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Published by: European Southern Observatory on May 08, 2009
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05/11/2014

 
The Messenger
No. 127 – March 2007
   E  -   E   L   T  e  n   t  e  r  s   P   h  a  s  e   B   S  p  a   i  n   j  o   i  n  s   E   S   O   A   M   B   E   R  c  o  m  m   i  s  s   i  o  n   i  n  g   N  a   t  u  r  e  a  r  o  u  n   d   t   h  e   A   L   M   A  s   i   t  e
 
The Messenger 127
– March 007
Editorial
 The Organisation
Catherine Cesarsky
(ESO Director General) The birth o the European ELT At ESO, we will all remember 006 as theyear o the birth o the E-ELT (Europe-an Extremely Large Telescope). The ges-tation period has been quite long. Astron-omers have been discussing or manyyears the wondrous scientic programmesthey hoped to conduct with an ELT. I re-member the enthusiasm o scientists whogathered in the rst workshops organisedby OPTICON, in Edinburgh in 000, ol-lowed by the two-week-long Leiden meet-ing in 001. These were ollowed by anumber o meetings and workshops, oneo them in conjunction with “Exploring thecosmic rontier”, in Berlin in May 004,which pregured the science vision dis-cussions our community is now havingin the ramework o ASTRONET. An im-portant point about these discussions isthat many o them were shared with ourcolleagues rom across the Atlantic. Aworldwide meeting took place as an IAUSymposium, in Cape Town in November005. Also in 005, under the leadershipo Isobel Hook, the rst European ELTscience case appeared, in the orm o ashort and well-illustrated documentgeared to decision makers ollowed by alengthy volume or astronomers.In parallel, studies o telescope con-cepts were pursued. At ESO, it was allstarted in the second hal o the 1990sby Roberto Gilmozzi challenging the engi-neers to create a concept or a 100-mtelescope. This prompted work rom ouropticians to devise ways o sharpen-ing the blurred images that would be ob-tained with a spherical primary mirror,as it appeared that this simple and rela-tively inexpensive shape would be a re-quisite or such a mammoth telescope tobe easible. The mechanical engineerslooked into nding ways o constructinglarge structures with the required sti-ness, yet still relatively light and inexpen-sive to be produced by using many simi-lar pieces (the Lego model). Meanwhile,the ESO Adaptive Optics (AO) special-ists, in collaboration with European col-leagues, while still delivering all the de-vices necessary or VLT and VLTI, weremethodically investigating more andmore advanced schemes, necessary oran ELT. The OWL studies at ESO were ora long time one o the lowest prioritiesin our programme, as at that time Coun-cil asked us to concentrate our eortson completing the Paranal Observatoryand on starting the ALMA construction. The situation was completely changedwhen in December 004, Council, adopt-ing the recommendation by the Coun-cil Science Strategy WG chaired by Ral Bender, announced the now amousresolution which, at last, gave ELT studiesa high priority within the Organisation.In 005, while the rst complete ScienceCase was being completed, at ESO allthe work perormed on the OWL conceptwas written up. Another very impor-tant activity in 005, organised by SandroD’Odorico in a broad cooperation withthe community, was to provide instru-mentation concepts or OWL. Finally, theFP6 ELT Design Study was started bya European-wide consortium led by ESO,aimed at evaluating critical technologiesneeded to build a giant telescope.By the end o 005, ollowing the OWLreview, we decided at ESO to reorientthe ELT eort towards the best aordableELT acility, with a diameter rom 30 to60 m that could be built on a competitivetimescale and with acceptable risks,with strong involvement o the communi-ty. I had great condence in the ESOsta, which I knew was well prepared todesign an ELT, and in the community,which had shown prowess in developingtelescope concepts, various aspectso adaptive optics and in instrumentationdesign. In the last week o December005, I solicited 88 astronomers andengineers rom the community and ESO,to participate in ve working groups (Sci-ence, AO, Instruments, Telescope designand Site evaluation), to elaborate withintwo months a ‘toolbox’, a compendium o the relevant knowledge or designingan ELT, including trade-os and prioritisa-tion criteria. I was extremely pleased tosee that almost all accepted readily. Theyrose to the challenge, and provided mewith an excellent document that was astarting point towards the very ambitiousgoal I had set: to present the conceptstudy o the E-ELT to Council or Phase Bapproval in December o 006. Soon a-ter, the chairs and co-chairs o the WG’scame together in the ELT Science andEngineering WG (ESE), chaired by DanielEnard, and provided the E-ELT basicrequirements: a multipurpose telescopeand instrumentation which was ‘laserguide star riendly’ and ast in switching. Adaptive Optics was to be integrated inthe telescope. The diameter, 4 m, wasconsidered by the committees as a goodstarting compromise between ambi-tious scientic goals and schedule, costand risk. The design principles are described inthe article by Roberto Gilmozzi andJason Spyromilio in this issue (page 11). Ihad high expectations, but these weremuch surpassed when I was presentedwith the novel ve-mirror design, whichcorresponds to all ESE requirements andnot only provides excellent image qualityacross the eld o view but also improvesperormance and reduces risk by sepa-rating the unctions o eld stabilisationrom those o AO. Other attractive ea-tures are that it is cheaper than a classi-cal telescope, is aster to build and thuscan be timely, and is upgradeable at areasonable cost.First our advisory committees (in thiscase, ESE and STC, and the Council ELT Advisory Committee ESRC), then ourcommunity, at a historic meeting at theend o November in Marseilles (see themeeting report on page 0), and nallyCouncil on 6 December 006, were con-vinced by this novel design, leaving itto the ESO E-ELT Project Oce to under-take a Phase B study with the commu-nity and industry. The real work is start-ing now!Spain has joined ESOOn 14 February 007, I was notied bythe French Council delegate, Mr. JulienGalabru, that Spain had deposited theinstrument o accession to ESO in thearchives o the French Ministry o Foreign Aairs. This was the last ormal step re-quired or Spain to become the 1th ESOMember State, and it appropriately hap-pened on Valentine’s day, a good omenor the uture.In act, Council and the Spanish negotiat-ing team, then headed by Carlos Alejaldre
 
