The European Southern Observatory is giving the public a chance to become an honorary astronomer
If you've ever dreamed of staring up at the night sky using an extremely large and powerful telescope, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is holding a contest sure to speak to your inner astronomer. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the organization is letting the public get involved in its work at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Paranal, Chile via voting and a Twitter contest that could help you realize your star-gazing dreams.
For starters, the ESO is letting visitors to its website vote on which celestial target the VLT will be aimed at on October 5, 2012. There are 16 galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters to vote on. By voting, you also enter to win a new iPad or one of 10 prize packs put together by ESO's astronomers.
The ESO is also offering a truly priceless prize in the form of a chance to visit the VLT and participate in observations being conducted by the scientists there. By following and tweeting at @ESO on Twitter with your reasons for wanting to win — because seriously, who wouldn't want to? — you could be picked for an all-expenses-paid trip to Chile to chill out with real astronomers and pretend that you are one, at least for a while. If this sounds like a dream come true, be sure to enter both contests before August 31.
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