Ever wonder what takes place on a daily basis at one of the premier ground-based observatories? The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and on October 5, 2012, they will host a free, live event on the web, “A Day in the Life of ESO.” There will be live observations from ESO’s flagship observatory, the Very Large Telescope (VLT), on Cerro Paranal in Chile’s Atacama Desert, as well as talks from astronomers at ESO’s Headquarters in Germany. Members of the public are invited to ask questions in advance of the event, or during the stream, by Facebook, Twitter, and email.
The webcast will be streamed through Livestream.
For the first time in ESO’s history, the VLT will be pointed towards an object in the sky selected by members of the public — the Thor’s Helmet Nebula (NGC 2359). This striking nebula was selected as part of the Choose What the VLT Observes competition. Brigitte Bailleul, from France, won the Tweet Your Way to the VLT! competition, and will travel to the Paranal Observatory in Chile to help make the observations. The live link to Paranal will show the observations and the telescopes on the mountaintop, in the stunning landscape of the Atacama Desert, letting viewers join Brigitte on her trip of a lifetime.
The webcast will run from 9:00 to 15:00 UTC on October 5. It will be hosted by astronomer — and host of the ESOcasts — “Dr J” — Dr. Joe Liske, from ESO. There will also be talks from astronomers at ESO’s Headquarters in Germany, on topics ranging from ESO’s state-of-the-art telescopes, via the latest news from the frontiers of astronomy, to what the life of an astronomer is like. Throughout the day there will be question and answer sessions, and the chance to test your ESO knowledge in a quiz to win some astronomical prizes.
Members of the public are invited to ask questions about the activities at the Paranal Observatory, the talks of the day, or general questions about ESO. You can send us your questions before the event, or during the webcast, in English in the following ways:
Send a tweet @ESO, also using the hashtag #ESO50years.
Write a question on your Facebook wall in which you tag ESO’s Facebook page.
Send an email to [email protected] with the subject ESO50years. Optionally, please include your name and country.