Announcements

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 ...
ann12072 — Announcement
Media Advisory: Virtual Press Conference to Announce Major Exoplanet Discovery
15 October 2012: European astronomers have used facilities at ESO’s La Silla Observatory to discover a remarkable exoplanet. The results will appear online in the journal Nature on 17 October 2012. ESO will hold an online press conference to announce the results and assess their impact, offering journalists the opportunity to discuss with the scientists. The conference will take place on Tuesday 16 October 2012 at 16:00 CEST. To participate in the conference and receive additional material under embargo, bona-fide members of the media must get accredited by contacting Richard Hook by email (rhook@eso.org). Journalists must clearly state in the email that they agree to honour the embargo and will not publish or discuss the research until after 19:00 (CEST) on Wednesday 17 October 2012. Reporters will need access to a computer with a recent version of Adobe Flash Player installed and an adequately fast internet connection. Further information will be provided to ...
ann12071 — Announcement
Powerful New VLT Instrument Arrives in Chile
11 October 2012: A new infrared instrument for ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) with 24 robotic arms has crossed the Atlantic from Edinburgh in the United Kingdom to ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. When installed later in the year it will address, in more detail than ever before, some of the key questions surrounding the formation and evolution of galaxies. KMOS (K-Band Multi Object Spectrometer) has been provisionally accepted by ESO after it had completed final assembly and testing at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) in Edinburgh. It will now be fitted to Unit Telescope 1, one of the four telescopes that make up the VLT, and will provide astronomers with a far quicker way to uncover details about galaxies and their properties. KMOS is unique in its ability to image many galaxies simultaneously, either in a cluster or in isolation, but in both cases to also map out the ...
ann12070 — Announcement
Europe to the Stars Movie Available Now
4 October 2012: The highly anticipated Europe to the Stars documentary is now available for free download and purchase. The movie celebrates ESO’s first 50 years exploring the southern sky.It all began in 1962 with the signing of the ESO convention — the culmination of the dream of leading astronomers from five European countries, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Fifty years later, these original dreams have become reality thanks to ESO’s commitment to the mission.Europe to the Stars portrays the story of this epic adventure —  a story of cosmic curiosity, courage and perseverance. The story of discovering a Universe of deep mysteries and hidden secrets, and the story of designing, building and operating the most powerful ground-based telescopes on the planet. The documentary movie consists of eight chapters [1], each focusing on essential aspects of ESO’s history. From ESO’s birth to explaining how telescopes are built and used, Europe to ...
ann12069 — Announcement
ESOcast 48: Building Big
2 October 2012: Leading up to ESO’s 50th anniversary in October 2012, we are releasing eight special ESOcasts, each a chapter from the movie Europe to the Stars — ESO’s First 50 Years of Exploring the Southern Sky. The eighth and final episode of this series relates how ESO — based on experience gathered over the past fifty years as the most powerful observatory in history — is going to satisfy the eternal longing of astronomers: the construction of even bigger telescopes. The first of ESO’s next generation telescopes is almost finished on the Chajnantor Plateau. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter array (ALMA), a joint project of Europe, North America and Asia, will be composed of 66 high-precision antennas when it becomes fully operational in 2013. Acting together as a giant telescope, ALMA will reveal the finest details of the cool Universe, spotting the birth of the first galaxies and peeking inside the dusty ...
ann12068 — Announcement
German Federal Minister for Education and Research Visits Paranal
1 October 2012: The Federal Minister for Education and Research in Germany, Annette Schavan, made a special visit to ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile on 29–30 September 2012. The Minister and her delegation were hosted by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, the Director of Operations at the La Silla Paranal Observatory, Andreas Kaufer, and the Representative of ESO in Chile, Massimo Tarenghi. The delegation accompanying Minister Schavan included a State Minister, members of the German Parliament as well as senior representatives of German research organisations and universities. After a short presentation from ESO, Minister Schavan was given a tour of the Paranal base camp facilities, which include the award-winning Paranal Residencia, a unique building designed by the German architects Auer+Weber+Assoziierte, and which provides accommodation for astronomers, engineers, support staff and visitors staying at the observatory. The Minister then enjoyed a spectacular sunset, viewed from the platform of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) ...
