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Seven Earth-sized Worlds found around nearby star
Astronomers have found a system of seven Earth-sized planets
just 40 light-years away. Using ground and space telescopes,
including ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the planets were all
detected as they passed in front of their parent star, the
ultracool dwarf star known as TRAPPIST-1 in the constellation of
Hidden Secrets of Orion’s Clouds
The most detailed view of Orion A molecular cloud in
A spectacular new image of the largest near-infrared
high-resolution mosaics of the Orion A molecular cloud, the
nearest known massive star factory, lying about 1350 light-years
from Earth. It was taken using the VISTA infrared survey
telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile and
reveals many young stars and other objects normally buried deep
inside the dusty clouds.
New receivers improve ALMA’s ability to search for water in the
Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile
has begun observing in a new range of the electromagnetic
spectrum. This has been made possible thanks to new receivers
installed at the telescope’s antennas, which can detect radio
waves with wavelengths from 1.4 to 1.8 millimetres — a range
previously untapped by ALMA. This upgrade allows astronomers to
detect faint signals of water in the nearby Universe.
Pillars of Destruction
Colourful Carina Nebula blasted by brilliant nearby stars
Spectacular new observations of vast pillar-like structures
within the Carina Nebula have been made using the MUSE
instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. The different pillars
analysed 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 nature.
Highest Resolution Image of Eta Carinae
An international team of astronomers used the VLT to image the
Eta Carinae star system in the greatest detail ever achieved.
They found new and unexpected structures within the binary
system, including in the area between the two stars where
extremely high velocity stellar winds are colliding. These new
insights into this enigmatic star system could lead to a better
understanding of the evolution of very massive stars.
Hole Returns Brilliant Galaxy to the Shadows
The mystery of a rare behavioural change in a super massive
black hole at the centre of a distant galaxy has been solved. It
seems that the black hole has fallen on hard times and is no
longer being fed enough fuel to make its surroundings shine.
Planet Found in Habitable Zone Around Nearest Star
Pale Red Dot campaign reveals Earth-mass world in orbit around
The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red
parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for
liquid water to exist on its surface. This rocky world is a
little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet
to us — and it may also be the closest possible abode for life
outside the Solar System.
White Dwarf Lashes Red Dwarf with Mystery Ray
In the system AR Scorpii, a rapidly spinning white dwarf star
powers electrons up to almost the speed of light. These high
energy particles release blasts of radiation that lash the
companion red dwarf star, and cause the entire system to pulse
dramatically every 1.97 minutes with radiation ranging from the
ultraviolet to radio.
Deepest Ever Look into Orion
ESO’s HAWK-I infrared instrument on
the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile has been used to peer
deeper into the heart of Orion Nebula than ever before. The
spectacular picture reveals about ten times as many brown dwarfs
and isolated planetary-mass objects than were previously known.
This discovery poses challenges for the widely accepted scenario
for Orion’s star formation history.
New 39 Metre E-ELT Dome and Telescope Structure being built
The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), with a main
mirror 39 metres in diameter, will be the largest
optical/near-infrared telescope in the world: truly the world’s
biggest eye on the sky. It will be constructed in northern
Chile, on a site that has already been prepared.
Gas cloud LHA 120-N55 in the Large Magellanic Cloud
Image from ESO’s (VLT), shows light from blazing blue stars
energising the gas left over from the stars’ recent formation.
The result is a strikingly colourful emission nebula, called LHA
120-N55, in which the stars are adorned with a mantle of glowing
gas. Astronomers study these beautiful displays to learn about
the conditions in places where new stars develop.
Most Detailed Image of a Protoplanetary Disc
ALMA’s best image of a protoplanetary disc to date. This picture
of the nearby young star TW Hydrae reveals the classic rings and
gaps that signify planets are in formation in this system.
