Press Releases 2009

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eso0930-en-ie — Photo Release
Trifid Triple Treat
26 August 2009: Today ESO has released a new image of the Trifid Nebula, showing just why it is a firm favourite 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.
eso0929-en-ie — Photo Release
A Look into the Hellish Cradles of Suns and Solar Systems
19 August 2009: New images released today by ESO delve into the heart of a cosmic cloud, called RCW 38, crowded with budding stars and planetary systems. There, young stars bombard fledgling suns and planets with powerful winds and blazing light, helped in their task by short-lived, massive stars that explode as supernovae. In some cases, this onslaught cooks away the matter that may eventually form new solar systems. Scientists think that our own Solar System emerged from such an environment.
eso0928-en-ie — Photo Release
Double Engine for a Nebula
5 August 2009: ESO has just released a stunning new image of a field of stars towards the constellation of Carina (the Keel). This striking view is ablaze with a flurry of stars of all colours and brightnesses, some of which are seen against a backdrop of clouds of dust and gas. One unusual star in the middle, HD 87643, has been extensively studied with several ESO telescopes, including the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). Surrounded by a complex, extended nebula that is the result of previous violent ejections, the star has been shown to have a companion. Interactions in this double system, surrounded by a dusty disc, may be the engine fuelling the star’s remarkable nebula.
eso0927-en-ie — Science Release
Sharpest views of Betelgeuse reveal how supergiant stars lose mass
29 July 2009: Using different state-of-the-art techniques on ESO's Very Large Telescope, two independent teams of astronomers have obtained the sharpest ever views of the supergiant star Betelgeuse. They show that the star has a vast plume of gas almost as large as our Solar System and a gigantic bubble boiling on its surface. These discoveries provide important clues to help explain how these mammoths shed material at such a tremendous rate.
eso0926-en-ie — Photo Release
An Eagle of Cosmic Proportions
16 July 2009: Today ESO has released a new and stunning image of the sky around the Eagle Nebula, a stellar nursery where infant star clusters carve out monster columns of dust and gas.
eso0925-en-ie — Photo Release
New portrait of Omega Nebula's glistening watercolours
7 July 2009: The Omega Nebula, a stellar nursery where infant stars illuminate and sculpt a vast pastel fantasy of dust and gas, is revealed in all its glory by a new ESO image.
eso0924-en-ie — Photo Release
Astronomer's new guide to the galaxy: largest map of cold dust revealed
1 July 2009: Astronomers have unveiled an unprecedented new atlas of the inner regions of the Milky Way, our home galaxy, peppered with thousands of previously undiscovered dense knots of cold cosmic dust — the potential birthplaces of new stars. Made using observations from the APEX telescope in Chile, this survey is the largest map of cold dust so far, and will prove an invaluable map for observations made with the forthcoming ALMA telescope, as well as the recently launched ESA Herschel space telescope.
eso0923-en-ie — Science Release
Milky Way's super-efficient particle accelerators caught in the act
25 June 2009: Thanks to a unique "ballistic study" that combines data from ESO's Very Large Telescope and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have now solved a long-standing mystery of the Milky Way’s particle accelerators. They show in a paper published today on Science Express that cosmic rays from our galaxy are very efficiently accelerated in the remnants of exploded stars.
eso0922-en-ie — Organisation Release
World's fastest and most sensitive astronomical camera
18 June 2009: The next generation of instruments for ground-based telescopes took a leap forward with the development of a new ultra-fast camera that can take 1500 finely exposed images per second even when observing extremely faint objects. The first 240x240 pixel images with the world's fastest high precision faint light camera were obtained through a collaborative effort between ESO and three French laboratories from the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers (CNRS/INSU). Cameras such as this are key components of the next generation of adaptive optics instruments of Europe's ground-based astronomy flagship facility, the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT).
eso0921-en-ie — Science Release
Stellar family in crowded, violent neighbourhood proves to be surprisingly normal
4 June 2009: Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have obtained one of the sharpest views ever of the Arches Cluster — an extraordinary dense cluster of young stars near the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. Despite the extreme conditions astronomers were surprised to find the same proportions of low- and high-mass young stars in the cluster as are found in more tranquil locations in our Milky Way.
