Australia signs up to European Southern Observatory

The SkyMapper Telescope at Siding Spring. Image: James Walsh
11 July 2017

Australia has signed an agreement with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to give Australian astronomers access to ESO telescopes in Chile.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator The Honourable Arthur Sinodinos AO, signed the new agreement with ESO at the ANU.

Senator Sinodinos said the 10-year partnership would give Australian astronomers access to ESO's La Silla and Paranal Observatories in the Atacama Mountains of Chile.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt welcomed the agreement, which he said would open new opportunities for research and industry.

"This significant agreement will help secure the future for optical astronomy in this nation and I congratulate both the Australian Government and ESO for their leadership and foresight in this area," Professor Schmidt said.

"Universities are at the heart of international collaboration in astronomy and astrophysics and we help lead the way in developing the science and technology that will inform and guide the way governments, business and societies shape their future.

"While we are already collaborating closely with our European colleagues, this arrangement will open up many new research and industry opportunities.

"I know my colleagues at the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and other Australian universities are looking forward to exploring opportunities for future business with EOS.

"I too am looking forward with great anticipation to the outcomes brought about by our closer ties."

Senator Sinodinos said the government would invest $129 million over 10 years into the partnership.