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ann13067 — Announcement
ALMA Filmed with Hexacopter
23 August 2013: High on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes these 58 antennae — eventually to become 66 — make up the largest astronomical project in existence, the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre array (ALMA). Now, the true magnitude of this array has been captured in full HD video as seen in this fantastic aerial footage. In July of this year aerial photographs of ALMA were taken using a hexacopter, with exciting results. The same craft used for the aerial photography — designed to withstand the harsh conditions of this high altitude region — was then equipped with an HD camera, video stabilizer, GPS, landing gear and signal transmitter. The craft, with six sets of rotors and all of its parts installed, weighs a total of 2.3 kilogramme. This may not seem like much but at an altitude of 5000 metres above sea level the air is so thin that an object of this ...
ann13066 — Announcement
Media advisory: Press Conference to Announce Major Result from Brazilian Astronomers
20 August 2013: An international team led by astronomers from the University of São Paulo in Brazil has used the UVES spectrograph on ESO’s Very Large Telescope to shed light on a long-standing mystery about stars like our own Sun. The Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics, and Atmospheric Sciences (IAG) at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil, in collaboration with the European Southern Observatory, will hold a press conference to announce the results and assess their implications, offering journalists the opportunity to discuss with and interview the scientists. The conference presenters are: Postdoctoral fellow TalaWanda R. Monroe (University of São Paulo) Prof. Dr. Jorge Meléndez (University of São Paulo) Dr. Claudio Melo (ESO) The conference will be held on 28 August 2013, at 10:30 local time (BRT) and will take place in Portuguese with a summary in English. The event takes place in São Paulo, at the IAG Headquarters: Rua do Matão, 1226, Cidade ...
ann13065 — Announcement
ESO Awards Contracts for Cameras for New Planet Finder
7 August 2013: ESO has signed contracts with Winlight Systems (France) for the construction of two cameras for the powerful new exoplanet-finding instrument, ESPRESSO. ESPRESSO (Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations) is an ultra-stable spectrograph that will be installed at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile in 2016. It will be capable of combining light from all four Unit Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to create a virtual 16-metre aperture telescope [1]. ESPRESSO is being developed by a consortium consisting of ESO and seven further scientific institutes: Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto (Portugal) Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, CAAUL & LOLS (Portugal) INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste (Italy) INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (Italy) Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Spain) Physikalisches Institut der Universität Bern (Switzerland) Université de Genève (Switzerland). ESPRESSO will build on the foundations laid by the hugely successful High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) ...
ann13064 — Announcement
Aerial Pictures from ALMA in Operation
31 July 2013: The full magnitude of the ALMA Observatory is revealed in these spectacular new images of the antenna array, surrounded by snow on the Chajnantor Plateau in northern Chile. The images were recently captured using a camera mounted on a hexacopter. The flight, which is being registered as a Guinness World Record for multi-rotor aircraft at high altitude, was achieved thanks to the remote-controlled aircraft’s lightweight carbon fibre platform. The hexacopter, which has six sets of rotors, also features autonomous functions that assist with navigation and allow the aircraft to return to its point of departure in the event of signal loss.    "Before we arrived at the ALMA site there was no record of such a device flying so high. The low atmospheric pressure means that the lift from the propellers is greatly reduced," states photographer Ariel Marinkovic, who led the photography session. The only solution was to reduce the ...
ann13063 — Announcement
ESOcast 59: Chile Chill 4
26 July 2013: Our new ESOcast — Chile Chill 4 — explores the wealth of stunning astronomical images produced over a period of almost 30 years by the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. Up until this year the telescope has been operated by ESO and made available to the ESO community, as well as users from the Max Planck Society (MPG). In future ESO will no longer offer the telescope to its users, although the Max Planck Society will continue to use it. The telescope had an interesting early history. It was originally constructed by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (Heidelberg, Germany) and intended to be sited in Namibia. It was not installed there and later offered to ESO under an agreement where ESO undertook the installation of the telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile and managed its subsequent operation. The telescope was made operational ...
