Press Releases 1994

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eso9418 — Organisation Release
Europe's Astronomy Teachers Meet at ESO
2 December 1994: A joint EU/ESO Workshop (1) on the Teaching of Astronomy in Europe was held at the ESO Headquarters from November 25-30, 1994, under the auspices of the 1994 European Week for Scientific Culture. More than 100 teachers from secondary schools in 17 European countries participated together with representatives of national ministries and local authorities, as well as professional astronomers.
eso9417 — Science Release
First Observations of Solar-Like Oscillations in Another Star (1)
23 November 1994: A group of astronomers from the Aarhus University (Denmark) and the European Southern Observatory (2) have for the first time succeeded in detecting solar-type oscillations in another star. They observed the temperature of the bright northern star Eta Bootis during six nights with the 2.5-metre Nordic Optical Telescope at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands) and were able to show that it varies periodically by a few hundredths of a degree. These changes are caused by pressure waves in the star and are directly dependent on its inner structure. A detailed analysis by the astronomers has shown that the observed effects are in good agreement with current stellar models. This is a most important, independent test of stellar theory.
eso9416 — Organisation Release
Astronomy Teaching in Europe's Secondary Schools
15 November 1994: A joint Workshop of the European Union (EU) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) will take place on November 25 - 30, 1994 under the auspices of the European Week for Scientific Culture. The Workshop is entitled "Astronomy: Science, Culture and Technology". It will bring together at the ESO Headquarters in Garching (Germany) more than 100 secondary school teachers and ministerial representatives from 17 European countries to discuss all aspects of this broad subject. It is the first and very visible part of a new, sustained effort to stimulate and modernize the teaching of the subjects of Astronomy and Astrophysics in European secondary schools. During the Workshop, the participants will experience the present state of this multi-disciplinary science in its most general context, that is as a human, long-term scientific and technological endeavour with great cultural implications. They will exchange views on how the various elements of Astronomy can best be utilized within the educational schemes of the individual countries, both as subjects in their own rights, and especially in support of many other items on the present teaching agenda.
eso9415 — Photo Release
Transneptunian Object 1994 TG2
31 October 1994: This photo shows the faint image (arrow) of a new transneptunian object, discovered with the ESO 3.5-metre New Technology Telescope in October 1994. It is here seen in a negative reproduction (dark stars on white sky) of the CCD frame on which it was first noticed.
eso9414 — Organisation Release
Full Speed Ahead for ESO's Very Large Telescope
29 September 1994: During the past months, vast progress has been made in the construction of ESO's 16-metre equivalent Very Large Telescope (VLT). This major scientific and technological project aims at installing the world's largest optical telescope in the form of four interconnected telescopes with 8.2-metre mirrors on the Paranal mountain in the Chilean Atacama desert. It continues to be on schedule as it heads towards its completion, just after the year 2000.
eso9413 — Organisation Release
ESO Council Decides to Continue VLT Project at Paranal
9 August 1994: The Council [1] of the European Southern Observatory has met in extraordinary session at the ESO Headquarters in Garching near Munich on August 8 and 9, 1994. The main agenda items were concerned with the recent developments around ESO's relations with the host state, the Republic of Chile, as well as the status of the organisation's main project, the 16-metre equivalent Very Large Telescope (VLT) which will become the world's largest optical telescope.
eso9412 — Organisation Release
Relations Between Chile and ESO
10 June 1994: As announced in an earlier Press Release (eso9408), a high-ranking ESO delegation visited Santiago de Chile during the week of 24 - 28 May 1994 to discuss various important matters of mutual interest with the Chilean Government. It consisted of Dr. Peter Creola (President of ESO Council), Dr. Catherine Cesarsky (Vice-President of ESO Council), Dr. Henrik Grage (Former Vice-President of ESO Council) and Professor Riccardo Giacconi (ESO Director General), the latter accompanied by his advisers.
eso9411 — Science Release
Omega Centauri: Big, Bright and Beautiful
27 May 1994: Far down in the southern sky, in the constellation of Centaurus, a diffuse spot of light can be perceived with the unaided eye. It may be unimpressive, but when seen through a telescope, it turns out to be a beautiful, dense cluster of innumerable stars [1]. Omega Centauri, as this object is called, is the brightest of its type in the sky. We refer to it as a "globular cluster", due to its symmetric form. It belongs to our Milky Way galaxy and astrophysical investigations have shown that it is located at a distance of about 16,500 light-years (1 light-year = 9,460,000,000,000 km). Nobody knows for sure how many individual stars it contains, but recent estimates run into the millions. Most of these stars are more than 10,000 million years old and it is generally agreed that Omega Centauri has a similar age. Measurements of its motion indicate that Omega Centauri plows through the Milky Way in an elongated orbit. It is not easy to understand how it has managed to keep its stars together during such an extended period.
