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Published by: European Southern Observatory on May 07, 2009
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05/11/2014

E S O1 9 9 3t o2 0 0 0 p lu s *
R . G IA C C O N I, D ire c to r G e n e ra l o f E S O
In tro d u c tio n
T h e v e ry c o m p le te "H is to ry o f th e E u -
ro p e a n
S o u th e rn
O b s e rv a to ry
(E S O )"
p re p a re d
b y
P ro f. B la u u w
fu rn is h e s
a

p e rfe c t b a c k g ro u n d fo r m y p re s e n ta tio n o n th e p re s e n t s ta tu s a n d fo re s e e a b le fu tu re tre n d o f E S O . I w ill th e re fo re n o t re p e a t m a n y o f th e b a s ic s re g a rd in g th e c re a tio n , m e m b e rs h ip c h a rte r a n d e a rly d e v e lo p m e n t o f E S O e x c e p t t o s u m m a - riz e th e m o s t s ig n ific a n t s ta rtin g p o in ts fo r c u rre n t a n d fu tu re a c tiv itie s . F ro m its b e g in n in g in 1 9 6 2 a n d th r o u g h a n u m b e r o f s u c c e s s iv e d e v e lo p m e n ts o u tlin e d in P ro f. B la u u w 's re p o rt, E S O 's o b s e rv a tio - n a l fa c ilitie s in L aS illa g r e w

in n u m b e r

th ro u g h o u t th e firs t 3 0 y e a rs s o th a t in 1 9 9 3 th e y c o m p r is e d 1 5 te le s c o p e s o f a ll s iz e s a n d d e s c r ip tio n s ra n g in g fro m th e 3 .6 m e te r to 5 0 c m te le s c o p e s a n d in c lu d in gE S O 's a n d n a tio n a l fa c ilitie s . T h is is th e b a s is o f th e s ta te m e n t th a t E S O

ru n s
o n e
o f th e
w o r ld 's
la r g e s t
a s tro n o m ic a l o b s e rv a to rie s .
A s fa r a s th e q u a lity o f th e o b s e rv a -
tio n a l
c a p a b ilitie s
is
c o n c e rn e d ,
th e
m o s t s ig n ific a n t e v e n t w a s th e
s tu d y ,
*) N o te s p re p a re d fo r th e c o n fe re n c e o nH is to ry
o f
E u ro p e a n
S c ie n tific
a n d
T e c h n o lo g ic a l C o -
o p e ra tio nE u ro p e a n U n iv e rs ity In s titu te , F lo re n c e ,
9-11 Novem ber 1995

d e v e lo p m e n t a n d c o n s tr u c tio n o f th e 3 .5 m e te r N e w T e c h n o lo g y T e le s c o p e (N T ) w h ic h w a s in itia te d in 1 9 8 0 a n d in a u g u - ra te d in 1 9 9 0 . In th e re a liz a tio n o f th is p ro je c t E S O fo r th e firs t tim e in tro d u c e d te c h n o lo g y

w h ic h
w as
a h e a d
o f
th e
s ta te o f th e a rt in th e w o rld . T h is d e -
v e lo p m e n t
p r o v id e d
th e

te c h n o lo g ic a l fo u n d a tio n fo r th e m u c h m o re a m b itio u s V e ry L a rg e T e le s c o p e(V L T fo r s h o rt) p ro - je c t w h ic h w a s a p p ro v e d b y th e

E S O
C o u n c il in 1 9 8 7 .

