Major Conference about Astronomical Technology in Munich
Press Conference on Monday, March 27, 2000
16 March 2000
Which are the latest astronomical discoveries made with the new 8-10 metre class astronomical telescopes? Will it be possible to construct even more powerful instruments on the ground and in space to explore the near and distant Universe at all wavelengths from gamma-rays to radio waves? Which research areas in this dynamical science are likely to achieve break-throughs with emerging new technologies?
These are some of the central themes that will be discussed by more than 600 specialists from all over the world at an international conference in Munich (Germany), "Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments 2000", beginning on Monday, March 27, 2000. During five days, the modern architecture of the new International Congress Center in the Bavarian capital will be the scene of lively exchanges about recent progress at the world's top-class astronomical research facilities and the presentation of inspired new ideas about future technological opportunities. The conference will be accompanied by numerous on-site exhibition stands by the major industries and research organisations in this wide field.
This meeting is the latest in a series, organised every second year, alternatively in the USA and Europe by the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), this year with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) as co-sponsor and host institution.
The conference will be opened in the morning of March 27 by the Bavarian Minister of Science, Research and Arts, Hans Zehetmair. His address will be followed by keynote speeches by Massimo Tarenghi (European Southern Observatory), James B. Breckenridge (National Science Foundation, USA), Harvey Butcher (Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy) and Albrecht Ruediger (Max Planck Institut für Quantenoptik, Germany).
The conference is subtitled "Power Telescopes and Instrumentation into the New Millennium" and will be attended by leading scientists and engineers from all continents. There will be plenary sessions and specialised working group meetings on virtually all subject areas related to modern astronomical technology, ranging from optical design, materials and fabrication to telescope structures, detectors and the associated discovery and research prospects.
While the performance and results from the new, large ground-based facilities like the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) will constitute one of the focal points, much attention will also be devoted to new projects in space astronomy, e.g., the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), the planned successor to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Other space missions to be discussed are the XMM-Newton and Chandra X-Ray observatories. Radio Telescopes, herunder the projected Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), as well as Optical Interferometry are other hot subjects, as are the current plans for optical telescopes in the extremely large class, with surface diameters of 30 - 100 metres.
An international Press Conference will be held at the meeting site in the Munich International Conference Center on Monday, March 27, at 12:15 hrs local time (CET). It will be attended by some of the key participants, with possibilities for individual interviews.
ESO EPR Dept.
D-85748 Garching, Germany