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eso0639 — Science Release
The Star, the Dwarf and the Planet — First Directly Imaged Brown Dwarf Companion to an Exoplanet Host Star
19 October 2006: Astronomers have detected a new faint companion to the star HD 3651, already known to host a planet. This companion, a brown dwarf, is the faintest known companion of an exoplanet host star imaged directly and one of the faintest T dwarfs detected in the Solar neighbourhood so far. The detection yields important information on the conditions under which planets form.
eso0638 — Science Release
4 October 2006: Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have confirmed the extrasolar planet status of two of the 16 candidates discovered by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. One of the two confirmed exoplanets has a mass a little below 10 Jupiter masses, while the other is less than 3.8 Jupiter masses.
eso0637 — Science Release
Stellar Vampires Unmasked — VLT Presents Evidence for Mass Transfer as Origin of some Blue Straggler Stars
2 October 2006: Astronomers have found possible proofs of stellar vampirism in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae. Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, they found that some hot, bright, and apparently young stars in the cluster present less carbon and oxygen than the majority of their sisters. This indicates that these few stars likely formed by taking their material from another star.
eso0636 — Science Release
Watching How Planets Form — Anatomy of a Planet-Forming Disc around a Star More Massive than the Sun
28 September 2006: With the VISIR instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have mapped the disc around a star more massive than the Sun. The very extended and flared disc most likely contains enough gas and dust to spawn planets. It appears as a precursor of debris discs such as the one around Vega-like stars and thus provides the rare opportunity to witness the conditions prevailing prior to or during planet formation.
eso0635 — Science Release
To Be or Not to Be: Is It All About Spinning? — VLTI Discerns How Matter Behaves in Disc Around a Be Star
20 September 2006: Thanks to the unique possibilities offered by ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), astronomers have solved a 140-year-old mystery concerning active hot stars. They indeed show that the star Alpha Arae is spinning almost on the verge of breaking and that its disc rotates the same way planets do around the Sun.
eso0634 — Science Release
eso0633 — Science Release
31 August 2006: Astronomers, using ESO's Very Large Telescope, have for the first time made the link between an X-ray flash and a supernova. Such flashes are the little siblings of gamma-ray bursts (GRB) and this discovery suggests the existence of a population of events less luminous than 'classical' GRBs, but possibly much more numerous.
eso0632 — Organisation Release
Catherine Cesarsky elected President of the International Astronomical Union and Ian Corbett elected Assistant General Secretary
24 August 2006: The General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), meeting in Prague (Czech Republic), has elected the ESO Director General, Dr. Catherine Cesarsky, as President for a three-year period (2006-2009). The IAU is a body of distinguished professional astronomers, founded in 1919 to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. It now has almost 10 000 individual members drawn from all continents. Dr. Cesarsky is the first woman to receive this high distinction. At the same General Assembly, Dr. Ian Corbett, ESO's Deputy Director General, was elected Assistant General Secretary for 2006-2009, with the expectation of becoming General Secretary in 2009-2012.
eso0631 — Science Release
Far Away Galaxy Under The Microscope — SINFONI Discovers Rapidly Forming, Large Proto-Disc Galaxies Three Billion Years After The Big Bang
17 August 2006: An international group of astronomers have discovered large disc galaxies akin to our Milky Way that must have formed on a rapid time scale, only 3 billion years after the Big Bang. In one of these systems, the combination of adaptive optics techniques with the new SINFONI spectrograph on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) resulted in a record-breaking resolution of a mere 0.15 arcsecond, giving an unprecedented detailed view of the anatomy of such a distant proto-disc galaxy.
eso0630 — Science Release
10 August 2006: Analysing a set of stars in a globular cluster with ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers may have found the solution to a critical cosmological and stellar riddle. Until now, an embarrassing question was why the abundance of lithium produced in the Big Bang is a factor 2 to 3 times higher than the value measured in the atmospheres of old stars. The answer, the researchers say, lies in the fact that the abundances of elements measured in a star's atmosphere decrease with time.
