Ireland to join European Southern Observatory in 'hugely significant' move for Irish scientists

Ireland is to become a member state of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

It provides state-of-the-art research facilities to astronomers, and the country will officially join on October 1.

The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies is welcoming the move, saying it is "hugely significant for future generations of Irish scientists".

DIAS Professor Tom Ray has been appointed by the Government to represent Ireland on the ESO Council.

The VLT Survey Telescope, part of ESO's Paranal Observatory. Pic: ESO

Dr Eucharia Meehan, CEO of DIAS, said: "Ireland's membership of the ESO has been a strategic aim of DIAS for many years.

"We are delighted Ireland will officially join the ESO from 1st October, and we are honoured that our own Professor Tom Ray will represent Ireland on the ESO Council."

Prof. Ray said: "Membership of the ESO is a wonderful development for Irish astronomy and is hugely significant for future generations of Irish scientists.

"It means we now have access to world-class facilities and we can lead programmes on such topics as the physics of the gas and dust in our galaxy; the birth of stars and planets; the interaction of black holes with exotic stars in binary systems; and the formation of the first galaxies.

"Access to the ESO means that, from now on, Irish astronomers - as members of a consortium and in collaboration with industry - can be at the cutting edge of astronomical developments globally."

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