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  • richardmitnick 3:46 pm on October 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Christine Desbordes- Head of the Logistics and Facilities Management at Paranal Observatory, , ESOblog, Towards an Ecological and Sustainable ESO   

    From ESOblog: “Towards an Ecological and Sustainable ESO” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    1
    19 October 2018, On the Ground

    3
    Interview with:
    Christine Desbordes

    ESO designs, constructs and operates the most powerful ground-based telescopes in the world, which places significant demands on resources, including energy. ESO’s observatories are located in Chile’s isolated Atacama Desert, and in such a location, limiting the impact on the surroundings while ensuring effective and efficient observations can be extremely difficult. Christine Desbordes, Head of the Logistics and Facilities Management at Paranal Observatory, tell us more about the environmental challenges ESO faces and its impact-reduction policies.

    Q: What are you responsible for here at Paranal?

    A: I am currently the Head of Logistics and Facilities Management at Paranal Observatory. I lead the management of the Residencia, which is where astronomers sleep and eat when they observe here. I also oversee the fleet of 75 vehicles and the maintenance of the civil infrastructure, including the basecamp — it’s like operating a small town!

    Q: Tell us a little about your background and how you joined ESO.

    A: I was born in France in the mid-60s before being raised in West Africa, where I caught the globetrotting virus. As soon as I finished my studies, I left France to start an international career, first in the private sector and later in the public sector. From 2014 to 2016, I held a challenging post as the Head of Administration for both the Kenya and Somalia delegations based in Nairobi, the second biggest representation of the European Union. When my oldest daughter finished high school and went off to university in the United Kingdom, I felt it was time to do something else. An ESO position at Paranal was exactly what I was looking for: a challenging task in a quiet region of a beautiful country.

    3
    Paranal Observatory is situated in the vast Atacama Desert, far from other civilisation. In this image, the telescopes are in the foreground with the Residencia to their right. Credit: ESO/M. Tarenghi

    Q: Paranal sits in the hostile Atacama Desert, 130 km from the nearest city of Antofagasta, so keeping people fed and watered must take a lot of resources. How do you reduce ESO’s ecological footprint?

    A: Indeed, as Paranal is so remote, food, water and other consumables have to either be produced on-site or trucked in from nearby cities. Paranal has always been wary of the impact of its presence in the Atacama Desert. Before my arrival in August 2016, a member of staff investigated the impact of the flights that bring people to the observatory. And the Maintenance, Software and Engineering Department had already started a recycling procedure for things like oil, batteries and pneumatics. But more certainly needed to be done; my department realised we had to contribute to the “three Rs” (reduce, reuse and recycle).

    We started with small projects such as monitoring food waste, reducing plastic and increasing our use of biodegradable products — we have replaced plastic laundry bags with fabric bags and standard bulbs with LED bulbs. We also reduced the number of big shuttle buses to and from Antofagasta by designing a better rotation distribution during the weekdays. Furthermore, we now organise most of the weekend transfers with more energy efficient vehicles.

    We also have plans for bigger projects which will take more time, for example we plan to install an osmosis plant in 2020 that will recycle up to one third of our waste water. This will avoid having to bring an additional water truck when we host the workers who will be assembling the Extremely Large Telescope in the near future.

    4
    The Residencia gives astronomers the chance to relax.
    Credit: N. Blind/ESO

    Q: The osmosis plant sounds intriguing — could you explain more about how it will work?

    A: We will launch the concept study next year for the upgrade of the existing sewage treatment plant to include the osmosis technology which is the one most used in Chile. The purpose is to be able to recycle up to 30 cubic metres of waste water per day, which will be used in a separate circuit in the toilets and gardens.

    Q: One of your initiatives was to reduce the number of plastic bottles used at Paranal. How did you approach the problem, and was it a success?

    A: Indeed, we started with the most obvious problem which was not only a polluting factor but also a logistics challenge: in 2016, Paranal Observatory disposed of more than 120 000 plastic bottles. To reduce this number, we replaced the individual water bottles with reusable 10-litre and 20-litre containers and we give our staff and visitors individual reusable bottles to refill. We also replaced the individual fizzy drinks bottles by drinks distributors. In 2018, Paranal will dispose of fewer than 12 000 individual bottles — ten times fewer than we used in 2016 — and we will recycle all of these.

    The process was definitely challenging! We had some logistical hiccups with the new suppliers and some resistance to the change on site, but in the end we have a simpler and more reliable water supply system. And I think the onsite staff have come round to the more eco-friendly system!

    Q: Paranal was recently connected to the Chilean electrical grid, which works on mainly renewable energy. What does this mean for ESO and how has the change affected Paranal’s ecological footprint?

    A: Before being connected to the grid, we created power using a gas turbine backed up by a generator which were both terrible for the environment. After being connected in December 2017, our ecological footprint has been considerably reduced as we don’t burn any fossil fuels. Additionally, the connection will allow us to further replace energy consuming items like the gas water boilers at the basecamp with solar-powered boilers and the petrol- and diesel-fueled vehicles with cars that run completely on electricity.

    5
    A hotel room with a view. Credit: Y. Beletsky (LCO)/ESO

    Q: Yes, we’ve actually heard that Paranal will receive its first electric cars this year! Will the whole fleet eventually be electric cars?

    A: We estimate that, depending on the availability of funds, in the next 10–15 years up to 75% of the fleet could be electric sedans and small vans. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to only have electric cars; due to the nature of our activities, we need pick-ups and small trucks on site and, although Chile is promoting the industry, we will not have those specialised electric vehicles available anytime soon.

    Q: How could ESO reduce its ecological footprint in future?

    A: At the moment we are quite heavily restricted by the fact that the Chilean industry has not yet reached a particularly eco-friendly level, so we struggle to find companies who can help us. Hopefully this will change over the next few years!

    Otherwise, the two biggest pollution factors are also the most challenging to tackle. One of these polluters is travel to bring astronomers and support staff to the observatory to carry out their work. Currently, the majority of Paranal observations are made without flying in visiting astronomers, but we are still responsible for more than 10 000 domestic flights per year! To reduce this number, we could look into reducing the number of shifts per year and/or limiting any increase in staff members.

    The other big polluter is the transportation of water and waste, which involves two or three lorries per day. To reduce the impact of this, we could limit our own water use on site even more, and make more of our own water, for example with a desalination plant. We could also further reduce our waste, for example with an organic waste disposal system.

    Even though those possible measures seem like extreme changes that would involve serious financial investment, we are trying our best to continue implementing reduction, recycling and reuse as much as we can at our observatories.

    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-

    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 4 lasers on Yepun


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • richardmitnick 11:26 am on October 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Astronomy Past and Present, , , , ESOblog   

    From ESOblog: “Astronomy Past and Present” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    1
    People@ESO

    12 October 2018

    2
    Interview with:
    Valentina Schettini

    Valentina Schettini is part of the team of science content writers at the ESO Supernova & Planetarium Centre. In this week’s ESOblog post she tells us about her role in creating the AstroCalendar, a database of astronomical events that brings the past and present wonders of the Universe to the public.

    Q: How do you describe the ESO Supernova to your friends and family?

    ESO Supernova Planetarium, Garching Germany

    3
    Jupiter and Saturn hang over the reception at the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre. These planets are part of a scale model exhibition comparing the sizes of the planets but they were too big to be placed with the rest of them so take their place in the foyer area instead. The planets are part of the exhibition The Living Universe, which covers 2200 m2 of the visitor centre. Credit: ESO/P. Horálek

    A: The ESO Supernova takes visitors on a trip through the Universe itself, but possibly more importantly, it also tells the story of human efforts to discover and understand the Universe.

    The exhibition starts in the Solar System, with the Sun and the planets that we know so well but which are still so fascinating. Then, we move away through the rest of the unknown, mysterious Universe, on an adventure through space and through human exploration. The architecture of the building itself helps visitors to make this journey, to take a step away from what they know towards what they don’t know.

    Q: What is the AstroCalendar?

    A: It’s a database of over a thousand astronomically relevant events explained for non-experts, each accompanied by at least one high-quality image and in some cases videos. An event could be something interesting happening in the sky tonight or over the next few days. It could also be something that happened in the history of science on this day, particularly relevant to astronomy or cosmology. The database includes eclipses, lunar phases, the publication of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope and much more!

