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Distant star-forming galaxies in the early Universe
NEW
Jan. 25, 2012
Astronomers have combined observations from the LABOCA camera on the ESO-operated 12-meter Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope with measurements made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, and others, to look at the way that bright, distant galaxies are gathered together in groups or clusters.
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Planet Population is Plentiful

Jan. 11, 2012
An international team of astronomers has searched for exoplanets using a totally different method -- gravitational microlensing -- that can detect planets over a wide range of mass and those that lie much further from their stars.
Hubble Pinpoints Furthest Protocluster of Galaxies Ever Seen

Jan. 10, 2012
In a sky survey made in near-infrared light Hubble has spotted five galaxies clustered together. They are so distant that their light has taken 13.1 billion years to reach us. These galaxies are among the brightest galaxies at that early stage of the Universe’s history. They are also very young: we are seeing them just 600 million years after the Universe’s birth in the Big Bang.
Pulsating Star Mystery Solved

Nov. 24, 2010
By discovering the first double star where a pulsating Cepheid variable and another star pass in front of one another, an international team of astronomers has solved a decades-old mystery. The rare alignment of the orbits of the two stars in the double star system has allowed a measurement of the Cepheid mass with unprecedented accuracy.
Planet from Another Galaxy Discovered

Nov. 18, 2010
An exoplanet orbiting a star that entered our Milky Way from another galaxy has been detected by a European team of astronomers using the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The Jupiter-like planet is particularly unusual, as it is orbiting a star nearing the end of its life and could be about to be engulfed by it, giving tantalizing clues about the fate of our own planetary system in the distant future.
E-ELT Site Chosen

Apr. 26, 2010
On 26 April 2010, the ESO Council selected Cerro Armazones as the baseline site for the planned 42-meter European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). Cerro Armazones is a mountain at an altitude of 3060 meters in the central part of Chile’s Atacama Desert, some 130 kilometers south of the town of Antofagasta and about 20 kilometers from Cerro Paranal, home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope.
Hubble confirms cosmic acceleration with weak lensing

Mar. 25, 2010
A group of astronomers, led by Tim Schrabback of the Leiden Observatory, conducted an intensive study of over 446 000 galaxies within the COSMOS field, the result of the largest survey ever conducted with Hubble. In making the COSMOS survey, Hubble photographed 575 slightly overlapping views of the same part of the Universe using the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) onboard Hubble. It took nearly 1000 hours of observations.
Why many surveys of distant galaxies miss 90% of their targets

Mar. 24, 2010
Astronomers have long known that in many surveys of the very distant Universe, a large fraction of the total intrinsic light was not being observed. Now, thanks to an extremely deep survey using two of the four giant 8.2-meter telescopes that make up ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) and a unique custom-built filter, astronomers have determined that a large fraction of galaxies whose light took 10 billion years to reach us have gone undiscovered.
First Temperate Exoplanet Sized Up

Mar. 18, 2010
Combining observations from the CoRoT satellite and the ESO HARPS instrument, astronomers have discovered the first “normal” exoplanet that can be studied in great detail. Designated Corot-9b, the planet regularly passes in front of a star similar to the Sun located 1500 light-years away from Earth towards the constellation of Serpens (the Snake).
Jupiter's Spot Seen Glowing

Mar. 16, 2010
New ground-breaking thermal images obtained with ESO's Very Large Telescope and other powerful ground-based telescopes show swirls of warmer air and cooler regions never seen before within Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, enabling scientists to make the first detailed interior weather map of the giant storm system linking its temperature, winds, pressure and composition with its color.
Saturn's Aurora Offer Stunning Double Show

Feb. 11, 2010
Researchers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope recently took advantage of a rare opportunity to record Saturn when its rings are edge-on, resulting in a unique movie featuring both of the giant planet's poles. Saturn is only in this position every 15 years and this favorable orientation has allowed a sustained study of Saturn’s almost symmetric northern and southern lights.
Orion in a New Light

