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A new building for planets hunters

Astrotech, the new building of the Geneva Observatory with its solar concentrator on the roof.

Astrotech, the new building of the Geneva Observatory with its solar concentrator on the roof.

The roof of Astrotech

The roof of Astrotech

Astrotech, the new building of the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Geneva was inaugurated on Monday 27th June, in the presence of the local authorities of Versoix, and Geneva and a representative of the federal authorities. Over 80 responded to the University invitation to attend the inauguration together with a large part of the Observatory staff. The press also attended, as no less than a dozen of journalists filmed, photographed and asked all the questions they had.

Stéphane Udry, director of Geneva Observatory

Stéphane Udry, director of Geneva Observatory

Serge Dal Busco, state concillor of Geneva canton in charge of finance department

Serge Dal Busco, state concillor of Geneva canton in charge of finance department

After the official speeches given by Stéphane Udry, Director of the Observatory, Alain Steiner, the architect, Yves Flückiger, Rector of the University of Geneva and Serge Dal Busco, State Councillor responsible for finance, the guests then had an opportunity to visit Astrotech. They particularly appreciated the quality of the construction, the brightness of the offices where the PlanetS members will be moved, and the cleanroom housing ESPRESSO, the future high-resolution spectrograph. A device that will be installed on ESO’s VLT in Chile at the beginning of next year and that will measure the radial velocity of the stars with a precision of 10cm/s which is the needed precision to calculate the mass of extrasolar planets as small as the Earth. After bombarding the Observatory researchers with questions, the visitors could enjoy an aperitif in the attic space uniting the two buildings.

The front end of ESPRESSO, behind: the vacuum chamber

The front end of ESPRESSO, behind: the vacuum chamber

The area where trucks can unload may be used for other events

The area where trucks can unload may be used for other events

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