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  • richardmitnick 8:22 am on March 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, ESO Remains World’s Most Productive Ground-based Observatory   

    From ESO: “ESO Remains World’s Most Productive Ground-based Observatory” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    8 March 2018

    Uta Grothkopf
    ESO Librarian
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6280
    Email: uta.grothkopf@eso.org

    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    Publication source not named.

    The latest survey of peer-reviewed scientific papers published during 2017 has shown that ESO remains the world’s most productive ground-based observatory. Astronomers used observational data from ESO facilities to produce an all-time high of 1085 refereed papers last year. This is the first time in ESO’s history that the number of refereed articles published by the ESO users community has exceeded 1000 papers in a single year.

    The largest contribution to the total is the 629 papers credited to ESO in 2017 that used data acquired with either the Very Large Telescope (VLT) or the VLT Interferometer facilities on Cerro Paranal.

    2009 ESO VLT Interferometer image, Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    The three most productive VLT instruments in terms of papers are UVES, FORS2 and X-shooter, which featured in 133, 106 and 103 papers, respectively. The X-shooter and MUSE instruments saw large increases from the previous year, along with VIMOS, VISIR and the VLT Survey Telescope (VST). Data from the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) and the VST on Cerro Paranal led to 101 and 55 papers, respectively.

    ESO VLT UVES

    ESO FORS2 VLT

    ESO X-shooter on VLT at Cerro Paranal, Chile

    Facilities located at La Silla provided data for almost 230 papers in total. HARPS remains La Silla’s most productive instrument, with 97 papers to its name.

    ESO/HARPS at La Silla

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    The two highest-ranking papers of the ESO Top 20 list (Riess et al. 1998 and Perlmutter et al. 1999; Table 4 of the Basic ESO Publication Statistics) — which used data from EMMI and EFOSC2, amongst other facilities — are now the top two refereed papers on the ADS server, with more than 10 600 citations each.

    European observing time with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) accounted for 152 papers in 2017, bringing the total number of such papers to 462 by the end of 2017 [1]. Observations made with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope (APEX) in ESO-APEX observing time led to 46 papers in 2017, taking the total of such papers to 350 by the end of 2017 [2]. The continued success of ALMA and APEX contributed significantly to ESO’s record-high number of publications.

    A comparison of the number of papers produced using facilities at major observatories worldwide puts ESO’s observatories at the top of the list. Note that the methods used to obtain these numbers differ from one observatory to another, so the figures cannot be compared precisely. Nevertheless, it is clear that ESO continues to significantly surpass any other ground-based observatory and since 2012 has also continued to increase its lead over the runner-up, the single 2.4-metre orbiting NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, according to the available figures.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    These results highlight ESO’s major contribution to astronomical research. The publication statistics give an idea of how much scientific work is carried out with data from the individual observatories, but do not address the wider impact they have on science.

    The figures are published in the annual Basic ESO Publication Statistics [3] published by ESO’s Library and calculated using the ESO Telescope Bibliography (telbib), a database containing refereed publications that use ESO data [4]. ESO makes extensive efforts to identify all refereed papers that use ESO data and considers telbib essentially complete.

    Interactive graphs of selected statistics are also available online. These graphs display the entire content of the telbib database [5], which contains records for publications from 1996 to the present. They can be used to explore many aspects of the publication history, including the development of science papers using data from ESO instruments and the use of archival data.

    Notes

    [1] ALMA is a partnership of ESO, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

    The ALMA bibliography is maintained jointly by the librarians at ESO and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) as well as by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). Publications based on data from all ALMA partners are recorded in telbib, but only those based on ESO observing time are counted in the ESO statistics, unless otherwise noted.

    [2] APEX is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, the Onsala Space Observatory and ESO, and is operated by ESO close to ALMA on the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile’s Atacama region.

    Publications based on data from all APEX partners are recorded in telbib, but only those based on ESO observing time are counted in the ESO statistics, unless otherwise noted.

    [3] Basic ESO Publication Statistics (DOI 10.18727/docs/1)

    [4] Telbib information and access to the database.

    [5] Interactive telbib statistics.

    See the full article here .

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    ESO 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 European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

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  • richardmitnick 10:57 am on February 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Chilean Astronomy, , ESO - European Southern Observatory, , , LSST telescope   

    From Forbes: “Chile’s Pristine Skies Are Key To Astronomy’s Next Generation Of Telescopes” 

    ForbesMag

    Forbes Magazine

    Jan 31, 2018
    Bruce Dorminey

    Long known for its copper, sea bass and merlot wine, Chile’s most profound export may be data that its astronomical observatories mine nightly from its pristine skies.

    1
    Exoplanet hunters at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. ESO.

    Because Chile’s ground-based window onto our Milky Way’s galactic center is arguably unmatched, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) first set up shop here more than a half century ago. Today, their 15 member states enjoy facilities at three major observatories.

    “ESO spends 80 million euros [$100 million] a year for its operations in Chile and is the biggest astronomical operation here,” astrophysicist Fernando Comeron, ESO’s Representative in Chile, told me during a recent visit to ESO’s offices in Vitacura, a tony enclave of Santiago.

    To its credit, ESO never rests on its laurels. When I first arrived here two decades ago during research for my book Distant Wanderers, I was amazed that even before ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) was finished, there was already talk of the next big thing.

    ESO VLT Platform at Cerro Paranal elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft)

    Initially, that next big thing was to be a 100-meter Overwhelming Large Telescope (OWL). But after several years of study, ESO put that concept in stasis and instead pursued a project that it felt was more practical and technologically feasible. Thus, in 2014, ESO broke ground for its European-Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) at Paranal Observatory in northern Chile’s Atacama desert.

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, at an altitude 3,046 m (9,993 ft)

    Due for scientific first light in November 2024, once completed it will be the world’s largest optical/infrared telescope. That is, a $1.4 billion behemoth with a 39.3-meter primary mirror; itself a composition of 798 individual 1.4-meter segments.