VLTI finds discs around aging stars similar to those around
ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile has obtained the sharpest
view ever of the dusty disc around an aging star. For the first
time such features can be compared to those around young stars —
and they look surprisingly similar. It is even possible that a
disc appearing at the end of a star’s life might also create a
second generation of planets.
ATLASGAL Survey of Milky Way Completed
The APEX telescope in Chile has mapped the full area of the
Galactic Plane visible from the southern hemisphere at
submillimetre wavelengths — between infrared light and radio
waves. This is the sharpest such map yet made, and complements
those from recent space-based surveys.
The Deep-Frozen Flying Saucer
Astronomers have made the first direct measurement of
temperature of the large dust grains in the outer parts of a
planet-forming disc around a young star. By applying a novel
technique to observations of an object nicknamed the Flying
Saucer they find that the grains are much colder than expected:
−266 degrees Celsius. This surprising result suggests that
models of these discs may need to be revised.
First Light For Future Black Hole Probe
Zooming in on black holes is the main mission for the newly
installed instrument GRAVITY at ESO’s Very Large Telescope in
Chile. During its first observations, GRAVITY successfully
combined starlight using all four Auxiliary Telescopes. During
these initial tests, the instrument has already achieved a
number of notable firsts. This is the most powerful VLT
Interferometer instrument yet installed.
VLT Revisits a Curious Cosmic Collision
Spectacular aftermath of a 360 million year old cosmic collision
revealed in great detail. Among the debris is a rare and
mysterious young dwarf galaxy which is providing astronomers
with an excellent opportunity to learn more about similar
galaxies expected to be common in the early Universe, but are
normally too faint and distant to be observed by current
VLT maps out remains of white dwarf’s meal
The remains of a fatal interaction between a dead star and an
asteroid have been studied in detail for the first time.
Astronomers obtained detailed observations of the light from the
white dwarf and its surrounding material over an unprecedented
period of twelve years between 2003 and 2015. It is rare for
white dwarfs to be surrounded by orbiting discs of gaseous
material — only seven have ever been found.
VISTA finds hidden feature of Milky Way
Astronomers using the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal
Observatory have discovered a previously unknown component of
the Milky Way. By mapping out the locations of a class of stars
that vary in brightness called Cepheids, a disc of young stars
buried behind thick dust clouds in the central bulge has been
A Cosmic Rose with many names
Known as M17, Messier 17, Omega Nebula and Swan Nebula this new
image of the rose-coloured star forming region was captured by
the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope in
Chile. It is one of the sharpest images showing the entire
nebula and not only reveals its full size but also retains fine
detail throughout the cosmic landscape of gas clouds, dust and
Jupiter Twin Discovered Around Solar System Twin
International group of astronomers has used the ESO 3.6-metre
telescope to identify a planet just like Jupiter orbiting at the
same distance from a Sun-like star, HIP 11915. According to
current theories, the formation of Jupiter-mass planets plays an
important role in shaping the architecture of planetary systems.
The existence of a Jupiter-mass planet in a Jupiter-like orbit
around a Sun-like star opens the possibility that the system of
planets around this star may be similar to our own Solar System.
HIP 11915 is about the same age as the Sun and, furthermore, its
Sun-like composition suggests that there may also be rocky
planets orbiting closer to the star.
Biggest Explosions in the Universe Powered by Strongest Magnets
Observations from ESO’s La Silla and Paranal Observatories in
Chile have for the first time demonstrated a link between a very
long-lasting burst of gamma rays and an unusually bright
supernova explosion. The results show that the supernova was not
driven by radioactive decay, as expected, but was instead
powered by the decaying super-strong magnetic fields around an
exotic object called a magnetar.
Messier 87 has swallowed an entire galaxy in the last billion
For the first time a team of astronomers has been able to track
the motions of 300 glowing planetary nebulae to find clear
evidence of this event and also found evidence of excess light
coming from the remains of the totally disrupted victim.