W ith th e a p p ro v a l o f th e V LT p ro je c t th e E u ro p e a n A s tro n o m ic a l C o m m u n ity a n d E S O h a v e d e c id e d to c o n s tru c t o p - tic a l g ro u n d b a s e fa c ilitie s c o m p a ra b le , o r s u p e rio r, t o a n y e x is tin g in th e w o rld . W h e n th e V LT a rra y is c o m p le te d in th e fir s t fe w y e a rs o f th e n e x t c e n tu ry , it w ill fu rn is h th e la rg e s t in te g ra te d c o lle c tin g a re a

o f
a n y
a rra y
in
th e
w o rld
(2 0 0

s q u a re m e te rs ) a s w e ll a s th e m o s t p o w - e rfu l in te rfe ro m e tric c a p a b ilitie s a n d w ill c o m e in to o p e ra tio n in o n e o f th e m o s t fa v o u ra b le

a s tro n o m ic a l s ite s
in
th e
w o rld (C e rro P a ra n a l).
T h e re a liz a tio n o f th is p r o je c t h a s re -
q u ire d p ro fo u n d c h a n g e s in th e

o rg a - n iz a tio n w h ile th e p r o je c t its e lf is b e in g c o n d u c te d .

I t
h a s
a ls o
s tra in e d
th e

fin a n c ia l re s o u rc e s o f E S O , a n d h a s fo r- c e d a c a re fu l re a s s e s s m e n t o f p rio ritie s in

o rd e r
t o
e s ta b lis h
a
s tra te g y
fo r
N o.8 2-D ecem ber1 9 9 5

g r o u n d b a s e d o p t i c a l a n d IR a s t r o n o m y . In p a rtic u la r, th e ro le o f th e L aS illa O b - s e rv a to ry d u rin g a n d a fte r th e d e v e lo p - m ent of VLT onP a ra n a l h a s re q u ire d a g re a t d e a l o f a tte n tio n .

A fu rth e r a n d im p o rta n t c o n s id e ra tio n n e e d s to b e in tro d u c e d . T h e c o n s tru c - tio n o f la rg e te le s c o p e s is a c o n d itio n n e c e s s a ry b u t n o t s u ffic ie n t t o

e n s u re
th e
c o m p e titiv ity o f

E u ro p e a n a s tro n - o m y in th e w o rld . J u s t a triv ia l e x a m p le : th e n o to r io u s la g in d e v e lo p m e n t o f o p - tic a l

C C D
d e te c to rs
in
E u ro p e
h a s

m e a n t a lo s s o f e ffic ie n c y in th e o b s e r- v a tio n s o f a b o u t 5 0% . It is e v id e n tly u s e le s s to b u ild la rg e te le s c o p e s , if w e d o n o t u s e th e m e ffe c tiv e ly . T h is im p lie s th e c o n s tru c tio n o f fo re fro n t in s tru m e n - ta tio n a n d its p ro p e r u s e .

B y p ro p e r u s e I m e a n th e s tu d y a n d
im p le m e n ta tio n
o f
a n
e n d -to -e n d
s y -

s te m fo r s c ie n c e o p e r a tio n s . T h is in c lu - d e s : s tra te g ie s fo r te le s c o p e u tiliz a tio n , ra n g in g fro m

tra d itio n a l m o d e s to s e r- v ic e a n d r e m o te o b s e rv in g ; s c h e d u lin g o f

o b s e rv a tio n
(b o th
lo n g
a n d

s h o rt te rm ) t o b e s t u tiliz e th e s e e in g q u a litie s o f th e s ite ; s y s te m s fo r d a ta a c q u is itio n , c a lib ra tio n , re d u c tio n , d is tr ib u tio n a n d a r c h iv in g . B y im p le m e n tin g th is o v e ra ll v is io n o f h o w to c a rry o u t m o d e rn a s tro - n o m ic a l re s e a rc h , E S O in d e e d h o ld s th e p r o m is e o f b e c o m in g th e le a d in g o p tic a l

