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.