Announcements

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 (zero-project.gr) and movetwo. Footage and photos: ESO, Mineworks, Stéphane Guisard (www.eso.org/~sguisard) and José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org). 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 ...
ann10101 — Announcement
Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility to Close After 26 Successful Years
17 December 2010: The Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility, a unique collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory, will close on 31 December 2010 after 26 years. ESA’s continuing partnership with NASA on the Hubble mission ensures that European astronomers will continue to have access to observing time. The Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF), the scientific and technical co-ordination centre for the Hubble Space Telescope in Europe, will close its doors at the end of December 2010. This is part of a process in which the European Space Agency is streamlining its operations and concentrating astronomical operations, archiving and data reduction expertise at its European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Spain. The ST-ECF was formed in 1984, six years before Hubble’s launch, as a key plank in ESA’s partnership with NASA and as a vital element in maximising Europe’s scientific return in the pre-internet age. Rather than ...
ann10100 — Announcement
ESOcast 25: Chasing Gamma-ray Bursts at Top Speed
16 December 2010: Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the Universe and are thought to follow cataclysmic events, such as the collapse of a massive star. But to observe these fleeting events, astronomers need to be lightning quick. In this episode of the ESOcast, Dr. J explains how the VLT’s Rapid Response Mode makes it possible to observe gamma-ray bursts within minutes of detection by space-based telescopes. More episodes of the ESOcast are also available. Credits 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: movetwo. Footage and photos: ESO, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Stéphane Guisard (http://www.eso.org/~sguisard) and José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org). Directed by: Herbert Zodet. Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen.
ann1099 — Announcement
ESO Releases The Messenger No. 142
15 December 2010: This latest edition, issue 142, of the European Southern Observatory's quarterly journal The Messenger features articles on subjects that include: Observations of multiple stellar populations in globular clusters with FLAMES at the VLT The instrumental polarisation of NAOS–CONICA The first part of the VIMOS upgrade Manufacture of the Adaptive Optics Facility The evolution of the mass–metallicity relation at z >3 The journal is available for download in PDF format. Interested individuals are also able to subscribe to paper copies free of charge via The Messenger's webpage.
ann1098 — Announcement
ESO Takes Delivery of State-of-the-art Receiver that will Help ALMA See “Water, Water Everywhere…”
15 December 2010: The world’s most sensitive receiver for radio waves with wavelengths around 1.5 millimetres has been delivered to ESO. Its final destination is the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), which is under construction 5000 metres above sea level in northern Chile, on the Chajnantor plateau. ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile, and ESO is the European partner in ALMA. The receiver — operating in a wavelength range known as Band 5 at ALMA — will allow scientists to trace water vapour in the nearby Universe, and will also provide an unprecedented view of the most distant galaxies. The delivery is an important milestone for the project for ALMA Enhancement of Early Science, funded by the 6th Framework Programme of the European Commission. The project has developed new technologies from scratch in just five ...
ann1097 — Announcement
Live Webcams at ESO
13 December 2010: Four web cameras have been placed at the ESO sites, allowing anyone to see ESO’s advanced telescopes in action and admire the fascinating Milky Way over one of the driest deserts in the world at any time. The 24/7 live transmission from the webcams offers multiple streams that are not to be missed: VLTCam: Follow astronomers and engineers as they work at the VLT — the largest visible-light telescope in the world — and see how the four Unit Telescopes are operated or maintained. ALMACam: Spot the ALMA antennas as they are being built and tested by ESO and partners. The camera looks through the hot dry air of the Atacama Desert at the Operations Support Facilities near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. APEXCam: Watch the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope at an elevation of 5100 metres, at one of the highest observatory sites on Earth. La Silla NightCam: Admire ...
ann1096 — Announcement
Science in School Issue 17 Now Available
10 December 2010: The latest issue of Science in School, a free science education journal, is now available. The many exciting articles in this issue cover topics such as the science of humour, the phenomenon of supercooling, experiments at the nanoscale and a classroom project for transmitting music by laser. ESO’s own Dr J (a.k.a. Dr Joe Liske), star of the ESOcast and Hubblecast video podcasts, talks in an article about his passion for astronomy, and his role in The Eye 3D, a 3D film about ESO’s Very Large Telescope in the Chilean Atacama Desert. 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.
