European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern hemisphere (ESO)

Organisation européenne pour des recherches astronomiques dans l'hémisphère austral
Europäische Organisation für Astronomische Forschung in der Südlichen Hemisphäre

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5 Oct 1962, Paris (France), as European Southern Observatory. Statutes registered in 'UNTS 1/14697'.


Establish and operate astronomical observatories in the southern hemisphere, furthering and organizing collaboration in astronomy, covering a wide spectrum of activities, including design and construction of world-class ground-based observational facilities for member-state scientists, large telescope projects, design of innovative scientific instruments, developing new and advanced technologies, furthering European cooperation in astronomy and carrying out European educational programmes.

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Observatory Sites:

I. Observatory at La Silla (Chile), operating several optical telescopes of up to 3.6 metres.

II. Cerro Paranal (Chile), where the world's largest optical telescope (interferometer) has been constructed to consist of four 8.2 metre and four 1.8 metre auxiliary telescopes; the four 8.2 metre telescopes and 2 of the auxiliary telescopes are already in regular operation. The technical development programme in European headquarters provides the observatory with advanced instruments. Over 1,500 proposals are made annually for use of ESO telescopes. OPC recommends which of these projects would appear to lead to the best science with the instrumentation available. It includes panels on different scientific domains:

 • Cosmology;

 • Galaxies and Galactic Nuclei;

 • ISM, Star Formation and Planetary Systems;

 • Stellar Evolution.

III. Leads the European participation in the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) project (a North-American/European/East Asian collaboration), that operates 66 interconnected antennas at the Chajnantor site in Northern Chile at 5,000 m altitude; performs design studies for a future extremely large (up to 39.2-metre mirror diameter) ground-based optical telescope; conducts research projects and provides support to astronomers through fellowships and visiting professorships; organizes 3-5 symposia a year, conferences and workshops.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 9 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 12 non-governmental organizations.
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Information Services

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Members in 15 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Astronomy
    • Astronomy
  • Research, Standards
    • Research

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 4: Quality Education



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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