ann12067 — Announcement
6-Hour Webcast with Live Very Large Telescope Observations for ESO’s 50th Anniversary
28 September 2012: On 5 October 2012, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) will broadcast A Day in the Life of ESO, a free, live event on the web, as part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations. There will be live observations from ESO’s flagship observatory, the Very Large Telescope (VLT), on Cerro Paranal in Chile’s Atacama Desert, as well as fascinating talks from astronomers at ESO’s Headquarters in Germany. Members of the public are invited to ask questions in advance of the event, or during the stream, by Facebook, Twitter, and email. A timetable for the webcast is available below and online. For the first time in ESO’s history, the VLT will be pointed towards an object in the sky selected by members of the public — the Thor’s Helmet Nebula (NGC 2359). This striking nebula was selected as part of the Choose What the VLT Observes competition. Brigitte Bailleul, from France, won the ...
ann12066 — Announcement
ESO Releases The Jewel on the Mountaintop
28 September 2012: ESO’s brand-new history book, The Jewel on the Mountaintop — The European Southern Observatory through Fifty Years, is a comprehensive account of the observatory, as well as a truly remarkable success story for European research. It is available for purchase in hardcover format from Wiley-VCH. Produced for ESO's 50th anniversary, The Jewel on the Mountaintop provides a deep insight into ESO’s history as told by the people who have made it what it is today. It tells of the battles fought, the mountains climbed and the hurdles overcome in order to obtain a better understanding of the Universe of which we are a part. The author, senior ESO adviser Claus Madsen, carried out extensive interviews with key players, from both inside and outside the organisation to allow him to accurately portray the evolution and significance of the organisation and its achievements. The book is divided into four sections, entitled Catching ...
ann12065 — Announcement
New Coffee-table Book Published in Celebration of ESO’s 50th Anniversary
27 September 2012: The much-anticipated Europe to the Stars — ESO’s first 50 years of Exploring the Southern Sky, a sumptuously illustrated coffee-table book published in celebration of ESO’s 50th anniversary, is now available to download as a pdf from the ESO website, or for purchase in high-gloss hardcover format from Wiley-VCH. The book features three impressive panoramic foldout views of the observatories. The coffee-table book, which contains 300 spectacular hand-picked images selected from ESO’s impressive collection of over 100 000 images, tells a story of aspiration, inspiration and discovery as the reader follows ESO on its journey to become the most productive ground-based observatory in the world. From the signing of the ESO convention in 1962, to the the creation of the La Silla Observatory in Chile, the book is an accurate depiction of the instruments, discoveries and the people who have made ESO what it is today. Each book includes a ...
ann12064 — Announcement
Coming Soon “Water: a cosmic adventure” — new planetarium show
25 September 2012: Planetarium show lovers have an exciting adventure to embark on: the search for water in the Universe. In early October “Water: a cosmic adventure” will be released — a 30-minute planetarium show that follows astrophysicist Eva Luna as she explores the turbulent origins of the vital molecule. The show was created by the Association des Planétariums de Langue Française (APLF) in collaboration with Hamburg Planetarium and ESO. Realistic 3D animations and breathtaking footage will take you on a fascinating journey to the driest place on Earth, the Atacama Desert in Chile, where ESO’s ground-breaking telescopes search for planets that contain the essential molecule for life. Released during its 50th anniversary year, the show highlights ESO’s greatest achievements while presenting some of the most spectacular images of the La Silla Observatory, the Very Large Telescope at Paranal and never before seen 3D models of the biggest eye on the sky — ...
ann12063 — Announcement
Tribute to ESO's Unsung Heroes
24 September 2012: On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is releasing a video named Tribute to ESO’s Unsung Heroes, dedicated to the people — past and present — that through their passion, dedication and professionalism have taken ESO from a bold dream back in 1962 to the reality of the most productive ground-based observatory today. Although they often remain behind the scenes, these are the people who, through their everyday work, bring the organisation forward and contribute to achieving its ambitious programmes. From administrative staff and guides to cooks and drivers, from astronomers to engineers, everyone at ESO is an unsung hero. We invite you to meet some of them in this movie.The video is composed of a set of images most of which were taken by award-winning editorial and commercial photographer Max Alexander, who was visiting the ESO sites for a project dedicated to ESO’s anniversary. ...
ann12062 — Announcement
Science in School Issue 24: Out Now!