    The best telescopes in the world are now in the Southern hemisphere says Comeron, noting that the Chilean government takes its responsibility in preserving observing conditions very seriously. In fact, he says, even through the country’s turbulent political history, ESO continued to function here.

    “We have 50 years of dealing with the Chilean government and it’s been a very fruitful relationship and is not subjected to changes of government or politics,” said Comeron.

    And more are coming. The E-ELT and other new telescopes being built in Chile, like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), are forever changing the Chilean astronomical landscape.


    LSST telescope, currently under construction at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.

    Giant Magellan Telescope, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory, to be built some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    “The Chilean astronomy community is growing; universities are opening undergraduate and graduate programs in astronomy and attracting international researchers to be part of their institutions,” Barbara Rojas-Ayala, an astronomer at the Universidad Andrés Bello in Santiago, told me.

    What makes Chile so astronomically special?

    Very dry northern deserts which border a lengthy coastline and the Humboldt Current.

    The Humboldt Current, sometimes referred to as the Peru Current, is a 550-mile-wide cold ocean current that originates in Antarctica and runs north along the South American coastline. Its temperatures help keep Chile’s northern desert air even drier. Cloud cover is confined to altitudes of about 3000 feet, says Comeron.

    As a result, he says you find very dry conditions at much lower altitudes in Chile. But it’s also why despite Chile’s thousands of miles of extraordinarily beautiful coastline, the country is not known for beach-life.

    “The water is even freezing in summer,” said Comeron.

    What will the E-ELT bring to the table?

    The ability to see earth-like planets at one Earth-Sun distance from their star to look for the spectroscopic signatures of life.

    And Comeron predicts the E-ELT will give astronomers at least some spectra that will be debated as containing biosignatures.

    In terms of cosmology, the new telescope should also shed light on:

    — Whether the laws of nature are truly universal;

    — Individual stellar populations within galaxies out to distances of tens of millions of light-years; and,

    — Observe back in cosmic time to before the onset of the first stars which will help astronomers determine how galaxies formed and evolved across the breadth of the cosmos.

    And as for the burgeoning Chilean astronomy community?

    “Chile is on the way to becoming a net producer of astronomers with more going abroad than staying here,” said Comeron. “For ESO, we have about 600 astronomers coming here per year.”

    However, Comeron says a few thousand astronomers per year use all of Chile’s facilities.

    Considering all the data that will be acquired with observatories within our country, there is a lack of funding for local researchers who could data-mine these large astronomical projects, says Rojas-Ayala.

    In central Santiago, Rojas-Ayala says it’s impossible to distinguish the Milky Way and the Magellan Clouds. As a result, she says there are now initiatives to restrict blue light emissions and luminous LED/plasma signs in an effort to protect northern Chile’s precious night skies.

    As for the E-ELT’s ultimate legacy?

    It has a nominal operating lifetime of at least 30 years. But Comeron expects it will still be operational well into the 22nd century and although astronomers have some ideas about what this new behemoth will observe in its first few years, beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

    “It’s almost science fiction as to what we will be observing,” said Comeron. “I haven’t a clue but it’s going to be exciting.”

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 12:50 pm on February 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, TRAPPIST-1 Planets Probably Rich in Water   

    From ESO: “TRAPPIST-1 Planets Probably Rich in Water” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    Simon Grimm
    SAINT-EX Research Group, University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability
    Bern, Switzerland
    Tel: +41 31 631 3995
    Email: simon.grimm@csh.unibe.ch

    Brice-Olivier Demory
    SAINT-EX Research Group, University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability
    Bern, Switzerland
    Tel: +41 31 631 5157
    Email: brice.demory@csh.unibe.ch

    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    This infographic lists the main properties of the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets, along with the four innermost planets in the Solar System at the same scale. Credit: NASA/JPL.

    A new study has found that the seven planets orbiting the nearby ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 are all made mostly of rock, and some could potentially hold more water than Earth. The planets’ densities, now known much more precisely than before, suggest that some of them could have up to 5 percent of their mass in the form of water — about 250 times more than Earth’s oceans. The hotter planets closest to their parent star are likely to have dense steamy atmospheres and the more distant ones probably have icy surfaces. In terms of size, density and the amount of radiation it receives from its star, the fourth planet out is the most similar to Earth. It seems to be the rockiest planet of the seven, and has the potential to host liquid water.

    Planets around the faint red star TRAPPIST-1, just 40 light-years from Earth, were first detected by the TRAPPIST-South telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in 2016.


    ESO Belgian robotic Trappist-South National Telescope at Cerro La Silla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    In the following year further observations from ground-based telescopes, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, revealed that there were no fewer than seven planets in the system, each roughly the same size as the Earth. They are named TRAPPIST-1b,c,d,e,f,g and h, with increasing distance from the central star [1].

    NASA/Spitzer Infrared Telescope

    Further observations have now been made, both from telescopes on the ground, including the nearly-complete SPECULOOS facility at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, and from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Kepler Space Telescope.

    NASA/Kepler Telescope

    A team of scientists led by Simon Grimm at the University of Bern in Switzerland have now applied very complex computer modelling methods to all the available data and have determined the planets’ densities with much better precision than was possible before [2].

    Simon Grimm explains how the masses are found: “The TRAPPIST-1 planets are so close together that they interfere with each other gravitationally, so the times when they pass in front of the star shift slightly. These shifts depend on the planets’ masses, their distances and other orbital parameters. With a computer model, we simulate the planets’ orbits until the calculated transits agree with the observed values, and hence derive the planetary masses.”

    Team member Eric Agol comments on the significance: “A goal of exoplanet studies for some time has been to probe the composition of planets that are Earth-like in size and temperature. The discovery of TRAPPIST-1 and the capabilities of ESO’s facilities in Chile and the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope in orbit have made this possible — giving us our first glimpse of what Earth-sized exoplanets are made of!”