Sharpest View Ever of Star Formation in the Distant Universe
The image shows a magnified view of the galaxy’s star-forming
regions, the likes of which have never been seen before at this
level of detail in a galaxy so remote. The new observations are
far sharper than those made using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space
Telescope, and reveal star-forming clumps in the galaxy
equivalent to giant versions of the Orion Nebula in the Milky
A Bubbly Cosmic Celebration
This new image from ESO’s (VLT) in Chile shows a spectacular red
cloud of glowing hydrogen gas behind a collection of blue
foreground stars. Within RCW 34 — located in the southern
constellation of Vela — a group of massive young stars hide in
the brightest region of the cloud. These stars have a dramatic
effect on the nebula. Gas exposed to strong ultraviolet
radiation — as occurs in the heart of this nebula becomes
ionised, meaning that the electrons have escaped the hydrogen
VLT discovers new kind of globular star cluster
Observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have
discovered a new class of “dark” globular star clusters around
the giant galaxy Centaurus A. These mysterious objects look
similar to normal clusters, but contain much more mass and may
either harbour unexpected amounts of dark matter, or contain
massive black holes — neither of which was expected nor is
Dark matter may not be completely dark after all
For the first time dark matter may
have been observed interacting with other dark matter in a way
other than through the force of gravity. Observations of
colliding galaxies made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the
NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have picked up the first
intriguing hints about the nature of this mysterious component
of the Universe.
APEX observations help unravel mystery of Nova Vulpeculae 1670
New observations made with APEX and other telescopes reveal that
the star that European astronomers saw appear in the sky in 1670
was not a nova, but a much rarer, violent breed of stellar
collision. It was spectacular enough to be easily seen with the
naked eye during its first outburst, but the traces it left were
so faint that very careful analysis using sub-millimetre
telescopes was needed before the mystery could finally be
unravelled more than 340 years later.
Surprisingly Dusty and Evolved Galaxy from the distant past
One of the most distant galaxies ever observed has provided
astronomers with the first detection of dust in such a remote
star-forming system and tantalising evidence for the rapid
evolution of galaxies after the Big Bang.The target of their
observations is called A1689-zD1 and is observable only by
virtue of its brightness being amplified more than nine times by
a gravitational lens in the form of the spectacular galaxy
cluster, Abell 1689, which lies between the young galaxy and the
Earth. Without the gravitational boost, the glow from this very
faint galaxy would have been too weak to detect.
First pair of merging stars destined to become supernova found
Astronomers using ESO facilities in combination with telescopes
in the Canary Islands have identified two surprisingly massive
stars at the heart of the planetary nebula Henize 2-428. As they
orbit each other the two stars are expected to slowly get closer
and closer, and when they merge, about 700 million years from
now, they will contain enough material to ignite a vast
VISTA Stares Right Through the Milky Way
A new image taken with ESO’s VISTA survey telescope reveals the
famous Trifid Nebula in a new and ghostly light. By observing in
infrared light, astronomers can see right through the
dust-filled central parts of the Milky Way and spot many
previously hidden objects. In just this tiny part of one of the
VISTA surveys, astronomers have discovered two unknown and very
distant Cepheid variable stars that lie almost directly behind
the Trifid. They are the first such stars found that lie in the
central plane of the Milky Way beyond its central bulge.
Mouth of the Beast
Like the gaping mouth of some gigantic celestial creature, the
cometary globule CG4 glows menacingly in this new image from
ESO’s Very Large Telescope. In 1976 several elongated comet-like
objects were discovered on pictures taken with the UK Schmidt
Telescope in Australia. Although it appears big and bright in
this image, it is actually a faint nebula which makes it very
difficult for amateur astronomers to detect. The exact nature of
CG4 remains a mystery.
Where are all the Stars ?
Some of the stars appear to be missing in this intriguing new
ESO image. But the black gap in this glitteringly beautiful
starfield is not really a gap, but rather a region of space
clogged with gas and dust. This dark cloud is called LDN 483 —
for Lynds Dark Nebula 483. Such clouds are the birthplaces of
The Hot Blue Stars of Messier 47
This spectacular image of the star cluster Messier 47 was taken
using the Wide Field Imager camera, installed on the MPG/ESO
2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.
