Authored by ESO senior advisor Claus Madsen, the present book comprises 576 action-packed pages of ESO history and dramatic stories about the people behind the organisation. This is the ultimate historical account about ESO and its telescopes in the southern hemisphere, but also about a truly remarkable European success story in research. Spanning the range from the first telescopes to the future platforms of the next generation, it shows how the improvement of the telescopes leads to a continuously changing view of the Universe. With 150 photos and illustrations. Produced especially for ESO's 50th anniversary.
Claus Madsen is Senior Advisor for International Science Policy. He has devoted his professional life to two strands of activities: International science policy and public science communication. In 1980, he joined ESO. After a few years at the ESO Sky Laboratory, he became more and more involved in organising exhibitions, producing films and giving public lectures on astronomy.
Prologue: The Hinge: The VLT Part I: Catching Up Chapter I-1: The Oldest Science Chapter I-2: Returning from the Abyss Chapter I-3: A Dramatic Twist Chapter I-4: In the Most Remote Place God Could Find Chapter I-5: ESO - Quo Vadis? Chapter I-6: Towards the 3.6-metre Telescope Chapter I-7: Sky Mapper Chapter I-8: Of Heaven and Hell, the Vatican and the Mission Chapter I-9: Changing of the Guard Chapter I-10: Garching United Part II: Years of Experimentation Chapter II-1: Upping the Ante Chapter II-2: Inventing a Game Changer Chapter II-3: EMMI, SUSI, SOFI and the other Darlings Chapter II-4: Hubble at ESO Chapter II-5: History in Passing Chapter II-6: An Annus Mirabilis Chapter II-7: The Day of Decision Chapter II-8: A Mountain in the Middle of Nowhere Chapter II-9: NTT First Light Part III: The Breakthrough Chapter III-1: Back to the Drawing Board Chapter III-2: Aux Instruments, Chercheurs! Chapter III-3: Breaking the Seeing Barrier Chapter III-4: From Double-sight to Supersight: Interferometry Chapter III-5: The Return of the Dalton Brothers Chapter III-6: Bang for the Buck Chapter III-7: Paradigm Revisited Chapter III-8: Upgrading, De-scoping Chapter III-9: Clouds on the Horizon Chapter III-10: At the Brink Chapter III-11: Tranquillity in Chile, Stiff Winds in Europe Chapter III-12: Tuning a Formidable Science Machine Chapter III-13: The Countdown Chapter III-14: Clear Skies, at Last Chapter III-15: First Fringes of the Phoenix Chapter III-16: Not Just a Telescope, an Observatory; Not Just an Observatory, a Home Part IV: Towards New Horizons Chapter IV-1: ALMA Chapter IV-2: Into New Territory Chapter IV-3: Buds at Paranal Chapter IV-4: Of Eponymous Birds and Euros Chapter IV-5: The VLT in Retrospect Chapter IV-6: A Love Affair Chapter IV-7: A Growing Organisation Chapter IV-8: The Surge Chapter IV-9: Born in Europe, at Home in the World Chapter IV-10: A Window to the Public Epilogue Appendix 1 Important Milestones Appendix 2 List of ESO Council Presidents and Directors General Appendix 3 List of Interviewees Appendix 4 Index of Names Appendix 5 Subject Index Appendix 6 List of Acronym