Seeing ESO in a Whole New Dimension

Seeing ESO in a Whole New Dimension

Location: ESO Headquarters, Garching bei München
Altitude: 508 m 
Coordinates: 48° 15' 36.90" N, 11° 40' 15.16" E


Hi, my name is Herbert Zodet, ESO’s Video Coordinator. I work at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching, near Munich in Germany. It is just 71 days until we embark on our adventure to Chile. As we prepare for this trip, here’s a bit more information about Ultra High Definition resolution and some of the history behind ESO’s videos.

Offering Ultra HD content takes us across a new frontier in the way that we communicate our awe-inspiring Universe. We first introduced HD video in 2008 in our public video archive and we now have over 1600 videos in HD. We are really excited that Ultra HD will now be one of the many video formats that are offered in our video collection.

The Ultra HD 4K format measures 3840 pixels × 2160 lines. That’s twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of standard 1080p HDTVs — so four times the resolution in total. This format has been under development since 2003, but in 2013 rose in popularity and has become the standard resolution for many higher-end TVs.

Few organisations produce Ultra HD content and it is so far quite difficult to find. Many internet streaming services have announced they will soon show Ultra HD video content and it has made the news recently after the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014. ESO may be the first scientific organisation to produce this format at regular intervals. We are rather excited to be able to show the beauties of the Universe in this new dimension.

ESO’s sites in Chile are some of the best in the world to be able to view our night sky. The still, dry atmospheric conditions make each of these sites the most crystal-clear of places to take our footage, which will be further enhanced by this new and visually stunning high resolution format.

Here’s a sneak preview of the first ESO Ultra HD quality videos released. Imagine yourself at the top of Paranal, far above the clouds, lying back and surrounded by the darkness of the Atacama Desert, with only the jewels of stars above and close to the most advanced ground-based telescopes in the world. You will soon come close to this through the new medium of Ultra HD.

- Herbert