Announcements

ann15006 — Announcement
Media Advisory: Groundbreaking Ceremony for the ESO Supernova
26 January 2015: On 24 February 2015, at 12:30, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany, to mark the start of construction work for the ESO Supernova Planetarium and Visitor Centre. The centre will be a magnificent showcase for astronomy and will be open to the public free of charge. It is made possible by a collaboration between the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS), the research institute of the Klaus Tschira Stiftung, and ESO. The Klaus Tschira Stiftung offered to fully fund the construction and ESO will run the facility. This new facility will provide visitors with an immersive experience of astronomy in general, along with ESO’s scientific results, projects, and technological breakthroughs. It will include a fulldome planetarium and more than 2000 square metres of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Further rooms housing conference facilities will also host a programme of lectures, workshops and conferences. ...
ann15005 — Announcement
New High-speed Fibre Optic Data Link to ALMA
20 January 2015: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope has increased its capacity for remote transmission of data by a factor of 25. A new connection consisting of 150 kilometres of fibre optic cables has been successfully installed between the observatory — situated 34 kilometres from San Pedro de Atacama — and the city of Calama in northern Chile. From Calama, the system connects with the Corporación Red Universitaria Nacional (REUNA) network, which is already established in Antofagasta and, from there onwards, to the offices of ALMA in Santiago, through existing infrastructure (the EVALSO project). This milestone for ALMA means that in future an enormous amount of data can be delivered, with astonishing speed, to the ALMA scientific community around the world. This important step for the scientific work of ALMA is the result of a contract signed between AUI, the institution that represents the North American partners of ALMA, with ...
ann15004 — Announcement
ALMA Residencia Construction to Start
16 January 2015: The construction contract to build the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)  Residencia has been awarded to the consortium L y D - Axis, consisting of Constructora L y D S.A. and Axis Desarrollos Constructivos S.A. Both are Chilean companies that have experience in constructing residential-type buildings in the challenging environment of the north of Chile. The ALMA Residencia will be the new home for staff and visitors to the facility. The shape of the buildings and the colour of the exteriors of this major architectural project have been designed to meld with the topography, the environment and the landscape of the ALMA site. The design was undertaken by the Finnish architects Kuovo & Partanen and was then adapted to the Chilean market by Rigotti & Simunovic Arquitectos, a Chilean firm of architects. Ever since the construction of ALMA began in 2008, with the delivery of ALMA’s first antenna (eso0849), staff ...
ann15003 — Announcement
ESO Awards Contracts for E-ELT Primary Mirror Segment Support System Units
16 January 2015: ESO has signed parallel contracts with CESA (Spain) and VDL (the Netherlands) for the design and production of qualification models [1] for mirror segment support and related auxiliary equipment for the primary mirror of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). This follows the earlier design and development of prototypes, their intensive testing at the ESO facility and a detailed assessment of lessons learned. The complete E-ELT primary mirror will be 39 metres in diameter. The mirror surface will comprise 798 hexagonal segments, plus a maintenance set, for a total of 931 segments. The hexagonal shape means that a common support structure can be used for all segments. These contracts include the delivery of detailed and complete instructions and engineering drawings for the production of the series. They also include the development of the procedures required to integrate the supports with the E-ELT glass segments, to handle and transport the segment ...
ann15002 — Announcement
ESOcast 71: New Exoplanet-hunting Telescopes on Paranal
14 January 2015: This ESOcast takes a close look at an unusual new group of small telescopes that has recently achieved first light at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. The Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) will search for transiting exoplanets — planets that pass in front of their parent star and hence produce a slight dimming of the star’s light that can be detected by sensitive instruments. The telescopes will focus on discovering Neptune-sized and smaller planets, with diameters between two and eight times that of Earth. NGTS is designed to operate in a robotic mode and it will continuously monitor the brightness of hundreds of thousands of comparatively bright stars in the southern skies. The NGTS discoveries, and follow-up observations by telescopes on the ground and in space, will be important steps in our quest to study the atmospheres and composition of small, Earth-like planets. More episodes of the ESOcast are also ...
