Press Releases 2007

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eso0716-en-au — Photo Release
The Purple Rose of Virgo
27 March 2007: Until now NGC 5584 was just one galaxy among many others, located to the West of the Virgo Cluster. Known only as a number in galaxy surveys, its sheer beauty is now revealed in all its glory in a new VLT image. Since 1 March, this purple cosmic rose also holds the brightest stellar explosion of the year, known as SN 2007af.
eso0715-en-au — Science Release
Fingerprinting the Milky Way
22 March 2007: Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, an international team of astronomers has shown how to use the chemical composition of stars in clusters to shed light on the formation of our Milky Way. This discovery is a fundamental test for the development of a new chemical tagging technique uncovering the birth and growth of our Galactic cradle.
eso0714-en-au — Organisation Release
Waking up to science!
15 March 2007: How is Europe to tackle its shortage of scientists? The EIROforum Science on Stage festival aims to give European teachers some of the answers they need to take up this urgent challenge. This unique event, showcasing the very best of today's science education, will feature science demonstrations, a science teaching fair with some 66 stands, and a Round Table discussion with the participation of the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik.
eso0713-en-au — Organisation Release
A Roof for ALMA
14 March 2007: On 10 March, an official ceremony took place on the 2,900m high site of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Operations Support Facility, from where the ALMA antennas will be remotely controlled. The ceremony marked the completion of the structural works, while the building itself will be finished by the end of the year. This will become the operational centre of one of the most important ground-based astronomical facilities on Earth.
eso0712-en-au — Science Release
Star Family Seen Through Dusty Fog
13 March 2007: Images made with ESO's New Technology Telescope at La Silla by a team of German astronomers reveal a rich circular cluster of stars in the inner parts of our Galaxy. Located 30,000 light-years away, this previously unknown closely-packed group of about 100,000 stars is most likely a new globular cluster.
eso0711-en-au — Science Release
Solar Power at Play
7 March 2007: For the very first time, astronomers have witnessed the speeding up of an asteroid's rotation, and have shown that it is due to a theoretical effect predicted but never seen before. The international team of scientists used an armada of telescopes to discover that the asteroid's rotation period currently decreases by 1 millisecond every year, as a consequence of the heating of the asteroid's surface by the Sun. Eventually it may spin faster than any known asteroid in the solar system and even break apart.
eso0710-en-au — Organisation Release
The Antenna Bride and Bridegroom
7 March 2007: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international telescope project, reached a major milestone on 2 March, when two 12-m ALMA prototype antennas were first linked together as an integrated system to observe an astronomical object.
eso0709-en-au — Photo Release
The Giant that Turned Out to be a Dwarf
7 March 2007: New data obtained on the apparent celestial couple, NGC 5011 B and C, taken with the 3.6-m ESO telescope, reveal that the two galaxies are not at the same distance, as was believed for the past 23 years. The observations show that NGC 5011C is not a giant but a dwarf galaxy, an overlooked member of a group of galaxies in the vicinity of the Milky Way.
eso0708-en-au — Science Release
SN1987A's Twentieth Anniversary
24 February 2007: The unique supernova SN 1987A has been a bonanza for astrophysicists. It provided several observational 'firsts,' like the detection of neutrinos from an exploding star, the observation of the progenitor star on archival photographic plates, the signatures of a non-spherical explosion, the direct observation of the radioactive elements produced during the blast, observation of the formation of dust in the supernova, as well as the detection of circumstellar and interstellar material.
eso0707-en-au — Photo Release
The Celestial Whirligig
23 February 2007: Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, has been delighting those who have seen it with the unaided eye as a spectacular display in the evening sky. Pushing ESO's New Technology Telescope to its limits, a team of European astronomers have obtained the first, and possibly unique, detailed observations of this object. Their images show spectacular jets of gas from the comet spiralling several thousands of kilometres into space, while the spectra reveal the presence of sodium in its atmosphere, something seen very rarely.
eso0706-en-au — Organisation Release
The Sky Through Three Giant Eyes
23 February 2007: The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer, which allows astronomers to scrutinise objects with a precision equivalent to that of a 130-m telescope, is proving itself an unequalled success every day. One of the latest instruments installed, AMBER, has led to a flurry of scientific results, an anthology of which is being published this week as special features in the research journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
eso0705-en-au — Photo Release
The Great Cometary Show
19 January 2007: Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, is no more visible for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. It does put an impressive show in the South, however, and observers in Chile, in particular at the Paranal Observatory, were able to capture amazing images, including a display reminiscent of an aurora!
eso0704-en-au — Organisation Release
Big Red Eye is Ready
17 January 2007: The world's biggest infrared camera for Europe's newest telescope left the UK today for Chile. The 67 million pixel camera will equip VISTA - a UK provided survey telescope being constructed in Chile for ESO. VISTA will map the infrared sky faster than any previous telescope, studying areas of the Universe that are hard to see in the visible due to either their cool temperature, surrounding dust or high redshift.
eso0703-en-au — Organisation Release
Tim de Zeeuw to Become the Next Director General of ESO
11 January 2007: The ESO Council has just appointed Tim de Zeeuw, 50, as the next Director General of ESO, effective as of 1 September 2007, when the current Director General, Catherine Cesarsky will complete her mandate.
eso0702-en-au — Science Release
It Is No Mirage!
8 January 2007: Using ESO's Very Large Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory, astronomers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland and the California Institute of Technology, USA, have discovered what appears to be the first known triplet of quasars. This close trio of supermassive black holes lies about 10.5 billion light-years away towards the Virgo (The Virgin) constellation.
eso0701-en-au — Organisation Release
ESO PR Highlights in 2006
4 January 2007: Last year proved to be another exceptional year for the European organisation for ground-based astronomy. ESO should begin the New Year with two new member states: Spain (PR 05/06) and the Czech Republic (PR 52/06).
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