o b s e rv a to ry w o rld -w id e .I n w hatfo llo w s
Iw illd e s c rib eth e
p ro g re s sw e
h a v e
m adei ns o m eo f th ea re a s m e n tio n e d
a b o v ea n d th ep ro s p e c ts fo r th efu tu re .
C o n s tru c tio no fth eV L Ta n d th e
P a ra n a lO b s e rv a to ry
T h ec o n s tru c tio no f V LTh a sb e e na
n e w
a n d
u n iq u e
c h a lle n g e
fo r
E S O .
W hen c o m p le te di n 1 9 8 7 ,th e c o s to fth e
N TT
te le s c o p e
c o rre s p o n d e d
t o
le s s
th a n th eb u d g e to fE S O fo ro n e y e a r.T h e
V LT
to ta lc o s t c o rre s p o n d st o
8tim e s
E S O 'sy e a rlyb u d g e t.T h ec o s tt o com p-
le tio n ,in c lu d in g
in te rn a la n d
e x te rn a l
c o s ts , w illam ountt o m o re th a n1 b illio n
DM .T h ee x e c u tio no f th isu n d e rta k in g
h a sre q u ire dac o m p le tere v a m p in go f
th e
a d m in is tr a tiv e ,
a c c o u n tin g
a n d
m a n a g e ria l s tru c tu reo fE S O w ithth ein -
tro d u c tio no fm o d e rn m a n a g e m e n t to o ls
a p p ro p ria te fo rap ro je c t o f th iss iz e . D u-
rin ge a rly1 9 9 3 -19 9 4 W o rkB re a k d o w n
S tru c tu re
a c c o u n tin g
w as
in tro d u c e d
firs tfo r
V LT
a n d
th e n
fo r
E S O
a s
a
w h o le .I n th isa p p ro a c he a c h m a jo r ta s k
isa s s ig n e dm anpow era n d fin a n c ia l re -
s o u rc e sa n dar e s p o n s ib le p e rs o ni sp la -
c e di nc h a rg eo fi t sc o m p le tio nw ith ina
fix e ds c h e d u le . P ro g re s si sre p o rte do n
V LT
in
b iw e e k lyp ro g ra m m em e e tin g s
a n d fo rm a llyi n tw op ro g ra m m ere p o rts
t o C o u n c ilp e ry e a r. O nceay e a rE S O w i-
d e re v ie w s a re c o n d u c te di nw h ic hg o a ls
a n d o b je c tiv e sfo re a c h d iv is io na red is -
c u s s e d .T h ea d o p tio no fth e s ete c h n i-
q u e sw as re c o m m e n d e da n d lo r e n d o r-
s e db ya n o u ts id ec o n s u ltin gc o m m itte e
c h a ire db y P ro f.L u n da n d s u p p o rte db y
a nin d u s tr ia lfir m(L u rg i)i ne a rly1 9 9 4 .
Inth ela s t fe wy e a rsth eV LTp ro je c t
h a ss u b s ta n tia llym a in ta in e ds c h e d u le
n o tw ith s ta n d in g th ea d v e rs eim p a c t o f
th e
is s u e sw h ic h
h a v ea ris e nw ithth e
C h ile a nG o v e rn m e n t.T h efirs tc o m p le -
te dm irro r w illb e d e liv e r e di nP a ris(b y
th eR eosc firm )o n
N ovem ber2 1 .T h e
s te e ls tru c tu refo rth efirs tte le s c o p ei s
b e in ga s s e m b le da n d te s te da t th eA n-
s a ld of i r mi nM ila n fo r d e liv e r yt oP a ra n a l
inJ u n e1 9 9 6 .T h ere s t o f th e h a rd w a re
a n ds o ftw a rei so ns c h e d u lefo rafirs t
lig h ta tth ee n do f1 9 9 7a n d c o m m is s io n -
in gb yJ u n e1 9 9 8 .T h eo th e rth re ete le -
s c o p e s a reo ns c h e d u lefo rc o m p le tio n
o fth ea rra yb y2 0 0 1 .T h e in te rfe ro m e tric
u s eo f th e4te le s c o p e so f8m e te rsa n d
th ea u x ilia r yth re ete le s c o p e so fth e 1 - 2
m e te r c la s sh a dt ob e d e la y e dd u et of i -
n a n c ia l c o n s tra in ts . H o w e v e r, th efu ll in -
fra s tru c tu re re q u ire d fo r th eim p le m e n ta -
tio no fV L T lis b e in g p re p a re do n P a ra n a l.
T h e c iv il e n g in e e r in gp o rtio no f th ec o n -
s tru c tio ni sa lm o s tc o m p le te da n d th e
e re c tio no f th ete le s c o p e dom esi sw e ll