ann15001 — Announcement
ESO Hosts Workshop on Public Awareness of Research Infrastructures
9 January 2015: On 18 and 19 June 2015, ESO will host a workshop entitled Public Awareness of Research Infrastructures — Expectations — Experiences — Examples, organised by the Association of European-level Research Infrastructure Facilities (ERF-AISBL). The event will take place at the ESO Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany. National research infrastructures and large EU-funded projects share the responsibility to present their research to their funding bodies, the scientific community and society at large. Even though it is generally accepted that good public relations and communication play a fundamental role, expectations with regards to science communication activities often remain unclear. The aim of the workshop is to facilitate a dialogue between funding agencies and project managers on the goals of scientific dissemination activities. Furthermore, public relations and public information officers will share their experience and gain insights into the expectations of funding bodies as well as from experts from academia dealing with ...
ann14093 — Announcement
The Messenger No. 158 Now Available
15 December 2014: The latest edition of ESO's quarterly journal, The Messenger, is now available online. Find out the latest news from ESO on topics ranging from new instruments to the latest science discoveries. Highlights of this edition include: Way forward for the E-ELT: Details of ESO Council Decision Fifteen Years of Service Mode Operations: Closing the Loop with the Community The Eta Carinae Homunculus in Full 3D with X-shooter and Shape STREGA: STRucture and Evolution of the GAlaxy with the VST CLASH-VLT: A VIMOS Large Programme to Map the Dark Matter Mass Distribution in Galaxy Clusters and Probe Distant Lensed Galaxies Download The Messenger in PDF format or visit The Messenger website to subscribe and receive a free printed copy. Please note that subscribers to the print version of The Messenger must confirm their subscription. Without confirmation this will be the last print edition of The Messenger you will receive. If you ...
ann14092 — Announcement
CAPjournal Issue 16 Now Available
4 December 2014: The 16th issue of Communicating Astronomy with the Public journal is out now! In this issue you will find articles discussing the value of science communication training for scientists, the best practices when looking for crowdfunding, the process of capturing the night sky in Ultra HD and the logic, or lack thereof, behind stripping astronomy engagement of its maths. Plus, a column article describes the process behind writing a book that explains the physics of the Universe using only the most common thousand words in the English language. There is all this, and more, in this free, peer-reviewed journal for astronomy communicators — now available for download
ann14091 — Announcement
ESOcast 70 — Green Light for E-ELT Construction
4 December 2014: In early December 2014, ESO’s main governing body, the Council, gave the green light for the construction of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in two phases. Spending of around one billion euros has been authorised for the first phase, which will cover the construction costs of a fully working telescope with a suite of powerful instruments and first light targeted in ten years time. This ESOcast looks more closely at the telescope and at what it means for astronomy to have a 39-metre telescope equipped with advanced adaptive optics. More episodes of the ESOcast are also available. Find out how to view and contribute subtitles for the ESOcast in multiple languages or translate this video on DotSUB. Credit: ESOVisual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser and Luis Calçada.Editing: Herbert Zodet. Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi Shida. Written by: Mathias Jäger, Herbert Zodet and Richard Hook.Narration: Joe Liske (Dr. ...
ann14090 — Announcement
Connect with ESO in your Language
1 December 2014: Friends of ESO can now connect with the organisation on social media platforms available in their native language. Together with volunteers, ESO has started making ESO’s latest news available in several languages on Facebook and Twitter. The news items from ESO are already translated into more than 18 languages thanks to the ESO Science Outreach Network (ESON). The network has also translated important parts of ESO’s website, as well as the ESO News weekly newsletter (subscribe here). Now, with the help of volunteers the aim is to offer as many people as possible the chance to read ESO’s astronomical news on social media across language barriers. Those who wish to contribute translations for ESO local social media accounts which are still missing translations are invited to submit this form.
