Press Releases

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eso0937 — Organisation Release
The GalileoMobile starts its South American voyage
5 October 2009: Today marks the beginning of the GalileoMobile Project, a two-month expedition to bring the wonder and excitement of astronomy to young people in Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Supported by ESO and partners, a group of astronomers and educators will travel through a region of the Andes Mountains aboard the GalileoMobile, offering astronomical activities, such as workshops for students and star parties for the general public. Professional filmmakers on the trip will produce a multilingual documentary capturing the thrill of discovery through science, culture and travel.
eso0936 — Photo Release
The Trilogy is Complete
28 September 2009: The third image of ESO’s GigaGalaxy Zoom project has just been released online, completing this eye-opening dive into our galactic home in outstanding fashion. The latest image follows on from views, released over the last two weeks, of the sky as seen with the unaided eye and through an amateur telescope. This third instalment provides another breathtaking vista of an astronomical object, this time a 370-million-pixel view of the Lagoon Nebula of the quality and depth needed by professional astronomers in their quest to understand our Universe.
eso0935 — Organisation Release
ALMA telescope reaches new heights
23 September 2009: The ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) astronomical observatory has taken another step forward — and upwards. One of its state-of-the-art antennas was carried for the first time to the 5000m plateau of Chajnantor, in the Chilean Andes, on the back of a custom-built giant transporter. The antenna, which weighs about 100 tons and has a diameter of 12 metres, was transported up to the high-altitude Array Operations Site, where the extremely dry and rarefied air is ideal for ALMA’s observations of the Universe.
eso0934 — Photo Release
Zooming to the centre of the Milky Way
21 September 2009: The second of three images of ESO's GigaGalaxy Zoom project has just been released online. It is a new and wonderful 340-million-pixel vista of the central parts of our home galaxy as seen from ESO's Paranal Observatory with an amateur telescope.
eso0933 — Science Release
First Solid Evidence for a Rocky Exoplanet
16 September 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.
eso0932 — Photo Release
ESO unveils an amazing, interactive, 360-degree panoramic view of the entire night sky
14 September 2009: The first of three images of ESO's GigaGalaxy Zoom project — a new magnificent 800-million-pixel panorama of the entire sky as seen from ESO’s observing sites in Chile — has just been released online. The project allows stargazers to explore and experience the Universe as it is seen with the unaided eye from the darkest and best viewing locations in the world.
eso0931 — Photo Release
NGC 4945: The Milky Way's not-so-distant Cousin
2 September 2009: ESO has released a striking new image of a nearby galaxy that many astronomers think closely resembles our own Milky Way. Though the galaxy is seen edge-on, observations of NGC 4945 suggest that this hive of stars is a spiral galaxy much like our own, with swirling, luminous arms and a bar-shaped central region. These resemblances aside, NGC 4945 has a brighter centre that likely harbours a supermassive black hole, which is devouring reams of matter and blasting energy out into space.
eso0930 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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.
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