    The measurements of the densities, when combined with models of the planets’ compositions, strongly suggest that the seven TRAPPIST-1 planets are not barren rocky worlds. They seem to contain significant amounts of volatile material, probably water [3], amounting to up to 5% the planet’s mass in some cases — a huge amount; by comparison the Earth has only about 0.02% water by mass!

    “Densities, while important clues to the planets’ compositions, do not say anything about habitability. However, our study is an important step forward as we continue to explore whether these planets could support life,” said Brice-Olivier Demory, co-author at the University of Bern.

    TRAPPIST-1b and c, the innermost planets, are likely to have rocky cores and be surrounded by atmospheres much thicker than Earth’s. TRAPPIST-1d, meanwhile, is the lightest of the planets at about 30 percent the mass of Earth. Scientists are uncertain whether it has a large atmosphere, an ocean or an ice layer.

    Scientists were surprised that TRAPPIST-1e is the only planet in the system slightly denser than Earth, suggesting that it may have a denser iron core and that it does not necessarily have a thick atmosphere, ocean or ice layer. It is mysterious that TRAPPIST-1e appears to be so much rockier in its composition than the rest of the planets. In terms of size, density and the amount of radiation it receives from its star, this is the planet that is most similar to Earth.

    TRAPPIST-1f, g and h are far enough from the host star that water could be frozen into ice across their surfaces. If they have thin atmospheres, they would be unlikely to contain the heavy molecules that we find on Earth, such as carbon dioxide.

    “It is interesting that the densest planets are not the ones that are the closest to the star, and that the colder planets cannot harbour thick atmospheres,” notes Caroline Dorn, study co-author based at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

    The TRAPPIST-1 system will continue to be a focus for intense scrutiny in the future with many facilities on the ground and in space, including ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope and the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.

    Astronomers are also working hard to search for further planets around faint red stars like TRAPPIST-1. As team member Michaël Gillon explains [4]: “This result highlights the huge interest of exploring nearby ultracool dwarf stars — like TRAPPIST-1 — for transiting terrestrial planets. This is exactly the goal of SPECULOOS, our new exoplanet search that is about to start operations at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.”
    Notes

    [1] The planets were discovered using the ground-based TRAPPIST-South at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile; TRAPPIST-North in Morocco; the orbiting NASA Spitzer Space Telescope; ESO’s HAWK-I instrument on the Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile; the 3.8-metre UKIRT in Hawaii; the 2-metre Liverpool and 4-metre William Herschel telescopes on La Palma in the Canary Islands; and the 1-metre SAAO telescope in South Africa.

    ESO HAWK-I on the ESO VLT


    UKIRT, located on Mauna Kea, Hawai’i, USA as part of Mauna Kea Observatory,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

    2-metre Liverpool Telescope at La Palma in the Canary Islands, Altitude 2,363 m (7,753 ft)


    ING 4 meter William Herschel Telescope at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands, 2,396 m (7,861 ft)


    SAAO 1.9 meter Telescope, at the SAAO observation station 15Kms from the small Karoo town of Sutherland in the Northern Cape, a 4-hour drive from Cape Town.

    [2] Measuring the densities of exoplanets is not easy. You need to find out both the size of the planet and its mass. The TRAPPIST-1 planets were found using the transit method — by searching for small dips in the brightness of the star as a planet passes across its disc and blocks some light.

    Planet transit. NASA/Ames

    This gives a good estimate of the planet’s size. However, measuring a planet’s mass is harder — if no other effects are present planets with different masses have the same orbits and there is no direct way to tell them apart. But there is a way in a multi-planet system — more massive planets disturb the orbits of the other planets more than lighter ones. This in turn affects the timing of transits. The team led by Simon Grimm have used these complicated and very subtle effects to estimate the most likely masses for all seven planets, based on a large body of timing data and very sophisticated data analysis and modelling.

    [3] The models used also consider alternative volatiles, such as carbon dioxide. However, they favour water, as vapour, liquid or ice, as the most likely largest component of the planets’ surface material as water is the most abundant source of volatiles for solar abundance protoplanetary discs.

    [4] The SPECULOOS survey telescopes facility is nearly complete at ESO’s Paranal Observatory.

    More information

    This research was presented in a paper entitled The nature of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets, by S. Grimm et al., to appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

    The team is composed of Simon L. Grimm (University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland) , Brice-Olivier Demory (University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland), Michaël Gillon (Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research Institute, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Caroline Dorn (University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland; University of Zurich, Institute of Computational Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland), Eric Agol (University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA; NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Virtual Planetary Laboratory, Seattle, Washington, USA; Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, Paris, France), Artem Burdanov (Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research Institute, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Laetitia Delrez (Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, UK; Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research Institute, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Marko Sestovic (University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland), Amaury H.M.J. Triaud (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK; University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK), Martin Turbet (Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, IPSL, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, CNRS, Paris, France), Émeline Bolmont (Université Paris Diderot, AIM, Sorbonne Paris Cité, CEA, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette, France), Anthony Caldas (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, Pessac, France), Julien de Wit (Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA), Emmanuël Jehin (Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research Institute, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Jérémy Leconte (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, Pessac, France), Sean N. Raymond (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, Pessac, France), Valérie Van Grootel (Space Sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research Institute, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium), Adam J. Burgasser (Center for Astrophysics and Space Science, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA), Sean Carey (IPAC, Calif. Inst. of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA), Daniel Fabrycky (Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA), Kevin Heng (University of Bern, Center for Space and Habitability, Bern, Switzerland), David M. Hernandez (Department of Physics and Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA), James G. Ingalls (IPAC, Calif. Inst. of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA), Susan Lederer (NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, USA), Franck Selsis (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Bordeaux, Univ. Bordeaux, CNRS, Pessac, France) and Didier Queloz (Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, UK).

