Announcements

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ann12092 — Announcement
Media Advisory: Apply Now to Attend the ALMA Observatory Inauguration
3 December 2012: On 13 March 2013 the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the largest ground-based astronomical project in the world, will be inaugurated, celebrating ALMA’s transition from a construction project to a fully fledged observatory and marking the milestone of all the major systems of the observatory being operational. More than 50 of ALMA’s antennas will be in operation, and all 66 will be fully assembled. The inauguration ceremony will take place at ALMA’s Operations Support Facility (OSF), 34 kilometres from San Pedro de Atacama, in Chile. ESO is the European partner in ALMA. The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, along with representatives from the global scientific community, current and former ALMA personnel and its executives, as well as the communities located near ALMA, will be present to celebrate the success of the project.Members of the international media are invited to submit applications of interest in advance to attend this astronomical milestone. ...
ann12091 — Announcement
New Book Showcases ESO Images
30 November 2012: Springer Spektrum has just published a compilation of astronomical lectures featuring many images provided by ESO and ESA/Hubble. The book, entitled Universum für Alle: 70 spannende Fragen und kurzweilige Antworten (The Universe for Everyone: 70 exciting questions and entertaining answers), was compiled by Joachim Wambsganß, Director of Heidelberg University’s Zentrum für Astronomie. Among the forty or so contributors are Markus Pössel and Carolin Liefke, representatives of the German branch of ESO’s Science Outreach Network (ESON). ESON is a network of people in the ESO Member States and other countries who serve as local contacts for the media in connection with ESO developments, press releases, and other material. The book is based on a series of 70 short lunchtime astronomical talks held at Heidelberg University in the Peterskirche University Church, called “Uni(versum) für alle! — Halbe Heidelberger Sternstunden” or “Uni(verse) for Everyone: Heidelberg Half-hours with the Stars”. It dedicates a short section ...
ann12090 — Announcement
Richtfest for ESO Headquarters Extension
29 November 2012: In recent months, ESO’s headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany, have been expanding. Construction of the extension began on 1 January 2012 and the foundation stone was laid on 11 June (ann12044). With the completion of the outer shell of this new building, it is now time for the Richtfest — a German name for a traditional ceremony known as topping out in other countries. The Richtfest was celebrated today at 15:00, and is a way of thanking the construction team for its successful work. This ceremony takes place when the outer structure and roof of a building has been put into place, and it is a chance for both the construction team and the future occupants to celebrate the current progress, and to hope for future luck with the building. Typically, the roof — the highest point on the building — is decorated and topped with a tree, and ...
ann12089 — Announcement
ESO Goes IMAX 3D
29 November 2012: ESO is excited to announce the commencement of a new collaboration with Australian production company December Media and Swinburne 3D Productions to produce the IMAX film Hidden Universe. This venture represents a fantastic opportunity to showcase ESO’s spectacular telescopes, dedicated to the exploration of the Universe. The Australian production team has recently completed filming at both Paranal, home of ESO’s flagship facility, the VLT and ALMA, an international astronomy facility, supported by Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. Russell Scott of Swinburne 3D Productions is directing the AUS$8.6 million film and has been on location in Paranal over the past few weeks. “Filming in the Atacama desert amongst such world-class observing facilities has been an amazing experience,” he says, “it really is the perfect place to undertake a guided tour into the world of state-of-the-art telescopes.” The film is a December Media production ...
ann12088 — Announcement
Terra Mater: The Eyes of the Atacama Premieres in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland
27 November 2012: The Eyes of the Atacama, an exciting and lavishly produced new documentary about ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) will have its German-language premiere at 20:15 CET on 28 November 2012 on the Servus TV television station, broadcast in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. The film was produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios, Vienna — it is the latest episode of the science, nature, and history series Terra Mater. An English-language version of the documentary is also in production, and will be available in the first half of 2013. The 53-minute documentary, by Annette and Klaus Scheurich of Marco Polo Film — one of Germany’s leading nature film companies — brings to life the adventure of astronomical research and highlights just how important state-of-the-art telescopes such as ALMA are for the future of scientific discovery. Shot in high definition, the programme combines large-scale images with exquisite detail to give viewers a ...