ann14089 — Announcement
Catch a Star 2015 Contest Now Open
28 November 2014: School students from around the world are invited to take part in the European astronomy contest Catch a Star. To participate students must submit a written report on an astronomical topic of their choice — for example an astronomical object, phenomenon, observation, scientific problem or theory. These reports should be no longer than 5000 words and must be written in English. They can be completed by groups of up to three students plus a group leader who is not a student. The deadline for all entries is 17:00 CET on 20 June 2015. Submissions are completed by emailing a copy of the report as a PDF file to astro.edu@gmail.com. Catch a Star is a contest organised as a collaboration between the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE) and ESO. Its goal is to stimulate the creativity and independent work of students, to strengthen and expand their astronomical knowledge and skills. ...
ann14088 — Announcement
Journey to the Centre of the Milky Way
26 November 2014: ESO is pleased to present Journey to the Centre of the Milky Way, its first short fulldome planetarium mini-show produced in-house. The mini-show is available for previewing and as a series of fulldome frames for free download (lightly compressed jpegs, 98 GB). The seven-minute mini-show in 4k resolution starts in the dry and empty Atacama Desert in Chile, home of ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT). Thanks to the extraordinary air conditions, in combination with the technological power of the VLT, we can take the beautiful images that make up this show, which leads us into the very centre of the Milky Way, where the view is mostly blocked by dust and gas. By observing the heart of the galaxy over a period of twenty years the VLT and the Keck telescopes were able to observe the motion of more than 100 stars and identify the exact position of an otherwise ...
ann14087 — Announcement
Tim de Zeeuw Receives Honorary Degree
25 November 2014: On 24 November 2014, ESO’s Director General Tim de Zeeuw [1] received an honorary degree in astronomy at a ceremony in the Aula Magna of the University of Padova in Italy. During the event he gave a presentation with the title “Exploring the Universe”. Tim de Zeeuw is an expert in the formation, structure and dynamics of galaxies including the Milky Way. With this distinction, Tim de Zeeuw joins a line of outstanding astronomers, including former ESO Director General Riccardo Giacconi, who laid the foundations for X-ray astronomy, Ivan King, a world authority on globular star clusters, and Bruno Rossi, who made major contributions to the study of cosmic rays. Notes [1] Tim de Zeeuw completed his PhD at Leiden University in 1984 and became a Professor of Theoretical Astronomy at the university in 1990. He is the founder of the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) and has been ...
ann14086 — Announcement
Astronomical Art in Santiago
18 November 2014: From 28 November 2014 until 18 January 2015, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago in Chile will display the exhibition “Bajo Presión” — Under Pressure. Eight international artists will present works that reflect the condition of contemporary society. One of these artist is the Austrian astronomer and visual artist Ulrike Kuchner. In her art, Kuchner combines the languages of two worlds, art and science. The images of her collection “Measuring Mistakes” are part of her astronomical work and were taken with the VIsible Multi-Object Spectrograph (VIMOS), an integral field spectrograph mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). The pieces chosen for this exhibition consist of 15 individually treated enlargements of calibration data which are taken apart and rearranged. The collection has been exhibited before at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) and at the Kunsthalle in Vienna. Scientifically she used these data to answer questions about active nuclei of ...
ann14085 — Announcement
Winners of Second ESO Astronomy Camp Bursaries Announced
14 November 2014: The second ESO Astronomy Camp will take place from 26 December 2014 to 1 January 2015 at the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of the Aosta Valley, located in Saint-Barthelemy, Nus, Italy. The camp is organised by Sterrenlab in collaboration with ESO and its science outreach network. The camp will explore the theme of distances in astronomy through lectures, hands-on activities, and nighttime observations with the telescopes and instruments at the observatory. Social activities, winter sports, and excursions will also be organised for the participants. Registration for secondary school students has now closed. More than 250 applications from 24 countries were submitted and the winners of the bursaries offered by ESO and the national partners have now been selected. The camp will accommodate around 50 secondary school students aged between 16 and 18. From these, the following were selected to receive either a full bursary that covers the complete ...
