What is the European Southern Observatory?
ESO is a successful cooperative intergovernmental organisation to study the Universe. More than 15 countries have joined forces to build large telescopes in Chile – one of the best places in the world to do astronomy.
The southern sky, where the centre of the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds are visible, cannot be seen well from Europe. In 1962, five European countries created the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and started to build telescopes in Chile. Today, ESO operates some of the most productive astronomical instruments on the planet. ESO is at the forefront of astronomical research, and is currently preparing the construction of the largest optical telescope in history: the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).
If you can’t do something by yourself, you have to work together. That’s what countries in Europe have done. They created ESO to study the Universe together, using big telescopes in Chile.