ann12087 — Announcement
Major European Intergovernmental Research Organisations Urge EU to Sustain Investment in Science
22 November 2012: The Directors General of eight of Europe’s largest intergovernmental scientific research organisations — the EIROforum, of which ESO is a member — have urged the institutions and Member States of the European Union to continue to support science strongly in their budgets, in an open letter sent to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, among others. The letter reads: Sustaining science funding in Europe: an open letter from the Directors General of Europe's eight largest research infrastructures Open Letter, 20 November 2012 Professor Rolf Heuer (CERN), Professor Francesco Romanelli (EFDA-JET), Professor Iain Mattaj  (EMBL), Professor Alvaro Gimenez Caňete (ESA),  Professor Tim de Zeeuw (ESO), Professor Francesco Sette (ESRF), Professor Massimo Alterelli (EU.XFEL), and Professor Andrew Harrison (ILL) We, the Directors-General and senior representatives of Europe’s eight world-leading European intergovernmental research organisations (EIROs), urge the institutions and member states of the EU to ensure that the budget for science ...
ann12086 — Announcement
ESO Anniversary Greetings
16 November 2012: This year, ESO is celebrating its 50th anniversary. To mark this occasion the organisation has produced several books and multimedia releases and hosted public events and workshops, culminating in a webcast and a celebratory gala event in October. Included in the celebrations is this video, a compilation of personal messages recorded by a whole host of musicians and notable names in the music industry, many of whom have visited Paranal and have a personal interest in ESO’s work. The video is like a Who’s Who of pop and rock in the 1970s and 80s, featuring Andy Bell (Erasure), Kim Wilde, record producer Ricky Wilde, Martyn Ware (Human League/Heaven 17), Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), Paul Young, Carl Verheyen (Supertramp), and renowned record producer Alan Parsons (The Alan Parsons Project/Pink Floyd/The Beatles). The greetings also include a message from successful German recording artists Lichtmond, a band with a studio not far from ...
ann12085 — Announcement
ESOcast 50: Chile Chill 1
15 November 2012: This episode of the ESOcast introduces a new type of ESOcasts called “Chile Chill”. These ESOcasts offer a calm experience of the Chilean night sky and ESO’s observatory sites, undisturbed by facts or narration. In this episode we follow a typical night of observing for ESO’s telescopes. Set to instrumental music composed by John Stanford (johnstanfordmusic.com), it includes panoramic shots of the night sky viewed from ESO’s sites in Chile, interspersed with shots of the stark surrounding landscape and the astronomical facilities that have been built there. The video shows dramatically how Chile has some of the best skies on our planet for astronomy and allows us to gaze at a spectacularly clear dark sky full of stars. As the Sun sets and day fades into night, starlight rains down on the ESO telescopes and their domes slide open in preparation for a night of observing. The ESOcast shows breathtaking ...
ann12084 — Announcement
Pierre Cox Appointed as New ALMA Director
14 November 2012: The ALMA Board announced today, 14 November 2012, that Pierre Cox has been appointed as the next Director of ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. Cox will take up duty on 1 April 2013, for a period of five years, at the end of Thijs de Graauw’s term as ALMA Director. Thijs de Graauw, who has been the ALMA Director since 2008, has taken the observatory past many milestones in his five-year term, including the start of its science observations, in 2011 (see eso1137). Cox has been the Director of IRAM (Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique) since 2006. IRAM operates the Plateau de Bure Interferometer (PdBI) near Grenoble, France, and its 30-metre telescope on Pico Veleta, Spain — both telescopes observing at millimetre-wavelengths — on behalf of its three partners: the German Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG), the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Spanish Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN). Pierre ...
