European Southern Observatory News

VISTA Survey Reveals Hidden Secrets of Orion’s Clouds

January 17, 2017

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VISTA Reveals Hidden Secrets of Orion’s Clouds

The VISTA infrared survey telescope reveals the most detailed view of Orion A molecular cloud in the near-infrared. The new image from the VISION survey (VIenna Survey In Orion) is a montage of images taken in the near-infrared part of the spectrum by the VISTA survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. It covers […]

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ESO Image of the Week – Planets in the Making

December 29, 2016

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Planets in the Making Around Young Star HD 163296

This newly released ESO image shows a disc of rotating, leftover material surrounding the young star HD 163296. Our Solar System formed out of a huge, primordial cloud of gas and dust. The vast majority of that cloud formed the Sun, while the leftover disc of rotating material around it eventually coalesced into the orbiting […]

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Astronomers Determine Orbit of Proxima Centauri

December 29, 2016

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Orbit of Proxima Centauri Determined After 100 Years

Using ESO’s planet-hunting HARPS instrument, astronomers have the strongest evidence to date that Proxima Centauri orbits Alpha Centauri A and B. Interest in our neighboring Alpha Centauri star system has been particularly high since the recent discovery of an Earth-mass planet, known as Proxima b, orbiting the system’s third star — and the closest star […]

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Band 5 Receivers Improve ALMA’s Ability to Search for Water in the Universe

December 29, 2016

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ALMA’s Ability to Search for Water in the Universe Improved

With the newly installed Band 5 receivers, ALMA has now opened its eyes to a whole new section of this radio spectrum, creating exciting new observational possibilities and improving the telescope’s ability to search for water in the Universe. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile has begun observing in a new range of […]

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New Study Shows Dark Matter May Be Smoother Than Expected

December 7, 2016

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Dark Matter Smoother than Expected

Using data from the Kilo Degree Survey, a team of astronomers reveal that dark matter in the cosmic web, which accounts for about one-quarter of the content of the Universe, is less clumpy than we previously believed. Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark […]

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UVES Instrument Views Fingerprint of the Early Universe

December 5, 2016

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ESO Views Fingerprint of the Early Universe

The UVES instrument shows the light from quasar HE0940-1050 after it has traveled through the intergalactic medium. The most massive galaxies in the Universe host supermassive black holes at their centers. These truly colossal black holes chew up surrounding material at astonishing rates, expelling huge amounts of radiation as they do so and glowing as […]

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VLT Observations Reveal First Signs of a Strange Quantum Effect

November 30, 2016

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First Signs of Weird Quantum Property of Empty Space?

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers may have found the first observational indications of a strange quantum effect, first predicted in the 1930s. The polarization of the observed light suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence. A team led by Roberto Mignani from […]

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ESO Views Protoplanetary Discs Being Shaped by Newborn Planets

November 9, 2016

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ESO’s SPHERE Instrument Reveals Protoplanetary Discs Being Shaped by Newborn Planets

Using data from the SPHERE instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers reveal protoplanetary discs being shaped by newborn planets. Sharp new observations have revealed striking features in planet-forming discs around young stars. The SPHERE instrument, mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, has made it possible to observe the complex dynamics of young solar […]

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New Observations of the Vast Pillar-Like Structures within the Carina Nebula

November 2, 2016

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New-Pillars-of-Destruction-Images

Using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers reveal new observations of vast pillar-like structures within the Carina Nebula. The different pillars analyzed by an international team seem to be pillars of destruction — in contrast to the name of the iconic Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, which are of similar […]

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Astronomers Find Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars

October 26, 2016

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Unexpected Giant Glowing Halos around Distant Quasars Discovered

A new survey by the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope indicates that halos around quasars are far more common than expected. The properties of the halos in this surprising find are also in striking disagreement with currently accepted theories of galaxy formation in the early Universe. An international collaboration of astronomers, led by […]

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VLT Provides Highest Resolution Image to Date of Eta Carinae

October 19, 2016

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VLT Provides Highest Resolution Image of Eta Carinae

Using the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, a team of astronomers reveals the Eta Carinae star system in the greatest detail ever achieved. High-resolution images reveal new and unexpected structures within the Eta Carinae binary system, including in the area between the two stars where extremely high velocity stellar winds are colliding. These new insights into […]

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VISTA Finds Remains of Archaic Globular Star Cluster in The Milky Way

October 14, 2016

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VISTA Discovers Remains of Archaic Globular Star Cluster

Using ESO’s infrared VISTA telescope, astronomers have discovered ancient stars, of a type known as RR Lyrae, in the center of the Milky Way for the first time. RR Lyrae stars typically reside in ancient stellar populations over 10 billion years old. Their discovery suggests that the bulging center of the Milky Way likely grew […]

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ESO VISTA Telescope Reveals Hidden Stars in Messier 78

October 6, 2016

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VISTA Views Messier 78

ESO’s VISTA reveals stars that are just forming within the cosmic dust of Messier 78. In this new image of the nebula Messier 78, young stars cast a bluish pall over their surroundings, while red fledgling stars peer out from their cocoons of cosmic dust. To our eyes, most of these stars would be hidden […]

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Astronomers Explore the Hubble Ultra Deep Field

September 23, 2016

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New Images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, international teams of astronomers explore the distant corner of the Universe first revealed in the iconic images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). New ALMA observations are significantly deeper and sharper than previous surveys at millimeter wavelengths. They clearly show how the rate of star formation in young […]

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Astronomers Solve the Mystery of a Rare Change in the Behavior of a Supermassive Black Hole

September 16, 2016

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ESO Views Active Galaxy Markarian 1018

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope along with the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory, a team of astronomers has solved the mystery of a rare change in the behavior of a supermassive black hole at the center of a distant galaxy. It seems that the black hole is no longer being fed enough fuel […]

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Astronomers Discover an Unusual Mix of Stars in Terzan 5

September 7, 2016

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Scientists Discover Rare Fossil Relic of Early Milky Way

An international team of astronomers has revealed the unusual mix of stars in the stellar cluster known as Terzan 5. The new results indicate that Terzan 5 is in fact one of the bulge’s primordial building blocks, most likely the relic of the very early days of the Milky Way. Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope […]

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Why So Blue? ESO Views Spiral Galaxy Messier 98

September 6, 2016

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Spiral Galaxy Messier 98

This newly released image shows spiral galaxy Messier 98, which is located about 50 million light-years away. The color blue has many associations — coldness, sadness, serenity. However, the color holds a completely different meaning for astronomers, as demonstrated by the edge-on spiral galaxy Messier 98. Messier 98, also known as NGC 4192, is located […]

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ESOcast 87 – Astronomers Discuss Proxima b

September 1, 2016

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Planet Proxima b

In this six minute ESOcast video astronomers discuss the newly discovered Proxima b and the possibility of life outside our solar system. The Pale Red Dot campaign aimed to find a planet orbiting our nearest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centauri. Incredibly, the quest succeeded and the team did indeed find a planet. Even more excitingly, the […]

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