Although it is bright and easy to see (located approximately
1600 light-years from Earth), Messier 47 is one of the least
densely populated open clusters. Only around 50 stars are
visible in a region about 12 light-years across, compared to
other similar objects which can contain thousands of stars.
ALMA Image Reveals Planetary Genesis
New image from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array,
reveals extraordinarily fine detail that has never been seen
before in the planet-forming disc around a young star. These are
the first observations that have used ALMA in its near-final
configuration and the sharpest pictures ever made at
submillimetre wavelengths. The new results are an enormous step
forward in the observation of how protoplanetary discs develop
and how planets form.
Planet-forming Lifeline Discovered in a Binary Star System
Researchers using ALMA have detected
a streamer of gas flowing from a massive outer disc toward the
inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen
feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disc
of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared
long ago. Half of Sun-like stars are born in binary systems,
meaning that these findings will have major consequences for the
hunt for exoplanets.
Biggest census ever of exo-comets around Beta Pictoris
The most complete census of comets
around another star ever created has been achieved by French
astronomers at La Silla Observatory in Chile.The researchers
selected a sample of 493 different exocomets. Some exocomets
were observed several times and for a few hours. Careful
analysis provided measurements of the speed and the size of the
gas clouds. Some of the orbital properties of each of these
exocomets, such as the shape and the orientation of the orbit
and the distance to the star, could also be deduced.
Construction Secrets of Galactic Metropolis
Astronomers used the APEX telescope to probe a huge galaxy
cluster forming in the early Universe and revealed that much of
the star formation taking place is not only hidden by dust but
also occurring in unexpected places. This is the first time that
a full census of the star formation in such an object has been
Globular Cluster - Not What It Seems
New image from the VLT Survey Telescope in Chile shows a the
globular cluster M54. This cluster looks similar to many others
but it has a secret. M54 doesn’t belong to the Milky Way but is
part of a small satellite galaxy, the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy.
This unusual parentage has now allowed astronomers to use the
VLT to test whether there are also unexpectedly low levels of
the element lithium in stars outside the Milky Way.
Best View Yet of Merging Galaxies in Distant Universe
An international team of astronomers has obtained the best view
yet of a collision that took place between two galaxies when the
Universe was only half its current age. They enlisted the help
of a galaxy-sized magnifying glass to reveal otherwise invisible
with Weird and Wild planet-forming discs found
This image of the binary system HK Tauri combines visible light
and infrared data. The ALMA observations of this system have
provided the clearest picture ever of protoplanetary discs in a
double star. This new result demonstrates one possible way to
explain why so many exoplanets — unlike the planets in the Solar
System — came to have strange, eccentric or inclined orbits.
Lives and Deaths of Sibling Stars
A striking new image from the La Silla Observatory in Chile
shows young stars huddled together against a backdrop of clouds
of glowing gas and lanes of dust. The star cluster, known as NGC
3293, would have been just a cloud of gas and dust itself about
ten million years ago, but as stars began to form it became the
bright group of stars we see here. Clusters like this are
celestial laboratories that allow astronomers to learn more
about how stars evolve.
Observations reveal how stardust forms around supernova
Astronomers have been able to follow stardust being made in real
time — during the aftermath of a supernova explosion. For the
first time they show that these cosmic dust factories make their
grains in a two-stage process, starting soon after the
explosion, but continuing for years afterwards. The team used
ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in northern Chile to analyse
the light from the supernova SN2010jl as it slowly faded.
Gigantic Explosions Buried in Dust
Observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter
Array have for the first time directly mapped out the molecular
gas and dust in the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts, the
biggest explosions in the Universe. In a complete surprise, less
gas was observed than expected and correspondingly much more
dust, making some GRBs appear as “dark GRBs”.