ann12082 — Announcement
A Digital Highway to ALMA
13 November 2012: New network infrastructure that will allow the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) observatory to increase its data transmission capacity by more than 25 times begins construction today. A contract between Associated Universities Inc. (AUI), on behalf of ALMA [1], and two Chilean companies: Silica Networks Chile S.A. and Telefónica Empresas Chile S.A. has been signed. "This long-term structural solution not only has the advantage of being able to convey much more data, it could also allow us to operate some of the observatory activities from Santiago," says Jorge Ibsen, Head of the ALMA Department of Computing. The new system involves the installation of about 150 kilometres of fibre optic cable between the observatory (34 kilometres from San Pedro de Atacama) and the town of Calama. From there data will flow via existing communication links to the academic network REUNA in Antofagasta. The link from there to the ALMA offices in Santiago ...
ann12083 — Announcement
New 2012 ALMA Video Compilation Released
13 November 2012: A new video compilation of freshly filmed footage of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is now available. Under construction on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes, ALMA is a revolutionary observatory, designed to study some of the coldest and most distant objects in the Universe. When construction is completed in 2013, ALMA will have a total of 66 state-of-the-art antennas, but the telescope is already making scientific observations with a partial array of antennas. The footage, filmed in October 2012, includes the spectacular synchronised movements of the antennas at the Array Operations Site (AOS), 5000 metres above sea level. There are also several scenes of engineers at work in the AOS Technical Building, for example working on the ALMA correlator, as well as at the Operations Support Facility (OSF), at an altitude of 2900 metres. Additional footage of the OSF includes astronomers operating the telescope. Stunning sunsets and ...
ann12081 — Announcement
ESO Hosts Launch of the Book Vistas de la Galaxia
9 November 2012: Today, at ESO’s premises in Santiago, the European Southern Observatory and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile launched the book Vistas de la Galaxia (Vistas of the Galaxy), by astronomers Dante Minniti, Joyce Pullen and Ignacio Toledo. Vistas de la Galaxia tells the story of an ambitious astronomical project and the people behind the amazing discoveries of a three-year trip through the Universe using ESO’s 4.1-metre Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), the world’s largest survey telescope. The book describes in depth a series of discoveries that have been made with VISTA in recent years. These include more than 100 new star clusters (eso1128, eso1141), novae and over 300 new distant galaxies, among many others. Recently an international team of astronomers, including the lead author of the new book, has also used VISTA to create a catalogue of more than 84 million stars in the central region of the ...
ann12080 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 13 November 2012
9 November 2012: with Dr. Eckhard Sturm (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics) With the Herschel Space Telescope, astronomers can now observe the Universe in a new light, the far infrared. Thanks to its longer wavelength, this radiation can penetrate clouds of gas and dust which absorb the regular, visible light. Also, colder celestial objects, otherwise invisible, become directly observable as they emit infrared light. Using Herschel, astronomers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have discovered huge clouds of molecular gas roiling in the centre of many galaxies. Their winds rage at over one thousand kilometres per second, much fiercely than the most powerful hurricanes on Earth, which peak at only 250 kilometres per hour. These mega-storms are strong enough to blow away the entire gas supply of a galaxy. They can even stop the formation of stars, and halt the growth of the black hole in the centre of their ...
ann12079 — Announcement
Massimo Tarenghi honoured by Chilean Senate
8 November 2012: On 31 October 2012, the Chilean Senate unanimously voted to grant Chilean nationality by special grace to Massimo Tarenghi, Representative in Chile of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), in recognition of his great contribution to the development of astronomy in Europe and Chile. This is the first time that a representative of an international organisation has been granted this honour. During the session, Senator Guido Girardi highlighted the work done by Tarenghi in Chile since 1976, first as an astronomer and then as an ESO staff member working on the construction of ESO’s telescopes in the north of the country. The senator stressed the valuable contribution of Tarenghi in the development and construction of the New Technology Telescope (NTT) at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio observatory, of which ESO is the European partner, near ...