ann13062 — Announcement
ESO releases The Messenger No. 152
5 July 2013: 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 ALMA inauguration A review on the commissioning of the AGPM vector vortex coronagraph An article entitled The Wide View of the Galactic Bulge as seen by the VVV ESO Public Survey An account of ESO’s Early Seeing Expedition to South Africa in the 1950s Download The Messenger in PDF format or visit The Messenger website to subscribe and receive a free printed copy.
ann13061 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 9 July 2013
5 July 2013: With Dr Jörg Dietrich (Universitäts-Sternwarte der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) Astronomers believe that all the matter we know of, in the whole Universe, has been accumulating on an invisible scaffold made of dark matter over the history of the Cosmos. Stars and galaxies have formed over billions of years on the invisible threads of this network. Attracted by the nodes of the scaffold, they have clumped together to form galaxy clusters and superclusters. However, until now, the dark matter has escaped direct observation. All we know about the structure of this invisible scaffold is through the distribution of the ordinary matter that we can see and measure. An international research group from Observatory of the Ludwig-Maximilians University has recently succeeded, for the first time, in detecting a thread of this invisible cosmic scaffold between the adjacent clusters of galaxies Abell 222 and Abell 223. Dr. Jörg Dietrich, the leader of the team which ...
ann13060 — Announcement
SAURON Receives 2013 Group Achievement Award of the Royal Astronomical Society
4 July 2013: The Royal Astronomical Society (UK) has awarded the 2013 RAS "A" Group award to the SAURON team, including Tim de Zeeuw, Harald Kuntschner and Eric Emsellem from ESO, as well as Davor Krajnović, a recent ESO fellow. This prize honours groups that have made an outstanding contribution to astronomy. The prize was presented at the 2013 UK National Astronomy Meeting, in St Andrews, Scotland on 3 July 2013. SAURON is an integral field spectrograph with a 33 x 44 arcsecond field of view, custom-built at the Observatoire de Lyon for the 4.2-metre William Herschel Telescope on the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, Spain. The particular science focus of the team that set up the SAURON project was to understand the evolution of elliptical galaxies by making detailed observations of samples of nearby objects. The SAURON initiative combines an optimised instrument design, refined analysis and modelling methods to ...
ann13059 — Announcement
Win Tickets for the Hidden Universe IMAX® Movie in Copenhagen and Cleveland
4 July 2013: ESO, in collaboration with MacGillivray Freeman Films, the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, is organising a competition that gives Twitter users the chance to win free entrance tickets for themselves and their family or friends to the IMAX® production Hidden Universe. Winners can see the movie in 2D at Great Lakes Science Center and at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium. Released in IMAX® theatres and giant-screen cinemas around the globe, the film shows the workings of ESO’s state-of-the-art telescopes in high resolution time-lapse, as well as mesmerising celestial structures and a simulation of the Universe. Narrated by Golden Globe and BAFTA Award-winning British actress, Miranda Richardson, the movie is produced by Australia’s award-winning production company December Media in association with ESO, Film Victoria, Swinburne University of Technology and MacGillivray Freeman Films. Read more about the movie here. The competition runs from ...
ann13058 — Announcement
ESA Astronaut Pedro Duque visits ESO's Headquarters
27 June 2013: On 27 June 2013, one of ESA’s astronauts, Pedro Duque, visited ESO Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany. He was received on his arrival by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw. Duque is a member of ESA’s European Astronaut Corps, and currently is head of the Flight Operations Office located at the Columbus Control Centre near Munich. During the visit, Mr Duque was briefed about ESO’s programme and had the chance to tour the facilities at ESO Headquarters and see some of the instrumentation being developed in house, including hardware for the future European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). After lunch with ESO representatives, Duque addressed a large audience of ESO staff and students about his experiences as an astronaut and his current work. As an ESA astronaut, Duque took part in two space missions. First as Mission Specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-95 mission, in 1998, and later in ...
