Exciting New Virtual Tours of ESO’s Observatories and Facilities

2 August 2016

Brand new 360-degree virtual tours of all of ESO’s facilities are now available on the ESO website. This new release has been enriched with new viewpoint features and many panoramas and videos capturing places never seen before. You can switch from one panorama to another just by clicking on the blue spots dotted around the images — just follow these blue spots to enjoy this immersive experience of ESO’s world!

You can begin your tour at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching, just outside Munich, Germany. Inaugurated in 1981, the modernist buildings are the scientific, technical and administrative centre of ESO. As the number of ESO Member States, and its staff, grew, an extension to the initial design was added in December 2013. The subject of worldwide appreciation in architectural circles, ESO’s facilities in Garching can now be enjoyed in this virtual tour — architectural pearls indeed!

From the suburban calm of Garching, you can cross the Atlantic Ocean to some of the most inhospitable places on Earth, and undertake a virtual exploration of ESO’s observatories in Chile. Paranal Observatory, home to the Very Large Telescope (VLT), and La Silla Observatory, ESO’s first observatory, can be viewed under the magnificent night skies that make these amongst the best astronomical sites in the world. Through these new panoramas you can get a sense of what it is like to enjoy these Chilean skies at first hand. As well as these world-class optical observatories, you can also “visit” the buildings of the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF), where the people who service the world’s largest radio telescope array work and live. Background information is available at all sites, including information on all of ESO’s telescopes and instruments.

There is even a glimpse into the future. You will be able to explore Cerro Armazones from several different viewpoints, where the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), the world's biggest eye on the sky, will be built, taking on some of the most perplexing scientific challenges of our time.

ESO’s collection of hundreds of 360-degree panorama pictures can also be used for other purposes — for example, they can be imported into Virtual Reality systems, or into planetarium software for display in planetariums worldwide. All are available via this link.

The images that go to make up this stunning collection owe their existence to the hard work and dedication of ESO’s Photo Ambassadors. The ESO virtual tours webpage collects together the entire family of 360-degree virtual tours of ESO’s facilities.



Richard Hook
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
Cell: +49 151 1537 3591

Oana Sandu
ESO, Garching, Germany
Community Coordinator
Phone: +49 89 3200 6965

About the Announcement



ESO's Very Large Telescope array
ESO's Very Large Telescope array