ann12078 — Announcement
Now Available: ESO Calendar 2013
2 November 2012: Building on the success of past years, ESO has produced a 2013 edition of the ESO Calendar. This was one of ESO’s most appreciated print products in the past and the new edition is now available as a free PDF file for download, or for sale in the ESOshop. Each month showcases one of ESO’s best vistas of the southern sky from 2012. These also include impressive images of ESO’s numerous telescopes, silhouetted against the remote Chilean landscape, that are guaranteed to catch the eye of visitors. Each image resembles a piece of art, contrasting the natural environment that surrounds ESO’s sites in Chile with the human-built observatories and telescopes used to scrutinise the heavens. The calendar’s highlights include the picture for the month of September, which features the beautiful cosmic bubble of the Thor’s Helmet Nebula — a target that was selected and observed by members of the public ...
ann12077 — Announcement
ESO Releases The Messenger No. 149
25 October 2012: 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: A report on the calibration of HARPS at the exo-Earth detection limit. An update of the progress made in the construction of the second generation VLT instrument SPHERE (the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument). An article about new surprises in old stellar clusters. First results from an ALMA survey of submillimetre Galaxies.   A report on the mm-VLBI (Very-long-baseline interferometry) meeting on 27 June 2012. Download The Messenger in PDF format or visit The Messenger website to subscribe and receive a free printed copy.
ann12076 — Announcement
Lichtmond meets Alan Parsons at Paranal
24 October 2012: In 2010, German recording artists Lichtmond released their flagship multimedia album Moonlight, a soundtrack of pop songs and love poems played to a backdrop of 3D fantasy imagery and animations. Recently they have released a follow-up to this work in the form of a new project, Lichtmond 2: Universe of Light. The band, who reside in Neufahrn, a village close to ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany, once again pushed the boundaries of visual and audio technologies to the limit, creating an amazing world of 3D animations to accompany advanced (5.1 and 7.1) surround-sound audio. Universe of Light describes a fantasy world in which a second sun is born, followed by the evolution of light on “Earth 2”, a planet much like our own. ESO’s participation in this project began one year ago in Chile, when legendary British producer Alan Parsons (The Alan Parsons Project/Pink Floyd/The Beatles) was invited for an ...
ann12075 — Announcement
Awesome Universe Exhibition Catalogue: Now Available
19 October 2012: Awesome Universe — the Cosmos through the eyes of the European Southern Observatory is a series of public exhibitions celebrating 50 years of Europe’s quest to explore the southern sky. The catalogue for the exhibition is now available to purchase from the ESO shop, or to download as a PDF. Awesome Universe is presented internationally in cooperation with ESO’s partners in Europe and around the world. Visitors to the exhibitions will discover stunning images that showcase celestial objects as seen by ESO’s observatories, including galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. In addition there are beautiful images of the observatories themselves, which are located in some of the most remote and spectacular places on Earth. The catalogue beautifully presents all 50 images from the exhibition on full-colour double-page spreads, with explanatory text describing the images.
ann12074 — Announcement
Belgium Confirms E-ELT Commitment
19 October 2012: Representatives of Belgium have confirmed that their country will participate fully in the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) programme. Their commitment was announced at a recent meeting at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching, Germany. Seven ESO Member States have now approved their full participation in the E-ELT programme. At the last full meeting of the ESO Council, in June, Belgium was one of the four countries that voted in favour ad referendum, meaning subject to confirmation. The other three ad referendum votes were from Finland, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The remaining four ESO Member States are also actively working towards joining the programme in the near future. Construction of the E-ELT is expected to start in 2013, with first light to come early in the next decade.
ann12073 — Announcement
ESOcast 49: On Air
17 October 2012: This exciting episode of the ESOcast gives viewers an exclusive backstage pass to see what went on behind the scenes while filming the ESO live webcast “A Day in the Life of ESO”. The webcast aired on the exact date of ESO’s 50th Anniversary, 5th October 2012, and lasted for 6 hours. It included talks from astronomers and engineers from ESO’s headquarters in Garching, Germany, as well as a live link to Paranal, Chile, where Brigitte Bailleul, winner of the “Tweet your way to the VLT” competition, was preparing to be the first member of the general public to make an observation using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). ESOcast 49 examines the events of the day and also includes footage taken behind the scenes both at Garching as well as Paranal. The episode captures the suspense and excitement of coordinating a live event on different sides on the Earth as ...
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