Portuguese Space Agency marks
the two decades of Portugal in ESO

The conference “Two Decades of Portugal in ESO” is integrated in the international celebrations of the 60th birthday of the European Southern Observatory and takes place on December 13, in Lisbon, gathering national and international astronomy personalities.

In the year that marks 22 years since Portugal joined the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the Portuguese Space Agency joins the celebrations of the 60th birthday of the principal international astronomy organization with events and actions scheduled for the coming months. The “Two Decades of Portugal in ESO” conference opens, in the next month, the commemorations, which culminate in the ESO Committee of Council, happening on March 7 and 8 of 2023, in which will be present representatives from all the Member-States of the Observatory.

The conference will take place at the Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa on the morning of the 13th of December and its objective “is to look at the last decades and understand how the relationship between Portugal and ESO has evolved”. “This is a relationship that, over all these years, has been fruitful, and served as a driving force for the evolution of astronomy in the country”, explains Claudio Melo, Science Officer at the Portuguese Space Agency. “Portugal’s ascension to ESO in 2000 was the culmination of an early relationship, which allowed the Portuguese position in the global astronomy ecosystem to reach a higher level. With this conference, we want to recognize that path and, of course, celebrate the people who made it happen,” he adds.

The conference will include the participation and contribution of several national and international personalities linked to astronomy. The opening session will be conducted by the President of the Portuguese Space Agency, Ricardo Conde, and the Director General of the ESO, Xavier Barcons.

Both will set the tone for the first presentation of the morning, by Teresa Lago, an important name in astronomy in Portugal and in the world, but especially of the path taken by the country before and after joining the ESO. The presentation of the astronomer and university professor will focus on a historical framework of this relationship. The morning will close with another presentation, this time by Xavier Barcons, on the future of the ESO.

In between, there will be two round tables that will deepen the conference theme. The first one will focus on the ESO’s impact on knowledge generation and innovation, and will have as speakers Roberto Tamai, ELT (acronym for “Extremely Large Telescope”) project leader at the ESO, Paulo Garcia, from CENTRA and the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto and Rodrigo Pascoal, from Critical Software. Koraljka Muzic, from CENTRA, will be moderating the conversation.

The second round table will discuss education, communication and outreach based on the knowledge generated by the ESO, and will be moderated by Marta Gonçalves, manager of educational projects at the Portuguese Space Agency. Anna-Lynn Wegener, ESO’s communication manager, Rosa Doran, coordinator of NUCLIO (Núcleo Interativo de Astronomia e Inovação em Educação), and Nuno Santos and João Retrê, from the Institute for Astrophysics and Space Science, will participate in this conversation.

The conference is open to the public and participation is free of charge, but subject to registration. [Registration closed]

Portugal Space
24 of November, 2022