Press Invitation to Launch of EVALSO, An Important Advance in Communications for Remote Latin American Observatories

28 October 2010

On Thursday 4 November 2010, ESO’s powerful telescopes, which are located in a remote and barren desert landscape in Chile, will become more accessible than ever to astronomers in Europe, thanks to a new high-speed data link. Members of the press are invited to attend the launch of the new communications data link and to view a demonstration of the technology from the project site in the middle of the Atacama Desert.

The high-speed data link is part of the Enabling Virtual Access to Latin American Southern Observatories (EVALSO) project. Previously, data from instruments at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) were sent back via a microwave link to a base station near the Chilean city of Antofagasta and from there to Santiago. This link supports a data transfer rate of only 16Mbit/s, but, since ESO’s VISTA telescope saw first light in December 2009, the Paranal Observatory now produces over 100 GB of data per night. This means that data must be saved onto hard drives and sent by airmail back to ESO’s headquarters near Munich, Germany. The new link, however, will increase data transfer speeds to up to 10Gbit/s to Santiago.

The launch event will begin at 12:00 noon on Thursday 4 November 2010 at ESO’s office in Santiago, Chile (Avenida Alonso de Cordova 3107, Vitacura, Santiago). Speakers at the launch will include Massimo Tarenghi, ESO Representative in Chile; Fernando Liello, EVALSO Project Coordinator; Giorgio Filippi, ESO, responsible for technical implementation; Sandra Jacque, REUNA, responsible for technical implementation; José Palacios Guzmán, Chairman of the Board of Directors of REUNA, one of the partner institutions; Rolf Chini, Director of the Astronomy Institute at Bochum University; Mario Campolargo and Jean-Luc Dorel, European Commission; and Fernando Schmidt, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chile.

Please confirm attendance to Gonzalo Argandoña by e-mail ( or phone (+56 2 463 3258).


EVALSO is funded under the European Commission FP7 and is a partnership among Università degli Studi di Trieste (Italy), ESO, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany), Consortium GARR (Gestione Ampliamento Rete Ricerca) (Italy), Universiteit Leiden (Netherlands), Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (Italy), Queen Mary, University of London (UK), Cooperacion LatinoAmericana de Redes Avanzasas (CLARA) (Uruguay), and Red Universitaria Nacional (REUNA) (Chile).

More Information

ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive astronomical observatory. It is supported by 14 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. 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 VISTA, the world’s largest survey telescope. ESO is the European partner of a revolutionary astronomical telescope ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. ESO is currently planning a 42-metre European Extremely Large optical/near-infrared Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.



Gonzalo Argandoña
Santiago, Chile
Tel: +56-2-463-3258
Mobile: +56-9-9-829-4202

Giorgio Filippi
ESO Telescopes Division
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49-89-3200-6325

Lars Lindberg Christensen
ESO education and Public Outreach Department
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49-89-3200-6761
Mobile: +49-173 38 72 621

About the Announcement



Workers constructing EVALSO
Workers constructing EVALSO