Work of the European Southern Observatory, presents a series of talks in German and question-and-answer sessions with ESO staff and students. The topics covered include astronomy and engineering, administration and human resources. To complete this introduction to the world’s most productive astronomical observatory, there will be a live video-link to Cerro Paranal, home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The Girls’ Day visitors will be able to talk with an ESO astronomer working 11 000 km away on this 2600-metre mountaintop in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Places are limited for this ...
ann11007 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 14 March 2011
11 March 2011: The first light in the cosmos did not come from stars — it was emitted long before the first stars were formed, about 380 000 years after the Big Bang, when the matter had cooled just enough so that the Universe became transparent. The next Café & Kosmos 14 March 2011 (note: one week later than usual because of Rosenmontag) is all about this ancient image of the Universe: what does the cosmic microwave background tells us about the Universe as a whole and the formation of the structures it contains today?  Dr. Torsten Ensslin of the Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics will present new observations obtained with the Planck satellite, launched in May 2009. The discussion will consider not only the tiny fluctuations in this background radiation, but also the many different kinds of objects  that are between us and the background and cast a “shadow” over it. In early January, the Planck collaboration ...
ann11006 — Announcement
ESO Call for Proposals for Period 88 released. Deadline is 31 March 2011
28 February 2011: The ESO Call for Proposals for Period 88 has been released. The deadline is 31 March 2011.
ann11005 — Announcement
Hold the Universe in Your Hand
9 February 2011: Keeping up with the latest space news has just become a whole lot easier thanks to the new Portal to the Universe app, which gives iPhone and iPod Touch [1] users direct access to the Universe wherever they go. The Portal to the Universe app is a dynamic online news aggregator that showcases cutting-edge astronomy and space science breakthroughs gathered from hundreds of sources every day: news websites, blogs, video podcasts, audio podcasts, images, videos and more. With the release of the new app in iTunes, people on the go can now stay in the know. The free application allows users to: find out what’s new and exciting by reading posts featured by the editors of the Portal to the Universe access the portal offline watch and listen to astronomy podcasts search for articles on the Portal to the Universe  You can install the application here. Credit: ESO/Victor R. Ruiz ...
ann11004 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 7 February 2011
2 February 2011: After our recent discussion about dark matter, the Café & Kosmos will now concentrate on the other invisible component of the Universe, the dark energy. With its share of 73 percent of the total energy budget, the dark energy dominates the Universe. It is the driving force that causes it to expand faster and faster. The discovery of this accelerated expansion dates back to 1998; it is still a fairly young field of investigation. In his research, Prof. Stefan Hofmann (Excellence Cluster Universe) investigates the question of how the dark energy fits into existing physical models. The cosmologist will expose various scenarios: is the model by Einstein satisfactory, with a cosmological constant or a vacuum energy, or should the scientists consider an alternative theory of the gravitation to explain the physics of the very large distances in the Universe? He will discuss the implications with the Café & Kosmos guests. The Café ...
ann11003 — Announcement
ESOcast 26: Life at the Paranal Observatory
1 February 2011: The barren landscape surrounding the Paranal Observatory in Chile is stunning, but for the ESO staff who work there, on-site recreational activities are important for entertainment and general wellbeing. In this episode of the ESOcast, we follow three staff members in a unique behind-the-scenes look at the Paranal Residencia at the observatory’s base camp — a remarkable hotel that has won architectural design awards — to see some of their leisure activities. More episodes of the ESOcast are also available. Credit ESO. Visual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser and Luis Calçada. Editing: Herbert Zodet. Web and technical support: Lars Holm Nielsen and Raquel Yumi Shida. Written by: Herbert Zodet. Narration: Dr. J and Gaitee Hussain. Music: zero-project ( and movetwo. Footage and photos: ESO, Mineworks, Stéphane Guisard ( and José Francisco Salgado ( Directed by: Herbert Zodet. Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen.
ann11002 — Announcement
First "3D View" from the VLT Interferometer
26 January 2011: The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has made its first observations that combine super-sharp imaging with measurements of motion. New pioneering data from the VLTI/AMBER instrument not only show extremely fine details of the gas and dust disc surrounding the brilliant supergiant star HD 62623, but also, by using spectroscopy, reveal the motions of the material in the disc for the first time. The origin of this disc has been a mystery, as such a bright star, which is near to the end of its life, is expected to blow away the material surrounding it, and not to be surrounded by a dusty disc similar to those around very young stars. A team of astronomers led by Florentin Millour (Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Nice) has now found that the material is orbiting the star — just as the planets in the Solar System orbit the Sun. Surprisingly they ...
ann11001 — Announcement
Hot Off the Press: Issue 10 of CAPjournal
7 January 2011: Articles include an overview of how Disney Television Italy worked alongside the Education and Public Outreach office of the INAF Astronomical Observatory of Padua in Italy to help promote astronomy to children. The authors discuss the differences between the working practices of an entertainment company and an astronomical observatory, and how these were overcome to form a successful partnership. This issue also tackles some difficult topics in science communication, such as the problems encountered when explaining complex scientific theories to a general audience and the misperceptions that can arise as a result, and how well the public interprets astronomical images. Also in this issue, how new and existing tools can be used by science communicators, including a look at the Virtual Observatory, which is an international project that provides an infrastructure for sharing vast amounts of astronomical data online. And how microblogging sites such as Twitter can be much more ...
ann10102 — Announcement
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 Secretariat to Close at the End of the Year
20 December 2010: The closure of the IYA2009 Secretariat marks the end of the largest project that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has ever embarked upon. In July 2007, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) established the IYA2009 Secretariat at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Headquarters in Garching, Germany. The Secretariat’s role was to act as a hub for IYA2009 activities. It coordinated projects from the planning stages through to evaluation, and was a central contact and resource centre for the hundreds of national nodes, international organisations, global projects, the media and the general public. The Secretariat was embedded in ESO’s education and Public Outreach Department, which provided invaluable support and expertise for IYA2009. The IYA2009 was a huge success, involving 148 countries around the world organising hundreds of thousands of individual activities reaching hundreds of millions of people. Feedback has been extremely positive. The impact of IYA2009 on the scientific literacy of the ...