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ESO

Artist's impression of exoplanet 51 Pegasi b orbiting its parent star (Image: ESO/M. Kornm...

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

Observations from the VLT and Hubble telescopes have revealed that star formation in spher...

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

An artist impression of the protoplanetary disk surrounding MWC 480 (Image: B. Saxton/NRAO...

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 rare collision is seen here in this composite image from the Gemini, SMA and APEX  tel...

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 SPHERE instrument, which can be seen here in black, was used to search for the brown d...

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

The planetary nebula Henize 2-428 as seen by the ESO’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal...

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

A long-exposure night time view of the NGTS telescopes during testing – the ESO's VISTA is...

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

An artist's impression of the E-ELT (ESO/L. Calçada)

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

An artist's impression of the alignment of quasars with the large-scale structure of the U...

Astronomers using the ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have discovered an unexpected alignment of the spinning axes of supermassive black holes located billions of light-years apart. As if that discovery wasn’t fascinating enough in itself, the team then delved a little deeper, finding that the quasars aren’t just linked to each other, but are also aligned with the large-scale structure of the Universe itself.  Read More

This image shows the motion of gas filaments from ESO 137-001, with red material moving aw...

ESO astronomers have used the Very Large Telescope’s (VLT) Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument to make detailed observations of a cosmic collision, revealing secrets as to how star-forming gas was ripped out of a distant spiral galaxy. The findings help shed light on the mystery of how star formation ceases in galaxy clusters.  Read More

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