Brazil suspended from European Southern Observatory
Astronomers in Brazil have voiced their disappointment after the European Southern Observatory (ESO) suspended the country’s membership following its failure to ratify an agreement struck in 2010. ESO had allowed Brazil to be an interim member, giving its astronomers access to the consortium’s telescopes, but from 1 April scientists will have to apply for time on a similar basis as non-ESO members.
Brazil’s road to membership of ESO began at the end of 2010 when former Brazilian president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva signed an agreement to join – his last official act as head of state. This signalled the country’s intent to become a full member of the organization but before it could do so, the agreement first had to be approved by Brazil’s National Congress and then ratified by the president of Brazil.