European Southern Observatory (ESO)
nepâhešgâh-e orupâyi-ye daštari
Fr.: Organisation européenne pour la recherche astronomique dans l'hémisphère austral
An major intergovernmental research organisation in astronomy supported by 14 European countries. ESO was founded in 1962 as a consortium among Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. The ESO Headquarters are located in Garching near Munich, Germany. The organization operates three outstanding observing sites in the Atacama Desert region of Chile: → La Silla, → Paranal, and Chajnantor. The → Very Large Telescope (VLT), the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical facility, is located on the 2600 m high mountain of Paranal, which also hosts the → VLT Interferometer (VLTI). The Chajnantor site, 5000 m above sea level, near San Pedro de Atacama, operates a submillimeter telescope (APEX). Moreover, a giant array of 12 m submillimeter antennas, called → ALMA, is being constructed in collaboration with North America, East Asia and Chile. ESO is currently planning a 42 m European Extremely Large optical/near-infrared Telescope, the → E-ELT.