ann13057 — Announcement
Senior Chilean Delegation Visits ESO Headquarters
24 June 2013: Today, 24 June 2013, a delegation of Chilean representatives visited ESO’s Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany. It was led by the Chilean Minister for Economy, Mr. Félix de Vicente, and included the Chilean ambassador to Germany, Mr. Jorge O’Ryan Schütz. The Chilean Delegation also included the Director of ProChile Germany, Ms Bettina Stengel, the Vice-President of the Committee of Foreign Investments, Mr Matías Mori, and the Head of Cabinet of the Minister of Economy, Juan José Bouchon. Following their visit to ESO, the Chilean Delegation will also participate in an event entitled “Chile neu entdecken” organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria. ESO enjoys excellent relations with Chile and has a long and fruitful history of collaboration with Chile's government, universities and industry. Chile is a crucial partner in ESO’s activities, hosting all of ESO’s observatories and the ESO premises in Santiago de ...
ann13056 — Announcement
ESO Annual Report 2012 Now Available
10 June 2013: The ESO Annual Report 2012 is now available. It presents the many activities of the European Southern Observatory during the year, including: Research highlights from ESO facilities, with the latest results from fields covering aspects of astronomy stretching from observations of the Solar System out to the study of the early Universe. A summary of the activities of ESO’s telescopes. The status of the astronomical instruments at the La Silla Paranal Observatory, describing in detail new instruments and upgrades.  
ann13055 — Announcement
Café & Kosmos 18 June 2013
10 June 2013: With Dr Sandra Kortner (Max Planck Institute for Physics) Theoreticians conceived the Higgs boson almost 50 years ago, to explain how elementary particles such as electrons and quarks get their mass. They required this ultimate building block of matter, otherwise the world as we know it today would not exist — no Universe, no galaxies and stars, no Earth, and … no humans. Last summer, CERN — the European Organization for Nuclear Research — announced the discovery of a new particle. Additional research then confirmed this was indeed the historical discovery of the long-sought Higgs boson. This scientific breakthrough, that some have compared to the Moon-landing for particle physics, was the culmination of a long, carefully-planned manhunt, tracking the tiniest evidences that the boson left in the most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). But where do we go from here? Could it be that we have finally ...
ann13054 — Announcement
ERIS Project Starts
10 June 2013: ESO has taken a step towards the construction of a powerful new instrument — the Enhanced Resolution Imager and Spectrograph (ERIS) — to be installed on Unit Telescope 4 of ESO’s Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal in northern Chile. Following the conclusion of the call for proposals, the project will be carried out by ESO in partnership with the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (Garching, Germany, with contributions from ETH Zürich, Switzerland) and the INAF Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory (Florence, Italy). ESO has given the go-ahead for the two collaborating institutes to start work and the project aims to achieve first light in late 2017. ERIS — which will be active for at least ten years after it is installed — will benefit from the Adaptive Optics Facility that corrects for the blurring effects of the Earth’s atmosphere. It aims to take the sharpest direct images so far obtained ...
ann13053 — Announcement
Visions of the Universe Exhibition Opens its Doors
7 June 2013: A new temporary astronomy exhibition named Visions of the Universe will open its doors on 7 June 2013 at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, UK. The exhibition will tell the history of astronomical imaging, from the early hand-drawn work of the first astronomers to the latest images captured by world-class telescopes. Visions of the Universe will feature photographs from ESO’s telescopes, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, NASA, the Russian space program and more, ranging from ethereal images of deep space objects to close-up views of our planetary neighbours and the martian landscape. The exhibition is open to the public until 15 September 2013. More information is available on the Visions of the Universe website. Just a stone’s throw away, the Royal Observatory, an ESO outreach partner organisation, is accepting entries for the 2013  Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. The completion closes on 13 June 2013 and an exhibition ...
