European Southern Observatory (Belgium is an ESO founding member)


  1. What is ESO?

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is the intergovernmental science and technology organization for astronomy.
It carries out an ambitious program focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities for astronomy to enable important scientific discoveries.

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10 most important ESO discoveries

  1. Belgium in ESO

ESO plays a leading role in promoting and organizing cooperation in astronomical research. Belgium was one of the five founding members of the European Southern Observatory (ESO): it signed the ESO convention more than 50 years ago (5 October 1962).

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Belgian astronomers are therefore actively involved in this project and make extensive use of ESO facilities. They publish on average 60 scientific papers each year in specialized, refereed astronomical journals. There are currently 21 Belgian nationals employed at ESO, 13 in Garching and the remainder at the Chile sites.

Furthermore, Belgium has contributed to many scientific and technology aspects of ESO. The largest Belgian contracts are related to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) on the Chaijnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes, the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal and the planned European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) to be built on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal.

See also
Ground based astronomy in Belgium community in Belgium.pdf

  1. Belgian top Technology in ESO

Four Belgian Auxiliary Telescopes (AT's 1 to 4) of 1.8 m diameter each feed light to the Very Large Telescope Interferometer at ESO's Paranal Observatory. They were built by the Belgian company AMOS.

Uniquely for telescopes of this size, they can be moved from place to place around the VLT platform and are self-contained.
The top part of each AT is a round enclosure, made from two sets of three segments, which can open and close. Its job is to protect the delicate 1.8-metre telescope from the harsh desert conditions.

The enclosure is supported by a box type transporter section, which also contains electronics cabinets, liquid cooling systems, air-conditioning units, power supplies, and more.

During astronomical observations the enclosure and transporter are mechanically isolated from the telescope, to ensure that vibrations can't compromise the data collected.

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The AMOS designed auxiliary telescopes
(located in the red color zone in the movie)

In 2018, the ESO-instruments at Paranal allowed to demonstrate Einstein's theory on gravity not only to be valid on earth, but in the entire universe. It took more than a century, including a quarter century of observations to validate the general relativity theory of Einstein from 1915.

See also

First successful test of Einstein's General Relativity Near Supermassive Black Hole

  1. ESO contacts for industry

    contact for ESO in Belgium

    name: Sophie PIREAUX, ESO-ILO (Industry Liaison Officer)
    Belgian Science Policy Office
    Attachée, Research and Space Applications
    Louizalaan 231 Avenue Louise
    1050 Brussels
    T. +32 (0)2 238 36 86
    F. +32 (0)2 230 59 12

The role of the ESO Industrial Liaison Officer (ILO) is to establish contacts between ESO and (potential) suppliers, and to support ESO in its search for suitable suppliers in their respective country, in order to maximize the chance to distribute the ESO contracts as fairly as possible amongst suppliers from the different member states.

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the ESO ILO role in Belgium

list of international ESO-Liaison Officers 

  1. Procurement info for industry

Get your login for ESO

General tendering info

forthcoming Call For Tenders (CFT)

address your question on a specific CFT

  1. Belgian Companies

(under construction)