ann1095 — Announcement
Season's Greetings from ESO
8 December 2010: Click here for a special seasonal greeting from everyone at the European Southern Observatory!  This year has heralded many new discoveries, facilitated by the ESO telescopes, including the thought-provoking find of a distant planetary system that resembles the Solar System. Using the HARPS spectrograph attached to ESO’s 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla in Chile, astronomers detected up to seven planets in orbit around a Sun-like star (eso1035). And an unusual interloper — an exoplanet that entered the Milky Way from another galaxy — was found by a European team of astronomers using the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at La Silla (eso1045). In 2010 astronomers went far beyond just discovering such distant worlds. Amongst many new findings, astronomers used ESO’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert, Chile, to detect the first spectrum of an exoplanet (eso1002) directly and to analyse, for the first time, the atmosphere of ...
ann1094 — Announcement
ESO's Very Large Telescope Goes 3D on German Television
7 December 2010: National Geographic has acquired the rights for Das Auge 3D (The Eye 3D), the first three-dimensional documentary produced in Germany [1]. The film will be broadcast on SKY 3D on 9 December at 20:15 (local time) in 3D television and again during the same evening at 21:10 (local time) on the German National Geographic Channel in 2D, bringing the story of the most powerful visible-light telescope in the world, ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), directly into people’s homes. The Eye 3D — Life and Research at Cerro Paranal stars ESOcast host Dr J, aka Joe Liske, who takes viewers on an exciting tour, introducing the magnificent telescope itself and the advanced techniques in use at Paranal, as well as taking a look at the daily life of astronomers, engineers, physicists and technicians working at the ESO sites. The documentary has recently won several awards, including the Gold Award in the ...
ann1093 — Announcement
ESO 2011 Calendar is Out Now
3 December 2010: The European Southern Observatory’s 2011 calendar has been released and can now be ordered through the ESO shop. Beautifully designed and featuring exquisite images of astronomical objects, ESO installations and landscapes, it will appeal to all those who enjoy the beauty of nature and appreciate the ability to plan ahead. For added convenience, lunar phases are indicated. The calendar measures 42 x 42 cm and has 14 pages, with a cardboard back. It is delivered in a cardboard box. To order a download version or a printed copy of the calendar and see example images, please visit: http://www.eso.org/public/products/calendars/cal2011/
ann1092 — Announcement
ESO's Online Store is Open for Business
2 December 2010: Forget about painstakingly printing out and filling in order forms, you can now buy our entire range of fantastic ESO products with the click of a button [1]. The non-profit online ESOshop [2] offers a quick, easy and secure way to purchase merchandise — everything from books and posters about ESO’s telescopes and observational targets, to caps and lapel pins branded with the organisation’s official logo. With the holidays just around the corner, the ESOshop is the perfect place to browse for gifts for all astronomy enthusiasts. To visit the store, go to: http://www.eso.org/public/shop/ Educators and bona fide members of the press can order products for free from this website: http://www.eso.org/public/shop/freeorder/ One copy of each of ESO’s brochures, reports and educational materials (excluding posters, books and DVDs) can also be picked up in person for free at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching, Germany. Notes [1] Payment must be made by credit ...
ann1091 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 6 December 2010
2 December 2010: The Universe contains a dark secret: most of the matter, whose presence is revealed by its gravitational effect, does not emit or absorb any light. Today, we have good reasons to assume this “dark matter” is made of a new type of elementary particle that interacts only very weakly with the light and with ordinary matter. For the past 25 years, we have explored different strategies to bring light into this darkness, and to elucidate the physical nature of dark matter. During the next Café & Kosmos, Dr. Georg Raffelt (Max-Planck Institute for Physics) will explain the justifications for the existence of dark matter, mention candidates from particle physics, and discuss possible strategies to search experimentally for dark matter. 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 ...
ann1090 — Announcement
Adriaan Blaauw, 1914–2010
2 December 2010: Professor Adriaan Blaauw, the European Southern Observatory’s second Director General, and a key figure in ESO’s early history, died yesterday, 1 December 2010, at the age of 96. “Adriaan Blaauw was one of the most influential astronomers of the twentieth century. I had the privilege to be amongst his students when he returned to Leiden from his position as Director General. He continued to remain keenly interested in everything to do with ESO, and still had his characteristic twinkle in the eye when he visited La Silla and Paranal earlier this year. It is hard to grasp that he is no longer with us,” said ESO’s current Director General, Professor Tim de Zeeuw. Adriaan Blaauw was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1914. He studied astronomy at Leiden University, under de Sitter, Hertzsprung and Oort, and obtained his doctorate with van Rhijn at the Kapteyn Laboratory in Groningen in 1946, ...