    For now, the AstroCalendar has two main uses. The first is in planetariums; it has already been incorporated into the Data2Dome project which is a content distribution system used by the majority of planetarium software including Digistar 6 which the ESO Supernova uses. Data2Dome gathers and shares lots of multimedia content from places like NASA and ESA and enables planetarium presenters to act as astronomical weathermen. They arrive at the planetarium and through a news feed find out everything interesting happening in the sky that day, as well as lots of historically interesting events. They can then base their own show on this news feed, and this is already happening around the world!

    _____________________________________
    Data2Dome allows planetarium presenters to act as astronomical weathermen.
    _____________________________________

    The second use of the AstroCalendar database is as a touchscreen in the ESO Supernova, which any visitor can use to explore current events as well as historical ones. They can also see high-quality images relating to different events. We are planning to publicly release this touchscreen as well as most of the other ESO Supernova content under a free Creative Commons license later this year.

    Q: Do you have a favourite astronomical event that you felt should be included in the AstroCalendar?

    A: I don’t have one specific favourite event, but one aspect I really liked about creating the AstroCalendar is including scientific contributions from all over the world. Science has come from people of all ages and levels — some discoveries were even made by amateur astronomers in their back gardens!

    It is clear looking back at the history of science that collaboration is key. Something could be hypothesised by one person, and later confirmed with an experimental proof by someone else. It is always a continuous conversation through history between people who want to find out more about the world. I think this is really inspirational for the future, too.

    Q. Could you tell us more about the process of creating the AstroCalendar?

    A: My role was to set clear criteria for choosing which events to include and then to put the events into the database. I am hugely grateful to the rest of the ePOD staff, who were always incredibly kind and helpful, but I would also like to use this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who helped me collect the information and translate all the written content from English to German.

    4
    Screenshots from the AstroCalendar touchscreen at the ESO Supernova.

    One of the most challenging but interesting steps was when we started to include dynamic events happening in the sky — like bright comets, close encounters with Near Earth Objects, and visible passages of the International Space Station — from other feeds.

    Q: How else have you contributed to the ESO Supernova?

    A: I designed two other touchscreens — one for Portal to the Universe and one for NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. Much of my role has been focused on designing digital interfaces in the Planetarium & Visitor Centre — thinking about how people come into contact with the vast amount of wonderful content that we have produced. Throughout the planning, we focused on the Supernova values: science communication, openness of information, and practical learning experiences.

    Q: What is most exciting for you personally about the ESO Supernova?

    A: I am always really curious about the reaction people have when they first walk through our doors. I’ve been a tour guide since the centre opened and I always look forward to welcoming visitors and walking them through the exciting exhibitions.

    I get particularly excited talking to teenagers about astronomy, and seeing the sparkle of curiosity in their eyes. I love to try to feed this curiosity and answer questions about whatever they want to know.

    5
    Visitors to the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre are seen here enjoying a tour through the exhibition The Living Universe, given by Mathias Jäger, coordinator of the ESO Supernova’s permanent exhibition. Credit: ESO/P. Horálek

    _____________________________________
    Great things can be achieved only through collaborative efforts, and it’s amazing to see that the ESO Supernova also upholds these values.
    _____________________________________

    Q: Would you say that the ESO Supernova is in a unique position to communicate astronomy?

    A: Absolutely! Not only is the entrance free of charge in 2018 but most of the content is (or soon will be!) available online and shared publicly. Also, to prepare the educational activities we involved local schools and the teaching community, which was really fabulous.

    Creating and maintaining the ESO Supernova involves so many people, including professional astronomers, planetarium show producers, exhibition designers, and people who create hands-on activities. Together, these people speak all the languages of the ESO Member States, providing an amazing international environment. Just as I’ve learned through the AstroCalendar project, great things can be achieved only through collaborative efforts, and it’s amazing to see that the ESO Supernova also upholds these values.

    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-

    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 4 lasers on Yepun


    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,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
    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 12:42 pm on October 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESOblog, Martian Crater or Chilean Commune?   

    From ESOblog: “Martian Crater or Chilean Commune?” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    5 October 2018

    1
    On the Ground

    On 20 September 2016, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) approved the name Taltal for a crater on Mars. In part due to its striking resemblance, the Martian Taltal was named after an area of Chile home to some of ESO’s state-of-the-art telescopes. The name means “Night Bird” in the Mapudungun language spoken by the Mapuche people indigenous to Chile.

    Taltal is a town and commune in the Atacama Desert in the Antofagasta Region of Chile. First recorded in the 1850s, the commune now has a population of over 13 000 and covers an area of 20 405 square kilometres. Taltal already hosts ESO’s world-famous Paranal Observatory , home to the Very Large Telescope (VLT) [see below], and the neighbouring commune of Antofagasta will soon host the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) [see below], to be situated on Cerro Armazones.

    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

    Many people who have visited the Atacama Desert with its red, dusty soil and barren landscape have remarked upon its similarity to Mars. But what is missing from the Chilean landscape is craters. Our planet has been battered by space rocks just as often as our planetary neighbour, but Earth is a constantly changing place. Tectonic activity, life, and the atmosphere erode craters over time, whereas the less active Mars preserves the scars of its past and is pockmarked with impact craters. Researchers have catalogued over 600 000 Martian craters greater than one kilometre in diameter, compared to a meagre few hundred on Earth.

    2
    Martian gullies.
    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

    Dr. Tjalling de Haas of Utrecht University, the Netherlands, was studying gullies — channels probably formed by running water — in one of these Martian craters. Such a study subject requires a name, and Taltal was suggested by a member of the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature. The Chilean commune has a similar geological landscape to the Martian crater, with sediment deposits that resemble the deposits found at the end of the gullies. The Taltal commune is also a dry and arid place, making it a fitting namesake.

    Measuring ten kilometres across, Taltal crater is located in a large region in the southern hemisphere of Mars, called Terra Sirenum. This upland area is marked by widespread cratering, including the 300-kilometre-wide Newton Crater. Remarkably, the average elevation of the Taltal commune on Earth and the elevation of the Martian crater are about the same — approximately 2100 metres above “sea level”.

    3
    Terra Sirenum, with Taltal visible to the upper right of the map, with coordinates of 39.5°S 234.2°E.
    Credit: Base image: THEMIS IR Day mosaic by ASU; Margin image: THEMIS IR Global Mosaic v11.6; ASU Colorized Topography: MOLA Elevation Model, GSFC.

    Craters are not the only intriguing aspect of Terra Sirenium; it also boasts tantalising hints of water. Chloride-based mineral deposits suggest the region once hosted near-surface water, and indicate the presence of an ancient lake bed, 200 metres deep with an area of 30 000 square kilometres. And it is likely that recently-flowing water produced many of the gullies running down Terra Sirenum’s steep crater rims.

    The name Taltal originates from Mapudungun, the language spoken in south-central Chile and western-central Argentina by the Mapuche people who make up over 80% of Chile’s indigenous population, and 9% of the total Chilean population. Taltal is a variant of the Mapudungun Thalthal, meaning “night bird”. A language isolate, Mapudungun has no obvious relation to other languages — its lineage cannot be drawn to any common linguistic ancestor. As experts estimate that just 200 000 people can speak Mapudungun fluently, efforts are being made to preserve this ancient language.

    4
    The flag of the Mapuche people, who make up over 80% of Chile’s indigenous population and are heavily influenced by the cosmos.
    Credit: Huhsunqu

    Mapuches have lived in southern Chile for thousands of years. They have a deeply rooted connection to nature and its power on life on Earth; Mapuche literally means “People of the Earth” in Mapudungun. Like many indigenous people, Mapuche have a close relationship with the night sky. Cosmology is centred around the idea of a creator (ngenechen); embodied in four parts by an older man (fucha/futra/cha chau), an older woman (kude/kuse), a young man and a young woman. Fundamental too, are complex ideas about spirits and their coexistence alongside humans and animals. The Mapuche flag displays four astronomical symbols: a star, a crescent Moon and two Suns.

