UK joins the European Southern Observatory

Press Release From: Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2002

UK joins the European Southern Observatory
Monday 8th July
Royal Observatory Greenwich, London

To mark the occasion of the UK joining the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and thereby gaining access to some of the most advanced telescope facilities in the world a press briefing will be held at the Royal Observatory Greenwich (ROG), London on Monday 8th July at 3.00 p.m.

This is your opportunity to hear from the key players involved from ESO, the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) and the UK astronomy community. Joining ESO will give the UK access to a suite of world class telescope facilities in Chile including the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Paranal, increased involvement in Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) and the future Overwhelmingly Large Telescope (OWL).

Speakers will include:-

  • Lord Sainsbury - Minister for Science
  • Professor Freytag - President of ESO Council
  • Dr Catherine Cesarsky - Director General of ESO
  • Professor Ian Halliday - Chief Executive of the Particle Physics and
  • Astronomy Research Council
  • Professor Gerry Gilmore - Cambridge University and the UK representative on ESO Council
  • Dr Patrick Roche - Oxford University, UK Observer on ESO Science and Technology Committee
The press briefing starts at 3.00 p.m. in the Octagon Room at the Royal Observatory Greenwich (registration from 2.30 p.m.). You have the opportunity to either go direct to ROG or join ESO Council Members and speakers at Tower Pier (adjacent to Trinity House, London) at 13:45 for the boat journey to Greenwich. For the return trip the Boat will leave Greenwich Pier at 16:20. Please note that only those who book in advance will be able to go on the boat as space is limited.

ESO will be holding its Council Meeting in London on 8th - 9th July.

To confirm whether you will be attending this event please contact Gill Ormrod at PPARC on 01793 442012 or email Please state whether you will be going direct to ROG or going on the boat trip.

Please let Gill Ormrod know in advance of bids for interviews with any of the speakers.

All TV channels will be issued with a Video News Release by Friday 28th June, which includes interviews with The Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees and Sir Patrick Moore plus amazing footage of the ESO Telescope facilities.

Extra copies of this video are available from the PPARC Press Office. Telephone Gill Ormrod on 01793 442012.

UK Accession to ESO - Press Briefing Programme

13.45 hrs Delegates and media representatives assemble at Tower Pier (adjacent to Trinity House).

14.00 hrs Boat departs Tower Pier for Greenwich Pier Opportunity to speak informally with key speakers

14 30 hrs Registration for press going direct to ROG

14.40 hrs Boat arrives at Greenwich Pier, coaches to Observatory

14.55 hrs Delegates and press arrive at the Observatory

15.00 hrs Press briefing begins in the Octagon Room. Opportunity for questions and individual interviews.

15.55 hrs Speakers and ESO Council Members assemble at Prime Meridian Time Line for photo shoot. Coach departs ROG to return to Greenwich Pier

16.20 hrs Boat departs Greenwich for Tower Pier

17:00 hrs Boat arrives Tower Pier

Details of how to get to the Royal Observatory Greenwich can be found at

The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) is the UK's strategic science investment agency. It funds research, education and public understanding in four broad areas of science - particle physics, astronomy, cosmology and space science.

PPARC is government funded and provides research grants and studentships to scientists in British universities, gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, and the European Space Agency. It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility.

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