ESO 50th Anniversary Events

27 April 2012

Event organisers are invited to join an international series of coordinated public events on 5 October 2012 marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Southern Observatory. The events will celebrate Europe’s quest to explore the southern sky, with unique and exciting activities.

ESO invites venues such as public observatories, planetariums, science centres, museums, art galleries, and other public spaces, as well as organisers working with these venues, to apply to host one of these events.

The centrepiece of the coordinated events will be a live connection to ESO’s Paranal Observatory, in Chile, home of the world’s most advanced visible light astronomical observatory — the Very Large Telescope (VLT). A never-before-seen stunning astronomical image from ESO will also be unveiled.

In addition to the live streaming and never-before-seen image, ESO representatives will visit venues to talk about ESO’s state-of-the-art observatories, and the latest scientific and technological results. Organisers may also add other "local extras" such as additional material, public talks, exhibitions, like Awesome Universe (ESO's 50th anniversary exhibition), or other activities.

A range of merchandise will accompany the event, such as: the ESO anniversary coffee-table book and documentary Europe to the Stars (on DVD and Blu-ray); The Jewel on the Mountaintop, a book detailing ESO’s history, posters, postcards, stickers and more.

Friday 5 October 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of ESO, which took place on 5 October 1962 with the signature by the Founding Members Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden of the ESO Convention.

To find out more, visit the ESO 50th Anniversary event page for organisers at

More Information

The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive astronomical observatory. It is supported by 15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, 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 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 the European partner of a revolutionary astronomical telescope ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. ESO is currently planning a 40-metre-class European Extremely Large optical/near-infrared Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.



Douglas Pierce-Price
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6759

About the Announcement



ESO 50th anniversary events
ESO 50th anniversary events