Officials from the Czech Republic signed an agreement in Prague last month making the country the 13th member of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the first from central and eastern Europe. Other ESO members are Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Astronomy in the Czech Republic is shared between the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, which operates a 2-m optical telescope and a 10-m radio telescope, and several universities. ESO, with headquarters in Garching, Germany, provides research facilities to European astronomers and astrophysicists. It operates three observational sites in the Chilean Atacama desert: The Very Large Telescope on the mountain Paranal, several medium-sized optical telescopes at La Silla and the new submillimeter telescope APEX at Llano de Chajnantor.