ESOcast 44: Changing Views
Special 50th anniversary episode #4
05 Qershor 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.
ESOcast 44 — entitled Changing Views — is the fourth special episode of this series. Since its birth, fifty years ago, ESO has helped to improve our knowledge of the Universe by means of successive generations of powerful optical ground-based telescopes. But there are other ways to collect the light from distant objects. In this episode, we discover how ESO has helped astronomers to explore the Universe at longer wavelengths, such as the infrared and radio regimes.
The human eye is only sensitive to a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. We are not able to see light with wavelengths longer than red, or shorter than violet. But by observing the sky at longer wavelengths, astronomers are able to detect objects too cool to emit visible light and those hidden by dust. This has revolutionised the study of the dark clouds of gas and dust where stars and planets are born.
ESO astronomers have been exploring the Universe at infrared wavelengths for the past thirty years, from the first small and inefficient detectors to the powerful infrared telescopes of today, such as the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), located at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile.
Also in northern Chile, on the Chajnantor Plateau, 5000 metres above sea level, the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) studies the Universe at even longer wavelengths in the millimetre and submillimetre range. By 2013, ALMA's construction will be completed and its sixty six high-precision antennas will be fully operational. But early scientific observations with a partial array began in September 2011 and ALMA is already providing a unique window on the hidden Universe.
Watch this episode to discover more about how ESO has helped to unveil the mysteries of the Universe by broadening our view.
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An ESO production
Directed by: Lars Lindberg Christensen
Art Direction, Production Design: Martin Kornmesser
Producer: Herbert Zodet
Written by: Govert Schilling
3D animations and graphics: Martin Kornmesser & Luis Calçada
Editing: Martin Kornmesser
Cinematography: Herbert Zodet & Peter Rixner
Sound engineer: Cristian Larrea
Audio Mastering: Peter Rixner
Host & Lead Scientist: Dr J (Dr Joe Liske, ESO)
Narration: Sara Mendes da Costa
Soundtrack & Sound Effects: movetwo — Axel Kornmesser & Markus Löffler & zero-project (zero-project.gr)
Proof reading: Anne Rhodes
Technical support: Lars Holm Nielsen, Raquel Yumi Shida & Mathias Andre
DVD Authoring: Andre Roquette
Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen
Footage and photos:
Christoph Malin (christophmalin.com)
Stéphane Guisard (eso.org/~sguisard)
José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org)
Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)
J. Dommaget/J. Boulon/J. Doornenbal/W. Schlosser/F.K. Edmondson/A. Blaauw/Rademakers/R. Holder
Daniel Crouch/Rare Books (crouchrarebooks.com)
Royal Astronomical Society/Science Photo Library
Jay M. Pasachoff
Chris de Coning/South African Library/Warner-Madear
Mauricio Anton/Science Library
NASA/Spitzer Science Center/R. Hurt
Digitized Sky Survey 2
MPE/S. Gillessen/M. Schartmann
Rainer Lenzen/MPIA Heidelberg
West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Berlin by KolBerlin
Davide De Martin
Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit
IDA/Danish 1.5 m/R. Gendler and C. Thöne
Mario Nonino, Piero Rosati and the ESO GOODS Team
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope
R. Fosbury (ST-ECF)
J.-B. Le Bouquin et al.
D. Coe (STScI)/J. Merten (Heidelberg/Bologna)
Gemini Observatory/NRC/AURA/Christian Marois et al.
IAC (SMM) and ESPRESSO consortium
T.M. Brown (STScI)
UltraVISTA team, TERAPIX/CNRS/INSU/CASU
World Wide Telescope