    As a symbol of its commitment to preserving Chilean culture, ESO named the four Unit Telescopes of its Very Large Telescope (VLT) after Mapudungun words. School children from the Antofagasta region of Chile were asked to suggest and justify names, and the competition drew many excellent entries dealing with the rich cultural heritage of ESO’s host country. The telescopes were named Antu, Kueyen, Melipal and Yepun [repeated in the image], which respectively mean the Sun, the Moon, the Southern Cross and Venus.

    It is common for small Martian craters (less than 60 kilometres in diameter) to be named after towns or villages, whereas larger craters tend to be named after deceased scientists, writers and others who have contributed to the study and the story of Mars. Features are named when they come under scientific scrutiny, making it easier for them to be mapped, described and discussed, but a scientist can’t just give an interesting feature any name they like!

    When the first images of the surface of a planet, moon or asteroid are obtained, categories are chosen for naming the different feature types. As scientists start studying the surface in more detail, they may request names for any scientifically interesting but as yet nameless features. New names are reviewed by the appropriate Task Group, and if approved are then submitted to the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature.

    If the Working Group approves the new name, it is considered to be official IAU nomenclature, and only then may it be used on maps and in scientific papers. Approved names can be found in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.

    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-

    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 4 lasers on Yepun

    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,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
    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 3:45 pm on September 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: an ESO Fellowship provides varied and complex development and support sustained by a diverse set of people, ESO is a very special place to work in astronomy, ESOblog, Fellowships at ESO, It is imperative to support early-career astronomers in developing their research   

    From ESOblog: “Fellowships at ESO” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    1
    Letters from the DG

    28 September 2018

    Here at ESO we are approaching an exciting deadline: that of our Fellowship programme. As the foremost astronomical organisation, we believe it is imperative to support early-career astronomers in developing their research. Building and operating the world’s most powerful ground-based astronomical telescopes such as the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the forthcoming Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) as well as being a partner in the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) means that ESO can offer unique opportunities for early career researchers to not only delve into their own research, but also to explore other aspects of observational astronomy.

    Along with the studentships, internships and training programmes, an ESO Fellowship provides varied and complex development and support, sustained by a diverse set of people. This in-house programme focuses on nurturing young astronomers as they progress from their studies into academia and further research, which we believe is vital for the future of astronomy.

    As the world’s most productive observatory and as a community of globally-minded, supportive astronomers, engineers and administrators, ESO is a very special place to work in astronomy.


    Gain insight into the ESO fellowship programme with input from ESO fellows and staff through ESOcast 165.
    Credit: ESO

    RESEARCH AND SKILLS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS

    Each year ESO supports a number of programmes for budding researchers and engineers, including Girl’s Day, the summer and winter astronomy camps, and the Studentships for PhD students. The ESO Fellowship for postdoctoral astronomers is unique among them. These Fellowships take early career astronomers to Germany or Chile for invaluable training opportunities, allowing them to use ESO’s Headquarters and observatories in a multi-faceted way for up to four years.

    ESO fellows develop their work in an environment presided by essential values as reflected in ESO’s People Policy. ESO’s code of conduct defines integrity, respect, fostering diversity and promoting collaboration among our core values. Intimidation, harassment and other deviations from such core values are actively fought against at ESO, and affected individuals can expect support, in particular from our Harassment Contact Persons and vey soon by a dedicated ESO Ombuds. Protecting personal and collective core values is a key ingredient to secure professional development at ESO, especially for early career scientists.

    The work that our Fellows do is unique and very challenging. Our programme combines research activities with functional duties, allowing Fellows to push themselves as astronomers in many different ways. Functional duties, which constitute up to 25% of working time and are unique to each location, allow Fellows to further enhance their skills by gaining experience in areas complementary to pure research, for example data processing, outreach and on-site science operations and instrumentation. This combination of research and functional duties is something that we feel is necessary for well-rounded astronomers and has been a positive thing for fellows past and present.

    As our Fellows grow through the programme, they cultivate their research programmes, develop new skills, and facilitate contact between themselves and ESO staff in their pursuit of further research. We aim to make sure that each fellow gets the most out of the Fellowship by shaping the programme for each individual and letting them take the lead in what they want to achieve with the support of ESO.

    Many previous ESO Fellows have now gone on to become senior astronomers and a few are now even leaders of astronomical institutions around the world. For some examples of what our fellows get up to after they leave ESO please take a look at the following brochure.

    2
    ESO Headquarters is home to scientists, technicians and administrators from many different backgrounds with one thing in common: a passion for astronomy. This photo shows the ESO Headquarters at sunset. Credit: P. Horálek/ESO

    4
    The headquarters of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the Vitacura district of the Chilean capital of Santiago. Credit: R. Wesson/ESO

    RESEARCH BY ESO FELLOWS

    ESO Fellows take on ambitious research projects that cover a wide range of astronomical topics. Just a few examples of these include:

    Detecting and characterising extrasolar planets
    Understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies
    Exploring stellar evolution, planetary nebula and supernovae
    Studying the stellar content of nearby star clusters and galaxies
    Investigating dark matter and dark energy within the Universe

    For more information about ESO’s astronomical research activities please see our Science Activities page. The list of current ESO staff and fellows also contains information on their research interests. There are also lists of all former and current ESO Fellows in Garching and in Chile.

    5
    VLT control room. Andrea Mehner; ESO Fellow; Germany/Dimitri Gadotti; ESO Fellow; Service astronomer; Brazil. Credit: ESO/Max Alexander

    This year is a particularly exciting one for us, as one of the Fellowship openings is for an ESO-ESA Fellow who will work on projects of mutual interest to both ESO and the European Space Agency (ESA). The successful candidate will spend two years at ESO and two years at an ESA establishment.

    CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR ESO FELLOWS

    During the Fellowships, Fellows can expect to work in a highly supportive and motivating world-class environment. From the beginning, Fellows receive support integrating into the organisation and they experience mentoring from other ESO scientists throughout their time with us. Our mentors support not only a Fellow’s research, but also the development of their technical and career skills. Both Heads of the Offices for Science in Garching and Chile are proud to maintain “open door” policies for all our Fellows.

    To support the future careers of our Fellows, we offer training sessions on topics such as communication and presentation skills, project management, basic people-management and writing skills. We offer specific training and advice on interview technique and crafting effective job applications, and Fellows can even participate in — or perhaps lead! — teams working on different projects. They often serve as mentors for ESO PhD students, which is enormously helpful to maintain a lively science environment at ESO, but it also gives both Students and Fellows an advantage in an increasingly competitive job market.

    Observing and science trips are encouraged, giving Fellows the opportunity to obtain new data to advance their research, disseminate their results, network with other astronomers around the world and serve as an ambassador for the organisation — which is a win-win for both the Fellows and for ESO. ESO typically covers the cost of these trips.

    Besides offering a fantastic working environment and a competitive salary, ESO has put in place a comprehensive set of measures to move the organisation towards a family-friendly workplace. Reduced core hours, mobile working, parental leave and support for young children are some of the benefits that we offer.

    HOW TO APPLY

    Every year the deadline to apply for an ESO Fellowship is at midnight on 15 October. To apply online, please visit the ESO recruitment portal. We welcome applicants from any country, not only ESO Member States, so long as your academic background matches that required for the Fellowship.

    Applicants must have completed all requirements for their PhD before starting their ESO contract, i.e. the thesis must have been submitted and accepted, and all other requirements met. Any administrative procedure pertaining to the PhD, or, in exceptional cases, the defence itself, should be completed in the first six months of the Fellowship contract.

    I really believe this is a great opportunity for those of you who are enthusiastic about continuing your research career after your PhD and I would encourage anyone considering it to apply. If you have any questions about the Fellowship I would suggest emailing one of our representatives in charge of the programme to gain more insight and for advice with your application.

    Finally, I would like to wish anyone who does apply the very best of luck and hopefully some of you reading this will join us here at ESO in the near future!

    6
    Held in Chile, the 2011 ESO Fellows Days brought together over 30 ESO Fellows from Garching and Chile. As well as research presentations and social activities, the Fellows had the chance to visit San Pedro de Atacama and the ALMA site. Credit: ESO

    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 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 2:23 pm on September 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , ESOblog, The Rise of Astrotourism in Chile   

    From ESOblog: “The Rise of Astrotourism in Chile” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    21 September 2018

    1
    Outreach@ESO

    For the ultimate stargazing experience, Chile is an unmissable destination. The skies above the Atacama Desert are clear for about 300 nights per year, so this high, dry and dark environment offers the perfect window to the Universe. Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to Chile each year to take advantage of the incredible stargazing conditions, and to visit the scientific observatories — including ESO’s own — that use these skies as a natural astronomical laboratory. But one challenge now affecting Chile’s world-renowned dark skies is that of light pollution.