eso0920-en-ie — Organisation Release
Most Efficient Spectrograph to Shoot the Southern Skies
25 May 2009: ESO’s Very Large Telescope — Europe’s flagship facility for ground-based astronomy — has been equipped with the first of its second generation instruments: X-shooter. It can record the entire spectrum of a celestial object in one shot — from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared — with high sensitivity. This unique new instrument will be particularly useful for the study of distant exploding objects called gamma-ray bursts.
eso0919-en-ie — Science Release
Giant Galaxy Messier 87 finally sized up
20 May 2009: Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have succeeded in measuring the size of giant galaxy Messier 87 and were surprised to find that its outer parts have been stripped away by still unknown effects. The galaxy also appears to be on a collision course with another giant galaxy in this very dynamic cluster.
eso0918-en-ie — Organisation Release
First two ALMA antennas successfully linked
6 May 2009: Scientists and engineers working on the world's largest ground-based astronomical project, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), have achieved another milestone — the successful linking of two ALMA astronomical antennas, synchronised with a precision of one millionth of a millionth of a second — to observe the planet Mars. ALMA is under construction by an international partnership in the Chilean Andes.
eso0917-en-ie — Science Release
The Most Distant Object Yet Discovered in the Universe
28 April 2009: ESO's Very Large Telescope has shown that a faint gamma-ray burst detected last Thursday is the signature of the explosion of the earliest, most distant known object in the Universe (a redshift of 8.2). The explosion apparently took place more than 13 billion years ago, only about 600 million years after the Big Bang.
eso0916-en-ie — Science Release
Solar wind tans young asteroids
22 April 2009: A new study published in Nature this week reveals that asteroid surfaces age and redden much faster than previously thought — in less than a million years, the blink of an eye for an asteroid. This study has finally confirmed that the solar wind is the most likely cause of very rapid space weathering in asteroids. This fundamental result will help astronomers relate the appearance of an asteroid to its actual history and identify any after effects of a catastrophic impact with another asteroid.
eso0915-en-ie — Science Release
Lightest exoplanet yet discovered
21 April 2009: Well-known exoplanet researcher Michel Mayor today announced the discovery of the lightest exoplanet found so far. The planet, “e”, in the famous system Gliese 581, is only about twice the mass of our Earth. The team also refined the orbit of the planet Gliese 581 d, first discovered in 2007, placing it well within the habitable zone, where liquid water oceans could exist. These amazing discoveries are the outcome of more than four years of observations using the most successful low-mass-exoplanet hunter in the world, the HARPS spectrograph attached to the 3.6-metre ESO telescope at La Silla, Chile.
eso0914-en-ie — Photo Release
Two Galaxies for a Unique Event
4 April 2009: To celebrate the 100 Hours of Astronomy, ESO is sharing two stunning images of unusual galaxies, both belonging to the Sculptor group of galaxies. The images, obtained at two of ESO’s observatories at La Silla and Paranal in Chile, illustrate the beauty of astronomy.
eso0913-en-ie — Organisation Release
ESO takes the public on an astronomical journey “Around the World in 80 Telescopes”
30 March 2009: A live 24-hour free public video webcast, “Around the World in 80 Telescopes”, will take place from 3 April 09:00 UT/GMT to 4 April 09:00 UT/GMT, chasing day and night around the globe to let viewers “visit” some of the most advanced astronomical telescopes on and off the planet. The webcast, organised by ESO for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009), is the first time that so many large observatories have been linked together for a public event.
eso0912-en-ie — Organisation Release
ESO’s First Observatory Celebrates 40th Anniversary
24 March 2009: ESO’s La Silla Observatory, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, became the largest astronomical observatory of its time. It led Europe to the frontline of astronomical research, and is still one of the most scientifically productive in ground-based astronomy.
eso0911-en-ie — Photo Release
A Curious Pair of Galaxies
16 March 2009: The ESO Very Large Telescope has taken the best image ever of a strange and chaotic duo of interwoven galaxies. The images also contain some surprises — interlopers both far and near.
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