Revolutionary new VLT instrument installed
SPHERE - (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research
instrument )has been installed on ESO’s (VLT) in Chile and has
achieved first light. This powerful new facility for finding and
studying exoplanets uses multiple advanced techniques in
combination offering dramatically better performance than
existing instruments and has produced impressive views of dust
discs around nearby stars and other targets during the very
first days of observations.
A Star Cluster in the Wake of Carina
Colourful new image from ESO's 2.2-metre telescope shows the
star cluster NGC 3590. These stars shine brightly in front of a
dramatic landscape of dark patches of dust and richly hued
clouds of glowing gas. This small stellar gathering gives
astronomers clues about how these stars form and evolve as well
as giving hints about the structure of our galaxy's pinwheeling
Length of Exoplanet Day Measured for First Time
Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have, for the
first time, determined the rotation rate of an exoplanet. Beta
Pictoris b has been found to have a day that lasts only eight
hours. This is much quicker than any planet in the Solar System
— its equator is moving at almost 100 000 kilometres per hour.
This new result extends the relation between mass and rotation
seen in the Solar System to exoplanets. Similar techniques will
allow astronomers to map exoplanets in detail in the future with
the European Extremely Large Telescope
Beautiful blue planetary nebula Abell 33 from ESO's VLT
An eye-catching image of planetary nebula commonly known as
Created when an aging star blew off its outer layers, this
beautiful blue bubble is, by chance, aligned with a foreground
star, and bears an uncanny resemblance to a diamond engagement
ring. This cosmic gem is unusually symmetric, appearing to be
almost circular on the sky.
Galactic Serial Killer
New image from ESO's 2.2-metre telescope in Chile shows two
contrasting galaxies, NGC 1316, and its smaller neighbour NGC
1317. These two are quite close to each other in space, but they
have very different histories. The small spiral NGC 1317 has led
an uneventful life, but NGC 1316 has engulfed several other
galaxies in its violent history and shows the battle scars.
Visit this link also
https://www.flickr.com/photos/strongman/13611641073/ to see
an outstanding image of the galaxies taken by local Australian
amateur Mike Sidonio.
First Ring System Around Asteroid
Observations at many sites in South America, including ESO’s La
Silla Observatory, have made the surprise discovery that the
remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow
rings. This is the smallest object by far found to have rings
and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much
larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to have
this feature. The origin of these rings remains a mystery, but
they may be the result of a collision that created a disc of
debris. The new results are published online in the journal
Nature on 26 March 2014.
VLT Spots Largest Yellow Hypergiant Star
ESO’s VLT Interferometer has revealed the largest yellow star
and one of the ten largest stars found so far. This hypergiant
has been found to measure more than 1300 times the diameter of
the Sun and to be part of a double star system, with the smaller
so close that it is in contact with the main star. Observations
spanning over 60 years, some from amateur observers, indicate
that this rare and remarkable object is changing very rapidly
and has been caught during a very brief phase of its life.
First Weather Map of Brown Dwarf
The VLT has been used to create the first ever weather map of
the surface of the nearest brown dwarf to Earth. An
international team has made a chart of the dark and light
features on WISE J104915.57-531906.1B, which is informally known
as Luhman 16B and is one of two recently discovered brown dwarfs
forming a pair only six light-years from the Sun.
First Planet Found Around Solar Twin in Star Cluster
Astronomers have discovered three
planets orbiting stars in the cluster Messier 67. Although more
than one thousand planets outside the Solar System are now
confirmed, only a handful have been found in star clusters.
Remarkably one of these new exoplanets is orbiting a star that
is a rare solar twin — a star that is almost identical to the
Sun in all respects.
ALMA Spots Supernova Dust Factory
Striking new observations capture, for the first time, the
remains of a recent supernova brimming with freshly formed dust.
If enough of this dust makes the perilous transition into
interstellar space, it could explain how many galaxies acquired
their dusty, dusky appearance.
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