    The intense Sun beats down on the tourists’ cars as they climb the dusty desert road up Cerro Paranal. The 130-kilometre journey from the closest city of Antofagasta will be worth it because waiting at the top is ESO’s Paranal Observatory.

    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

    The tourists have been eagerly awaiting their tour of this incredible site since they booked it a month ago. Every Saturday, two of ESO’s Chile-based observatories — Paranal and La Silla — open their doors for organised tours led by ESO’s education and Public Outreach Department on behalf of the ESO Representation Office.

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

    Tourists come from far and wide to find out about the technology behind ESO’s world-class telescopes — how they are built and operated, and how astronomers use them to make groundbreaking discoveries. Each tour begins at the visitor centres, which are currently being upgraded with new content designed for the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre, before the guests are taken to see what they really came for: the telescopes.

    ESO Supernova Planetarium, Garching Germany

    Visits to Paranal are centred around ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced optical instrument and the flagship facility of European optical astronomy. Visitors also see the control room where astronomers work, and the Paranal Residencia — the astronomers’ “home away from home” when they are observing in Chile.

    ESO Paranal Residencia exterior

    ESO Paranal Residencia inside near the swimming pool

    ESO Paranal Residencia dining room

    At La Silla, on the other hand, visitors spend time at the ESO 3.6-metre telescope and the New Technology Telescope before ending the day at the Swedish–ESO Submillimetre Telescope.


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


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

    ESO Swedish Submillimetre Telescope at La Silla at 2400 meters

    Astronomy enthusiasts can also visit the Operational Support Facility for the impressive Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

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

    The word “alma” means “soul” in Spanish, and there is definitely something spiritual about this extraordinary location. With its 66 antennas spreading across the desert, ALMA is a hugely popular observatory to visit — tourists book at least two months in advance for an eye-opening tour of the control room, laboratories, and antennas under maintenance.

    The tours at each of these three sites are led by a team of enthusiastic guides. Most are local students who love to share their passion for astronomy. Gonzalo Aravena, a guide at Paranal, thinks that “being a small part of the great astrotourism that exists in Chile today is something to be proud of”, and Jermy Barraza, a La Silla guide, believes that guiding visitors is “a great support to our country’s culture, and encourages awareness of the natural resources that should be protected”.

    2
    Tourists visiting ESO’s Paranal Observatory pose for a snapshot in front of two of the VLT Unit Telescopes.
    Credit: ESO

    With almost 10,000 visitors a year to Paranal and 4000 to La Silla, these ESO observatories are the most popular Chilean sites for astrotourists, especially those who want to visit scientific facilities. Francisco Rodríguez, ESO’s Press Officer in Chile, explains, “Astrotourists are increasingly enthusiastic about experiencing dark skies and impressive astronomical observatories, and ESO sees this reflected in the growing number of visitors that arrive each year — over the last four years we’ve seen the numbers double”. This value is especially impressive considering how difficult the observatories are to get to.

    ESO avoids organising tours and events at night, leaving astronomers undisturbed and able to focus on their scientific research. Usually daytime tours are the only way to visit an ESO observatory, however, the doors are often opened for special events; for example Mercury’s transit of the Sun in 2003 and the partial solar eclipse in 2010. Visitors come to ESO to see the impressive technology and to understand how a professional observatory works, which often leads them to make nighttime visits to other stargazing locations.

    “Chile is an amazing country for astrotourism,” says Rodríguez. “Visitors can combine day visits to the most impressive telescopes in the world, with nighttime views of the stars at tourism observatories across the country.”

    Observatories such as the Collowara Tourism Observatory are popping up specifically for amateur stargazers, and many hotels provide telescopes for their guests to enjoy the beautiful skies. Elqui Domos Hotel has gone even further — dome-shaped rooms feature removable ceilings that open onto the sky, and guests can sleep in observatory cabins with glass roofs. Various astronomical museums have also been opened, including the San Pedro Meteorite Museum, which also conducts stargazing tours.

    Recently, ESO actively collaborated with other governmental, academic, and scientific groups to support a governmental initiative called Astroturismo Chile. Its aim is to “transform Chile into an astrotouristic destination of excellence, to be admired and recognised throughout the world for its attractiveness, quality, variety and sustainability”. Fernando Comerón, the former ESO representative in Astroturismo Chile, elaborates that the strategy “aims to improve the quality and competitiveness of existing astrotourism activities, in addition to preparing the Chilean astrotourism roadmap for 2016–2025”.

    But Chile’s dark skies are facing a growing challenge. La Serena, the closest major city to La Silla Observatory, is expanding rapidly; the region’s population has swelled to over 700 000, growing by more than 200 000 people in the last 20 years. Although some of these people are astronomers and dark sky lovers, increased development can mean increased light pollution if not carefully handled.

    Light pollution is artificial light that shines where it is neither wanted or needed, arising from poorly-designed, incorrectly-directed light fixtures. Light that shines into the sky is scattered by air molecules, moisture and aerosols in the atmosphere, causing the night sky to light up. This phenomenon is known as skyglow. Solutions include power limits for public lighting; shielding street lamps, neon signs, and plasma screens; and stricter guidelines for sport and recreational facilities.

    4
    The arch of the Milky Way emerges from the Cerro Paranal on the left, and sinks into the bright lights of Antofagasta, the closest city to Paranal Observatory.
    Credit: Bruno Gilli/ ESO

    Dark skies are incredibly important to ESO Photo Ambassador, Petr Horálek, who reflects, “I remember a law called Norma Lumínica was signed in 1999 requiring that lighting in the three astronomically-sensitive regions of Chile be directed downwards instead of into the sky… Of course, there are no lamps along the roads close to the observatories”.

    The Norma Lumínica, which establishes protocols for lighting regulations in Chile, was recently updated in 2013 to adapt to new technologies.

    5
    The spectacularly clear skies over the ESO 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla show the Milky Way and its galactic bulge.
    Credit: Y. Beletsky (LCO)/ESO

    Chile is also working with international observatories to encourage UNESCO to add major astronomy sites such as Paranal Observatory to its World Heritage List.
    “By promoting the preservation of natural conditions, particularly the dark skies, astronomy contributes to the formation of an environmentally-aware society”, says Comerón.

    Over the next ten years, Chile plans to invest in many new observatories.

    LSST


    LSST Camera, built at SLAC



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

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

    Currently, more than 50% of the world’s large telescopes are located there, and the Chilean government believe that by 2020 that value could rise to more than 70%. IndexMundi, a data portal that gathers statistics from around the world, suggests the annual number of visitors to Chile has more than quadrupled in the past 15 years In 2017, 6.45 million visitors arrived in Chile, many of whom were enticed by the incredible night skies, and the reports from the Astroturismo Chile initiative estimate that in the next decade, the number of astrotourists visiting Chile will triple.

    Chile has its work cut out to limit the impact of light pollution on its magnificent skies, but if successful the country will benefit greatly — as will the visitors who continue to flock there. As La Silla guide Yilin Kong says, “Astrotourism helps teach people about the importance of astronomy, and to encourage the next generations to participate in it”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 3:13 pm on August 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ESOblog, Instrument integration, Jean Louis Lizon   

    From ESOblog: “Cooling Down Astronomy” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    24 August 2018

    2
    Jean Louis Lizon

    Cryogenic expert Jean Louis Lizon on ESO’s technology development.

    1

    Over the last six decades, ESO has risen to its prominence in ground-based astronomy mainly due to its smart, dedicated, and hard-working staff. One such staff member is Jean Louis Lizon, former head of the Cryo-Vacuum Integration group. He’s been at ESO for more than 37 years — and in that time he’s seen six Director Generals, installed more than 40 different instruments and instrument sub-systems, travelled to Chile 132 times, and spent more than 2000 days on top of La Silla and Paranal. We chatted with him about his long career.

    Q: You’ve been at ESO for 37 years — could you tell us how you first joined the organisation?