eso0629 — Science Release
4 August 2006: The cast of exoplanets has an extraordinary new member. Using ESO's telescopes, astronomers have discovered an approximately seven-Jupiter-mass companion to an object that is itself only twice as hefty. Both objects have masses similar to those of extra-solar giant planets, but they are not in orbit around a star - instead they appear to circle each other. The existence of such a double system puts strong constraints on formation theories of free-floating planetary mass objects.
eso0628 — Science Release
3 August 2006: Using ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have discovered a rather unusual system, in which two planet-size stars, of different colours, orbit each other. One is a rather hot white dwarf, weighing a little bit less than half as much as the Sun. The other is a much cooler, 55 Jupiter-masses brown dwarf.
eso0627 — Photo Release
26 July 2006: If life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you will get - the Universe, with its immensely large variety of galaxies, must be a real candy store! ESO's Very Large Telescope has taken images of three different 'Island Universes' , each amazing in their own way, whose curious shapes testify of a troubled past, and for one, of a foreseeable doomed future.
eso0626 — Science Release
21 July 2006: Today, British astronomers are releasing the first data from the largest and most sensitive survey of the heavens in infrared light to the ESO user community. The UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) has completed the first of seven years of data collection, studying objects that are too faint to see at visible wavelengths, such as very distant or very cool objects. New data on young galaxies is already challenging current thinking on galaxy formation, revealing galaxies that are massive at a much earlier stage of development than expected. These first science results already show how powerful the full survey will be at finding rare objects that hold vital clues to how stars and galaxies in our Universe formed.
eso0625 — Organisation Release
18 July 2006: ESO, the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, is taking an important step towards the realisation of a new, giant telescope for Europe's astronomers, by creating the ESO Extremely Large Telescope Project Office. It will be headed by Jason Spyromilio, formerly La Silla Paranal Observatory Director.
eso0624 — Organisation Release
Sub-millimetre Astronomy in Full Swing on Southern Skies — Impressive set of APEX Results to be published in Special Issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics
13 July 2006: The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) 12-m sub-millimetre telescope lives up to the ambitions of the scientists by providing access to the "Cold Universe" with unprecedented sensitivity and image quality. As a demonstration, no less than 26 articles based on early science with APEX are published this week in the research journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. Among the many new findings, most in the field of star formation and astrochemistry, are the discovery of a new interstellar molecule, and the detection of light emitted at 0.2 mm from CO molecules, as well as light coming from a charged molecule composed of two forms of Hydrogen.
eso0623 — Science Release
Falling Onto the Dark — Rare Blob Unveiled: Evidence for Hydrogen Gas Falling onto a Dark Matter Clump?
3 July 2006: ESO's VLT has helped scientists to discover a large primordial 'blob', more than 10 billion light-years away. The most likely scenario to account for its existence and properties is that it represents the early stage in the formation of a galaxy, when gas falls onto a large clump of dark matter.
eso0622 — Photo Release
28 June 2006: Life is not easy, even for galaxies. Some indeed get so close to their neighbours that they get rather distorted. But such encounters between galaxies have another effect: they spawn new generations of stars, some of which explode. ESO's VLT has obtained a unique vista of a pair of entangled galaxies, in which a star exploded.
eso0621 — Organisation Release
ESO and Chile: 10 Years of Productive Scientific Collaboration — Tenth Anniversary of the creation of the ESO-Chile Joint Committee Fund for the development of astronomy and scientific culture
19 June 2006: ESO and the Government of Chile launched today the book "10 Years Exploring the Universe", written by the beneficiaries of the ESO-Chile Joint Committee. This annual fund provides grants for individual Chilean scientists, research infrastructures, scientific congresses, workshops for science teachers and astronomy outreach programmes for the public.
eso0620 — Photo Release
8 June 2006: The Southern constellation Tucana (the Toucan) is probably best known as the home of the Small Magellanic Cloud, one of the satellite galaxies of the Milky Way. But Tucana also hosts another famous object that shines thousands of lights, like a magnificent, oversized diamond in the sky: the globular cluster 47 Tucanae. More popularly known as 47 Tuc, it is surpassed in size and brightness by only one other globular cluster, Omega Centauri.
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