Feb. 10, 2010
VISTA — the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy — is the latest addition to ESO’s Paranal Observatory. It is the largest survey telescope in the world and is dedicated to mapping the sky at infrared wavelengths. The large (4.1-meter) mirror, wide field of view and very sensitive detectors make VISTA a unique instrument. This dramatic new image of the Orion Nebula illustrates VISTA’s remarkable powers.
Forming the present-day spiral galaxies

Feb. 04, 2010
Using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have, for the first time, created a demographic census of galaxy types and shapes from a time before the Earth and the Sun existed, to the present day. The results show that, contrary to contemporary thought, more than half of the present-day spiral galaxies had so-called peculiar shapes only 6 billion years ago, which, if confirmed, highlights the importance of collisions and mergers in the recent past of many galaxies.
The Stars behind the Curtain

Feb. 03, 2010
ESO is released a magnificent VLT image of the giant stellar nursery surrounding NGC 3603, in which stars are continuously being born. Embedded in this scenic nebula is one of the most luminous and most compact clusters of young, massive stars in our Milky Way, which therefore serves as an excellent “local” analogue of very active star-forming regions in other galaxies. The cluster also hosts the most massive star to be “weighed” so far.
Hubble Finds Most Distant Primeval Galaxies

Jan. 05, 2010
The deeper Hubble looks into space, the farther back in time it looks, because light takes billions of years to cross the observable Universe. This makes Hubble a powerful "time machine" that allows astronomers to see galaxies as they were 13 billion years ago, just 600 million to 800 million years after the Big Bang.
Hubble's Deepest View of Universe Unveils Never-Before-Seen Galaxies

Dec. 08, 2009
The new Wide Field Camera 3 aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken the deepest image yet of the Universe in near-infrared light. The faintest and reddest objects in the image are likely the oldest galaxies ever identified, having formed between only 600–900 million years after the Big Bang.
A Superbright Supernova That’s the First of Its Kind

Dec. 02, 2009
An extraordinarily bright, extraordinarily long-lasting supernova named SN 2007bi, snagged in a search by a robotic telescope, turns out to be the first example of the kind of stars that first populated the Universe. The superbright supernova occurred in a nearby dwarf galaxy, a kind of galaxy that’s common but has been little studied until now, and the unusual supernova could be the first of many such events soon to be discovered.
Blushing Dusty Nebula

Dec. 01, 2009
A recent NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of part of NGC 7023, or the Iris Nebula, highlights a perfect dust laboratory in the sky. On Earth, we tend to find dust nothing more than a nuisance that blankets our furniture and causes us to sneeze. Cosmic dust can also be a hindrance to astronomers because cameras using visible light cannot see through it. However, studying cosmic dust in detail helps astronomers to pin down the ingredients of the raw mixture that eventually gives birth to stars.
Black Hole Caught Zapping Galaxy into Existence?

Dec. 01, 2009
Which come first, the supermassive black holes that frantically devour matter or the enormous galaxies where they reside? A brand new scenario has emerged from a recent set of outstanding observations of a black hole without a home: black holes may be “building” their own host galaxy. This could be the long-sought missing link to understanding why the masses of black holes are larger in galaxies that contain more stars.
Fermi Telescope Peers Deep into Microquasar

Nov. 28, 2009
NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has made the first unambiguous detection of high-energy gamma-rays from an enigmatic binary system known as Cygnus X-3. The system pairs a hot, massive star with a compact object -- either a neutron star or a black hole -- that blasts twin radio-emitting jets of matter into space at more than half the speed of light.
Cosmic "Dig" Reveals Vestiges of the Milky Way's Building Blocks

Nov. 25, 2009
Peering through the thick dust clouds of our galaxy’s "bulge" (the myriads of stars surrounding its center), and revealing an amazing amount of detail, a team of astronomers has unveiled an unusual mix of stars in the stellar grouping known as Terzan 5. Never observed anywhere in the bulge before, this peculiar "cocktail" of stars suggests that Terzan 5 is in fact one of the bulge's primordial building blocks, most likely the relic of a dwarf galaxy that merged with the Milky Way during its very early days.
Watching a Cannibal Galaxy Dine

