European Southern Observatory News

Astronomers Discover Three Potentially Habitable Worlds

May 3, 2016

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Three Potentially Habitable Worlds Found Around Nearby Ultracool Dwarf Star TRAPPIST-1

Astronomers have discovered three planets with sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth, orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. Astronomers using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory have discovered three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. These worlds have sizes and […]

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VLT Survey Telescope Views Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte Galaxy

March 24, 2016

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Astronomers View Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte Galaxy

This newly released image shows the Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte galaxy. This scene, captured by ESO’s OmegaCAM on the VLT Survey Telescope, shows a lonely galaxy known as Wolf-Lundmark-Melotte, or WLM for short. Although considered part of our Local Group of dozens of galaxies, WLM stands alone at the group’s outer edges as one of its most remote […]

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New Observations Show Unexpected Changes of Bright Spots on Ceres

March 16, 2016

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New Observations Reveal Unexpected Changes of Bright Spots on Ceres

New observations of the bright spots on Ceres reveal daily changes on these spots, suggesting that they change under the influence of sunlight as Ceres rotates. Observations made using the HARPS spectrograph at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile have revealed unexpected changes in the bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres. Although Ceres appears […]

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Sharpest View Ever of Dusty Disc Around Aging Star IRAS 08544-4431

March 11, 2016

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ESO Views Dusty Ring Around Aging Double Star IRAS 08544-4431

This new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope is the sharpest view ever of the dusty disc around the close pair of aging stars IRAS 08544-4431. The Very Large Telescope Interferometer at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile has obtained the sharpest view ever of the dusty disc around an aging star. For the first time […]

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The Realm of Buried Giants – Star Formation Region RCW 106

March 7, 2016

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ESO Views Star Formation Region RCW 106

This new ESO VLT Survey Telescope image shows the vast nebula where giant stars were born, known as RCW 106. The brightest part appears just above the center of the image. In this huge new image clouds of crimson gas are illuminated by rare, massive stars that have only recently ignited and are still buried […]

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Astronomers Complete the ATLASGAL Survey of Milky Way

February 24, 2016

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The Southern Plane of the Milky Way

Astronomers have completed the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL). A spectacular new image of the Milky Way has been released to mark the completion of the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL). The APEX telescope in Chile has mapped the full area of the Galactic Plane visible from […]

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HD 97300 Lights Up The Surrounding Cosmic Clouds

February 10, 2016

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Star HD 97300 Provides a Reflection for Nebula IC 2631

A newly released image from the La Silla Observatory shows the reflection nebula IC 2631 from the light of star HD 97300. A newly formed star lights up the surrounding cosmic clouds in this new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. Dust particles in the vast clouds that surround the star HD 97300 […]

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Astronomers Discover Unexpectedly Cold Grains in a Planet-Forming Disc

February 4, 2016

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Unexpectedly Cold Grains in Planet-Forming Disc Discovered

Using the ALMA and IRAM telescopes, a team of astronomers has made the first direct measurement of the temperature of the large dust grains in the outer parts of a planet-forming disc around a young star. By applying a novel technique to observations of an object nicknamed the Flying Saucer they find that the grains […]

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GRAVITY Instrument Reveals a New Double Star

January 13, 2016

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GRAVITY Discovers New Double Star in Orion Trapezium Cluster

The first observations with the new GRAVITY probe reveal that one of the components of the Trapezium Cluster (Theta1 Orionis F) is a double star. Zooming in on black holes is the main mission for the newly installed instrument GRAVITY at ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. During its first observations, GRAVITY successfully combined starlight […]

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ESOcast 79 Video Explores 20 Years of Exoplanets

December 24, 2015

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Astronomers Discover Jupiter-Like Exoplanet 51 Eridani b

This seven minute video from the European Southern Observatory details the discovery of exoplanets over the last twenty years. Not a single confirmed planet outside the Solar System had been detected before the year 1990. But, remarkably, we now know of thousands and have studied many in surprising detail. This ESOcast takes a look at […]

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ALMA Reveals New Evidence of Young Planets

December 21, 2015

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ALMA Views a Transitional Disc around a New Star

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, astronomers have found telltale differences between the gaps in the gas and the dust in discs around four young stars. These new observations are the clearest indications yet that planets with masses several times that of Jupiter have recently formed in these discs. Planets are found around nearly every […]

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Astronomers Use Galaxy Clusters to Shed Light on the Universe’s Dark Side

December 15, 2015

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Galaxy Clusters Shed Light on Dark Matter and Dark Energy

Astronomers hope that by studying the properties of galaxy clusters at different stages in the history of the Universe they can shed light on the dark matter and dark energy. ESO telescopes have provided an international team of astronomers with the gift of the third dimension in a plus-sized hunt for the largest gravitationally bound […]

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Detailed Images of the Hypergiant Star VY Canis Majoris

November 27, 2015

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VLT Image of Red Hypergiant VY Canis Majoris

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, at team of astronomers has captured the most detailed images ever of the hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris. These new observations show how the unexpectedly large size of the particles of dust surrounding the star enable it to lose an enormous amount of mass as it begins to die. This […]

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VISTA Survey Telescope Discovers Massive Galaxies in the Early Universe

November 19, 2015

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Astronomers Discover Massive Galaxies in the Early Universe

Using ESO’s VISTA Survey Telescope, astronomers have discovered a horde of previously hidden massive galaxies that existed when the Universe was in its infancy. The discovery has allowed astronomers reveal exactly when such massive galaxies first appeared. Just counting the number of galaxies in a patch of sky provides a way to test astronomers’ theories […]

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VLT Maps Out the Shattered Remains of an Asteroid Around a White Dwarf

November 11, 2015

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VLT Views the Glowing Halo of a Zombie Star

Using the Very Large Telescope, an international team of astronomers has studied in detail for the first time the remains of a fatal interaction between a dead star and an asteroid. This gives a glimpse of the far-future fate of the Solar System. Led by Christopher Manser, a PhD student at the University of Warwick […]

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VISTA Telescope Discovers a New Component of Milky Way

November 5, 2015

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Astronomers Discover Hidden Feature of Milky Way

Using the VISTA telescope astronomers have discovered a previously unknown component of the Milky Way. By mapping out the locations of a class of stars that vary in brightness called Cepheids, a disc of young stars buried behind thick dust clouds in the central bulge has been found. The Vista Variables in the Vía Láctea […]

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ESO Image of the Week: SPHERE Reveals Spiral Disc Around Nearby Star

October 21, 2015

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SPHERE Reveals Spiral Disc Around Star HD 100453

This newly released ESO image shows a spiral disc around HD 100453, which is located 350 light-years away. ESO’s SPHERE, a planet-hunting instrument installed on the Very Large Telescope in Chile, has uncovered an unusual structure around a nearby adolescent star named HD 100453. HD 100453 lies over 350 light-years away in the constellation of […]

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Astronomers Discover VFTS 352 – The Hottest and Most Massive Touching Double Star System to Date

October 21, 2015

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Astronomers Reveal the Hottest and Most Massive Touching Double Star

A team of astronomers has discovered the hottest and most massive double star system to date where the two components are in contact and sharing material. This intriguing system could be heading for a dramatic end, either with the formation of a single giant star or as a future binary black hole. The double star […]

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