u n d e r w ay.A ne s s e n tia ld iffe re n c eb e -
tw e e n th ec o n s tru c tio no fN TTo nL a S il-
la and VLTo n P a ra n a li s th a t th er e a liz a -
tio no f th eV LTp ro je c th a s re q u ire dth e
s im u lta n e o u sc re a tio no fan e wo b s e r-
v a to ryi n th eA ta c a m aD e s e rtw itha ll th e
a p p ro p ria telo g is tics u p p o rt.
T h e c o n s tru c tio no f th eV LTa n d o f th e
n e wo b s e rv a to ryo nP a ra n a lh a s re q u ire d
a nin c re a s ei nth es ta ffa n di nth eb u d g e t.
W e
h a v e
a n a ly z e d
th e
e ffic ie n c y
w ith
w h ic hth eE S O s ta ff o p e ra te s th eL a S illa
fa c ilitie sa n d c o m p a re do u r fin d in g s to th e
re p u te d lyb e s tru no b s e rv a to rie si nth e
w o rld .W e fin dth a t E S Oru n si t sfa c ilitie s
w ithe ffic ie n c yc o m p a ra b let oth eb e s t.
E v e n
w ith
th is
le v e lo f
e ffic ie n c y ,
h o w e v e r, th eo p e ra tio no fV LTw o u ldb e
to oe x p e n s iv eg iv e nth e m a g n itu d ea n d
c o m p le x ityo fth eta s k .W eh a v eth e re fo -
re"re e n g in e e re d "o u r o p e ra tio np la n sa t
th eo u ts e ta n dw e p la nt oo p e ra teP a ra -
n a l(4 x 8m
te le s c o p e s+3 x 2m
te le -
s c o p e s ) w ith
a
s m a lle ry e a rly
b u d g e t
th a n
L aS illa .W e
d o
n o ty e tk n o w
a t
w hatle v e lth ec o m m u n ityw illw is ht o
m a in ta inL a S illafa c ilitie s d u rin g th eV LT
e ra(s e ed is c u s s io ni nth en e x t s e c tio n ).
In
th is
s e c tio n
w e
h a v e
assum ed
n o
c h a n g et o th eL a S illae ffo rt b e fo reo r a f-
te rfirs tlig h to nU T -1 .T h isw ill c e rta in ly
n o tb e th ec a s ea n dE S O w illre d u c eL a
S illafa c ilitie st oth o s ee s s e n tia lto c o m -
p le m e n tth eV LT
fo llo w in gth e
re c o m -
m e n d a tio n s o f th e"L a S illa2 0 0 0 " s tu d y .
T h eb u d g e ti sp ro je c te dt ore m a ina t
ale v e lo f1 4 1 .5M DM
( in1 9 9 5v a lu e s )
u n tilth ep a y m e n tst oo u ts id ec o n tra c -
to rsfo rV LTa rec o m p le te di n2 0 0 3 .T h e
s ta ffc o m p le m e n t p r o je c tio n su n d e r th e
sam ea s s u m p tio n sa refo r 2 5 3in te rn a -
tio n a la n d2 3 6 lo c a l m e m b e rs .
R o leo fL a S illad u rin ga n d a fte r
V L Tc o n s tru c tio n
1
T h e p ro b le mo fd e v e lo p in ga s tra te g y
1
fo r th eu s eo fL a S illa fa c ilitie s w h ilec o n -
s tru c tin g th eP a ra n a lO b s e rv a to ryi so n e
'
w h ic hh a s re c e iv e dag re a td e a lo fa tte n -
tio nb yE S O .I ti sc le a r th a t th efin a n c ia l
I
c o n s tra in tso n th eE S Ob u d g e tw h ic hi s
c a p p e d (e x c e p tfo rin fla tio n ) fo r th e fo re -
~
s e e a b lefu tu re , p re v e n tu s fro mm a in ta i-
n in ga lle x is tin g1 5 te le s c o p e s ,b iga n d
s m a ll,o p e nt oth ec o m m u n ity .E S Oh a s
th e re fo rec o n c e n tra te do n th em a in te n -
I
R e c o rd in gth ec e re m o n yfo rth ec o m p le tio no f th efirs t V LT8 .2 m m irro l:T h e fig u re show s ap h o to g ra p ho f th ete a mo fR E O S Ce x p e rts
w ho
c a rrie do u tth ed e lic a teta s ko f p o lis h in gth e m irro r.A ls oi nth e p h o to g ra p h
a reth e d ire c to rsa n d m a n a g e rso fR E O S Ca n dE S O .
a n c e , im p ro v e m e n t a n d o p e ra tio n o f th e
m a jo r
te le s c o p e s
w h ile
p la c in g
th e