    3
    Jean Louis Lizon with the EMMI instrument at the Integration Laboratory at ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany.
    Credit: ESO

    A: I studied optics and opto-mechanics in high school, then began working at an industrial company in Paris doing optics for military equipment. This gave me five years’ technical integration experience, making me well suited when a position opened up at ESO. I was definitely tired of living in a large city, so when I found an announcement for a position at ESO in Germany, I applied with the idea that three years abroad would be very good, especially since my wife and I had one child and were planning an additional one. It was a break that was also optimal for the family.

    Q: What has been your role at ESO, and did it change over the years?

    A: I started out responsible for instrument integration. After two years, the cryogenic expert, who was responsible for the technology that cools instruments, departed and I was offered his responsibilities on top of my existing duties. Back then, ESO was a small organisation where everybody knew each other, but slowly over the years activity grew, especially in regards to the Very Large Telescope (VLT). We appointed more staff and I became the supervisor of the Cryo-Vacuum Integration group (CVI). I supervised the group for over 15 years.

    As a cryogenic expert, I was first responsible for finishing IRSPEC.

    NASA Webb NIRspec

    ESO IRSPEC now decommissioned

    At the time, it was the first big infrared instrument, so it needed one of the largest cryostats in the world — this is an apparatus to maintain a very low temperature and thus reduce noise and increase sensitivity to improve the instrument’s performance. In the specific case of infrared instruments, it is necessary to cool down the complete instrument in order to see the light from the stars and not the light emitted by the warm surfaces of the instrument itself.

    So we went from a time where most infrared instruments were still portable to a one-tonne cryostat. It was also the time where electronic detectors like CCDs became available, which meant that as a cryogenic expert I had to develop the cryostat to host this new type of detector. I first used what was commercially available and later, in 1990, began to develop ESO detector cryostats.

    Q: You have seen four decades of instrumentation at ESO. Over these years, which instrument was most significant to you?

    A: Most probably ISAAC, the first ESO instrument on the VLT.

    ESO ISAAC on the VLT

    It was a serious challenge to go from a cryogenic instrument for a 4-m class telescope to a cryogenic instrument for an 8-m telescope class. It is also an instrument which — despite some technical problems — was extremely popular and remained in operation for 12 years, with a very high number of scientific publications.

    ISAAC is even more significant because it allowed us to gain experience in developing cryogenic mechanisms, which we then used to build a simpler version for the New Technology Telescope in just 12 months. This instrument, SOFI, is still in operation after almost 20 years.

    ESO SOFI

    3

    Final integration and testing of ISAAC (foreground) and SOFI (background) at ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany in June 1997.
    Credit: ESO

    Q: You’ve contributed to many ESO technologies that push the limits of astronomy. Are there any technologies that you’re particularly proud of?

    A: There are a few in various areas. I would mention the continuous-flow cryostat, which is a device where liquid nitrogen, the substance used to produce very low temperatures, is constantly replenished.

    5
    This cryostat can be built very compactly due to the continuous-flow technique. This cryostat was built in the early 1990s.
    Credit: ESO/H.H.Heyer

    This has been the subject of a technology transfer and has been used already in a number of applications outside of ESO — such as in the fibre-speed spectrograph installed at the Korean Astronomy Observatory (KAO) in 2000, the first test camera of the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, and CARMENES spectrographs in Spain.

    Gran Telescopio Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canaries, Spain, sited on a volcanic peak 2,267 metres (7,438 ft) above sea level

    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

    In optics, I would also mention the mosaicking of gratings, which is a technique that allows us to build large gratings by “stitching” together smaller pieces. These are easier to manufacture and it is also done for detectors, too. Some development had already been done 35 years ago, but I have improved on this technique for ESPRESSO’s grating in the last few years.

    Espresso Layout


    ESO/ESPRESSO on the VLT

    6

    The huge mosaiced diffraction grating at the heart of the ultra-precise ESPRESSO spectrograph is pictured undergoing testing in the cleanroom.
    Credit: ESO/M. Zamani

    Q: ESO is becoming less involved in the construction of instruments — do you think that’s a good thing?

    A: No, I think it even may be dangerous. ESO might lose experience and know-how. What we are doing, especially in the instrument field, is only prototyping. We have to take some technical risks and need a lot of technical developments.

    Over the past two or three years, I have been giving some training in the field of cryo-vacuum instrumentation, where I am trying to transfer part of my 40 years of experience to new engineers from all over Europe. They are an extremely good and active group — so I have no doubt that with the European community, ESO will succeed to build the new instruments such as those for the ELT.

    However, I am concerned about ESO’s own contribution. Even to judge a design, a certain level of technical experience is needed, so if ESO moves further away from doing practical work on instruments then this seems risky — plus it may lead to a loss of the contact with the technical reality, meaning we might ask instrument group to achieve performances that are not realistic.

    Q: You gave a recent talk at ESO with the quote: “No Risk, No Glory.” What is the biggest risk you took at ESO?

    A: In general, I advocate taking calculated risks in order to deliver instruments on time and working. One serious risk I faced was installing, integrating and aligning the MUSE instrument on the VLT’s Unit Telescope 4. I was responsible for organising and supervising the transport of the unique instrument — worth some 12 million euros! — from Paranal basecamp to the telescope on the summit.

    Another significant risk was getting the 12 cryogenic mechanisms working on ISAAC where we had to develop parts of the technology ourselves as there were no affordable off-the-shelf solutions.

    7
    This picture shows the MUSE instrument being lifted into the dome of Unit Telescope 4 at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile.
    Credit: ESO/G. Hüdepohl (www.atacamaphoto.com)

    Q: What has been your favourite moment working at ESO?

    A: My favourite moment is one that repeats itself — every time an instrument is installed on the telescope and the instrument scientist sends me out and asks me not to touch the instrument anymore because she’s excited and wants to start science with it!

    7
    Jean Louis Lizon takes a short break amidst the new VLT instrument UVES, the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph. This photo was taken in the 1980s.
    Credit: ESO/P. Gray

    ESO VLT UVES

    Q: You must have gathered some stories of your time at ESO: are there any you’d like to share?

    A: I have a plenty but one, in particular, has come to me. After 12 very intense days of integration of IRSPEC at the ESO 3.6-m telescope at La Silla, we cooled it down.

    At that time, in the mid-1980s, IRSPEC was one of the largest infrared spectrographs ever built. Unfortunately, we did not get any light on the detector. We thought that it must be an alignment problem — but we simply forgot to remove the protection of the infrared detector! It took three more days of warming up, opening, correcting, closing, evacuating and cooling down to finally get a signal.

    I have also been faced with many strange and memorable situations, such as an evacuation of the La Silla Observatory due to heavy snow in 1983. I have also been stuck for a week at Paranal after the strong earthquake in 2012. Back during my first mission at La Silla, we had only one daily radio contact with Santiago, with no telephone and no other way to communicate…such a difference to today, when everybody is lost after two hours without internet or phone connection!

    8
    La Silla after a snowstorm. Jean Louis Lizon was one of the ESO staff who was evacuated from La Silla due to heavy snow in 1983.
    Credit: ESO/S. Laustsen

    Q: What is your plan for the future, what will you be doing during the next few years?

    A: I will first and foremost spend some more time with my family, who I neglected a bit during all these years. I will continue to collect plants for my herbarium and also to hike mountains. Of course, I will also continue to answer technical questions and contribute some technical support to the community.

    Q: And finally, what’s your advice for young engineers?

    A: What I always say: do not hesitate to take some risks and to try. Do not be afraid to work and to fail.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 5:51 pm on August 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ESOblog, Observing the Finest Details of the Stars   

    From ESOblog: “Observing the Finest Details of the Stars” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    17 August 2018
    People@ESO

    1
    A telescope alone is not enough to do advanced astronomical research — the light they capture must be analysed by an instrument. There is a huge range of instruments and techniques that can help astronomers make the most of the information collected with a telescope. Interferometry is one of these techniques and has guided engineers to build highly-developed instruments for precise interferometric measurements. To learn more about these instruments, we catch up with ESO Fellow Joel Sanchez-Bermudez, who was involved with the GRAVITY instrument on the Very Large Telescope Interferometer at Paranal.

    2
    Joel Sanchez-Bermudez

    Q: Joel, tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to ESO.

