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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

The life cycle of a Sun-like star, detailing the comparative ages of the Sun, HIP 102152 a...

Astronomers have used the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) to observe the Sun-like star HIP 102152. The object, which resides 250 light-years away, is a solar twin exhibiting very similar attributes to our own Sun. HIP 102152 is nearly four billion years older than the Sun, a characteristic that has provided a valuable insight into the link between the age of a star and the amount of lithium it carries.  Read More

The ALMA observations give astronomers their best ever look at the formation of a 'monster...

Astronomers have used the Atacama Large Milimeter/submilimeter array (ALMA) in Chile to view the largest stellar womb ever observed in the Milky Way. The gigantic object, which resides within the Spitzer Dark Cloud (SDC), is some 500 times the size of the Sun, and is still experiencing growth.  Read More

An artist's impression of eclipsing binaries (Image: ESO)

After close to a decade of observations, astronomers have accurately determined the distance to our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The measurement, which calculates the distance at 163,000 light-years, was achieved by studying rare pairs of stars known as eclipsing binaries.  Read More

A look at some of the ESO's best images of 2013

Despite being only a couple of months into the year, the various telescopes of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have already provided some truly breathtaking sights. From dusty stellar nurseries to giant star clusters, here's a look at the best ESO images of 2013 so far.  Read More

An artist's impression of the gas giant planet thought to be forming in the orbit of young...

The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has been used to observe what is thought to be the formation of a gas giant similar to Jupiter. The candidate planet resides within a disk of dust and gas surrounding the young star HD 100546, located 335 light-years away.  Read More

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