s m a lle r fa c ilitie s in th e h a n d s o f th e n a - tio n a l p r o je c t te a m s . T h is h a s m e a n t a re s tru c tu rin g o f th e L a S illa O b s e rv a to ry in4

d e d ic a te d

te le s c o p e te a m s , e a c h h a v in g re s p o n s ib ility fo r o n e o r a fe w t e - le s c o p e s (T h e te le s c o p e te a m s a re th e S E S T , th e 3 .6 m

a n d C A T , th e NTT and th e 2 .2 a n d 1 - 5 m e te r te le s c o p e s ). S u p - p o rtin g te a m s fo r o p tic s , d e te c to rs a n d e n g in e e r in g

p ro v id e
o b s e rv a to ry
w id e

s u p p o r t. T h e re m a in in g 8 te le s c o p e s a re b e in g o p e r a te d b y n a tio n a l te a m s o n a p e rm a n e n t o r p ro je c t b a s is .

T h e fo c u s in g o f e ffo rts o n th e m a jo r fa c ilitie s o n L a S illa h a s p e r m itte d u s t o im p ro v e th e ir s c ie n tific p e rfo rm a n c e a n d to use them

a s te s tin g g ro u n d s fo r th e
V LT
s o ftw a re , h a rd w a re a n d
o p e ra tin g
p h ilo s o p h y . In p a rtic u la r, w e h a v e u n d e r -
ta k e n
a
c o m m is s io n in g
a n d

u p g ra d e e ffo rt o nN lT , w h ic h is n o w in its s e c o n d y e a r. T h e p u rp o s e o f th is e ffo rt h a s b e e n t o

a) bring N l T t o fu ll o p e ra tio n a l s ta tu s b ) to te s t V L T d e te c to rs a n d s o ftw a re c) to test new m odes of science ope-

ra tio n s .
T h e g o a ls o f a ) a n d b ) h a v e la r g e ly b e -
e n
a c h ie v e d . T e c h n ic a l d o w n tim e
h a s
b e e n re d u c e d o nN l T t o 2% , a n a lm o s t
id e a l p e r fo r m a n c e in a te c h n ic a lly

a d - v a n c e d in s tru m e n t. T h e th ird p h a s e , d e - s ig n e d

t o
te s t th e
e n d -to -e n d
s c ie n c e
o p e ra tio n m o d e l fo r V LT , w ill o c c u r n e x t
y e a r.