    A: I’ve always wondered about the mysteries hidden in the stars and about how the inherent creativity and curiosity of humankind have allowed us to unveil them. This is mainly why I decided to become an astronomer. After my PhD at the Universidad de Granada in Spain, I moved into my first postdoctoral position at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, and then became an ESO Fellow in Santiago in December 2017. My duties are related to the instruments of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at the Paranal Observatory.

    Q: What is it like working at Paranal up on the mountain?

    A: Working at Paranal is a very interesting experience. We’re in direct contact with the foremost ground-based telescopes on Earth. We manage them, use them to look at the sky (not only for our personal scientific interests but for the community), upgrade them and maintain them! That is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an observational astronomer like me. We’re also based between an astonishing desert and one of the best skies on the planet. To me, this highlights our position in the scale of things and pushes my desire to use ESO telescopes to explore the stars.

    Q: What does your scientific research focus on?

    A: My scientific research focuses on the physics of massive stars. Studying these stars is important because they build up most of the chemical elements that form us and the Earth! Massive stars are rare and difficult to observe compared with their lower-mass counterparts. High-mass stars are formed in the densest regions of the molecular clouds within the Milky Way, where the newly-born stars spend around 20% of their lifetimes. Not only that — these clouds are more than 3000 light-years away from us. This makes it difficult to observe their early stages. Therefore, to study the physical processes of their evolution in detail, we need high-angular resolution techniques.

    I’ve studied the initial phases of the life of these massive stars; their (apparent) intrinsic multiplicity, meaning many of them are a multi-star system; and how their winds interact with other stars or the surrounding medium. To carry out these studies, I’ve used interferometric data in infrared, all obtained with ESO facilities — such as the Sparse Aperture Masking mode of the infrared camera NACO, the near-infrared long-baseline beam-combiners AMBER and PIONIER, and more recently with GRAVITY. In particular, I specialise in reconstructing images from interferometric data. I’ve been using GRAVITY to study the core of Eta Carinae, one of the most massive stars in the Milky Way.

    ESO/NACO

    ESO VLTI -AMBER

    ESO VLTI PIONIER instrument [First light October 2010]

    ESO GRAVITY in the VLTI

    Eta Carinae Image Credit: N. Smith, J. A. Morse (U. Colorado) et al., NASA

    Q: What is interferometry? How does it improve our view of the Universe?

    A: Interferometry is a technique that allows astronomers to observe an object with two or more telescopes simultaneously. It allows us to observe some of the finest details of the stars by achieving a greater resolution — proportional to the distance between the telescopes in the interferometer — than by just one of the telescopes.

    2009 ESO VLT Interferometer image, Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level, • ANTU (UT1; The Sun ),
    •KUEYEN (UT2; The Moon ),
    •MELIPAL (UT3; The Southern Cross ), and
    •YEPUN (UT4; Venus – as evening star).

    The principle behind the technique is quite interesting and it is related to the wave nature of light. Interferometers capture the interference pattern of the light collected at each one of the telescopes, similar to mapping the crests and troughs at the intersection between two sets of ripples in a pond. Interferometers measure the contrast between the maxima and minima of the interference pattern. This pattern is associated with the size of the observed object in the orientation of an artificial straight line, known as a baseline, that connects two of the telescopes in the interferometer. Interferometry is a major player in many of our discoveries of the Universe, including measuring the speed of light, the discovery of pulsars, and the discovery of gravitational waves. Each of these discoveries has won a Nobel Prize.

    Pulsar orbiting a binary companion and the gravitational waves (or ripples) in spacetime. ESO

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/Werner Benger

    Infrared interferometry, which is what I focus on, is a relatively new field of research that has been consolidated during the last two decades. The new instrument at the VLTI, GRAVITY, will allow us to test the fundamental laws of physics at the centre of our Milky Way at infrared wavelengths. These same laws govern the Universe at large, so hopefully, these tests will be a major contribution.

    Q: What is the VLTI?

    A: The VLTI is the interferometric mode of the ESO telescopes at the Paranal Observatory, where, depending on the instrument, up to four telescopes can be combined to observe an astronomical source at the same time. When the light from the desired object arrives at each one of the telescopes, it is directed through a set of tunnels underneath the telescopes to the so-called “VLTI Lab” where a set of optical trains (called Delay Lines) synchronise the light by minimising the differences between the arrival time of the different stations. Then, light is delivered to one of the beam-combiners (GRAVITY, AMBER, PIONIER or MATISSE) where the interference of the different light beams is recorded in the detectors.

    Q: Tell us some more about GRAVITY.

    A: GRAVITY is the newest near-infrared beam-combiner at the VLTI, having seen first light in January 2016. This instrument allows us to combine the light of up to four telescopes, either the 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) or the 8-metre Unit Telescopes (UTs), at the Paranal site. The maximum angular resolution obtained with GRAVITY (i.e., the smallest details of an astronomical object that GRAVITY can distinguish) is proportional to the maximum separation between two of the telescopes in the interferometer. In the best case, the resolution is about two milliarcseconds — which is equivalent to seeing two objects separated by the distance of a pencil on the surface of the Moon!

    2
    ESO GRAVITY II

    Q: GRAVITY is a second-generation instrument at the VLTI. How is it a step up from previous instruments?

    A: GRAVITY is a big step up from its predecessor, AMBER. First, because GRAVITY is able to combine up to four telescopes at the same time, while AMBER could only work with three of them. This improvement alone makes GRAVITY more effective in reconstructing images from interferometric data. GRAVITY also has other capabilities, such as observing two stars at the same time — with one of them used as a reference while the scientific data is obtained with the second one. This capability allowed researchers to observe the close approach of the star S2 to the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way this year. This was actually one of the science goals for the instrument.

    This particular skill is key to making observations of the S2 star, which is in orbit around the supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, at the centre of our galaxy.

    Star S2 Keck/UCLA Galactic Center Group

    Sgr A* from ESO VLT

    SGR A* , the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory

    Monitoring this star is one of the primary science goals of GRAVITY — it aims to watch S2 as it makes its closest approach to Sagittarius A*, and ultimately test the effects of the general theory of relativity. The theory predicts that there will be a precession of the orbit of the star from the classical Newtonian solution. This is similar to the precession of the orbit of Mercury around the Sun measured in 1954. Without doubt, this is the most important experiment conducted with the VLTI!

    GRAVITY will also help us understand the morphology of the gas and dust in young stellar objects, the shape of winds in massive stars, the distribution of dust in the inner torus around Active Galactic Nuclei, and the motion of spots on the surface of some of the biggest stars in the galaxy.

    The VLTI also has another second-generation instrument, MATISSE, which saw first light just this year.

    ESO CNRS VLT Matisse Multi-AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment

    ESO MATISSE side view

    This new interferometer will allow us to obtain — for the first time — the most detailed images of the dust distribution in stars and galaxies at mid-infrared wavelengths. This will be a huge step forward compared with its predecessor instrument, MIDI.

    ESO VLTI MIDI

    ESO MIDI II

    This instrument didn’t allow us to recover images so that the full morphology of the objects could be appreciated, but only to measure sizes.

    Q: If you had unlimited resources and a great team, what kind of instrument would you like to see developed for the VLTI?

    A: I’d like to see an instrument that could combine the light from at least six telescopes at the same time. It would make use of all the existing Delay Lines at the VLTI and would increase the effectiveness of the new interferometric array to recover the best images of the studied objects. Of course, having two more telescopes in the array would require a new instrument to be developed — so I’d like to help design and build a new beam-combiner that could work at visible wavelengths, which would open up a new observational window compared to the already existing instruments (and with a higher resolution).

    One of the scientific cases that I would like to study with this new instrument is the morphology of young stellar objects (YSOs), which would reveal new clues on the different star and planet formation scenarios. An interferometer in the visible wavelength would compliment current studies on the multiplicity of massive stars by resolving more compact, binary stellar systems, allowing us to characterize their masses and possible evolutionary paths. The study of evolved stars, planetary nebulae, Cepheids and active galactic nuclei are also topics that could be covered with the proposed visible interferometer.

    Q: What excites you most in your work as an ESO Fellow?

