European Southern Observatory ESO Panoramic photograph captures the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) against a beautiful twilight on Cerro Paranal.

The European Southern Observatory ESO is an organisation specialised in astronomic research and technology. The aim of the ESO is to provide state-of-the-art research facilities for space researchers and physicists, enabling scientific progress, technology transfer and the growth of spin-off technologies. 

The ESO is supported by 16 European countries and its host country, Chile. The ESO Member States fund the activities annually with approximately EUR 198 million, and the organisation employs around 700 people. Finland's ESO cooperation is coordinated by the Academy of Finland.

Currently, the construction of large telescopes is one of the most important priorities of astronomical research. They can provide even more detailed information on the planets orbiting other stars, the history of the universe, supermassive black holes and the nature of dark matter. The ESO is currently building the 39-metre ELT (Extremely Large Telescope), which will be the largest telescope in the world. The ELT is a land-based tele-scope the performance of which will be significantly more advanced than that of current research institutes. The ELT is being built in collaboration by numerous European companies and the telescope is expected to be completed in 2025.