A s to th e fu tu re u tiliz a tio n o f th e s e fa - c ilitie s , a W o r k in g G r o u p k n o w n a s " L a S illa 2 0 0 0 " h a s b e e n c re a te d u n d e r th e a e g is o f t h e E S O S c ie n c e a n dT e c h n o lo - g y - ~ o m m i t t e ew h ic h

h a s m a d e its r e - c o m m e n d a tio n fo r th e fu tu re . T h e m a in fin d in g o f th is g ro u p h a s b e e n th a t th e re w ill b e a r o le fo r s m a lle r te le s c o p e s ( 2 - 4 m e te rs ) in th e

V LT
e ra
fo r s p e c ia liz e d
ta s k s th a t th e V LT
w ill b e ill s u ite d
t o
c a rry
o u t
e ffic ie n tly . T h is
w ill
re q u ire ,
h o w e v e r, m o d e rn iz a tio n
o f th e
in s tru -
m e n ta tio n a n d o p e ra tin g
p h ilo s o p h y o f
th e s e fa c ilitie s .
S c ie n tific M e th o d o lo g y
T h e p u rp o s e o f E S O is t o p ro v id e th e
a s tro n o m ic a l
c o m m u n ity
o f

m em ber s ta te s w ith u p - to - d a te c o m p e titiv e fa c i- litie s in o rd e r t oe x c e ll in a s tro n o m ic a l re s e a rc h . W h ile th e re m u s t b e , o f c o u r- s e , a lw a y s r o o m fo r th e u n iq u e in d iv id u - a l

c o n trib u tio n s
o f
p a rtic u la rly
g ifte d
a s tro n o m e rs , m u c h
of the
p ro g re s s in
m o d e rn
a s tro n o m y
d e p e n d s
o n

th e c o lle c tio n o f la rg e q u a n titie s o f d a ta a n d th e ir e la b o ra tio n

a n d
a n a ly s is t o
s o lv e
s p e c ific
a s tro p h y s ic a l
p ro b le m s .
M o-

d e rn d e te c to rs p ro d u c e d a ta a t a v e ry h ig h ra te . In th e c a s e o f th e H u b b le S p a - c e T e le s c o p e , ra te s o f th e o rd e r o f a fe w

g ig a b y te s
per day
h a d
t o
b e
h a n d le d
a n d
s to re d . F ro m
V LT
w e
c a n
e x p e c t
b e tw e e n
10 and
1 0 0 tim e s
m o re d a ta
d u e t o th e in c re a s e d s iz e o f th e o p tic a l
d e te c to r
a rra y s ,
th e
d e v e lo p m e n t
o f

la rg eIR a r r a y s a n d t h e s p e e d o f r e a d - o u t re q u ire d in a c tiv e a n d a d a p tiv e o p - tic s

a p p lic a tio n s .
I n
o rd e r to
p ro c e s s
a n d
s to re
s u c h
v a s t v o lu m e
o f

d a ta , s ta n d a rd p ro c e d u re s fo r c a lib ra tio n , re - d u c tio n , p ro c e s s in g , a rc h iv in g a n d d is - trib u tio n h a v e to b e d e v e lo p e d , if th e d a - t a a re t o b e e ffe c tiv e ly u s e d b y th e o b - s e rv e r a n d a ls o (la te r) b y th e c o m m u n ity .

T h e
d e v e lo p m e n t
o f
th e s e

te c h n i- q u e s re q u ire s th e E S O s ta ff t o ta k e re s - p o n s ib ility fo r th e q u a lity o f th e d a ta o b - ta in e d a n d th e re fo re to a c q u ire e x p e rtis e a n d c o m p e te n c e in th e u s e o f a t le a s t th e

m o s t c o m m o n ly
u s e d
in s tru m e n ts
c o n fig u ra tio n s .
C a lib r a tio n
o f
in s tru -

m e n ts re q u ire intu r n .p h y s ic a l m o d e llin g o f th e ir p e rfo rm a n c e , d e v e lo p m e n t o f a c a lib r a tio n