ann14084 — Announcement
ESO Staff Share 2015 Breakthrough Prize
11 November 2014: ESO staff members are part of two teams that have been awarded the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for their discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe. On 9 November 2014 the 2015 Breakthrough Prize [1] in Fundamental Physics was awarded to the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-z Supernova Project. The scientists are honoured “for the most unexpected discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, rather than slowing as had been long assumed”. This discovery was the climactic moment of twentieth-century cosmology, and has mapped the terrain for the current era of exploration. The prize consists of a cash award of three million US dollars that will be shared between the team members. The Nobel Laureates Saul Perlmutter from the University of California, Berkley and the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, Brian P. Schmidt from the Australian National University and Adam Riess from Johns Hopkins University ...
ann14083 — Announcement
ESOcast 69: Revolutionary ALMA Image Reveals Planetary Genesis
6 November 2014: ESOcast 69 presents the result of the latest ALMA observations, which reveal extraordinarily fine detail that has never been seen before in the planet-forming disc around the young star HL Tauri. This revolutionary image is the result of the first observations that have used ALMA with its antennas at close to the widest configuration possible. As a result, it is the sharpest picture ever made at submillimetre wavelengths. Find out how to view and contribute subtitles for the ESOcast in multiple languages or translate this video on DotSUB. Credit ESOVisual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser and Luis Calçada.Editing: Herbert Zodet.Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi Shida.Written by: Mathias Jäger, Herbert Zodet and Richard Hook.Narration: Sara Mendes da Costa.Music: Johan B. Monell (www.johanmonell.com)Footage and photos: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NASA, ESA, Digitized Sky Survey 2, N. Risinger (skysurvey.org), L. Calçada, M. Kornmesser, Y. Beletsky (LCO)/ESO, and Christoph Malin (christophmalin.com).Directed by: Herbert ...
ann14082 — Announcement
ESOcast 68: ESO Opens its Doors
24 October 2014: On 11 October 2014 the ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany, once more opened their doors to the public. Some 3300 people used this special opportunity of the Open House Day to visit the centre of the world's foremost astronomical organisation. ESOcast 68 gives impressions of different activities offered by the ESO staff at this event. The stations covered a range of topics from engineering to observation and even offered the experience of a planetarium as well as a live comet cooking show. This episode of the ESOcast is a great opportunity for visitors to relive their experiences at Open House Day and for those who were not able to join this year, to get an impression what to expect next time. More Information The ESOcast is a video podcast series dedicated to bringing you the latest news and research from ESO — the European Southern Observatory. Subscribe to our video ...
ann14081 — Announcement
ESO Calendar 2015 Now Available
24 October 2014: One of our most popular products, the ESO calendar for 2015 is now available for pre-ordering in the ESO online shop. The calendar’s cover features a spectacular image of several ALMA antennas below the brilliant night sky and the Milky Way. The calendar itself is packed with images of the cosmos as well as pictures of the ESO telescopes in the barren landscapes of northern Chile. Highlights include a picture of the Auxiliary Telescopes at the Paranal Observatory and the irregular nebula Gum 15, birthplace of hot young stars. Each month also marks the dates of lunar phases. The individual pages of the calendar can be viewed here. The calendar measures 42 x 42 centimetres and has 14 pages, with a cardboard back. The calendar is sold for 9.99 Euros in the ESOshop. Stock is limited — don’t wait too long! The delivery is scheduled for mid-November.
ann14080 — Announcement
ESO Web Pages Redesigned
21 October 2014: After weeks of development ESO has a new design for its web pages. The main motivation for the changes was to give the site a more user-friendly interface and to make it more mobile-friendly. The new responsive design adapts itself automatically to the resolution of the display that the visitor uses — a technology widely adopted nowadays when most people use smartphones or tablets to visit websites. The overall goal was to create a more functional web page with an updated and striking design. This allows ESO’s remarkable facilities, and the science results coming from them, to be presented in the best possible way. The new design gives the ESO web pages a less organisational look and adopts a style closer to that of a magazine or an online newspaper. This is especially true for the redesign of the pages containing the press releases and announcements. This way it is ...
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