    See the full article here .
    See the Hubble article here.
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

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    Visit ESO in Social Media-

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    ESO 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 European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 8:13 am on October 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , EOSC Declaration, EOSC-European Open Science Cloud, ESO - European Southern Observatory, European Commission   

    From ESO: “ESO Endorses the European Open Science Cloud Declaration” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    6 October 2017
    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    rhook@eso.org

    Andrew Williams
    ESO International Relations Officer
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6278
    awilliam@eso.org

    Martino Romaniello
    ESO
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6565
    mromanie@eso.org

    ESO has endorsed the EOSC Declaration and expressed its support for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative on open access to scientific data. The EOSC is an exciting initiative of the European Commission, that recognises the vital need for open access to trusted and reliable data in today’s world of scientific research. In a letter to the European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, and EC Director-General of Research and Innovation, Robert-Jan Smits, ESO’s Director General Xavier Barcons offered ESO’s expertise towards supporting the governance of the EOSC and in particular with helping to improve the stewardship of archive data in order to enable further scientific discoveries.

    The EOSC aims to bring about and support changes that accelerate the transition to more effective open science and open innovation by removing barriers to the re-use of research data and tools. The ultimate goal is a globally accessible environment, operating under well-defined and trusted conditions, in which researchers, innovators, companies and citizens can publish, find and re-use each other’s data and tools for research, innovation and educational purposes.

    Astronomy has long been at the forefront of offering well-managed, curated and open access to data. ESO itself has a long tradition in this area and fostered scientific advancements from the La Silla, Paranal and ALMA Observatories by providing data processing tools and by developing and operating their respective science archives. Furthermore, ESO’s own history is testament to the scientific benefits from intergovernmental cooperation and the fluid transfer of ideas, resources and people across borders. In light of this, ESO can expect to play a leading role in the push towards open science in Europe and beyond.

    The EOSC aims to bring about and support changes that accelerate the transition to more effective open science and open innovation by removing barriers to the re-use of research data and tools. The ultimate goal is a globally accessible environment, operating under well-defined and trusted conditions, in which researchers, innovators, companies and citizens can publish, find and re-use each other’s data and tools for research, innovation and educational purposes.

    Astronomy has long been at the forefront of offering well-managed, curated and open access to data. ESO itself has a long tradition in this area and fostered scientific advancements from the La Silla, Paranal and ALMA Observatories by providing data processing tools and by developing and operating their respective science archives. Furthermore, ESO’s own history is testament to the scientific benefits from intergovernmental cooperation and the fluid transfer of ideas, resources and people across borders. In light of this, ESO can expect to play a leading role in the push towards open science in Europe and beyond.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO 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 European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

     
  • richardmitnick 11:43 am on September 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, ,   

    From Pale Red Dot: “HARPS data release #3, independent analyzes & more” 

    Pale Red Dot

    Pale Red Dot

    1
    This unusual Picture of the Week showcases the latest data on Proxima Cenaturi gathered by ESO’s exoplanet hunter, the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), during the ongoing Red Dots campaign. The top left graph displays the 2016 data that confirmed the existence of Proxima b, showing how the planet is causing its parent star, Proxima Centauri, to move towards and away from Earth over time. The curved line represents the wobbling signal of the star, with the regular pattern of changing radial velocities (RV) repeating every 11.2 days. The top right graph shows new measurements made with HARPS during the Red Dots campaign in 2017. The new data once again supports the presence of Proxima b’s signal (in yellow), but also includes additional patterns visible here as a downward slope in both the 2016 and 2017 campaigns, hinting that there may be more to be discovered. To make a firmer statement on what is causing these patterns, astronomers need to use quantitative mathematical tools. One such mathematical tool is called a periodogram, which searches for repeating signals in the data displayed here as prominent peaks. Several periods seem promising but it is hard to make a quantitative argument favouring one or another. This typically happens on poorly sampled signals and when the variability is caused by stellar activity.

    As featured in the current ESO picture of the Week, Proxima Centauri keeps showing extra variability beyond the wobble caused by Proxima b. The nature of the variability remains unclear so conclusive evidence will require the combination of all available data (HARPS, UVES spectrometers; but also photometric time-series being collected in both professional and Pro-Am observatories). We will be posting the photometric measurements in short.

    The new radial velocity measurements are now available for download on our website. Share your thoughts or analyses in the comments or via social media Twitter @RedDotsSpace or Facebook.

    For example, our colleagues Mario Damasso and Fabio Del Sordo also have been looking at the new Proxima data (based on HARPS data release #2). This is what they have found so far.

    Proxima re-reloaded! Vol. 1

    by Mario Damasso and Fabio Del Sordo

    We have analysed the radial velocities of Proxima including the new dataset, for a total of 248 measurements. We have modeled the stellar “noise” component through a Gaussian process regression, as we did in our previous work (Damasso & Del Sordo, A&A, 599A 126D, 2017), using a quasi-periodic covariance function, which is particularly suitable when a signal with a frequency related to the stellar rotation period is present in the data.

    Here we briefly summarize the results of the first model we have tested, that takes into account the existence of only one planet. Our discussion is based on the results corresponding to the Maximum a Posteriori likelihood (MAP), i.e. we are presenting single values for all the free parameters of our model corresponding to the maximum of the likelihood function we have used as figure of merit.

    First of all, we recover a planetary signal with semi-amplitude K=1.46 m/s, with orbital period P=11.186 days, moving on a nearly circular orbit (see fig 1.): the signal, already evident in the previous dataset, is therefore once again clearly confirmed.

    2
    Fig 1: Folded phase curve for all the radial velocities collected for Proxima. The red curve represents the best-fit planetary signal we have derived for Proxima b.

    These new data also confirm our previous results. The rotation period of Proxima is present in the radial velocity dataset, because we find a signal with rotational period of about 87 days modeled as correlated noise. One parameter of our model can be seen as the average lifetime of the active regions, for which we find a value of 312 days. The correlated stellar noise induced by stellar activity has an estimated amplitude of 1.82 m/s. All these results are consistent with our previous findings.

    We have analysed the residuals of this model, and we do not find evidence for additional, significant frequencies left in the data. We are now running a model which includes two planets. Stay tuned!
    Links

    European Southern Observatory; Picture of the Week, https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1737a/
    Damasso & Del Sordo, “Proxima Centauri reloaded: Unravelling the stellar noise in radial velocities”, Astronomy & Astrophysics 2017, Vol 26A, http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2017A%26A…599A.126D

    See the full article here.

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    Centauris Alpha Beta Proxima 27, February 2012. Skatebiker

    What is PALE RED DOT?

    It is an outreach project to show to the public how scientists are working to address a major question that could affect us all, namely are there Earth-like planets around the nearest stars?

    Why we call it PALE RED DOT?

    In 1990, Voyager 1, on its trek towards interstellar space, sent back a picture of the Inner Solar System on which the Earth occupied less than a pixel. This image of Earth was called Pale Blue Dot, and inspired the late Carl Sagan’s essay ‘Pale Blue Dot : A vision of the human future in Space’, which in turn has been the source of inspiration for a generation of exoplanet hunters. Given that Proxima Centauri — or just Proxima — is a red dwarf star, such a planet would show reddish tints. Even if successful, we will only obtain information about its orbital period and mass — even less than Voyager 1’s pale blue pixel… at least for now!

    What is special about the project?

    Proxima Centauri is the nearest star to the Sun. The discovery of a planet with some characteristics like Earth in our immediate vicinity would be momentous. After years of data acquisition by many researchers and teams, a signal has been identified which may indicate the presence of an Earth-like planet. The Pale Red Dot project will carry out further detailed observations with the aim to confirm or refute the presence of the planet. By broadcasting the progress and results of the observations through all media channels available e.g. press, website, and social media, the Pale Red Dot project aims to promote Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the broader society, inform the public and hopefully inspire a new generation of scientists.

    How such a scientific program is organized?

    The planned observation campaign is based on a proposal submitted by the involved scientists to ESO, LCOGT and BOOTES observatories. The proposals, in turn, are based on the analysis of data accumulated and obtained over the years by ourselves or by other researchers abroad. Observatories and other advanced research facilities are mostly supported by public resources, large international consortia and private foundations.

    How the results will be reported?

    As in any professional scientific work, final results need to be reviewed by the community before being announced. After the campaign is finished by April 1st, the really tough process of analyzing the data, drawing conclusions and presenting them in a credible manner will begin. After that, the analysis will be summarized in an article and submitted to a scientific journal. At that point, one or more scientists NOT involved in the project will critically revise the work, suggest modifications and even reject its publication if fundamental flaws are spotted. This last step of peer-review can take any time between a few months to a year or two. Hopefully, the data will prove to be high quality and the observations will have a straightforward interpretation, but that is just a hope. A few key milestones of the peer-review process will also be reported on the website, which might remain active at a lower activity level after the observing campaign has finished.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:21 pm on August 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, , ESO’s VLT Detects Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars, ,   

    From ESO: “ESO’s VLT Detects Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    26 October 2016 [Just found this. Don’t know how I missed it.]
    Elena Borisova
    ETH Zurich
    Switzerland
    Tel: +41 44 633 77 09
    Email: borisova@phys.ethz.ch

    Sebastiano Cantalupo
    ETH Zurich
    Switzerland
    Tel: +41 44 633 70 57
    Email: cantalupo@phys.ethz.ch

    Mathias Jäger
    Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 176 62397500
    Email: mjaeger@partner.eso.org

    1
    An international team of astronomers has discovered glowing gas clouds surrounding distant quasars. This new survey by the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope indicates that halos around quasars are far more common than expected. The properties of the halos in this surprising find are also in striking disagreement with currently accepted theories of galaxy formation in the early Universe.

    An international collaboration of astronomers, led by a group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland, has used the unrivalled observing power of MUSE on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory to study gas around distant active galaxies, less than two billion years after the Big Bang.

    ESO MUSE on the VLT

    These active galaxies, called quasars, contain supermassive black holes in their centres, which consume stars, gas, and other material at an extremely high rate. This, in turn, causes the galaxy centre to emit huge amounts of radiation, making quasars the most luminous and active objects in the Universe.

    The study involved 19 quasars, selected from among the brightest that are observable with MUSE. Previous studies have shown that around 10% of all quasars examined were surrounded by halos, made from gas known as the intergalactic medium. These halos extend up to 300 000 light-years away from the centres of the quasars. This new study, however, has thrown up a surprise, with the detection of large halos around all 19 quasars observed — far more than the two halos that were expected statistically. The team suspects this is due to the vast increase in the observing power of MUSE over previous similar instruments, but further observations are needed to determine whether this is the case.

    “It is still too early to say if this is due to our new observational technique or if there is something peculiar about the quasars in our sample. So there is still a lot to learn; we are just at the beginning of a new era of discoveries”, says lead author Elena Borisova, from the ETH Zurich.

    The original goal of the study was to analyse the gaseous components of the Universe on the largest scales; a structure sometimes referred to as the cosmic web, in which quasars form bright nodes [1].

    Dark matter cosmic web and the large-scale structure it forms The Millenium Simulation, V. Springel et al

    The gaseous components of this web are normally extremely difficult to detect, so the illuminated halos of gas surrounding the quasars deliver an almost unique opportunity to study the gas within this large-scale cosmic structure.

    The 19 newly-detected halos also revealed another surprise: they consist of relatively cold intergalactic gas — approximately 10 000 degrees Celsius. This revelation is in strong disagreement with currently accepted models of the structure and formation of galaxies, which suggest that gas in such close proximity to galaxies should have temperatures upwards of a million degrees.

    The discovery shows the potential of MUSE for observing this type of object [2]. Co-author Sebastiano Cantalupo is very excited about the new instrument and the opportunities it provides: “We have exploited the unique capabilities of MUSE in this study, which will pave the way for future surveys. Combined with a new generation of theoretical and numerical models, this approach will continue to provide a new window on cosmic structure formation and galaxy evolution.”

    Notes

    [1] The cosmic web is the structure of the Universe at the largest scale. It is comprised of spindly filaments of primordial material (mostly hydrogen and helium gas) and dark matter which connect galaxies and span the chasms between them. The material in this web can feed along the filaments into galaxies and drive their growth and evolution.

    [2] MUSE is an integral field spectrograph and combines spectrographic and imaging capabilities. It can observe large astronomical objects in their entirety in one go, and for each pixel measure the intensity of the light as a function of its colour, or wavelength.

    This research was presented in the paper Ubiquitous giant Lyα nebulae around the brightest quasars at z ~ 3.5 revealed with MUSE, to appear in The Astrophysical Journal.

    The team is composed of Elena Borisova, Sebastiano Cantalupo, Simon J. Lilly, Raffaella A. Marino and Sofia G. Gallego (Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Roland Bacon and Jeremy Blaizot (University of Lyon, Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, Saint-Genis-Laval, France), Nicolas Bouché (Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Toulouse, France), Jarle Brinchmann (Leiden Observatory, Leiden, The Netherlands; Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, Porto, Portugal), C Marcella Carollo (Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Joseph Caruana (Department of Physics, University of Malta, Msida, Malta; Institute of Space Sciences & Astronomy, University of Malta, Malta), Hayley Finley (Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, Toulouse, France), Edmund C. Herenz (Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany), Johan Richard (Univ Lyon, Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, Saint-Genis-Laval, France), Joop Schaye and Lorrie A. Straka (Leiden Observatory, Leiden, The Netherlands), Monica L. Turner (MIT-Kavli Center for Astrophysics and Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA), Tanya Urrutia (Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany), Anne Verhamme (University of Lyon, Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, Saint-Genis-Laval, France), Lutz Wisotzki (Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany).

    See the full article here .

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    ESO 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 European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

     
  • richardmitnick 1:53 pm on August 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, , The star S2   

    From ESO: “First Evidence for Relativity Effects in Stars Orbiting Supermassive Black Hole at Centre of Galaxy” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    9 August 2017
    Marzieh Parsa
    I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln
    Köln, Germany
    Tel: +49(0)221/470-3495
    Email: parsa@ph1.uni-koeln.de

    Andreas Eckart
    I. Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln
    Köln, Germany
    Tel: +49(0)221/470-3546
    Email: eckart@ph1.uni-koeln.de

    Vladimir Karas
    Astronomical Institute, Academy of Science
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Tel: +420-226 258 420
    Email: vladimir.karas@cuni.cz

    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    A new analysis of data from ESO’s Very Large Telescope and other telescopes [I have asked ESO repeatedly to credit all telscopes used in any project, as they are all supported by public money. They apparently prefer to leave us in the dark.] they reveals for the first time that the orbits of stars around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way show the subtle effects predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The orbit of the star S2 is found to be deviating slightly from the path calculated using classical physics. This tantalising result is a prelude to much more precise measurements and tests of relativity that will be made using the GRAVITY instrument as star S2 passes very close to the black hole in 2018.

    ESO GRAVITY insrument on The VLT

    This artist’s impression shows the orbits of three of the stars very close to the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. Analysis of data from ESO’s Very Large Telescope and other telescopes has revealed that the orbits of these stars show the subtle effects predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The orbit of the star called S2 is found to be deviating slightly from the path calculated using classical physics.
    The position of the supermassive black hole is marked with a white circle with a blue halo. Credit: ESO/M. Parsa/L. Calçada


    The orbit of the star S2 is found to be deviating slightly from the path calculated using classical physics. This tantalising result is a prelude to much more precise measurements and tests of relativity that will be made using the GRAVITY instrument as star S2 passes very close to the black hole in 2018.

    At the centre of the Milky Way, 26 000 light-years from Earth, lies the closest supermassive black hole, which has a mass four million times that of the Sun. This monster is surrounded by a small group of stars orbiting at high speed in the black hole’s very strong gravitational field. It is a perfect environment in which to test gravitational physics, and particularly Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

    A team of German and Czech astronomers have now applied new analysis techniques to the very rich set of existing observations of the stars orbiting the black hole, accumulated using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and others over the last twenty years [1]. They compare the measured star orbits to predictions made using classical Newtonian gravity as well as predictions from general relativity.

    The team found evidence for a small change in the motion of one of the stars, known as S2, that is consistent with the predictions of general relativity [2]. The change due to relativistic effects amounts to only a few percent in the shape of the orbit, as well as only about one sixth of a degree in the orientation of the orbit [3]. This is the first time that a measurement of the strength of the general relativistic effects has been achieved for stars orbiting a supermassive black hole.

    Marzieh Parsa, PhD student at the University of Cologne, Germany and lead author of the paper [The Astropysical Journel], is delighted: “The Galactic Centre really is the best laboratory to study the motion of stars in a relativistic environment. I was amazed how well we could apply the methods we developed with simulated stars to the high-precision data for the innermost high-velocity stars close to the supermassive black hole.”

    3
    The central parts of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, as observed in the near-infrared with the NACO instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The position of the centre, which harbours the (invisible) black hole known as Sgr A*,with a mass 4 million times that of the Sun, is marked by the orange cross.

    The star S2 will make a close pass around the black hole in 2018 when it will be used as a unique probe of the strong gravity and act as a test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Credit: ESO/MPE/S. Gillessen et al.

    The high accuracy of the positional measurements, made possible by the VLT’s near-infrared adaptive optics instruments, was essential for the success of the study [4]. These were vital not only during the star’s close approach to the black hole, but particularly during the time when S2 was further away from the black hole. The latter data allowed an accurate determination of the shape of the orbit and how it is changing under the influence of relativity.

    “During the course of our analysis we realised that to determine relativistic effects for S2 one definitely needs to know the full orbit to very high precision,” comments Andreas Eckart, team leader at the University of Cologne.

    As well as more precise information about the orbit of the star S2, the new analysis also gives the mass of the black hole and its distance from Earth to a higher degree of accuracy [5].

    Co-author Vladimir Karas from the Academy of Sciences in Prague, the Czech Republic, is excited about the future: “It is very reassuring that S2 shows relativistic effects as expected on the basis of its proximity to the extreme mass concentration at the centre of the Milky Way. This opens up an avenue for more theory and experiments in this sector of science.”

    This analysis is a prelude to an exciting period for observations of the Galactic Centre by astronomers around the world. During 2018 the star S2 will make a very close approach to the supermassive black hole. This time the GRAVITY instrument, developed by a large international consortium led by the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik in Garching, Germany [6], and installed on the VLT Interferometer [7], will be available to help measure the orbit much more precisely than is currently possible. Not only is this expected to reveal the general relativistic effects very clearly, but also it will allow astronomers to look for deviations from general relativity that might reveal new physics.
    Notes

    [1] Data from the near-infrared NACO camera now at VLT Unit Telescope 1 (Antu) and the near-infrared imaging spectrometer SINFONI at the Unit Telescope 4 (Yepun) were used for this study. Some additional published data obtained at the Keck Observatory were also used.

    ESO/NACO

    ESO/SINFONI


    Keck Observatory, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA

    [2] S2 is a 15-solar-mass star on an elliptical orbit around the supermassive black hole. It has a period of about 15.6 years and gets as close as 17 light-hours to the black hole — or just 120 times the distance between the Sun and the Earth.

    [3] A similar, but much smaller, effect is seen in the changing orbit of the planet Mercury in the Solar System. That measurement was one of the best early pieces of evidence in the late nineteenth century suggesting that Newton’s view of gravity was not the whole story and that a new approach and new insights were needed to understand gravity in the strong-field case. This ultimately led to Einstein publishing his general theory of relativity, based on curved spacetime, in 1915.

    When the orbits of stars or planets are calculated using general relativity, rather than Newtonian gravity, they evolve differently. Predictions of the small changes to the shape and orientation of orbits with time are different in the two theories and can be compared to measurements to test the validity of general relativity.

    [4] An adaptive optics system compensates for the image distortions produced by the turbulent atmosphere in real time and allows the telescope to be used at much angular resolution (image sharpness), in principle limited only by the mirror diameter and the wavelength of light used for the observations.

    [5] The team finds a black hole mass of 4.2 × 106 times the mass of the Sun, and a distance from us of 8.2 kiloparsecs, corresponding to almost 27 000 light-years.

    [6] The University of Cologne is part of the GRAVITY team (http://www.mpe.mpg.de/ir/gravity) and contributed the beam combiner spectrometers to the system.

    [7] GRAVITY First Light was in early 2016 and it is already observing the Galactic Centre.

    The team is composed of Marzieh Parsa, Andreas Eckart (I.Physikalisches Institut of the University of Cologne, Germany; Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, Germany), Banafsheh Shahzamanian (I.Physikalisches Institut of the University of Cologne, Germany), Christian Straubmeier (I.Physikalisches Institut of the University of Cologne, Germany), Vladimir Karas (Astronomical Institute, Academy of Science, Prague, Czech Republic), Michal Zajacek (Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, Germany; I.Physikalisches Institut of the University of Cologne, Germany) and J. Anton Zensus (Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, Germany).

    See the full article here .

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    ESO 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 European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

     
    • Jose 3:04 pm on September 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Here you may find a simple post-Newtonian solution for Mercury’s orbit precession
      Gravity is a little big bigger than in Newton’s law; it increases with speed -kinetic energy- where the maximum is the double gravity in the case of light.
      Global Physics also predicts the anomalous precession of Mercury’s orbit as Paul Gerber did 20 years before Einstein. https://molwick.com/en/gravitation/077-mercury-orbit.html

      Like

  • richardmitnick 10:52 am on August 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, ESOcast 119   

    From ESO: ESOcast 119 AOF First Light 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    Published on Aug 2, 2017

    ESO’s new Adaptive Optics Facility has just opened its eyes to the sky for the first time. Coupled with the revolutionary instrument MUSE, this is one of the most advanced and powerful technological systems ever built for ground-based astronomy.

    More information and download options: http://www.eso.org/public/videos/eso1…

    Subscribe to ESOcast in iTunes! https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/esoc…

    Receive future episodes on YouTube by pressing the Subscribe button above or follow us on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/esoastronomy

    Watch more ESOcast episodes: http://www.eso.org/public/videos/arch…

    Find out how to view and contribute subtitles for the ESOcast in multiple languages, or translate this video on YouTube: http://www.eso.org/public/outreach/pa…

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO 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 European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

     
  • richardmitnick 9:10 am on July 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO - European Southern Observatory, ,   

    From Manu Garcia of IAC: “NGC 1365, two visions of the same galaxy.” 


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    An elegant galaxy in an unusual light.

    1
    NGC 1365.

    A new image taken with the powerful HAWK-I camera from the ESO Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile shows the beautiful barred spiral galaxy NGC 1365 in infrared light. NGC 1365 is a member of the Fornax cluster of galaxies and lies about 60 million light years from Earth.

    ESO HAWK-I the ESO Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile

    ESO/VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    NGC 1365 is one of the best known and most studied barred spiral galaxies and is nicknamed sometimes as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy because of its remarkable perfect form, with the straight bar and two very prominent outer spiral arms. Closer to the center there is also a second spiral structure and the galaxy is shrouded in dust delicate features.

    This galaxy NGC 1365 is an excellent laboratory for astronomers to study how they form and develop barred spiral galaxies. The new infrared images from HAWK-I, previous image, are less affected by the dust that obscures parts of the galaxy, as with visible light images, see next image, and reveal very clearly the glow from vast numbers of stars in both the bar and the spiral arms. This information was obtained to help astronomers understand the complex flow of material into the galaxy and how it affects the gas reserves from which can form new galaxies. The huge bar disturbs the shape of the gravitational field of the galaxy and this affects areas where gas is compressed and star formation triggered. Many huge young star clusters outline the main arm each containing hundreds of thousands of bright young stars that are less than ten million years. Galaxy is very remote as to be able to observe individual stars in this image and most visible tiny spots in this picture are really star clusters. Throughout the galaxy they are forming stars at a rate of about three times the mass of our Sun every year.

    2
    Comparison of images of the galaxy NGC 1365 in visible light (left) and infrared (right).

    While the bar of the galaxy consists mainly of older stars that have already passed its fullness, many new stars are born in “stellar nurseries” of gas and dust in the inner spiral close to the nucleus. The bar also funnels gas and dust gravitationally into the center of the galaxy, where astronomers have found evidence of the presence of a supermassive black hole, well hidden among a large number of new stars glowing same.

    NGC 1365 , including its two huge outer spiral arms, spreads over 200,000 light-years. A different parts of the galaxy take different times they make a full rotation around the center of the galaxy. The outer parts of the bar completing one circuit in about 350 million years. NGC 1365 and other galaxies of its type have gained more notoriety in recent years with new observations indicating that the Milky Way may also be a barred spiral galaxy. Such galaxies are quite common: two – thirds of spiral galaxies are barred according to recent estimates, and studying others can help astronomers understand our own galactic home.

    ESO Bloc Icon

    Additional Information.
    ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organization in Europe and the most productive astronomical observatory in the world. It is supported by 14 countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Holland, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland. ESO carries out an ambitious program focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing that allow astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organizing cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique observing sites world-class Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced optical observatory. ESO is the European partner of a revolutionary astronomical telescope ALMA, the largest astronomical project. ESO is currently planning a European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, optical and close to 42 meters in diameter, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky” infrared telescope.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)[/caption

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 1:04 pm on July 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Australia Enters Strategic Partnership with ESO, ESO - European Southern Observatory   

    From ESO: “Australia Enters Strategic Partnership with ESO” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    11 July 2017

    Randal Markey
    Office of the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
    Parliament House, Canberra ACT, Australia
    Tel: +61 2 6277 7070
    Email: randal.markey@industry.gov.au

    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    At a ceremony today in Canberra, Australia, an arrangement was signed to begin a ten-year strategic partnership between ESO and Australia. The partnership will further strengthen ESO’s programme, both scientifically and technically, and will give Australian astronomers and industry access to the La Silla Paranal Observatory. It may also be the first step towards Australia becoming an ESO Member State.

    In May 2017 the Australian Government announced its intentions to negotiate a strategic partnership with ESO in order to give Australian astronomers access to ESO’s state-of-the-art research infrastructure. This partnership has now been formalised and will begin immediately. It means that Australia will financially contribute to ESO for ten years, with the potential of then obtaining full membership. The proposed partnership was unanimously approved by the ESO Council.

    The signature ceremony was held at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, during the annual meeting of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

    Introductions were made by Nobel Laureate and ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt, and were followed by speeches from ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw, and the Australian Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos, who then together signed the arrangement. The ceremony was attended by senior ESO representatives, members of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, and distinguished guests.

    Senator Arthur Sinodinos said: “This important partnership with a world-class organisation, such as the European Southern Observatory, will allow Australia to maintain its research excellence in this era of global astronomy, and it provides crucial opportunities for Australian influence and technical and scientific input, stimulating international research and industry collaborations.”

    “Today we sign a strategic arrangement that will give Australian astronomers — as well as technical institutes and industries — access to the La Silla Paranal Observatory,” added ESO Director General Tim de Zeeuw. “An association between Australia and ESO has been a goal for me for more than 20 years, and I am very pleased that it is now becoming a reality.”

    This partnership will allow Australian astronomers to participate in all activities relating to ESO’s La Silla Paranal Observatory facilities — specifically, the Very Large Telescope, the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, VISTA, VST, the ESO 3.6-metre telescope, and the New Technology Telescope. The partnership will also open up opportunities for Australian scientists and industry to collaborate with ESO Member State institutions on upcoming instruments at these observatories.

    Australia’s expertise in instrumentation, including advanced adaptive optics and fibre-optic technology, is ideally matched with ESO’s instrumentation programme. In turn, Australia will gain access to industrial, instrumentation and scientific opportunities at the La Silla Paranal Observatory, essentially being considered a Member State for all matters relating to these facilities. The results of such collaborations are eagerly anticipated by the ESO community.

    Tim de Zeeuw further comments: “Australia’s contributions to the partnership will strengthen ESO, and ESO’s facilities will allow Australian astronomers to make many discoveries and develop the next generation of high-tech instrumentation to the benefit of science and technology worldwide. I believe that this is also a key step towards full membership of ESO in due course.”

    Australia has a long and rich history of internationally acclaimed astronomical research. Its already very active and successful astronomical community will undoubtedly thrive with long-term access to ESO’s cutting-edge facilities. This European–Australian collaboration will lead to fundamental new advances in science and technology that neither could hope to achieve alone.

    Links

    Tim de Zeeuw’s speech at the signing ceremony
    Australian press release
    Australian Decadal Plan

    [From where I sit, I can only experience jealousy. If Australia can join ESO, why not the U.S.A.? True, we have our own great history in Astronomy. But so does Australia, which will be the leader in SKA, even if it is managed from Jodrell Bank. In my work on this blog, I see Australia as a juggernaut in Basic and Applied Scientific research. I see our NSF backing away, especially in Radio Astronomy. Good luck to Australia and ESO in this new relationship.]

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO 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 European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert

     
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