Astronomers in Ireland are to gain access to research infrastructure run by the European Southern Observatory, with Irish membership of ESO effectively a done deal.
Ireland’s accession to ESO was signed off on 26 September by the country’s innovation and research minister John Halligan and ESO director-general Xavier Barcons. Already approved by the Irish National Assembly and Senate, all that remains is for the official notice of accession to be deposited at the French ministry of foreign affairs. This is “expected to happen within a matter of days”, ESO said.
Through the agreement, researchers in Ireland will be able to use ESO instruments based in Chile. These include the Very Large Telescope, a visible-light telescope based at the Paranal Observatory, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, which studies radiation between the infrared and radiowave spectra and is located in the Chilean Andes.