European Southern Observatory News

ESO Discovers Lithium from an Exploding Star

July 29, 2015

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ESO Detects Lithium from Exploding Star Nova Centauri 2013

Using telescopes at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, astronomers have discovered the chemical element lithium for the first time in material ejected by a nova. This new finding fills in a long-missing piece in the puzzle representing our galaxy’s chemical evolution, and is a big step forward for astronomers trying to understand the amounts of different […]

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A New Class of Magnetar-Powered Supernova

July 20, 2015

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A Very Luminous Magnetar-Powered Supernova

ESO’s La Silla and Paranal Observatories have demonstrated for the first time a link between a very long-lasting burst of gamma rays and an unusually bright supernova explosion. The study reveals that the supernova following the burst GRB 111209A was not driven by radioactive decay, as expected, but was instead powered by the decaying super-strong […]

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Astronomers Discover a “Jupiter Twin” Around a Sun-Like Star

July 15, 2015

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Astronomers Discover Jupiter Twin Orbiting HIP 11915

Using the ESO 3.6-meter telescope, an international team of astronomers has identified a planet just like Jupiter orbiting at the same distance from the Sun-like star HIP 11915. According to current theories, the formation of Jupiter-mass planets plays an important role in shaping the architecture of planetary systems. The existence of a Jupiter-mass planet in […]

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Kilo-Degree Survey Shines Light on Dark Matter

July 9, 2015

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First Results from Major New Dark Matter Survey

The first results from the Kilo-Degree Survey have been released, helping to further expand our understanding of dark matter. The first results have been released from a major new dark matter survey of the southern skies using ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. The VST KiDS survey will allow astronomers […]

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Astronomers View a Young Open Cluster of Stars

July 2, 2015

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New ESO Image of Star Cluster NGC 2367

This newly released ESO image shows star cluster NGC 2367, an infant stellar grouping that lies at the center of an immense and ancient structure on the margins of the Milky Way. This rich view of an array of colorful stars and gas was captured by the Wide Field Imager (WFI) camera, on the MPG/ESO […]

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15 Must-See Nebula Images from the European Southern Observatory

June 29, 2015

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Reflection Nebula Messier 78

Over the years the European Southern Observatory has provided a state-of-the-art research facility for astronomers around the globe. Many ground breaking discoveries have been made and many breathtaking images have been recorded. The following fifteen must-see images are some of the best nebula images ever captured.

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Giant Galaxy Messier 87 is Still Growing

June 25, 2015

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The huge halo around giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 appears on this very deep image. An excess of light in the top-right part of this halo, and the motion of planetary nebulae in the galaxy, are the last remaining signs of a medium-sized galaxy that recently collided with Messier 87.

The image also reveals many other galaxies forming the Virgo Cluster, of which Messier 87 is the largest member. In particular, the two galaxies at the top right of the frame are nicknamed "the Eyes".

According to new observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 has swallowed an entire medium-sized galaxy over the last billion years. This is the first time a team of astronomers has been able to track the motions of 300 glowing planetary nebulae to find clear evidence of this event. They […]

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VLT Discovers the Brightest Distant Galaxy to Date and Signs of Population III Stars

June 17, 2015

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VLT Discovers the Brightest Distant Galaxy to Date

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope with help from the W. M. Keck Observatory, the Subaru Telescope and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers has discovered the brightest galaxy to date in the early Universe and discovered strong evidence that examples of the first generation of stars lurk within it. The newly found […]

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VLT/SPHERE Reveal a Star Giving Birth to a Butterfly-Like Planetary Nebula

June 11, 2015

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Image of L2 Puppis and Its Surroundings

ESO’s Very Large Telescope reveals for the first time what appears to be an aging star in the early stages of forming a butterfly-like planetary nebula. These observations of the red giant star L2 Puppis, from the ZIMPOL mode of the newly installed SPHERE instrument, also clearly showed a close companion. The dying stages of […]

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ALMA Reveals Star Formation in the Distant Universe

June 9, 2015

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Sharpest View Ever of Star Formation in the Distant Universe

ALMA’s Long Baseline Campaign has revealed the sharpest image to date of star formation in the distant universe. ALMA’s Long Baseline Campaign has produced a spectacular image of a distant galaxy being gravitationally lensed. The image shows a magnified view of the galaxy’s star-forming regions, the likes of which have never been seen before at […]

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ESO Image of the Week: A Wide View of the Crab Nebula

June 8, 2015

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New ESO Image of the Crab Nebula

This newly released image from the European Southern Observatory shows a wide view of the Crab Nebula. The Crab Nebula, which also goes by the names Messier 1, NGC 1952 and Taurus A, is one of the best studied astronomical objects in the sky. It is the remnant of a supernova explosion which was observed […]

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ESO Views Star Forming Cloud RCW 34

May 27, 2015

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New ESO Image of RCW 34

This newly released image from the European Southern Observatory shows the young star-forming region RCW 34. In the brightest region of this glowing nebula called RCW 34, gas is heated dramatically by young stars and expands through the surrounding cooler gas. Once the heated hydrogen reaches the borders of the gas cloud, it bursts outwards […]

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New ESO Image of the Medusa Nebula

May 20, 2015

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New ESO Image of the Medusa Nebula

This newly released image from the European Southern Observatory is the most detailed image ever taken of the Medusa Nebula. Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have captured the most detailed image ever taken of the Medusa Nebula. As the star at the heart of this nebula made its transition into retirement, it […]

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Evidence of a New Type of Star Cluster

May 18, 2015

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Evidence for a Dark Side to NGC5128

Using data from ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have discovered a new class of “dark” globular star clusters around Centaurus A. These star clusters contain much more mass and may either harbor unexpected amounts of dark matter, or contain massive black holes. Globular star clusters are huge balls of thousands of stars that orbit most […]

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New ESO Image of a Dark Molecular Cloud

May 5, 2015

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ESO Image of Molecular Cloud LDN1774

This newly released image from the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope shows the dark molecular cloud cataloged as LDN1774. Rather than showing spectacular objects, some of the most surprising images of the Universe instead focus on emptiness. This new image from the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope shows dark tentacles swirling outwards from a dark, blank spot of space […]

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ESO Reveals the Pillars of Creation in 3D

May 1, 2015

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ESO Reveals The Pillars of Creation in 3D

A team of astronomers reveal the first complete three-dimensional view of the famous Pillars of Creation. Using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have produced the first complete three-dimensional view of the famous Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, Messier 16. The new observations demonstrate how the different dusty pillars […]

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51 Pegasi b: The First Exoplanet Directly Detected Spectroscopically in Visible Light

April 22, 2015

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First-Ever Direct Detection of the Spectrum of Visible Light from an Exoplanet

Using the HARPS planet-hunting machine, astronomers have made the first-ever direct detection of the spectrum of visible light reflected off an exoplanet. The new observations also revealed new properties of this famous object, the first exoplanet ever discovered around a normal star: 51 Pegasi b. The result promises an exciting future for this technique, particularly […]

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The Possible First Signs of Self-interacting Dark Matter

April 15, 2015

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Dark Matter Observed Interacting with Other Dark Matter

Using new Hubble Space Telescope imaging and VLT/MUSE integral field spectroscopy, astronomers reveal what may be the first signs of self-interacting dark matter. For the first time dark matter may have been observed interacting with other dark matter in a way other than through the force of gravity. Observations of colliding galaxies made with ESO’s […]

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