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eso0747 — Science Release
11 October 2007: Noted for its bizarre hydrocarbon lakes and frozen methane clouds, Saturn's largest moon, Titan, also appears to have widespread drizzles of methane, according to a team of astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley. New near-infrared images from ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii show for the first time a nearly global cloud cover at high elevations and, dreary as it may seem, a widespread and persistent morning drizzle of methane over the western foothills of Titan's major continent, Xanadu.
eso0746 — Organisation Release
Catch a Star 2008! — School students: imagine winning a trip to visit a world-class astronomical observatory in Chile's stunning Atacama Desert!
5 October 2007: ESO and the European Association for Astronomy Education have just launched the 2008 edition of 'Catch a Star', their international astronomy competition for school students. Now in its sixth year, the competition offers students the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to ESO's flagship observatory in Chile, as well as many other prizes.
eso0745 — Organisation Release
5 October 2007: Today, the first of the two ALMA antenna transporters was given its name at a ceremony on the compounds of the manufacturer, the heavy-vehicle specialist Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik GmbH, in Baden-Württemberg. The colossus, 10 metres wide, 20 metres long and 6 metres high, will be shipped to Chile by the end of the month. The second one will follow in a few weeks.
eso0744 — Organisation Release
A Grand Vision for European Astronomy — Europe unveils its Scientific Strategies for the next 20 Years
28 September 2007: Today, and for the first time, astronomers share their global Science Vision for European Astronomy in the next two decades. This two-year long effort by the ASTRONET network of funding agencies, sponsored by the European Commission and coordinated by INSU-CNRS, underscores Europe's ascension to world leadership in astronomy and its will to maintain that position. It will be followed in just over a year by a prioritised roadmap for the observational facilities needed to implement the Vision. Implementation of these plans will ensure that Europe fully contributes to Mankind's ever deeper understanding of the wonders of our Universe.
eso0743 — Science Release
eso0742 — Science Release
27 September 2007: Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer and its unique ability to see small details, astronomers have uncovered a flat, nearly edge-on disc of silicates in the heart of the magnificent Ant Nebula. The disc seems, however, too 'skinny' to explain how the nebula got its intriguing ant-like shape.
eso0741 — Science Release
18 September 2007: An international team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope has discovered that the south pole of Neptune is much hotter than the rest of the planet. This is consistent with the fact that it is late southern summer and this region has been in sunlight for about 40 years.
eso0740 — Science Release
14 September 2007: Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope have discovered in a single pass about a dozen otherwise invisible galaxies halfway across the Universe. The discovery, based on a technique that exploits a first-class instrument, represents a major breakthrough in the field of galaxy 'hunting'.
eso0739 — Photo Release
3 September 2007: Stars do not like to be alone. Indeed, most stars are members of a binary system, in which two stars circle around each other in an apparently never-ending cosmic ballet. But sometimes, things can go wrong. When the dancing stars are too close to each other, one of them can start devouring its partner. If the vampire star is a white dwarf – a burned-out star that was once like our Sun – this greed can lead to a cosmic catastrophe: the white dwarf explodes as a Type Ia supernova.
eso0738 — Organisation Release
eso0737 — Photo Release
Edge-On! — Peering at Uranus's Rings as they Swing Edge-on to Earth for the First Time Since their Discovery in 1977
23 August 2007: As Uranus coasts through a brief window of time when its rings are edge-on to Earth - a view of the planet we get only once every 42 years - astronomers peering at the rings with ESO's Very Large Telescope and other space or ground-based telescopes are getting an unprecedented view of the fine dust in the system, free from the glare of the bright rocky rings. They may even find a new moon or two.
eso0736 — Organisation Release
22 August 2007: Europe's flagship ground-based astronomical facility, the ESO VLT, has been equipped with a new 'eye' to study the Universe. Working in the near-infrared, the new instrument - dubbed HAWK-I - covers about 1/10th the area of the Full Moon in a single exposure. It is uniquely suited to the discovery and study of faint objects, such as distant galaxies or small stars and planets.
eso0735 — Organisation Release
5 August 2007: The world's largest bolometer camera for submillimetre astronomy is now in service at the 12-m APEX telescope, located on the 5100m high Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes. LABOCA was specifically designed for the study of extremely cold astronomical objects and, with its large field of view and very high sensitivity, will open new vistas in our knowledge of how stars form and how the first galaxies emerged from the Big Bang.
eso0734 — Science Release
eso0733 — Photo Release
2 August 2007: On the night of 21 July, ESO astronomer Yuri Beletsky took images of the night sky above Paranal, the 2600m high mountain in the Chilean Atacama Desert home to ESO's Very Large Telescope. The amazing images bear witness to the unique quality of the sky, revealing not only the Milky Way in all its splendour but also the planet Jupiter and the laser beam used at Yepun, one of the 8.2-m telescopes that make up this extraordinary facility.
eso0732 — Organisation Release
30 July 2007: The first of two spectacular vehicles for the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) Observatory rolled out of its hangar and passed successfully a series of tests. This vehicle, the ALMA antenna transporter, is a rather exceptional 'lorry' driving on 28 tyres. It is 10m wide, 20m long and 6m high, weighs 130 tons and has as much power as two Formula 1 engines. This colossus will be able to transport a 115-ton antenna and set it down on a concrete pad within millimetres of a prescribed position.
eso0731 — Science Release
12 July 2007: A unique set of observations, obtained with ESO's VLT, has allowed astronomers to find direct evidence for the material that surrounded a star before it exploded as a Type Ia supernova. This strongly supports the scenario in which the explosion occurred in a system where a white dwarf is fed by a red giant.
eso0730 — Science Release
eso0729 — Science Release
6 July 2007: Looking at the chemical composition of stars that host planets, astronomers have found that while dwarf stars often show iron enrichment on their surface, giant stars do not. The astronomers think that the planetary debris falling onto the outer layer of the star produces a detectable effect in a dwarf star, but this pollution is diluted by the giant star and mixed into its interior.
eso0728 — Science Release
19 June 2007: Observing the image of a faint object that lies close to a star is a demanding task as the object is generally hidden in the glare of the star. Characterising this object, by taking spectra, is an even harder challenge. Still, thanks to ingenious scientists and a new ESO imaging spectrograph, this is now feasible, paving the way to an eldorado of many new thrilling discoveries.
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