3
The Messenger 127
– March 007Pro. Tim de Zeeuw,ESO’s next DirectorGeneral.
   P   h  o   t  o  :   C .    Ö   d  m  a  n
Tim de Zeeuw to Become the Next Director General of ESO
Losilla, Director General or Technologi-cal Policy, had agreed on all the condi-tions or Spain’s accession on 7 Decem-ber 005. In February 006, the thenSpanish minister o Education, Mrs. MaríaJesús San Segundo, and I signed anagreement towards the entrance o Spainin ESO as o 1 July 006. The entrance o Spain into ESO had been agreed by bothparties to be retroactive to mid-006,even i the required approvals and admin-istrative steps dragged on beyond thatdate. Thus, in the second part o last year,we already treated our Spanish astrono-mer colleagues as members, and imme-diately we could see their enthusiasm,eectiveness and commitment in thevarious events, work groups and commit-tees in which they took part. I am trulydelighted that we have accreted this vi-brant community, with which we werealready very amiliar. The ESO Council has appointed Tim deZeeuw, as the next Director Generalo ESO eective as o 1 September 007,when the current Director General,Catherine Cesarsky, will complete hermandate. Tim de Zeeuw has an excellent record,both as a highly respected scientist andas a leader o an internationally recog-nised science institute in the Netherlands.He is Scientic Director o the Leiden Ob-servatory, a research institute in theCollege o Mathematics and Natural Sci-ences o Leiden University. Tim de Zeeuwalso has considerable experience asregards science policy issues. “The ESOCouncil is very pleased that Proessor deZeeuw has accepted the task as its nextDirector General. He has played a keyrole over the last ew years in developinga strategic vision or ESO, and I haveevery condence that he will now lead theorganisation in the realisation o that ex-citing vision” announced Richard Wade,the President o the ESO Council.Catherine Cesarsky, ESO’s current Direc-tor General, commented: “Over the recentyears, ESO has developed considera-bly with more activities and new memberstates, and with its ambitious projectportolio, ESO is clearly acing an excitinguture. I shall be delighted to pass thebaton to Tim de Zeeuw, who as a recentCouncil member is very amiliar with ourOrganisation.”“It is a great honour and an exciting chal-lenge to lead this world-class organisa-tion in the years to come in support o one o the most dynamic areas o sciencetoday” said de Zeeuw. “I look orwardto overseeing the continued upgrading o the Very Large Telescope with the sec-ond-generation instrumentation and thecompletion o the ALMA project, andin particular to help developing the utureEuropean Extremely Large Telescope. Tim de Zeeuw’s main research interestsembrace the ormation, structure anddynamics o galaxies, including our ownMilky Way galaxy. A second area o research is the study o the origin, struc-ture, and evolution o associations o young, massive stars in the Solar Neigh-bourhood. He obtained his PhD romthe University o Leiden in 1980, movingon to work at the Institute or AdvancedStudy in Princeton, and subsequently atCaltech in Pasadena beore returning tothe Netherlands. He has received sever-al honours and awards and is the authoro a large number o research papers.In 1993, he became the ounding directoro NOVA, the Netherlands ResearchSchool or Astronomy, which coordinatesthe graduate education and astronomi-cal research at the ve university astron-omy institutes in the Netherlands. NOVAhas contributed to strongly increasingthe international visibility o Dutch astron-omy and has enabled intensied Dutchparticipation in ESO activities. He is alsothe co-ounder o the Lorentz Center, aninternational centre or Astronomy, Math-ematics and Physics in Leiden. Tim de Zeeuw regularly advises NWO,the Netherlands Organisation or Scien-tic Research. He has served on manycommittees including the Time AllocationCommittee or the NASA/ESA HubbleSpace Telescope, and, since 003, asthe Chairman o the Space Telescope In-stitute Council in Baltimore. He alsoserves on the AURA Board o Directors,and on the ESA Space Science Advi-sory Committee, and leads the develop-ment o a Science Vision or European Astronomy as part o the EU ASTRONETinitiative.For three years Tim de Zeeuw served asthe Dutch national astronomy delegateto the ESO Council. As a member o theESO Council he participated in the worko the Council Scientic Strategy Work-ing Group, which resulted in the Councilresolution o December 004 outliningESO’s strategic goals. More recently, asChair o this Working Group, he has beenelaborating various scenarios or ESO’suture role in European astronomy. Tim de Zeeuw, who is 50, is married toDutch astronomer Ewine van Dishoeck.(Based on ESO Press Release 03/07)

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