Non-X-ray news: UK is set to join ESO

24 January 2002

On 1 July the UK will become the tenth member state of
the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The other
member states are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany,
Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and

ESO is Europe’s major astronomy
organization, operating world-class telescopes in the
Chilean Atacama desert. When ESO was created nearly 40
years ago, the UK then chose a different route, using new
southern hemisphere facilities in Australia.

addition to paying its ESO contributions in the normal
way, the UK will be supplying the VISTA infrared survey
telescope as an in-kind contribution.

Prior to taking
up residence in its headquarters at Garching, near Munich,
Germany, ESO was based at CERN.

Picture of the month

Using Chandra and the Hubble Space Telescope,
astronomers have mapped the giant halo of hot gas that
extends above the disk of a spiral galaxy, much like the
Milky Way. The observations of galaxy NGC4631
indicate that there must be a close correlation between the
outflows of hot gas seen in X-rays and the galaxy’s
magnetic field revealed by radio emission. The gas
radiates at almost 3 million degrees and extends some
25,000 light-years from the galactic plane. (NASA.)

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