On the 28th of October 2014 Poland signed the accession act to the European Southern Observatory.
European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a scientific organisation which utilises several largest and most advanced astronomical telescopes in the world. The telescopes are located in on top of mountains in Chile, where the observing conditions are exceptional. Apart from astronomical observations, ESO does R&D projects together with the industry, which aim at modernisation of observing assets and advanced data analysis.
Poland is the last bigger European country to join ESO. Over last several years Polish astronomical societies have been promoting the idea of joining ESO. The formal procedures between ESO and Polish government have begun in 2011. These procedures were developing very slowly – in 2012 the Polish Astronomical Society has expressed their concern about the situation. A change has been noted in early 2013, when various workshops and meetings related to ESO began to be organised. These events were met with great interest from Polish scientific and industrial communities.
Finally, on the 28th of October 2014, the accession document between Poland and ESO was signed. The acts was signed by the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education, prof. Lena Kolarska-Bobińska and ESO Director General, prof. Tim de Zeeuw.
The entry of Poland to ESO is seen as a great opportunity to perform further advancement in the field of astronomy. Nowadays, Polish astronomers are already achieving great successes (for example in exoplanet research) and access to ESO’s telescopes should enable them to participate more often in state-of-the art research. Finaly Poland is a memberstate of the two biggest European Space organisations (ESA and ESO).