ann13052 — Announcement
ESOcast 58: ALMA Discovers Comet Factory
6 June 2013: ESOcast number 58 will lead you straight into a trap. Astronomers using the new Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have, for the first time, clearly imaged a dust trap — a region around a young star where dust particles can grow by clumping together. This detection helps solve a long-standing mystery: how dust particles around stars stick together to form planets, comets, and other rocky bodies. ESOcast 58 goes deep into the dust trap to explore how this comet factory works. Join your host, Dr J, and discover more about the secrets of the Universe. To see this latest exciting result from ALMA, follow the link to ESOcast 58. 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 podcast now to keep up with the latest news from ESO: the ...
ann13051 — Announcement
ALMA Early Science Period Extended
6 June 2013: Following the very busy period of the ALMA inauguration in March 2013, and as part of the activities towards the completion of the observatory later this year, the ALMA team has been engaged in a process of fine tuning and optimising ALMA for smoother science operations.  Excellent progress has been made both with verification of the scientific performance of some of the advanced science observing modes, as well as with array stability and infrastructure enhancements. It has now been decided to resume Early Science observations at the end of June in order to deliver more data to the astronomers and further test the telescope’s performance. Observations made in this Early Science mode have already delivered outstanding discoveries [1], showing the unprecedented power of ALMA, even when still working at a fraction of its final capacity. Before starting the next cycle of Early Science observations (Cycle 2), it has been decided to extend ...
ann13050 — Announcement
European Astronomy Journalism Prize Expanded
3 June 2013: The European Astronomy Journalism Prize 2013 is launched today and this year has been expanded to now include entries from Europe and South America. The competition is run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in the United Kingdom and ESO, in conjunction with the Association of British Science Writers and the Royal Astronomical Society. "Astronomy is a global research discipline, and excites and inspires millions of people every day around the world, so we believe it's appropriate to expand the prize to recognise a broader range of inspirational coverage of astronomy," ESO's Head of Education and Public Outreach, Lars Lindberg Christensen, said today. STFC Head of Communications Terry O'Connor said the inaugural competition in 2012 was open only to entries published or broadcast in English in the United Kingdom, but has now been extended to entries in English from any ESO Member State. "We're delighted to work with ...
ann13049 — Announcement
Consultancy Contract for E-ELT Dome and Main Structure Awarded
31 May 2013: On 30 May 2013 ESO signed a contract with the Danish company Ramboll for consultancy services to support ESO during the procurement and construction of the dome and main structure of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The actual dome and main structure contract itself will be the largest ever placed by ESO, and will cover not only the giant telescope enclosure, which is almost 100 metres in diameter (the size of the Colosseum in Rome), but also the massive precision components that form the telescope’s mounting and tube. This big contract to build the dome and main structure is expected to be awarded towards the end of 2014. To supplement ESO’s own in-house efforts and provide expert advice for this contract over a wide range of disciplines, Ramboll will follow the dome and main structure contract alongside ESO. “This is an extremely ambitious project with colossal challenges, both technically and ...
ann13048 — Announcement
Bavarian Minister of Sciences, Research and the Arts visits Paranal
27 May 2013: The Bavarian State Minister of Sciences, Research and the Arts, Dr Wolfgang Heubisch, made a special visit to ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile on 24–25 May 2013 at the end of an official trip that included working visits to institutions in Chile and other Southern American countries. Minister Heubisch was accompanied by a delegation of Bavarian academic authorities. ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, accompanied by the Director of Operations, Andreas Kaufer, ESO’s Representative in Chile, Fernando Comerón, and Head of Administration, Patrick Geeraert, welcomed Dr Heubisch to the observatory and acted as host for the Minister and his delegation. After a presentation on ESO by the Director General and a discussion on ESO activities, Minister Heubisch and his delegation were taken for a visit to the support facilities at the Paranal base camp. Later, they visited the telescope platform of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) — the most advanced ...
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