18 September 2012: The latest issue of the free magazine Science in School is now available online and in print. The European journal, dedicated to science teachers and educators offers numerous science articles and activities to help inspire and encourage school-aged students. Some of the highlights of this issue include an overview of what high energy astronomy can tell us about the Universe, how genetics can help prevent animal trafficking in Brazil, as well as a feature article on how to extract indigo, and some of its fascinating uses over time. The issue also includes a number of experiments and ideas to keep students actively learning and engaged with scientific discovery. Science in School is published by EIROforum, a collaboration between eight European intergovernmental scientific research organisations, of which ESO is a member. The journal addresses science teaching both across Europe and across disciplines: highlighting the best in teaching and cutting-edge research. You ...
ann12061 — Announcement
Media Advisory: Invitation to ESO’s 50th Anniversary Gala Event, 11 October 2012
18 September 2012: WHATMedia representatives are invited to participate as working journalists at the gala event celebrating 50 years since the signing of the ESO convention in 1962, which established the European Southern Observatory (ESO). WHOESO's Director General, Professor Tim de Zeeuw, and the Council President, Professor Xavier Barcons, will welcome Ministers and representatives from the Member States and the host country Chile, as well as the ESO Council, representatives of ESO committees, past ESO Directors General, renowned astronomers and other people who have played key roles for ESO. WHYThe event celebrates the first 50 years of the most productive ground-based observatory. Among the highlights of the night will be: Keynote speeches by Professor Brian Schmidt, Physics Nobel Prize Laureate 2011 and Professor Tim de Zeeuw, ESO Director General; Speeches by Professor Dr Annette Schavan MdB, Bundesministerin für Bildung und Forschung, Germany and Staatsminister Dr Wolfgang Heubisch MdL, Staatsminister für Wissenschaft, Forschung und ...
ann12060 — Announcement
Brigitte Bailleul and Thor’s Helmet — Winners of ESO’s 50th Anniversary Competitions!
10 September 2012: The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is pleased to announce the winners of the two competitions dedicated to the organisation’s 50th anniversary this year, Choose What the VLT Observes & Tweet Your Way to the VLT! The Thor’s Helmet Nebula (NGC 2359) received the most votes from the public in the first competition, and will be the target of these special observations with the VLT (Very Large Telescope). Brigitte Bailleul, from France, won the second competition and will travel to the Paranal Observatory in Chile to help make the observations. For the first time in the history of the Very Large Telescope, the VLT will be pointed towards an object in the sky selected by members of the public — the Thor’s Helmet Nebula (NGC 2359). The observations will be streamed live from the VLT on Paranal on the day of ESO’s 50th anniversary, 5 October 2012, with additional talks and ...
ann12059 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 11 September 2012
7 September 2012: with Prof. Dr. Peter Fierlinger (Excellence Cluster Universe) Our world owes its existence to a surprising breach of symmetry in the laws of nature: for each hundred million antimatter particles that were created during the first picoseconds after the Big Bang, there were one hundred million and one particles of matter, leaving a tiny surplus of matter after all the matter and antimatter particles annihilated, releasing energy. How can one explain this asymmetry? A possible answer is found in the neutron. The neutron is electrically neutral, but could display a very small separation of electric charge within the neutron itself, called its electric dipole moment. The existence of this dipole has remained hypothetical until very recently. At the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Research Neutron Source (Forschungs-Neutronenquelle Heinz Maier-Leibnitz, FRM II), the Technische Universität München has built one of the world's most powerful sources of ultra-cold neutrons. Using it, physicists are now studying, ...
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