p ro g ra m m e ,
a c q u is itio n

o f th e d a ta , a n a ly s is a n d u s e o f th e u p d a - te d

p a ra m e te rs in th e c a lib ra tio n

a lg o - r ith m s . T h e s e c a p a b ilitie s w ill h a v e t o b e d e v e lo p e d w h e th e r o r n o t w e u s e th e m 1 0 0%

o f th e tim e . It is c u rre n tly o u r in - te n tio n to o ffe r th e c o m m u n ity b o th tra - d itio n a l a n d s e rv ic e o b s e rv in g . T h e to o ls th a t a re b e in g d e v e lo p e d w ill b e u s e fu l fo r b o th .

T h e ro le o f E S O s c ie n tis ts

G iv e n th e a b o v e , th e o ld d e b a te o n w h e th e r E S O s h o u ld its e lf b e a re s e a rc h in s titu tio n o r o n ly p ro v id e s e rv ic e to o u t- s id e

o b s e rv e rs
becom es
m u te .
T h e
c o m p le x ity
o f th e
in s tru m e n ta tio n
a n d
o p e ra tio n s
re q u ire s th e

in v o lv e m e n t o f q u a lifie d s c ie n tis ts . T h e s e s c ie n tis ts c a n b e re c ru ite d a n d re ta in e d b y E S O o n ly if th e y a re g iv e n th e o p p o rtu n ity to c a rry o u t th e ir o w n re s e a rc h . It is th e c u rre n t E S O p h ilo s o p h y t o h ir e s c ie n tis ts o n ly if n e e d e d t o c a rry o u t E S O s e rv ic e fu n c - tio n s .

H o w e v e r, th e y
a re
e x p e c te d
t o
c o n tin u e
t o
re m a in
a c tiv e
in

re s e a rc h w ith a n id e a l tim e s p lit o f 5 0/5 0 b e t- w e e n re s e a rc h a n d fu n c tio n a l w o rk .

F ro m th e p o in t o f v ie w o f th e ir re s e -
a rc h e n d e a v o u rs th e y fo rm

a k in d o f fa - c u lty o r c o m m u n ity o f a s tro n o m e rs w ith - in E S O . T h e y a re in s tru m e n ta l in m a in - ta in in g a n d s tre n g th e n in g th e tie s t o th e c o m m u n ity w e s e rv e a n d e n s u rin g th a t o u r fa c ilitie s

a re
d e s ig n e d , m a in ta in e d
a n d
o p e ra te d
w ith
th e
o b je c tiv e
t o

a c h ie v e e x c e lle n c e in a s tr o n o m y w ith in th e a v a ila b le re s o u rc e s . To e n s u re th a t th e s e o b je c tiv e s a re a c h ie v e d w e h a v e c re a te d a V is itin g C o m m itte e o f d is tin - g u is h e d S e n io r A s tro n o m e rs

u n d e r th e c h a irm a n s h ip o f P ro f. G e o rg eM ile y a n d w ith

m e m b e rs h ip
fro m
E S O

m em ber s ta te s a n d o th e r n a tio n s . T h is c o m m it- te e

re v ie w s
E S O
a c tiv itie s
e v e ry
tw o
y e a rs a n d re p o rts o n its e ffe c tiv e n e s s t o
th e E S O E x e c u tiv e a n d t o th e C o u n c il.
R e la tio n s w ith C h ile a n d s ta te s
not m em bers of ESO
O f
g re a t
c o n c e rn
in
th e
p a s t
fe w

y e a rs h a v e b e e n o u r re la tio n s w ith th e C h ile a n G o v e rn m e n t, C h ile a n a s tro n o - m e rs a n d C h ile a n s ta ff. T h e m a in is s u e s a t h a n d w e re g u a ra n te e d a c c e s s to E S O fa c ilitie s b y C h ile a n a s tro n o m e rs , re g u - la tio n s a ffe c tin g th e