eso9410 — Science Release
ESO Braces for the Impact
20 May 1994: There are many signs that the upcoming collision between comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and giant planet Jupiter is beginning to catch the imagination of the public. Numerous reports in the various media describe the effects expected during this unique event which according to the latest calculations will start in the evening of July 16 and end in the morning of July 22, 1994. (The times in this Press Release are given in Central European Summer Time (CEST), i.e., Universal Time (UT) + 2 hours. The corresponding local time in Chile is CEST - 6 hours.) Astronomers all over the world are now preparing to observe the associated phenomena with virtually all major telescopes. There will be no less than 12 different investigations at the ESO La Silla observatory during this period. This Press Release updates the information published in ESO PR 02/94 (27 January 1994) and provides details about the special services which will be provided by ESO to the media around this rare astronomical event.
eso9409 — Photo Release
High Resolution HST Images Of Pluto and Charon
18 May 1994: The remote planet Pluto and its moon Charon orbit the Sun at a mean distance of almost 6,000 million kilometres, or nearly fourty times farther out than the Earth. During a recent investigation by an international group of astronomers [1], the best picture ever of Pluto and Charon [2] was secured with the European Space Agency's Faint Object Camera at the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). It shows the two objects as individual disks, and it is likely that further image enhancement will allow us to see surface features on Pluto.
eso9408 — Organisation Release
ESO Delegation to Visit Chile
6 May 1994: The ESO Council, in its extraordinary session on 28 April 1994, among other matters discussed the relations with the Republic of Chile and the situation around Paranal mountain [1], the designated site for the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT).
eso9407 — Organisation Release
"Clouds" Above Paranal
21 April 1994: ESO, the European Southern Observatory, in reply to questions raised by the media would like to clarify its position with regard to recent events which concern the land on which the Paranal mountain is situated.
eso9406 — Organisation Release
20 April 1994: On Friday, 22 April 1994, a new science exhibition "Infinitos", arranged jointly by Lisboa'94, CERN and ESO, will open at the Museu de Electricidade on the waterfront of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. In a series of spectacular displays, it illustrates man's current understanding of how the Universe works - from the tiniest structures of matter to the most far flung galaxies.
eso9405 — Science Release
Dying Stars Indicate Lots of Dark Matter in Giant Galaxy
15 April 1994: Very difficult and time-consuming observations performed with the ESO 3.5-metre New Technology Telescope (NTT) in November 1993 by an international team of astronomers [1], indicate that up to 90 percent of the matter in a distant giant galaxy maybe of a kind that cannot be seen by normal telescopes.
eso9404 — Photo Release
Comet Halley Passes the Halfway Mark
18 February 1994: Eight years after the passage of Comet Halley in early 1986, astronomers at the European Southern Observatory have succeeded in obtaining an image [1] of this famous object at a distance of no less than 2,820 million km from the Sun. The comet is now about as far away as giant planet Uranus. It recently passed the halfway mark towards the most distant point of its very elongated 76-year orbit. The image shows the 6 x 15 km avocado-shaped nucleus as an extremely faint point of light without any surrounding dust cloud. It appears that the surface is now completely frozen and the comet has ceased to emit dust and gas. This observation was made with the ESO 3.58 metre New Technology Telescope (NTT). It is by far the faintest and most distant image ever recorded of this comet.
eso9403 — Organisation Release
NASA and ESA Astronauts Visit ESO
3 February 1994: On Wednesday, February 16, 1994, seven NASA and ESA astronauts and their spouses will spend a day at the
Headquarters of the European Southern Observatory. They are the members of the STS-61 crew that successfully repaired the Hubble Space Telescope during a Space Shuttle mission in December 1993. This will be the only stop in Germany during their current tour of various European countries.
eso9402 — Science Release
The Big Comet Crash of 1994
27 January 1994: Astronomers all over the world are preparing themselves for observations of a most unique event: during a period of six days in July 1994, at least 21 fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 will collide with giant planet Jupiter. At the European Southern Observatory, an intensive observational campaign with most of the major telescopes at La Silla is being organized with the participation of a dozen international teams of astronomers. This is the first time ever that it has been possible to predict such a collision. Although it is difficult to make accurate estimates, it is likely that there will be important, observable effects in the Jovian atmosphere.
eso9401 — Science Release
Things Begin to Happen Around Supernova 1987A
27 January 1994: On 23 February 1994, it will be exactly seven years since the explosion of Supernova 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud [1] was first observed, at a distance of approx. 160,000 light-years. It was the first naked-eye supernova to be seen in almost four hundred years. Few events in modern astronomy have met with such an enthusiastic response by the scientists and this famous object has been under constant surveillance ever since. After several years of relative quiescence, things are now beginning to happen in the immediate neighbourhood of SN 1987A. Recent observations with the ESO 3.5 m New Technology Telescope (NTT) indicate that interaction between the stellar material which was ejected during the explosion and the surrounding ring-shaped nebulae has started. This signals the beginning of a more active phase during which the supernova is likely to display a number of new and interesting phenomena, never before observed.
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