Nov. 20, 2009
A new technique using near-infrared images, obtained with ESO’s 3.58-meter New Technology Telescope (NTT), allows astronomers to see through the opaque dust lanes of the giant cannibal galaxy Centaurus A, unveiling its “last meal” in unprecedented detail — a smaller spiral galaxy, currently twisted and warped. This amazing image also shows thousands of star clusters, strewn like glittering gems, churning inside Centaurus A.
Baffling boxy bulge

Nov. 18, 2009
Just as many people are surprised to find themselves packing on unexplained weight around the middle, astronomers find the evolution of bulges in the centers of spiral galaxies puzzling. A recent NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 4710 is part of a survey that astronomers have conducted to learn more about the formation of bulges, which are a substantial component of most spiral galaxies.
Exoplanets Clue to Sun's Curious Chemistry

Nov. 11, 2009
A ground-breaking census of 500 stars, 70 of which are known to host planets, has successfully linked the long-standing “lithium mystery” observed in the Sun to the presence of planetary systems. Using ESO’s successful HARPS spectrograph, a team of astronomers has found that Sun-like stars that host planets have destroyed their lithium much more efficiently than “planet-free” stars.
NASA's Great Observatories Celebrate International Year of Astronomy

Nov. 10, 2009
A never-before-seen view of the turbulent heart of our Milky Way galaxy is being unveiled by NASA today. This event will commemorate the 400 years since Galileo first turned his telescope to the heavens in 1609. In celebration of this International Year of Astronomy, NASA is releasing images of the galactic center region as seen by its Great Observatories to more than 150 planetariums, museums, nature centers, libraries and schools across the country.
Opening up a Colorful Cosmic Jewel Box

Oct. 29, 2009
The combination of images taken by three exceptional telescopes, the ESO Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal , the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO’s La Silla observatory and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, has allowed the stunning Jewel Box star cluster to be seen in a whole new light.
Sky Merger Yields Sparkling Dividends

Oct. 13, 2009
A recent NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures what appears to be one very bright and bizarre galaxy, but is actually the result of a pair of spiral galaxies that resemble our own Milky Way smashing together at breakneck speeds. The product of this dramatic collision, called NGC 2623, or Arp 243, is about 250 million light-years away in the constellation of Cancer (the Crab).
First Solid Evidence for a Rocky Exoplanet

Sept. 16, 2009
The longest set of HARPS measurements ever made has firmly established the nature of the smallest and fastest-orbiting exoplanet known, CoRoT-7b, revealing its mass as five times that of Earth's. Combined with CoRoT-7b's known radius, which is less than twice that of our terrestrial home, this tells us that the exoplanet's density is quite similar to the Earth's, suggesting a solid, rocky world. The extensive dataset also reveals the presence of another so-called super-Earth in this alien solar system.
Trifid Triple Treat

Aug. 26, 2009
Today ESO has released a new image of the Trifid Nebula, showing just why it is a firm favorite of astronomers, amateur and professional alike. This massive star factory is so named for the dark dust bands that trisect its glowing heart, and is a rare combination of three nebula types, revealing the fury of freshly formed stars and presaging more star birth.
A Look into the Hellish Cradles of Suns and Solar Systems

Aug. 19, 2009
The dense star cluster RCW 38 glistens about 5500 light years away in the direction of the constellation Vela (the Sails). Like the Orion Nebula Cluster, RCW 38 is an “embedded cluster”, in that the nascent cloud of dust and gas still envelops its stars. Astronomers have determined that most stars, including the low mass, reddish ones that outnumber all others in the Universe, originate in these matter-rich locations.
NASA's Fermi Mission, Namibia's HESS Telescopes Explore a Blazar

Mar. 18, 2009
An international team of astrophysicists using telescopes on the ground and in space have uncovered surprising changes in radiation emitted by an active galaxy. The picture that emerges from these first-ever simultaneous observations with optical, X-ray and new-generation gamma-ray telescopes is much more complex than scientists expected and challenges current theories of how the radiation is generated.
Hearts of Galaxies Close in for Cosmic Train Wreck