    A: For me, working at ESO is like playing in the Champions League for football. ESO is the most prolific observatory in the world, with a top-notch instrumentation. Having first-hand experience with the instruments and work in an international environment with world-leading experts in several areas of astronomy is always stimulating, and motivates me to continue with my research.

    For PhD recipients, applications for the ESO fellowship are currently open. Fellows are located either in Germany or Chile and can last for as long as four years depending on the fellowship. More information about the fellowship and how to apply can be found here.

    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-

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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

     
  • richardmitnick 2:44 pm on August 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESOblog, Reinhard Genzel from Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), , What’s Next for the Heart of the Milky Way   

    From ESOblog: “What’s Next for the Heart of the Milky Way” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog


    This artist´s impression shows the path of the star S2 as it passes very close to the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. As it gets close to the black hole the very strong gravitational field causes the colour of the star to shift slightly to the red, an effect of Einstein´s general theory of relativity.
    Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

    Reinhard Genzel on the significance and future of galactic centre research.

    1
    10 August 2018

    Reinhard Genzel’s team at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) recently found general relativistic effects during the closest approach of the star S2 to the Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.

    Star S2 Keck/UCLA Galactic Center Group

    SgrA* NASA/Chandra


    SGR A* , the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory

    Sgr A* from ESO VLT

    This discovery is not only a step forward in the research of the galactic centre, but it’s also a great leap in our understanding of physics. In the last of three blog posts, Reinhard Genzel discusses this recent discovery and what future research might look like.

    Q: Firstly can you tell us about the observations your team have just completed?

    A: The star S2 passed very close to the black hole in the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way, just a few weeks ago. With our long-term preparations for this event, we were able to gather a lot of high-quality data, not only on the position of the star along its orbit, but also on its velocity. Indeed, over the past decade, we developed a completely novel instrument, GRAVITY, which allows us to study the galactic centre in unprecedented detail and ultra-high precision.

    ESO GRAVITY in the VLTI

    Q: Some members of team have worked over 16 years to prepare for these observations, since the last time S2 made a close approach to SgrA*. What have we learned in this time and what have you discovered now?

    A: The first close approach in 2002 and the first full orbit, were dedicated to proving that there is indeed a supermassive black hole at the centre of our Milky Way. Actually, we now believe that all large galaxies harbour a black hole at their core. With the current observing campaign, we focused on studying the black hole in more detail to find out more about general relativistic effects and the properties of the black hole itself — and we have now found evidence of these effects.

    3

    This artist´s impression shows the path of the star S2 as it passes very close to the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. As it gets close to the black hole the very strong gravitational field causes the colour of the star to shift slightly to the red, an effect of Einstein´s general theory of relativity. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

    Q: Why are your team’s observations of S2 important?

    A: The black hole in our Milky Way is close enough that we are able to study individual stars near it — we can do that in no other galaxy. The star S2 is special in that it comes very close to the black hole and it completes its orbit in only 16 years. For the other stars, we can only observe part of their orbits — which also gives us some very interesting information — but in the coming years, only S2 dips so deeply into the gravitational well of the black hole.

    Q: What can these observations tell us about general relativity?

    A: We are observing an object in a very strong gravitational field, much stronger than anything that can be observed on Earth. We saw general relativistic effects indicated by the orbital precession, an effect we already know from the orbit of Mercury around the Sun, and the gravitational redshift, wherein the starlight changes frequency due to the strong pull of gravity. While other observations have seen general relativistic effects in a few other astronomical systems, our observations of the heart of the Milky Way, for the first time, tested Einstein’s theory in the extreme gravitational field around a massive black hole.


    Learn more about the first successful test of Einstein´s General Theory of Relativity near a supermassive black hole in ESOcast 173.

    Q: What can these observations tell us about black holes?

    A: First of all, it can tell us that black holes really do exist, and that they are not just a theoretical construct. All our observations show that there is a supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, if Einstein’s general theory of relativity holds. With this new data we can make a strong case that Einstein is right — and with general relativity in place, the only possible explanation is a black hole.

    Q: What is it about these observations that make them different from the last time S2 made its closest approach to the galactic centre?

    A: To observe the effects that I have mentioned above, we need very accurate data on the orbit of S2 and on its velocity. With the GRAVITY instrument, we now have a hundred-fold improvement in our astrometry, our tracking of stars, compared to the 1990s and about 20 times better data than during the last close flyby. Now, we can even follow the star’s motion from day to day.


    This time-lapse view shows images from the GRAVITY instrument on ESO´s Very Large Telescope as it tracks the progress of the star S2 as it made a close passage past the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way in May 2018. Credit: ESO/GRAVITY Collaboration

    Q: What are you looking forward to learning about the galactic centre in the future? What do you realistically expect to find out in the next few years?

    A: Our first step was to look for one particular post-Newtonian effect, namely, that clocks tick more slowly in a gravitational field. But predictions from the theory of general relativity are far more astonishing. If the black hole has a spin, spacetime itself will rotate, pulling the stars along with it. The unprecedented resolution and sensitivity of our GRAVITY instrument — we hope — will allow us to measure this effect using faint stars at an even closer orbit. Such measurements might also allow us to determine if there are additional massive objects, such as stellar-mass or intermediate-mass black holes, close to the galactic centre as predicted by many theorists. Furthermore, we also hope to see gas orbiting at distances very close to the black hole. We do see gas emission shining up regularly, and we hope to push our instrument a bit further, such that we can see how the emission runs around the black hole – within less than half an hour or so! This would be the full relativistic regime, and correspondingly exciting!

    Q: Why should we continue studying the galactic centre? What mysteries are still unsolved?

    A: The black hole in the galactic centre is the ideal laboratory to study these extreme objects. Ultimately we want to bring together the theories of quantum mechanics and gravitation, which could lead to new physics. Theorists predict that this should happen close to the event horizon, the point from which leaving a black hole becomes impossible.

    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-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 1:44 pm on August 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ESOblog, Frank Eisenhauer,   

    From ESOblog: Advancing Technology for Galactic Observations 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    1
    Science Snapshots

    3 August 2018

    In May 2018, the star S2 made its closest approach to the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. Observing this event was no easy task. The centre is full of dense dust clouds, impenetrable at visual wavelengths. The unique instruments GRAVITY and SINFONI, able to take highly precise measurements, needed to be developed for these observations. Frank Eisenhauer, a member of the Galactic Centre group at Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and principal investigator for GRAVITY and SINFONI, talks about observing the close approach of S2 in the second of a three blog post series.

    ESO GRAVITY in the VLTI

    ESO SINFONI


    ESO/SINFONI

    Q: Can you tell us a bit about what observations your team aimed to make about the galactic centre?

    A: We knew that the star S2 would make a close flyby of the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way in 2018, making it possible to study the effects predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. We expected the motion of the star to deviate from a Keplerian orbit based on Newton’s laws. Our observations aimed to see these differences, so, to see any visible changes, we had to improve our observation accuracy by several orders of magnitude compared to previous measurements.

    3
    This simulation shows the orbits of stars very close to the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. The area is a perfect laboratory to test gravitational physics and specifically Einstein´s general theory of relativity. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/spaceengine.org

    Q: What did you and your team do to prepare for this year’s observations?

    A: Our instrument — GRAVITY — was finished about three years ago and arrived in Chile, the site of ESO’s telescopes. Then the most intense period started: making GRAVITY work together with all four telescopes of the Very Large Telescope (VLT). In the summer of 2016, we had our first observations of the galactic centre, which, for the first time, showed not only S2 but also the black hole with unprecedented resolution. Since then they have become our faithful companions whenever we visit for a look. For the closest approach in 2018, the team returned for further observations every month.


    Animation of the path that an incoming light ray traces through the GRAVITY instrument. Note the intricate design and complex interaction of the various components for the four telescopes. For interferometry to work, the light paths have to be superposed with a precision of a fraction of the wavelength – less than 1 micrometre.
    Credit: MPE

    4
    The VLTI Delay Lines, which lie below the ground at Paranal, inside a 168-m tunnel. They form an essential part of this very complicated optical system by ensuring that the light beams from several telescopes arrive in phase at the common interferometric focus. Credit: Enrico Sacchetti/ESO

    Q: What kind of telescope did the team use to observe the galactic centre?