lo c a l s ta ff a n d th e is s u e o f o w n e rs h ip o f th e la n d s u rro u n - d in g

th e
P a ra n a l p e a k
(s o m e
7 2 .0 0 0
s q u a re
k ilo m e te rs )
w h ic h
h a d
b e e n
d o n a te d to E S O b y th e C h ile a n G o v e rn -
m e n t in 1 9 8 8 .
A ll o f th e s e is s u e s a re o n t h e w a y t o
s u c c e s s fu l re s o lu tio n . A
n e w
A c u e rd o
m o d ify in g
a n d
e x te n d in g
th e
1 9 6 3
C o n v e n tio n
w ith
th e
G o v e rn m e n t
o f
C h ile h a s b e e n s ig n e d in A p r il 1 9 9 5 b y
th e
D ire c to r G e n e ra l o f E S O
a n d

th e C h ile a n M in is te r fo r F o re ig n A ffa irs . T h is A c u e rd o fo re s e e s

a g re a te r d e g re e o f c o o p e ra tio n w ith C h ile a n a s tro n o m e rs , g ra n ts 1 0%g u a ra n te e d tim e t o m e rito - r io u s C h ile a n

p ro je c ts
a n d

in tro d u c e s e le m e n ts o f C h ile a n la b o u r le g is la tio n in th e lo c a l s ta ff ru le s o f E S O . T h eA c u e r- d o

a w a its
ra tific a tio n
b y
th e

C h ile a n P a r lia m e n t a n d t h e E S O C o u n c il w h ic h a re

e x p e c te d
in
th e

n e a r fu tu re . T h e is s u e o f th e o w n e rs h ip o f th e la n d h a s b e e n re s o lv e d b y th e C h ile a n G o v e rn - m e n t w h ic h

h a s
a g re e d
t o
in d e m n ify
th e c la im a n ts .
A s tro n o m e rs
fro m
o th e r
E u ro p e a n
n a tio n s
h a v e e x p re s s e d
a n
in te re s t in
h a v in g th e ir n a tio n s jo in
E S O . P o rtu g a l
h a s e x p r e s s e d a d e s ir e t o jo in
E S O
in
th e y e a r 2 0 0 0 . C u rre n tly P o rtu g u e s e re -
p re s e n ta tiv e s
p a rtic ip a te
a s
o b s e rv e rs
o n
a ll
E S O
c o m m itte e s .
D is c u s s io n s

h a v e ta k e n p la c e w ith a s tro n o m e rs fro m A u s tr ia , S p a in a n d in th e la s t y e a r w ith a n o n -E u ro p e a n n a tio n , n a m e ly A u s tra lia . N e w m e m b e rs w o u ld e x p a n d th e ra n g e o f in te re s ts a n d s k ills b ro u g h t t o b e a r o n E S O 's in itia tiv e s , a n d th e ir c o n tr ib u tio n w o u ld im p ro v e th e o p p o rtu n ity to re a liz e th e

in te rfe ro m e tric
p o rtio n
o f th e

p ro - g ra m m e a t a n e a rlie r d a te . T h u s it is fa ir t o

s a y th a t E S O
w o u ld
w e lc o m e
n e w
m e m b e rs
o n
m u tu a lly
a d v a n ta g e o u s
te rm s .
E S O in th e c o n te x t o f E u ro p e a n
A s tro n o m y

F in a lly , le t u s c o n s id e r t h e r o le E S O is c a rry in g o u t a t p re s e n t a n d e x tra p o la te to th e fu tu re .

W ith o u t q u e s tio n th e m o s t im p o rta n t ta s k fa c in g E S O in th e n e a r fu tu re is th e p r o p e r u tiliz a tio n

of the VLT
a n d V L T I.
T h is
im p lie s ,
in
m y
o p in io n ,
s e v e ra l
th in g s :

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