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ESO

Astronomers have discovered a series of unusual globular star clusters with masses far exceeding what would be expected under the standard model for the celestial structures. The clusters are located in the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A, and seem to hint at an enigmatic dark presence that cannot yet be accounted for.

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Astronomers from the European Southern Observatory have used data from the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument to compile the first 3D image of the Pillars of Creation, uncovering some key characteristics of the structures in the process. A shot of the magnificent structures composed of interstellar gas was first captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, and remains one of the most iconic images of space exploration to date. Read More
A team of ESO astronomers working from the La Silla Observatory, Chile, has detected the first direct reflection of light from an exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star. The exoplanet, 51 Pegasi b, is what is known as a hot Jupiter, a prevalent form of gas giant that sits much closer to its parent star than our own Jovian neighbor. Read More
Astronomers have used the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in conjunction with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to reveal the secrets of how star formation shuts down in distant galaxies, just three billion years after the Big Bang. Focusing on huge, quiescent elliptical galaxies known as spheroids, the findings are expected to improve our understanding of the evolution of the Universe. Read More
Astronomers from the European Southern Observatory have used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe the protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star, revealing the presence of complex organic molecules that represent the building blocks of life. The findings mark the first time that such a discovery has been made. Read More
The European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope (APEX) has been used to solve a 340 year-old astronomical mystery. The findings reveal that an object that appeared in the sky in the 17th century was not a nova as astronomers at the time believed, but actually a rare stellar collision. Read More
The ESO has turned the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research instrument (SPHERE) towards an unusual double star with the expectation of finding an orbiting brown dwarf. However, the observations didn’t quite go according to plan, with the instrument – which is the latest addition to the Very Large Telescope (VLT) – coming up short. The findings have led to an ongoing re-examination of the cause of the binary stars’ unusual behaviour. Read More
A team of ESO astronomers have discovered two stars at the heart of a planetary nebula that are destined to collide some 700 million years from now, igniting a vast supernova explosion. The findings support theories concerning Type Ia supernovae and the irregular shape of some nebulae. Read More
The Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) array, built by a UK, German and Swiss consortium, has achieved first light at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. The installation is designed to search for exoplanets between two and eight times the size of Earth, studying them as they pass in front of their parent star. Read More
The ESO has given its European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) the final green light, allowing construction to go ahead at the Chilean site. The telescope is expected to take around a decade to complete, with the final installation expected to facilitate discoveries in fields such as galaxy composition and exoplanets. Read More
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