From European Southern Observatory (EU) (CL) : ESO “Annual Report 2020”

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From European Southern Observatory (EU) (CL)



The ESO Annual Report 2020 is now available. It presents a summary of ESO’s many activities throughout the year. The contents include:

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on ESO, including safety measures and the impact on staff;
The ramp-down of the observatories into “Safe State” in March and the ramp-up which began in September, enabling science data from Paranal, APEX and La Silla to flow again;
Work that continued in the laboratories under strict safety measures, providing crucial contributions to projects, as well as progress on design, software, data-related and other projects;
Further progress made both at ESO and in industry on the Extremely Large Telescope, on the Paranal Instrumentation Programme, and on ALMA development projects;
How scientific exploitation of ESO data continued to flourish during the year. Among the highlights was the confirmation of the predictions of General Relativity regarding the orbital precession of the star S2 around the supermassive black hole at the centre of our Galaxy. In relation to this, the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of this black hole to Reinhard Genzel (who has worked with ESO on the topic for more than 30 years) and Andrea Ghez (with work supported by the W. M. Keck Observatory), as well as to Roger Penrose for theoretical work on black holes;
The major milestone of the ESO Council’s approval of full funding for the Extremely Large Telescope Construction Programme — which also includes the telescope’s first suite of instruments and the preparation of Paranal to host and operate the telescope — as well as Council’s approval of ESO’s strategy for the next decade;
How engagement activities with the scientific community and society at large were successfully refocused under pandemic conditions, with well-attended online discussion forums, conferences and debates open to the entire scientific community as well as virtual observatory tours for the public.

If you are and Astronomy advocate or interested viewer you can read the latest report from this beyond world class science organization. ESO has proven the value of the work done by its assets over and over. Paranal, La Silla, APEX and ALMA have all been re-started and great science is being accomplished.

The digital resources (images, videos, PDFs, etc.) for this product can be downloaded in the archive.

See the full article here .


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European Southern Observatory (EU) (CL) is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre EEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

ESO New Technology Telescope at Cerro La Silla , Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres.