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  • richardmitnick 12:55 pm on December 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ESO, Light polution- avoiding it in Chile   

    From Carnegie Institution for Science: “Carnegie astronomers preserve dark skies for generations” 

    Carnegie Institution for Science
    From Carnegie Institution for Science

    1
    Distant lights from Las Campanas Observatory by Ricardo García

    12.16.18
    Guillermo A. Blanc
    Staff Associate Astronomer
    Carnegie Observatories

    Fifty years ago, when the first international observatories were installed in Chile, light pollution seemed unthinkable due to the low population density and small size of villages and mining sites in the Atacama Desert. A few decades later, Chile’s economic growth has brought it to the brink of becoming a developed country. This is great for our operations at Las Campanas Observatory (LCO) because of improved communications, energy, and transportation infrastructure, as well as a better prepared local workforce. But with this development comes the threat of light pollution.

    Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory in the southern Atacama Desert of Chile in the Atacama Region approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena,near the southern end and over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    Carnegie 6.5 meter Magellan Baade and Clay Telescopes located at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory, Chile. over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    While 50 years ago the main astronomical sites in Chile all had virgin skies, the luminous haloes of growing cities, highways, and mining sites, are starting to have an impact on the sky’s brightness. Currently the Las Campanas sky towards the zenith (that’s looking straight up) is two percent brighter than natural levels. According to simulations based on nighttime satellite imagery, half of this artificial brightness comes from a single source near the observatory: the new lighting system of the Pan-American Highway between La Serena and Vallenar.

    Don’t get me wrong! LCO is still one of the darkest and best sites on the planet for astronomy, but the evolution of light pollution, and the fact that single large projects can have a measurable effect is a bit worrisome and must be addressed. Imagine you are hiking a trail in Yosemite and you find a plastic bag with trash. That doesn’t make Yosemite a polluted park, but a place where action should taken to prevent littering to preserve its beauty. That is exactly what a team of Carnegie astronomers with representatives from other U.S. and European observatories in Chile are doing: raising awareness in the communities and helping the Chilean government in preservation efforts to allow us to have dark skies above the Atacama Desert for generations to come.

    The Carnegie Observatories in a collaboration with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO), and the Chilean Government, fund and run the Office for the Protection of the Dark Skies of Chile (OPCC for its acronym in Spanish).

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

    ESO VLT at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, •ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).
    elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft) from above Credit J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl atacama photo

    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

    Via the OPCC, we have helped Chile to be in the forefront of light pollution regulation and dark skies preservation. Since 1998, Chile has one of the world’s most stringent regulations controlling outdoor lighting in regions of astronomical interest. In 2014, these regulations were updated to properly address the use of new technologies like LED lighting. The OPCC also runs education and public outreach projects to raise awareness about light pollution and sustainable illumination practices, and organizes scientific workshops bringing together expertise on light pollution across different areas such as astronomy, medicine, biology, energy efficiency, public policy, etc.

    Chilean authorities can advance the protection of these natural laboratories, which are unique in the world. This requires an increase in the levels of compliance with current light pollution regulations and promoting new initiatives, such as the declaration of protected areas in the lands that surround astronomical observatories. It is also essential to establish a requirement to address light pollution in the environmental impact assessments, which are required for the approval of large construction and infrastructure projects like the Pan-American Highway.

    Last October, Carnegie astronomers and our OPCC partners met with the Chilean Minister of the Environment, Carolina Schmidt, in Cerro Paranal. LCO Director, Leopoldo Infante, and myself had the opportunity to talk personally with Minister Schmidt and present the need for Chile to protect the scientific, cultural, and environmental heritage that the dark skies of the Atacama Desert represent. This was just the latest in a series of activities and initiatives involving Carnegie astronomers in Chile, aimed at advocating for the protection of these magical and valuable sites. Protecting the skies above astronomical observatories will ensure that humanity can continue discovering and understanding the universe for generations to come. We were pleased that the minister stated a strong commitment to help us move forward on these issues. In the meantime, we will remain active and vigilant in the protection of our starry nights.

    See the full article here .


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    Carnegie Institution of Washington Bldg

    Andrew Carnegie established a unique organization dedicated to scientific discovery “to encourage, in the broadest and most liberal manner, investigation, research, and discovery and the application of knowledge to the improvement of mankind…” The philosophy was and is to devote the institution’s resources to “exceptional” individuals so that they can explore the most intriguing scientific questions in an atmosphere of complete freedom. Carnegie and his trustees realized that flexibility and freedom were essential to the institution’s success and that tradition is the foundation of the institution today as it supports research in the Earth, space, and life sciences.

    6.5 meter Magellan Telescopes located at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory, Chile.
    6.5 meter Magellan Telescopes located at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory, Chile

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  • richardmitnick 4:33 pm on December 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ESO, NAOMI   

    From European Southern Observatory: “NAOMI Sees First Light” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    7 December 2018
    Calum Turner
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: pio@eso.org

    1
    The New Adaptive Optics Module for Interferometry (NAOMI) has seen first light after being installed on all four 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) of ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. By introducing state-of-the-art adaptive optics technology, NAOMI has improved the imaging capabilities of the VLTI to unprecedented levels, giving the VLTI’s powerful scientific instruments such as GRAVITY a clearer view of the Universe than ever.

    ESO Auxiliary 1.8 meter telescopes and NAOMI

    ESO NAOMI sketch of the calibration bench

    The VLTI is a mode of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) that can combine up to all four ATs or the 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes of the VLT to create a virtual telescope with a diameter of up to 130 metres, allowing incredibly high-resolution observations. Using the VLTI, astronomers can study stellar surfaces, active galactic nuclei, young stars, and a variety of other intriguing astronomical objects.

    To combat the effects of atmospheric turbulence on the quality of the observations performed by the VLTI, ESO has developed the new adaptive optics system named NAOMI. The system was constructed to improve the sensitivity and performance of the VLT’s ATs in collaboration with the Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Université Grenoble Alpes).

    Developing NAOMI was a tremendously technically challenging endeavour. “The newly installed modules have to concentrate light into optical fibres only a few microns wide — barely a tenth of the width of a human hair!” explained Jean-Philippe Berger of the IPAG. “We also faced the formidable challenge of installing the four adaptive optics systems as quickly as possible in order not to disturb VLTI observations.”

    Previously, the ATs were equipped with the less sophisticated STRAP system (System for Tip/tilt Removal with Avalanche Photodiodes), which observed the effects of atmospheric turbulence and corrected the tilt of the received wavefronts by rapidly adjusting a steering mirror. Despite the valuable corrections it provided under good atmospheric conditions, image quality decreased significantly when conditions were poor.

    “Observing with the VLTI on the ATs was heavily dependent on atmospheric conditions and after every sunset we would anxiously wait to see if it would be a lucky night,” explained Julien Woillez, the VLTI Project Scientist. “NAOMI is changing all this — we can now observe efficiently even in less good seeing conditions.”

    Developing NAOMI was a tremendously technically challenging endeavour. “The newly installed modules have to concentrate light into optical fibres only a few microns wide — barely a tenth of the width of a human hair!” explained Jean-Philippe Berger of the IPAG. “We also faced the formidable challenge of installing the four adaptive optics systems as quickly as possible in order not to disturb VLTI observations.”

    Previously, the ATs were equipped with the less sophisticated STRAP system (System for Tip/tilt Removal with Avalanche Photodiodes), which observed the effects of atmospheric turbulence and corrected the tilt of the received wavefronts by rapidly adjusting a steering mirror. Despite the valuable corrections it provided under good atmospheric conditions, image quality decreased significantly when conditions were poor.

    “Observing with the VLTI on the ATs was heavily dependent on atmospheric conditions and after every sunset we would anxiously wait to see if it would be a lucky night,” explained Julien Woillez, the VLTI Project Scientist. “NAOMI is changing all this — we can now observe efficiently even in less good seeing conditions.”

    By using an advanced adaptive optics system [1], NAOMI will improve the precision of the measurements performed by the VLTI and achieve a better and more stable image quality. The VLTI’s razor-sharp new adaptive optics will enable efficient, long integrations even in degraded seeing — bringing out the best of the VLTI instruments under all atmospheric conditions.

    “On some nights it looks like the atmosphere is virtually gone! We can now observe much fainter objects,” concluded Woillez. “With NAOMI, we can now use cutting-edge second-generation instruments like PIONIER, GRAVITY, and MATISSE to their full potential.”
    Notes

    [1] A key component of the NAOMI module is a deformable mirror from the company ALPAO — in a feat of optical engineering, the shape of this mirror is updated 500 times per second, ensuring that the VLTI’s view is almost free of atmospheric turbulence.

    Links

    More information about NAOMI
    Engineering paper presenting NAOMI
    Engineering paper presenting NAOMI’s deformable mirror

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

    ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

    ESO/HARPS at La Silla

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

    ESO 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

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

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


    ESO VLT 4 lasers on Yepun

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres



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

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    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 3:33 pm on November 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO, , Super-Earth Orbiting Barnard’s Star   

    From European Southern Observatory: “Super-Earth Orbiting Barnard’s Star” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    14 November 2018

    Ignasi Ribas (Lead Scientist)
    Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya and the Institute of Space Sciences, CSIC
    Barcelona, Spain
    Tel: +34 93 737 97 88 (ext 933027)
    Email: iribas@ice.cat

    Guillem Anglada-Escudé
    Queen Mary University of London
    London, United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 3002
    Email: g.anglada@qmul.ac.uk

    Calum Turner
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6670
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: pio@eso.org

    1
    The nearest single star to the Sun hosts an exoplanet at least 3.2 times as massive as Earth — a so-called super-Earth. One of the largest observing campaigns to date using data from a world-wide array of telescopes, including ESO’s planet-hunting HARPS instrument [below], have revealed this frozen, dimly lit world. The newly discovered planet is the second-closest known exoplanet to the Earth. Barnard’s star is the fastest moving star in the night sky.

    A planet has been detected orbiting Barnard’s Star, a mere 6 light-years away. This breakthrough — announced in a paper published today in the journal Nature — is a result of the Red Dots and CARMENES projects, whose search for local rocky planets has already uncovered a new world orbiting our nearest neighbour, Proxima Centauri.

    The planet, designated Barnard’s Star b, now steps in as the second-closest known exoplanet to Earth [1]. The gathered data indicate that the planet could be a super-Earth, having a mass at least 3.2 times that of the Earth, which orbits its host star in roughly 233 days. Barnard’s Star, the planet’s host star, is a red dwarf, a cool, low-mass star, which only dimly illuminates this newly-discovered world. Light from Barnard’s Star provides its planet with only 2% of the energy the Earth receives from the Sun.

    Despite being relatively close to its parent star — at a distance only 0.4 times that between Earth and the Sun — the exoplanet lies close to the snow line, the region where volatile compounds such as water can condense into solid ice. This freezing, shadowy world could have a temperature of –170 ℃, making it inhospitable for life as we know it.

    Named for astronomer E. E. Barnard, Barnard’s Star is the closest single star to the Sun. While the star itself is ancient — probably twice the age of our Sun — and relatively inactive, it also has the fastest apparent motion of any star in the night sky [2]. Super-Earths are the most common type of planet to form around low-mass stars such as Barnard’s Star, lending credibility to this newly discovered planetary candidate. Furthermore, current theories of planetary formation predict that the snow line is the ideal location for such planets to form.

    Previous searches for a planet around Barnard’s Star have had disappointing results — this recent breakthrough was possible only by combining measurements from several high-precision instruments mounted on telescopes all over the world [3].

    “After a very careful analysis, we are 99% confident that the planet is there,” stated the team’s lead scientist, Ignasi Ribas (Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia and the Institute of Space Sciences, CSIC in Spain). “However, we’ll continue to observe this fast-moving star to exclude possible, but improbable, natural variations of the stellar brightness which could masquerade as a planet.”

    Among the instruments used were ESO’s famous planet-hunting HARPS and UVES spectrographs.

    UVES spectrograph mounted on the VLT at the Nasmyth B focus of UT2

    “HARPS played a vital part in this project. We combined archival data from other teams with new, overlapping, measurements of Barnard’s star from different facilities,” commented Guillem Anglada Escudé (Queen Mary University of London), co-lead scientist of the team behind this result [4]. “The combination of instruments was key to allowing us to cross-check our result.”

    The astronomers used the Doppler effect to find the exoplanet candidate. While the planet orbits the star, its gravitational pull causes the star to wobble. When the star moves away from the Earth, its spectrum redshifts; that is, it moves towards longer wavelengths. Similarly, starlight is shifted towards shorter, bluer, wavelengths when the star moves towards Earth.

    Astronomers take advantage of this effect to measure the changes in a star’s velocity due to an orbiting exoplanet — with astounding accuracy. HARPS can detect changes in the star’s velocity as small as 3.5 km/h — about walking pace. This approach to exoplanet hunting is known as the radial velocity method, and has never before been used to detect a similar super-Earth type exoplanet in such a large orbit around its star.

    “We used observations from seven different instruments, spanning 20 years of measurements, making this one of the largest and most extensive datasets ever used for precise radial velocity studies.” explained Ribas. ”The combination of all data led to a total of 771 measurements — a huge amount of information!”

    “We have all worked very hard on this breakthrough,” concluded Anglada-Escudé. “This discovery is the result of a large collaboration organised in the context of the Red Dots project, that included contributions from teams all over the world.

    ESO Red Dots Campaign

    Follow-up observations are already underway at different observatories worldwide.”

    Notes

    [1] The only stars closer to the Sun make up the triple star system Alpha Centauri.

    Centauris Alpha Beta Proxima 27, February 2012. Skatebiker

    In 2016, astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth in this system, Proxima Centauri. That planet lies just over 4 light-years from Earth, and was discovered by a team led by Guillem Anglada Escudé.

    [2] The total velocity of Barnard’s Star with respect to the Sun is about 500 000 km/h. Despite this blistering pace, it is not the fastest known star. What makes the star’s motion noteworthy is how fast it appears to move across the night sky as seen from the Earth, known as its apparent motion. Barnard’s Star travels a distance equivalent to the Moon’s diameter across the sky every 180 years — while this may not seem like much, it is by far the fastest apparent motion of any star.

    [3] The facilities used in this research were: HARPS [above] at the ESO 3.6-metre telescope [below]; UVES [above] at the ESO VLT [below]; HARPS-N at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo;

    Harps North at Telescopio Nazionale Galileo –

    HIRES at the Keck 10-metre telescope;

    Keck telescope HIRES


    Keck Observatory, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA.4,207 m (13,802 ft), above sea level, showing also NASA’s IRTF and NAOJ Subaru

    PFS at the Carnegie’s Magellan 6.5-m telescope;

    Carnegie Planet Finder Spectrograph on the Magellan Clay telescope at Las Campanas, Chile, Altitude 2,380 m (7,810 ft)

    Las Campanas Clay Magellan telescope, located at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of the city of La Serena, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high

    APF at the 2.4-m telescope at Lick Observatory;

    UC Observatories Lick Autmated Planet Finder, fully robotic 2.4-meter optical telescope at Lick Observatory, situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, California, USA

    and CARMENES at the Calar Alto Observatory.

    CARMENES spectrograph, mounted on the Calar Alto 3.5 meter Telescope, located in Almería province in Spain on Calar Alto, a 2,168-meter-high (7,113 ft) mountain in Sierra de Los Filabres


    Calar Alto 3.5 meter Telescope, located in Almería province in Spain on Calar Alto, a 2,168-meter-high (7,113 ft) mountain in Sierra de Los Filabres

    Additionally, observations were made with the 90-cm telescope at the Sierra Nevada Observatory,

    Sierra Remote Observatory in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Great Basin

    90 cm telescope at Observatorio de Sierra Nevada

    SNO Sierra Nevada Observatory is a high elevation observatory 2900m above the sea level located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Granada Spain and operated maintained and supplied by IAC. Altitude 2,896 m (9,501 ft)

    the 40-cm robotic telescope at the SPACEOBS observatory,

    SPACEOBS, the San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations Observatory is located at 2450m above sea level, north of the Atacama Desert, in Chile, near to the village of San Pedro de Atacama and close to the border with Bolivia and Argentina

    and the 80-cm Joan Oró Telescope of the Montsec Astronomical Observatory (OAdM).

    80-cm Joan Oró Telescope at Montsec Astronomical Observatory

    Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec (OAdM)located in the town of Sant Esteve de la Sarga (Pallars Jussà), 1,570 meters above sea level

    [4] The story behind this discovery will be explored in more detail in this week’s ESOBlog.

    More information

    The team was composed of I. Ribas (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), M. Tuomi (Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom), A. Reiners (Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, Germany), R. P. Butler (Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), J. C. Morales (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), M. Perger (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), S. Dreizler (Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, Germany), C. Rodríguez-López (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain), J. I. González Hernández (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias Spain & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), A. Rosich (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), F. Feng (Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom), T. Trifonov (Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Germany), S. S. Vogt (Lick Observatory, University of California, USA), J. A. Caballero (Centro de Astrobiología, CSIC-INTA, Spain), A. Hatzes (Thüringer Landessternwarte, Germany), E. Herrero (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), S. V. Jeffers (Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, Germany), M. Lafarga (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai, Spain & Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, Spain), F. Murgas (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), R. P. Nelson (School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom), E. Rodríguez (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain), J. B. P. Strachan (School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom), L. Tal-Or (Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, Germany & School of Geosciences, Tel-Aviv University, Israel), J. Teske (Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA & Hubble Fellow), B. Toledo-Padrón (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), M. Zechmeister (Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, Germany), A. Quirrenbach (Landessternwarte, Universität Heidelberg, Germany), P. J. Amado (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain), M. Azzaro (Centro Astronómico Hispano-Alemán, Spain), V. J. S. Béjar (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), J. R. Barnes (School of Physical Sciences, The Open University, United Kingdom), Z. M. Berdiñas (Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de Chile), J. Burt (Kavli Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA), G. Coleman (Physikalisches Institut, Universität Bern, Switzerland), M. Cortés-Contreras (Centro de Astrobiología, CSIC-INTA, Spain), J. Crane (The Observatories, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), S. G. Engle (Department of Astrophysics & Planetary Science, Villanova University, USA), E. F. Guinan (Department of Astrophysics & Planetary Science, Villanova University, USA), C. A. Haswell (School of Physical Sciences, The Open University, United Kingdom), Th. Henning (Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Germany), B. Holden (Lick Observatory, University of California, USA), J. Jenkins (Departamento de Astronomía, Universidad de Chile), H. R. A. Jones (Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom), A. Kaminski (Landessternwarte, Universität Heidelberg, Germany), M. Kiraga (Warsaw University Observatory, Poland), M. Kürster (Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Germany), M. H. Lee (Department of Earth Sciences and Department of Physics, The University of Hong Kong), M. J. López-González (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain), D. Montes (Dep. de Física de la Tierra Astronomía y Astrofísica & Unidad de Física de Partículas y del Cosmos de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain), J. Morin (Laboratoire Univers et Particules de Montpellier, Université de Montpellier, France), A. Ofir (Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science. Israel), E. Pallé (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), R. Rebolo (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain, & Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas & Universidad de La Laguna, Spain), S. Reffert (Landessternwarte, Universität Heidelberg, Germany), A. Schweitzer (Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg, Germany), W. Seifert (Landessternwarte, Universität Heidelberg, Germany), S. A. Shectman (The Observatories, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), D. Staab (School of Physical Sciences, The Open University, United Kingdom), R. A. Street (Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, USA), A. Suárez Mascareño (Observatoire Astronomique de l’Université de Genève, Switzerland & Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias Spain), Y. Tsapras (Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Germany), S. X. Wang (Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, USA), and G. Anglada-Escudé (School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom & Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain).

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

    ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

    ESO/HARPS at La Silla

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

    ESO 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

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

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


    ESO VLT 4 lasers on Yepun

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres



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

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    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 11:34 am on September 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO, Ireland to Join the European Southern Observatory   

    From European Southern Observatory: “Ireland to Join the European Southern Observatory” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    26 September 2018
    Calum Turner
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Ireland signs agreement to become ESO’s 16th Member State.

    2
    The Irish flag is hoisted for the first time at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany, signifying Ireland becoming a Member State of ESO once the ratification process is complete. The flag joins those of the other Member States, taking the total number up to 16. Credit: ESO

    1
    On 26 September, John Halligan T.D., Irish Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development and Xavier Barcons, Director General of ESO signed the Accession Agreement that will lead to Ireland joining the European Southern Observatory (ESO) — the world’s most productive astronomical observatory. ESO is looking forward to welcoming Ireland and will work with the nation’s astronomers and industry to advance the cutting edge of astronomy.

    Irish astronomers are set to gain access to the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes following the signature of Ireland’s Accession Agreement in Dublin today, 26 September 2018. The signing of the Agreement follows the unanimous approval of Irish membership by the ESO Council at a meeting on 6 June 2018.

    The formal ratification process for Irish membership of ESO has already almost been completed, following the approval of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann — the Irish National Assembly and Senate. This process will be fully completed once the instrument of ratification — an official document — is deposited at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is expected to happen within a matter of days. The day of the deposit will be the official date of the Irish accession to ESO.

    “We are delighted to welcome Ireland as the newest member of our organisation” stated ESO’s Director General, Xavier Barcons. “Ireland’s mature and thriving astronomical community will add to the broad variety of expertise in the ESO Member States, strengthening ESO’s position at the forefront of global astronomy. Irish astronomers will gain access to a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes and will have the opportunity to be part of the construction of the next generation of ESO instruments in partnership with other ESO Member States. We are also very much looking forward to working with Irish industrial partners to build and operate ESO’s state-of-the-art telescopes.”

    The accession cements the position of Ireland’s astronomical research community as an asset to worldwide astronomy. With the ESO Membership, Ireland gets access to ESO’s world-class suite of telescopes and instruments, including the Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Paranal and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) at Chajnantor, as well as the opportunity to contribute to the construction of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in coming years.

    By joining ESO, Ireland adds to their already rich astronomical history, stretching back centuries. For several decades in the 19th century, Ireland hosted the world’s largest telescope — the Leviathan of Parsonstown — a 1.8-metre reflecting telescope at Birr Castle (whose grounds are now home to I-LOFAR, port of a Europe-wide low-frequency radio telescope).

    3
    Leviathan of Parsonstown – Offaly, Ireland – Atlas Obscura. Wikipdia

    I-Lofar Ireland I-Lofar- Birr’s low-frequency radio telescope

    Ireland’s vibrant research community and high-tech industrial sector have supported ESO membership for many years, and will now gain access to a range of instrumentation and industrial opportunities as a result of ESO membership.

    Speaking at the signing, Minister Halligan welcomed this important step in Ireland’s membership process: “I am delighted to have signed this membership agreement with the European Southern Observatory. This represents the culmination of significant work by the Government and ESO as well as the Irish astrophysics community. As a member of the leading astronomical research organisation in the world, Ireland has an opportunity to gain access to excellent research, innovation, collaboration and industry contracts. This significant investment in our scientific community demonstrates the Irish Government’s continued commitment to research and development in both our academic and industrial sectors.”

    See the full article here .


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    Stem Education Coalition

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

    ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

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

    ESO 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

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

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


    ESO VLT 4 lasers on Yepun

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres



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

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    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 8:53 am on July 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO, ESO GRAAL laser guide star system, HAWK-I camera on UT 4 Yepun,   

    From European Southern Observatory: “Colourful Celestial Landscape” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    11 July 2018
    Calum Turner
    ESO Assistant Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    +49 89 3200 6670
    pio@eso.org

    1
    New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope show the star cluster RCW 38 in all its glory. This image was taken during testing of the HAWK-I camera with the GRAAL adaptive optics system. It shows RCW 38 and its surrounding clouds of brightly glowing gas in exquisite detail, with dark tendrils of dust threading through the bright core of this young gathering of stars.

    ESO HAWK-I on the ESO VLT

    ESO GRAAL adaptive optics system.

    This image shows the star cluster RCW 38, as captured by the HAWK-I infrared imager mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. By gazing into infrared wavelengths, HAWK-I can examine dust-shrouded star clusters like RCW 38, providing an unparalleled view of the stars forming within. This cluster contains hundreds of young, hot, massive stars, and lies some 5500 light-years away in the constellation of Vela (The Sails).


    ESOcast 171 Light: Colourful Celestial Landscape (4K UHD)


    Zooming into RCW 38

    The central area of RCW 38 is visible here as a bright, blue-tinted region, an area inhabited by numerous very young stars and protostars that are still in the process of forming. The intense radiation pouring out from these newly born stars causes the surrounding gas to glow brightly. This is in stark contrast to the streams of cooler cosmic dust winding through the region, which glow gently in dark shades of red and orange. The contrast creates this spectacular scene — a piece of celestial artwork.

    Previous images of this region taken in optical wavelengths are strikingly different — optical images appear emptier of stars due to dust and gas blocking our view of the cluster.

    2
    The dense star cluster RCW 38 glistens about 5,500 light years away in the direction of the constellation Vela (the Sails). RCW 38 is an “embedded” cluster, in that the nascent cloud of dust and gas still envelops its stars. There, young, titanic stars bombard fledgling suns and planets with powerful winds and large amount of light, helped in their devastating task by short-lived, massive stars that explode as supernovae. In some cases, this energetic onslaught cooks away the matter that may eventually form new planetary systems. Scientists think that our own Solar System emerged from such a dramatic environment. This image was obtained with the Wide Field Imager instrument on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at La Silla, using data collected through four filters (B, V, R and H-alpha). The field of view is about 10 arcminutes. Credit: ESO

    ESO WFI LaSilla 2.2-m MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    Observations in the infrared, however, allow us to peer through the dust that obscures the view in the optical and delve into the heart of this star cluster.

    HAWK-I is installed on Unit Telescope 4 (Yepun) of the VLT, and operates at near-infrared wavelengths. It has many scientific roles, including obtaining images of nearby galaxies or large nebulae as well as individual stars and exoplanets. GRAAL is an adaptive optics module which helps HAWK-I to produce these spectacular images. It makes use of four laser beams projected into the night sky, which act as artificial reference stars, used to correct for the effects of atmospheric turbulence — providing a sharper image.

    ESO GRAAL 4 laser guid stars on UT 4 Yepun

    This image was captured as part of a series of test observations — a process known as science verification — for HAWK-I and GRAAL. These tests are an integral part of the commissioning of a new instrument on the VLT, and include a set of typical scientific observations that verify and demonstrate the capabilities of the new instrument.

    More information

    The Principal Investigator of the observing proposal which led this spectacular image was Koraljka Muzic (CENTRA, University of Lisbon, Portugal). Her collaborators were Joana Ascenso (CENTRA, University of Porto, Portugal), Amelia Bayo (University of Valparaiso, Chile), Arjan Bik (Stockholm University, Sweden), Hervé Bouy (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Bordeaux, France), Lucas Cieza (University Diego Portales, Chile), Vincent Geers (UKATC, UK), Ray Jayawardhana (York University, Canada), Karla Peña Ramírez (University of Antofagasta, Chile), Rainer Schoedel (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain), and Aleks Scholz (University of St Andrews, UK).

    The Science Verification of HAWK-I with the GRAAL adaptive optics module was presented in an article in ESO’s quarterly journal The Messenger entitled HAWK-I GRAAL Science Verification.

    The science verification team was composed of Bruno Leibundgut, Pascale Hibon, Harald Kuntschner, Cyrielle Opitom, Jerome Paufique, Monika Petr-Gotzens, Ralf Siebenmorgen, Elena Valenti and Anita Zanella, all from ESO.

    The Messenger is a quarterly journal presenting ESO’s activities to the public. To subscribe please fill in the attached form. As the journal is distributed on paper, we will need your full postal address. The subscription is free of charge.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


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

    ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

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

    ESO 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

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

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

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres

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

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    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)

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    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 10:45 am on July 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Asteroid Day 2018" Video, , , , , , ESO   

    From ESA/ESO: “Asteroid Day 2018” Video 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    and

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    On 30 June 2018, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and ESA teamed up to produce a packed Asteroid Day webcast, streamed live from the new ESO Supernova Planetarium and Visitor Centre in Munich. The programme featured expert interviews with ESA and ESO scientists, news and updates from Europe’s asteroid hunters and some of the most recent asteroid science results, including the blockbuster news on Oumuamua, the first-ever interplanetary visitor. The programme also included an interview with ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano on the challenges of future human missions to asteroids, as well as a surprise segment that answered the age-old question: What really killed off the dinosaurs?

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

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

     
  • richardmitnick 1:46 pm on June 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How Productive is the Very Large Telescope?", , , , , ESO   

    From ESOblog: “How Productive is the Very Large Telescope?” 

    ESO 50 Large

    8 June 2018
    People@ESO

    From ESOblog

    Nando Patat on evaluating ESO’s science output.

    ESO is the most productive ground-based observatory in the world and operates a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes, but how much of ESO’s telescope time actually leads to published science? This week we catch up with Nando Patat, an astronomer based at ESO Headquarters in Germany, who has been investigating how much telescope time at ESO’s Very Large Telescope goes unused.

    Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your research at ESO.

    A: Since I first looked at the Moon with my father’s binoculars, I have been passionate about astronomy. Although I was torn between science and music, I finally made the decision to study astronomy. I obtained a Masters from the University of Padova, Italy, the same place where Galileo first pointed his cannocchiale (an early telescope) to the heavens. I then moved to ESO Headquarters in Germany to start PhD work, before moving to La Silla as an ESO Fellow. During those intense years, my passion for the night sky became scientifically mature; a fortunate series of events led me to become serious about professional astronomy.

    Since then, my career has developed at ESO. Being a restless person, I have changed jobs quite a bit in my twenty years here, most recently to the Observing Programmes Office, which I have led since 2011. The department is in charge of managing time allocation for all ESO telescopes, which sounds easier than it is! When I am not busy, I explore my original scientific passion for supernovae.

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

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    Q: Can you talk us through how astronomers apply for observing time on ESO telescopes?

    A: The art of writing a proposal boils down to explaining how the proposer will answer an important astronomical question. In short, it means writing a fascinating “story”! Every semester about 900 proposals are submitted to ESO, involving more than 3500 scientists from about fifty countries. This is roughly a third of the active astronomers on the planet, so the competition is fierce. This is why the “story” needs to be better than good: it needs to be excellent.

    Once the applicant has prepared their “story”, they submit it to the Observing Programmes Committee (OPC). This is an important body of about 80 experts, who are asked to rank the applications on behalf of the astronomical community. As the OPC members are nominated by astronomers, this is a democratic process for telescope users to decide what science is most worthwhile.

    The referees have four weeks to review the proposals. Once the OPC has made a first assessment, the bottom 30% of the proposals are discarded. The panels then physically convene in a meeting that lasts three days, in which the surviving applications are discussed, ranked, and made into a final list, which is used to allocate telescope time. The final result is submitted to the Director General for approval and then announced. Because of the oversubscription rate of ESO telescopes, only about a quarter of the applicants get observing time.

    Q: Scientists usually get excited about publishing results — what made you decide to study the opposite, namely non-publishing scientific programmes at ESO?

    A: An organisation the size of ESO needs to assess its performance and identify possible areas of improvement, and there are a number of ways to do this. The core task of ESO is building and operating world-class telescopes: a task at which we’re pretty successful! However, the ultimate purpose of all these efforts is to advance science, and assessing how much a telescope contributes to this is a complex (and sometimes controversial) task. Scientific progress is hard to quantify, and sometimes even hard to describe — it may take decades before the importance of a scientific discovery is fully appreciated. However, since scientific results are primarily communicated via peer-reviewed publications, a natural way to measure the overall success of a telescope is its publication rate. This is why we asked “How much telescope time eventually results in at least one refereed publication?”

    ESO had already asked this question for its flagship observing machine, the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, in an earlier analysis. The results revealed a surprising fact: about half of VLT observations do not turn into a refereed publication. Put crudely (and a little unfairly), about half of the telescope time is “wasted”. As usual, things are more complex than they appear at first glance, but this definitely called for further investigation. The Survey of Non-Publishing Programmes (SNPP) was created, and set out to explain “wasted” telescope time.

    However, don’t get me wrong — ESO is doing well: since the start of VLT operations, the publication rate of ESO has been steadily growing, reaching 1000 publications per year in 2017. The question is: can we do better?

    2

    ESO may be trying to improve its scientific output, but it’s still the most productive observatory in the world.
    Credit: ESO

    Q: Is the number of published scientific papers the only way to measure the performance of ESO telescopes?

    A: Certainly not! The fraction of accepted programmes that turn into publications is only one of many ways of measuring performance. For instance, you can go one step further and estimate the scientific impact of publications based on ESO data. This is done by counting the number of times a paper is cited by other papers, which provides a rough indication of how important a published finding is.

    However, this is not the full story. You could also say that the success of ESO can be measured by the number of applications we receive or by the number of distinct users, both of which reflect the interest in our telescopes within the astronomical community. You could also measure the success of our facility in terms of user satisfaction, and many other ways. A completely comprehensive performance indicator would take all these aspects into account, but exactly how is a matter of animated debate.

    Q: What was the most interesting thing you discovered about the performance of ESO telescopes? Did anything surprise you?

    A: One of the main results of the SNPP is that there is not a single reason that explains the observed publication return. One interesting fact was that the favourite answer for not publishing was: “I am still working on the data.” This may at first seem like just a bad excuse — a professional version of the popular line “the dog ate my homework” — but it really does take a long time to publish data. One of the surprises was that the time taken to get from an approved proposal to a scientific publication is three and a half years for half of these projects, and more than 10 years to reach 75% — astronomers really are still working years after they receive data. The bottom line is that, after correcting for the publication delay in the latest survey, the fraction of “wasted” time reduces to about 25%.

    Q: Could the fraction of unpublished science from ESO telescopes just be a side effect of the trial-and-error nature of the scientific process?

    A: “Inconclusive results” were indeed the culprit in about 12% of cases. Although this is not enough to explain the observed rate, it is still relevant. The problem is not that there are negative results, but rather that these negative results are not published. This is a real issue in all scientific disciplines, not just astronomy. The reasons for this worrisome trend have to do with the lack of resources and the pressure to publish appealing results. If researchers have to choose between a publication reporting a negative result and one presenting a very exciting finding, they certainly opt for the latter. This is understandable, but affects the scientific method at its very roots. Although counter-measures are being taken, the publication of negative results remains a low-priority task for scientists.

    Q: One of the interesting findings from your research was that scientists using ESO telescopes don’t have the resources to sift through all the data they get back. Could it be the case that ESO telescopes are producing more information than the astronomical community can deal with?

    A: About 10% of replies cited lack of resources as the reason for not publishing. Considering the long time it takes to publish, this means they may have access to more data than they can cope with. The ESO community has been steadily growing from about 1500 users at the start of VLT operations to about 3500 today. However, this growth was apparently not enough to keep up with the amount of data available. This may be related to funding problems, and the difficulty of attracting and keeping young astronomers, but that’s a different discussion…


    VLT (Very Large Telescope) HD Timelapse Footage
    Credits:
    ALL IMAGES: (eso.org) taken on location by Stephane Guisard and Jose Francisco Salgado.
    ESO/S. Guisard (http://www.eso.org/~sguisard)
    ESO/José Francisco Salgado (http://www.josefrancisco.org)
    MUSIC SCORE: “We Happy Few” – The Calm Blue Sea (2008) [http://www.facebook.com/thecalmbluese…]
    EDITION: Nicolas Bustos
    Standard YouTube License

    Q: You found that programmes that observe for longer are more likely to get published — do you think ESO should only focus on big observing programmes?

    A: An average VLT Normal programme lasts around 15 hours, with a very few lasting more than 25 hours. There are also Large Programmes that request more than 100 hours. About 15% of the total VLT time is spent on Large Programmes, and if we were to allocate more telescope time to larger projects, we’d have less time for smaller ones. Although these smaller projects are individually less productive, they are much more numerous and therefore significantly contribute to the overall productivity.

    In broader terms, suppose that an observatory gets 1000 citations/year from papers based on data gathered with its telescopes. This can be produced by 1000 papers with one citation each, or by one single paper with 1000 citations alone, and all possible combinations in between. The “success” is the same, but in terms of absolute impact (i.e., findings that “go down to history”), the second extreme case is incomparably better than the first.

    For an intergovernmental organisation like ESO, this is a difficult problem, but the solution is most likely one in which ESO maintains a healthy diversity in the scale of projects. Though large projects may lead to big breakthroughs, just a few hours of telescope time can lead to major findings, opening new avenues for larger projects to follow up. There is certainly an ideal distribution of programme lengths that would maximise the number of papers produced, and we’re trying to find it!

    “ESO operates a fleet of world-class telescope [see below]. Deciding how to use its instruments to advance astronomy is one of the biggest challenges the organisation faces.”

    Science Paper: The ESO Survey of Non-Publishing Programmes

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


    Stem Education Coalition

    Visit ESO in Social Media-

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    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

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

     
    • dan 7:25 pm on July 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hi really, enjoyed the article, i am quite in to telescopes, would you say this is good list? I am thinking of buying one from the list

      http://www.stargazingtelescope.com/best-telescopes-of-2018-review/

      Like

      • richardmitnick 7:21 pm on July 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I really cannot answer your question. I am a science communicator, not an astronomer or any other kind of scientist. If you search out astronomers like Phil Plait, they might be able to make suggestions to you.

        If you live near a university or astronomical institute you might get help there.

        Like

  • richardmitnick 1:12 pm on May 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESO, ,   

    From European Space Agency: “Our galaxy’s heart” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    14/05/2018

    Milky Way NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt

    1
    ESO/ATLASGAL consortium; ESA/Planck

    ESO APEX Telescope ATLASGAL Large Area Survey of the Galaxy

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    ESA/Planck 2009 to 2013

    At first glance, this image may resemble red ink filtering through water or a crackling stream of electricity, but it is actually a unique view of our cosmic home. It reveals the central plane of the Milky Way as seen by ESA’s Planck satellite and the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX), which is located at an altitude of around 5100m in the Chilean Andes and operated by the European Southern Observatory.

    This image was released in 2016 as the final product of an APEX survey mapping the galactic plane visible from the southern hemisphere at submillimetre wavelengths (between infrared and radio on the electromagnetic spectrum). It complements previous data from ESA’s Planck and Herschel space observatories.

    Planck and APEX are an ideal pairing. APEX is best at viewing small patches of sky in great detail while Planck data is ideal for studying areas of sky at the largest scales. It covers the entire sky – no mean feat. The two work together well, and offer a unique perspective on the sky.

    This image reveals numerous objects within our galaxy. The bright pockets scattered along the Milky Way’s plane in this view are compact sources of submillimetre radiation: very cold, clumpy, dusty regions that may shed light on myriad topics all the way from how individual stars form to how the entire Universe is structured.

    From right to left, notable sources include NGC 6334 (the rightmost bright patch), NGC 6357 (just to the left of NGC 6334), the galactic core itself (the central, most extended, and brightest patch in this image), M8 (the bright lane branching from the plane to the bottom left), and M20 (visible to the upper left of M8). A labelled view can be seen here.

    Planck was launched on 14 May 2009 and concluded its mission in October 2013. The telescope returned a wealth of information about the cosmos; its main aim was to study the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the relic radiation from the Big Bang. Among other milestones, Planck produced an all-sky map of the CMB at incredible sensitivity and precision, and took the ‘magnetic fingerprint’ of the Milky Way by exploring the behaviour of certain light emitted by dust within our galaxy.

    Its observations are helping scientists to explore and understand how the Universe formed, its composition and contents, and how it has evolved from its birth to present day.

    APEX is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, the Onsala Space Observatory, and the European Southern Observatory, ESO. The telescope is operated by ESO.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    stem

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA50 Logo large

     
  • richardmitnick 4:19 pm on May 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ESO, , , ESO telescopes find first confirmed carbon-rich asteroid in Kuiper Belt, , Exiled Asteroid Discovered in Outer Reaches of Solar System,   

    From European Southern Observatory: “Exiled Asteroid Discovered in Outer Reaches of Solar System” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    9 May 2018

    Tom Seccull
    Postgraduate Research Student — Queen’s University, Belfast
    Belfast, United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 2890 973091
    Email: tseccull01@qub.ac.uk

    Wesley C. Fraser
    Lecturer — Queen’s University, Belfast
    Belfast, United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 28 9097 1084
    Email: wes.fraser@qub.ac.uk

    Thomas H. Puzia
    Professor — Institute of Astrophysics, Pontificia Universidad Catolica
    Santiago, Chile
    Tel: +56-2 2354 1645
    Email: tpuzia@astro.puc.cl

    Calum Turner
    ESO Assistant Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München Tel: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: calum.turner@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

    ESO telescopes find first confirmed carbon-rich asteroid in Kuiper Belt.

    Kuiper Belt. Minor Planet Center

    The early days of our Solar System were a tempestuous time. Theoretical models of this period predict that after the gas giants formed they rampaged through the Solar System, ejecting small rocky bodies from the inner Solar System to far-flung orbits at great distances from the Sun [1]. In particular, these models suggest that the Kuiper Belt — a cold region beyond the orbit of Neptune — should contain a small fraction of rocky bodies from the inner Solar System, such as carbon-rich asteroids, referred to as carbonaceous asteroids [2].

    Now, a recent paper [see below] has presented evidence for the first reliably-observed carbonaceous asteroid in the Kuiper Belt, providing strong support for these theoretical models of our Solar System’s troubled youth. After painstaking measurements from multiple instruments at ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), a small team of astronomers led by Tom Seccull of Queen’s University Belfast in the UK was able to measure the composition of the anomalous Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95, and thus determine that it is a carbonaceous asteroid. This suggests that it originally formed in the inner Solar System and must have since migrated outwards [3].

    The peculiar nature of 2004 EW95 first came to light during routine observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope by Wesley Fraser, an astronomer from Queen’s University Belfast who was also a member of the team behind this discovery.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    The asteroid’s reflectance spectrum — the specific pattern of wavelengths of light reflected from an object — was different to that of similar small Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), which typically have uninteresting, featureless spectra that reveal little information about their composition.

    “The reflectance spectrum of 2004 EW95 was clearly distinct from the other observed outer Solar System objects,” explains lead author Seccull. “It looked enough of a weirdo for us to take a closer look.”

    The team observed 2004 EW95 with the X-Shooter and FORS2 instruments on the VLT. The sensitivity of these spectrographs allowed the team to obtain more detailed measurements of the pattern of light reflected from the asteroid and thus infer its composition.

    ESO X-shooter on VLT at Cerro Paranal, Chile

    ESO FORS2 VLT

    However, even with the impressive light-collecting power of the VLT, 2004 EW95 was still difficult to observe. Though the object is 300 kilometres across, it is currently a colossal four billion kilometres from Earth, making gathering data from its dark, carbon-rich surface a demanding scientific challenge.

    “It’s like observing a giant mountain of coal against the pitch-black canvas of the night sky,” says co-author Thomas Puzia from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

    “Not only is 2004 EW95 moving, it’s also very faint,” adds Seccull. “We had to use a pretty advanced data processing technique to get as much out of the data as possible.”

    Two features of the object’s spectra were particularly eye-catching and corresponded to the presence of ferric oxides and phyllosilicates. The presence of these materials had never before been confirmed in a KBO, and they strongly suggest that 2004 EW95 formed in the inner Solar System.

    Seccull concludes: “Given 2004 EW95’s present-day abode in the icy outer reaches of the Solar System, this implies that it has been flung out into its present orbit by a migratory planet in the early days of the Solar System.”

    “While there have been previous reports of other ‘atypical’ Kuiper Belt Object spectra, none were confirmed to this level of quality,” comments Olivier Hainaut, an ESO astronomer who was not part of the team. “The discovery of a carbonaceous asteroid in the Kuiper Belt is a key verification of one of the fundamental predictions of dynamical models of the early Solar System.”
    Notes

    [1] Current dynamical models of the evolution of the early Solar System, such as the grand tack hypothesis and the Nice model, predict that the giant planets migrated first inward and then outward, disrupting and scattering objects from the inner Solar System. As a consequence, a small percentage of rocky asteroids are expected to have been ejected into orbits in the Oort Cloud and Kuiper belt.

    [2] Carbonaceous asteroids are those containing the element carbon or its various compounds. Carbonaceous — or C-type — asteroids can be identified by their dark surfaces, caused by the presence of carbon molecules.

    [3] Other inner Solar System objects have previously been detected in the outer reaches of the Solar System, but this is the first carbonaceous asteroid to be found far from home in the Kuiper Belt.

    More information

    This research was presented in a paper entitled 2004 EW95: A Phyllosilicate-bearing Carbonaceous Asteroid in the Kuiper Belt by T. Seccull et al., which appeared in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The team was composed of Tom Seccull (Astrophysics Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, UK), Wesley C. Fraser (Astrophysics Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, UK) , Thomas H. Puzia (Institute of Astrophysics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile), Michael E. Brown (Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, USA) and Frederik Schönebeck (Astronomisches Rechen-Institut, Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Germany).

    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

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    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 8:39 pm on March 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO, This is not a pipe.   

    From ESO via Manu: “This is not a pipe.” 


    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.

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    15 August 2012

    Richard Hook
    ESO, La Silla, Paranal, E-ELT & Survey Telescopes Press Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    Just as René Magritte wrote “This is not a pipe” on his famous painting, this is also not a pipe. It is however a picture of part of a vast dark cloud of interstellar dust called the Pipe Nebula. This new and very detailed image of what is also known as Barnard 59 was captured by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. By coincidence this image is appearing on the 45th anniversary of the painter’s death.

    ESO WFI LaSilla 2.2-m MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    The Pipe Nebula is a prime example of a dark nebula. Originally, astronomers believed these were areas in space where there were no stars. But it was later discovered that dark nebulae actually consist of clouds of interstellar dust so thick it can block out the light from the stars beyond. The Pipe Nebula appears silhouetted against the rich star clouds close to the centre of the Milky Way in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer).

    Barnard 59 forms the mouthpiece of the Pipe Nebula [1] and is the subject of this new image from the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope. This strange and complex dark nebula lies about 600–700 light-years away from Earth.

    The nebula is named after the American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard who was the first to systematically record dark nebulae using long-exposure photography and one of those who recognised their dusty nature. Barnard catalogued a total of 370 dark nebulae all over the sky. A self-made man, he bought his first house with the prize money from discovering several comets. Barnard was an extraordinary observer with exceptional eyesight who made contributions in many fields of astronomy in the late 19th and early 20th century.

    At first glance, your attention is most likely drawn to the centre of the image where dark twisting clouds look a little like the legs of a vast spider stretched across a web of stars. However, after a few moments you will begin to notice several finer details. Foggy, smoky shapes in the middle of the darkness are lit up by new stars that are forming. Star formation is common within regions that contain dense, molecular clouds, such as in dark nebulae. The dust and gas will clump together under the influence of gravity and more and more material will be attracted until the star is formed. However, compared to similar regions, the Barnard 59 region is undergoing relatively little star formation and still has a great deal of dust.

    If you look carefully you may also be able to spot more than a dozen tiny blue, green and red strips scattered across the picture. These are asteroids, chunks of rock and metal a few kilometres across that are orbiting the Sun. The majority lie in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Barnard 59 is about ten million times further away from the Earth than these tiny objects [2].

    And finally, as you take in this richly textured tapestry of celestial objects, consider for a moment that when you look up at this region of sky from Earth you would be able to fit this entire image under your thumb held at arms-length despite it being about six light-years across at the distance of Barnard 59.
    Notes

    [1] The entire Pipe Nebula is comprised of Barnard 65, 66, 67 and 78, in addition to Barnard 59. It can be seen easily with the unaided eye under dark and clear skies and is best spotted from southern latitudes where it appears higher in the sky.

    [2] Asteroids move during the exposures and create short trails. As this picture was created from several images taken in different colours at different times the different colour trails are also shifted relative to each other.
    More information

    .

    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

    The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).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.

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    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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