Photokina 2014 highlights

ESO

The foreground galaxy can be seen cutting across the lensing light from the distant mergin...

An international team of astronomers has used a range of telescopes including the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe a pair of galaxies colliding at a time when the universe was just half its current age. The project made use of a gravitational magnifying glass created by the gravity of a galaxy between Earth and the subject, and required observations in both visible and infrared light.  Read More

Artist's impression of stardust forming around a supernova (Image: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Using an instrument mounted on the European Southern Observatory's (ESO's) Very Large Telescope (VLT), scientists have been able to shed light on some of the mysteries surrounding stardust by observing the event and aftermath of a supernova. The observation was undertaken in an attempt to answer a number of questions regarding stardust, chief of which being where and how the grains are formed and grow. Another oddity that the team hoped to resolve was just how these tiny, fragile particles manage to survive the inhospitable environment that prevails following a supernova.  Read More

This infrared image, one of the first taken by SPHERE, displays a dust ring orbiting a nea...

A new scientific instrument for detecting and observing remote exoplanets has been successfully installed on Unit 3 of the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT). The Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument, or SPHERE, recently returned its first set of images and is promised to revolutionize the exploration and study of these distant celestial bodies.  Read More

An artist's impression of the magnetar in the Westerlund 1 star cluster (Image: ESO/L. Cal...

Magnetars are extremely dense and highly magnetic neutron stars that can form when a star goes supernova. They are extremely rare, and until now, it has been difficult to determine how and why they form. However, thanks to new data collected by the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile, astronomers believe they have finally solved the great mystery.  Read More

A look at some of the most impressive images from the European Southern Observatory, captu...

Though we’re only a little over a third of the way through the year, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has already produced some spectacular new images of what’s out there in the Universe. From a rare yellow hypergiant star to a celestial trick of the light, we take a look at five of the most impressive ESO snaps of the year so far.  Read More

An artist's impression of Chariklo's rings, from the planet's surface (Image: ESO/L. Calça...

With the use of seven telescopes spread across South America, observers have confirmed the unlikely discovery of a double ring surrounding the minor planet Chariklo, which holds orbit between Saturn and Uranus. Previously rings have only been found around giant planets, the most dramatic of which, Saturn, shines easily visible to the naked eye in the night sky.  Read More

Artist's impression of HR 5171 A [1] (Image: ESO)

The European Space Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has spotted a massive yellow star with a diameter of more than 1,300 times the size of the Sun. The star is also a part of a binary system, with a companion star orbiting so close that it is actually in physical contact with the giant.  Read More

The last antenna arrives at the ALMA observatory in Chile (Image: ESO)

The last 12 meter (40 ft) antenna has arrived at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), pushing the project closer to its full operational potential. The final antenna was supplied by the European side of the venture, and completes the 66 dish array stretching across the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile's Atacama Desert. The telescope, which was inaugurated in March 2013, has already made a number of significant discoveries despite its incomplete nature.  Read More

A European Southern Observatory simulation of gas cloud G2 threading through the local sta...

As you read this, the eyes of the astrophysical world are focused on about one-trillionth of the sky, watching as the calm existence of G2, a three-Earth mass gas cloud near the galactic center, is viciously disrupted by a close encounter with Sagittarius A*, the galaxy's supermassive black hole. Careful observation of this rare event is expected to provide an enormous amount of information on the environment of the central light month (about 6,000 AU) immediately surrounding the black hole.  Read More

An artist's impression of the Milky Way galaxy showing its x-shaped core (Image: ESO)

Astronomers have used data from European Southern Observatory telescopes to create a three dimensional map of the central bulge of the Milky Way. The gigantic cloud at the center of our galaxy contains a staggering 10,000 million stars (or thereabouts) and resides around 27,000 light-years away. Despite the relative proximity of the area, prior to these new studies little had been confirmed concerning its origin and structure.  Read More

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