Mar. 16, 2009
The galactic cores are in a single, tangled galaxy called NGC 6240, located 400-million light years away in the constellation Ophiuchus. Millions of years ago, each core was the dense center of its own galaxy before the two galaxies collided and ripped each other apart. Now, these cores are approaching each other at tremendous speeds and preparing for the final cataclysmic collision.
Hundred meter virtual telescope captures unique detailed color image

Feb. 18, 2009
A team of French astronomers has captured one of the sharpest color images ever made. They observed the star T Leporis, which appears, on the sky, as small as a two-story house on the Moon. The image was taken with ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), emulating a virtual telescope about 100 meters across and reveals a spherical molecular shell around an aged star.
Astronomers Unveiling Life's Cosmic Origins

Feb. 13, 2009
Processes that laid the foundation for life on Earth -- star and planet formation and the production of complex organic molecules in interstellar space -- are yielding their secrets to astronomers armed with powerful new research tools, and even better tools soon will be available. Astronomers described three important developments at a symposium on the "Cosmic Cradle of Life" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, IL.
Hubble Finds Stars That 'Go Ballistic'

Jan. 07, 2008
Even some stars go ballistic, racing through interstellar space like bullets and tearing through clouds of gas. Images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveal 14 young, runaway stars plowing through regions of dense interstellar gas, creating brilliant arrowhead structures and trailing tails of glowing gas. These arrowheads, or bow shocks, form when the stars' powerful stellar winds, streams of matter flowing from the stars, slam into surrounding dense gas.
Gamma-Ray Burst Offers First Peek at a Young Galaxy's Star Factory

Jan. 07, 2008
Astronomers combining data from NASA's Swift satellite, the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, and other facilities have, for the first time, identified gas molecules in the host galaxy of a gamma-ray burst. The explosion, designated GRB 080607, occurred in June. "This burst gave us the opportunity to 'taste' the star-forming gas in a young galaxy more than 11 billion light-years away," says University of California, Santa Cruz, professor Xavier Prochaska.
Dead Stars Tell Story of Planet Birth

Jan. 05, 2008
Observations made with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal six dead "white dwarf" stars littered with the remains of shredded asteroids. This might sound pretty bleak, but it turns out the chewed-up asteroids are teaching astronomers about the building materials of planets around other stars. So far, the results suggest that the same materials that make up Earth and our solar system's other rocky bodies could be common in the universe. If the materials are common, then rocky planets could be, too.
Milky Way a Swifter Spinner, More Massive, New Measurements Show

Jan. 05, 2008
Fasten your seat belts -- we're faster, heavier, and more likely to collide than we thought. Astronomers making high-precision measurements of the Milky Way say our home Galaxy is rotating about 100,000 miles per hour faster than previously understood. That increase in speed, said Mark Reid, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, increases the Milky Way's mass by 50 percent, bringing it even with the Andromeda Galaxy.
Brown Dwarfs Don't Hang Out With Stars

Jan. 05, 2008
Brown dwarfs, objects that are less massive than stars but larger than planets, just got more elusive, based on a study of 233 nearby multiple-star systems by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble found only two brown dwarfs as companions to normal stars. This means the so-called "brown dwarf desert" (the absence of brown dwarfs around solar-type stars) extends to the smallest stars in the universe.
Dark Energy Found Stifling Growth in Universe

Dec. 16, 2008
For the first time, astronomers have clearly seen the effects of "dark energy" on the most massive collapsed objects in the universe using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. By tracking how dark energy has stifled the growth of galaxy clusters and combining this with previous studies, scientists have obtained the best clues yet about what dark energy is and what the destiny of the universe could be.
Astronomers Dissect a Supermassive Black Hole with Natural Magnifying Glasses

Dec. 12, 2008
Combining a double natural "magnifying glass" with the power of ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have scrutinized the inner parts of the disc around a supermassive black hole 10 billion light-years away. They were able to study the disc with a level of detail a thousand times better than that of the best telescopes in the world, providing the first observational confirmation of the prevalent theoretical models of such discs.
 
 

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