Press Releases

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eso0710 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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).
eso0652 — Organisation Release
Czech Republic to Become Member of ESO
22 December 2006: Today, an agreement was signed in Prague between ESO and the Czech Republic, aiming to make the latter become a full member of ESO as of 1 January 2007.
eso0651 — Photo Release
Little Brother Joins the Large Family
22 December 2006: On the night of 15 December 2006, the fourth and last-to-be-installed VLTI Auxiliary Telescope (AT4) obtained its 'First Light'. The first images demonstrate that AT4 will be able to deliver the excellent image quality already delivered by the first three ATs. It will soon join its siblings to perform routinely interferometric measurements.
eso0650 — Photo Release
Portrait of a Dramatic Stellar Crib
21 December 2006: A new, stunning image of the cosmic spider, the Tarantula Nebula and its surroundings, finally pays tribute to this amazing, vast and intricately sculpted web of stars and gas. The newly released image, made with ESO's Wide Field Imager on the 2.2-m ESO/MPG Telescope at La Silla, covers 1 square degree on the sky and could therefore contain four times the full Moon.
eso0649 — Science Release
The Dark Side of Nature: the Crime was Almost Perfect
20 December 2006: Nature has again thrown astronomers for a loop. Just when they thought they understood how gamma-ray bursts formed, they have uncovered what appears to be evidence for a new kind of cosmic explosion. These seem to arise when a newly born black hole swallows most of the matter from its doomed parent star.
eso0648 — Science Release
It Is Too Early To Be Santa's Sleigh, Isn't It?
20 December 2006: Astronomers at ESO's frontline Paranal Observatory got a surprise on the morning of 18 December when looking at the observatory's all-sky camera, MASCOT. For about 45 minutes in the early morning, an object appeared first as a bright stripe then as a cloud that dissolved.
eso0647 — Organisation Release
Magna Carta for Researchers
14 December 2006: Today, Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research received a statement of support for the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers from EIROforum.
eso0646 — Organisation Release
The Rise of a Giant
11 December 2006: European astronomy has received a tremendous boost with the decision from ESO's governing body to proceed with detailed studies for the European Extremely Large Telescope. This study, with a budget of 57 million euro, will make it possible to start, in three years time, the construction of an optical/infrared telescope with a diameter around 40m that will revolutionise ground-based astronomy. The chosen design is based on a revolutionary concept specially developed for a telescope of this size.
eso0645 — Science Release
Do Galaxies Follow Darwinian Evolution?
6 December 2006: Using VIMOS on ESO's Very Large Telescope, a team of French and Italian astronomers have shown the strong influence the environment exerts on the way galaxies form and evolve. The scientists have for the first time charted remote parts of the Universe, showing that the distribution of galaxies has considerably evolved with time, depending on the galaxies' immediate surroundings. This surprising discovery poses new challenges for theories of the formation and evolution of galaxies.
eso0644 — Science Release
Asymmetric Ashes
30 November 2006: Astronomers are reporting remarkable new findings that shed light on a decade-long debate about one kind of supernovae, the explosions that mark a star's final demise: does the star die in a slow burn or with a fast bang? From their observations, the scientists find that the matter ejected by the explosion shows significant peripheral asymmetry but a nearly spherical interior, most likely implying that the explosion finally propagates at supersonic speed.