    A: So, we needed a “super-telescope”, which we created by combining the four largest ESO telescopes of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) with a technique called interferometry. This technique is well established in radio astronomy, i.e. when observing at longer wavelengths, but many thought it would be impossible to achieve that level of sensitivity and accuracy at infrared wavelengths. And, yes, it was not easy. But the star would not wait for us — and in the end, we were ready in time!

    Q: Can you explain how infrared interferometry works?
    The optical path lengths between the four telescopes and our instrument have to be controlled with the precision of a fraction of the wavelength

    A: With an interferometer, you combine the light received from different telescopes. The big challenge is to combine this light properly, or “in phase” as the physicists say. This means that the optical path lengths between the four telescopes and our instrument have to be controlled with the precision of a fraction of the wavelength—several hundred times smaller than the thickness of a human hair—while the telescopes are separated by as much as 130 metres.


    Learn more about the first successful test of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity near a supermassive black hole in ESOcast 173.
    Credit: MPE

    5
    Every day, before the observations start, each telescope undergoes a complete start up during which each of its function is checked, like a plane before take off. Here, Yepun, the fourth Unit Telescope, has been moved to a very low altitude, revealing the cell holding its main mirror and the SINFONI integral-field spectrograph. Credit: ESO

    Q: Can you tell us a bit about the ESO instruments used and the differences between them?

    A: The group around Reinhard Genzel at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) started to observe the galactic centre with the SHARP I camera on the New Technology Telescope in the 1990s. At that time, high-quality infrared detectors became available and we were the first to use them to peer through the dust cloud obscuring the galactic centre. Then came NACO with the VLT, which lead to the breakthrough with the first orbit measurement in 2002. In parallel, we developed SINFONI, the first near-infrared imaging spectrograph for the VLT, which has given us crucial velocity measurements since its installation in 2003. And, finally, GRAVITY now combines all four VLT telescope to a “130-m super-telescope.”

    Q: What about these instruments makes it possible to see through the curtain of dust and stars?

    A: The galactic centre is hidden behind dense dusts clouds — but this is only true for visible light. If you go to infrared wavelengths, you can see through to the stars beyond. However, part of this radiation is absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere, and in particular water vapour in the air. This meant we needed to go to a high place, with less atmosphere above us, and a dry place, i.e. a desert. This is why the Paranal observatory, on top of a high mountain in the Atacama desert, was the perfect place for these observations. But even for the best observing conditions, the atmosphere’s turbulence blurs the images, which is why we need adaptive optics (AO).

    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 tell us a bit about the Adaptive Optics system for IR imaging? Are there any challenges using AO to observe the Galactic Centre?

    A: Adaptive optics means that you measure the distortion from the Earth’s atmosphere a few hundred times per second, and correct it in real time with a deformable mirror. For this, you need a bright reference star. Unfortunately, there are no really bright stars at visible wavelengths close to the galactic centre to measure these distortions. Therefore you have two options: create your own artificial star with a laser beacon, as done with SINFONI, or build an infrared wavefront sensor as we did for GRAVITY.

    Q: What advancements in observing technology have made it possible for us to study the galactic centre as compared to 20 or 25 years ago when observations of the galactic centre were really becoming possible?

    A: When the group at MPE started observing the galactic centre in the 1990s, we could observe with 150 milliarcsecond resolution. This is about the angle under which a stadium 300 metres diameter would appear on the Moon. Now, with GRAVITY, we can observe with a resolution as good as 2 milliarcseconds, and measure the separation between the star S2 and the black hole with a precision of just a few tens of microarcseconds. The latter is equivalent to observing two objects on the Moon that are separated by the length of a pencil.

    Q: What do you find most exciting about studying the galactic centre?

    A: To see so many miracles predicted by the general theory of relativity all in one place: the black hole, stars moving at incredible speed, the time dilation, and many other phenomena. The centre of the Milky Way is and will remain our Rosetta stone for deciphering these wonders.

    See the full article here .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 12:40 pm on July 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESOblog, Eyeing the Centre of the Milky Way   

    From ESOblog: “Eyeing the Centre of the Milky Way” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From ESOblog

    1
    Science Snapshots

    27 July 2018

    In May 2018, the star S2 made its closest approach to the galactic centre in 16 years. This star can help us study an elusive area of our galaxy, the heart of the Milky Way, which was not well understood until only a few decades ago. In the first of a series of three blog posts, Stefan Gillessen, astronomer with the galactic centre research group at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, shares more of what we previously knew of this area as the group releases the latest observations from this year.

    Q: To start, can you tell us a bit about the environment at the centre of the Milky Way?

    A: In the galactic centre, we know of a radio source: Sagittarius A*. It was discovered in 1974 but it turned out to be quite difficult to reliably determine the mass of this very compact radio source.

    Star S2 Keck/UCLA Galactic Center Group

    SGR A* , the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory

    For example, the centre is hidden behind dense dust clouds, making it impossible to see in visible light. However, with the advent of infrared detectors, we can now look through these clouds, and so we now know that there are actually thousands of stars. We can observe these stars and see them moving individually.


    Animation of the orbit of the star S2 around the galactic centre black hole.
    Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/http://www.spaceengine.org

    This time-lapse of images from the GRAVITY instrument on ESO´s Very Large Telescope tracks the progress of the star S2 as it made a close passage past the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way in May 2018.
    Credit: ESO/GRAVITY Collaboration

    ESO GRAVITY in the VLTI

    Q: What about the galactic centre was your team observing and why?

    A: We want to learn more about the black hole. We cannot observe a black hole directly — it is black, not even light can escape from it. However, we can study the surroundings of the black hole. Imagine you would like to observe a lion at a waterhole. Usually, it is hard to spot when it is lying below a bush. However, all the other animals that you actually can see start behaving differently. The lion influences its environment — and so does a black hole. The stars close to a massive black hole feel the strong gravity, and do not move on straight trajectories, but on Keplerian ellipses. By now, we know of 45 stars orbiting the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way. It is just like the planets are orbiting the Sun in our Solar System. The difference is that the stellar orbits around the Milky Way centre are randomly oriented (as opposed to an almost flat plane like our Solar System) and the orbital periods are somewhat longer, in the range of tens or hundreds of years.

    4
    A panorama of the Milky Way arching above the platform of ESO´s Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal, Chile.
    Credit: John Colosimo (colosimophotography.com)/ESO

    Q: What’s so extraordinary about the star S2 and why is it useful for studying SgrA*?

    A: The star S2 is special in that its orbit is very close and that it is actually bright enough for making detailed measurements. S2 completes a revolution in only about 16 years — this means that we can actually study a full orbit (or more) in one astronomer’s lifetime. This is exactly what we did. Starting in 1992 we began observing its orbit, including the closest approach in 2002. In 2008, we had the first full revolution completed and have continued observations, covering now a second pericenter approach in May 2018.

    Q: Where did you go for observations and why did you need to go there?

    A: The galactic centre is located in the skies of the southern hemisphere, so the best thing to do is to go south. As the stars are quite faint we need a large telescope and for the best view, it helps to be high up and in a dry environment. And, most crucial, we need the images to be as sharp as possible since the stars in the galactic centre are very densely packed. That’s why we use the VLT operated by ESO in the Chilean Atacama Desert. It offers all the requirements we need.

    Q: What needs to be researched after these observations?

    A: After the discovery of the black hole, the next logical step was to investigate this black hole in more detail. Due to the extremely strong gravitational field, we expected to see the effects of general relativity — but only if we can look close enough. This is why we needed to push the technology. Our team has developed SINFONI and GRAVITY [above]. With SINFONI we can measure the radial velocity of stars very accurately and GRAVITY gives us extremely sharp images and accurate positions.

    ESO SINFONI

    Q: Why should we study the galactic centre?

    A: Ever since the discovery of the radio source in the galactic centre, there have been discussions on its nature, and, in particular, if it could be the counterpart of a supermassive black hole, which is also the source type speculated to be at the centre of quasars. Unlike those galaxies, however, the Milky Way centre is right on our doorstep — and this makes it possible to study it in exquisite detail. And it is very a unique laboratory – where does one otherwise have access to a massive black hole to study the extreme physics close to an event horizon?

    Learn more about the first successful test of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity near a supermassive black hole in ESOcast 173.
    Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/spaceengine.org

    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-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     
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