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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.
eso0619 — Science Release
6 June 2006: Two new studies, based on observations made with ESO's telescopes, show that objects only a few times more massive than Jupiter are born with discs of dust and gas, the raw material for planet making. This suggests that miniature versions of the solar system may circle objects that are some 100 times less massive than our Sun.
eso0618 — Science Release
18 May 2006: Using the ultra-precise HARPS spectrograph on ESO's 3.6-m telescope at La Silla (Chile), a team of European astronomers have discovered that a nearby star is host to three Neptune-mass planets. The innermost planet is most probably rocky, while the outermost is the first known Neptune-mass planet to reside in the habitable zone. This unique system is likely further enriched by an asteroid belt.
eso0617 — Photo Release
eso0616 — Science Release
Physics in Universe's Youth — With ESO's VLT, Astronomers Find Molecular Hydrogen at Edge of Universe
8 May 2006: Using a quasar located 12.3 billion light-years away as a beacon, a team of astronomers detected the presence of molecular hydrogen in the farthest system ever, an otherwise invisible galaxy that we observe when the Universe was less than 1.5 billion years old, that is, about 10% of its present age. The astronomers find that there is about one hydrogen molecule for 250 hydrogen atoms. A similar set of observations for two other quasars, together with the most precise laboratory measurements, allows scientists to infer that the ratio of the proton to electron masses may have changed with time. If confirmed, this would have important consequences on our understanding of physics.
eso0615 — Photo Release
25 April 2006: On the night of April 23 to 24, ESO's Very Large Telescope observed fragment B of the comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 that had split a few days earlier. To their great surprise, the ESO astronomers discovered that the piece just ejected by fragment B was splitting again! Five other mini-comets are also visible on the image. The comet seems thus doomed to disintegrate but the question remains in how much time.
eso0614 — Photo Release
The Great Easter Egg Hunt: The Void's Incredible Richness — Huge Astronomical Image of 'Empty Space' Obtained with ESO Telescope
14 April 2006: An image made of about 300 million pixels is being released by ESO, based on more than 64 hours of observations with the Wide-Field Camera on the 2.2m telescope at La Silla (Chile). The image covers an 'empty' region of the sky five times the size of the full moon, opening an exceptionally clear view towards the most distant part of our universe. It reveals objects that are 100 million times fainter than what the unaided eye can see.
eso0613 — Photo Release
7 April 2006: Hanging above the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) - one of our closest galaxies - in what some describe as a frightening sight, the Tarantula nebula is worth looking at in detail. Also designated 30 Doradus or NGC 2070, the nebula owes its name to the arrangement of its brightest patches of nebulosity that somewhat resemble the legs of a spider. This name, of the biggest spiders on Earth, is also very fitting in view of the gigantic proportions of the celestial nebula - it measures nearly 1,000 light years across!
eso0612 — Organisation Release
Bringing Science out of the Lab into the Classroom — Europe's first international, multidisciplinary journal for science teaching launched today
28 March 2006: Science is moving more rapidly than ever; one groundbreaking discovery chases the next at an incredible speed. School teachers have trouble keeping up with the pace, and many pupils call science classes "boring". Today, Europe's major research organisations launch Science in School, the first international, multidisciplinary journal for innovative science teaching, to provide a platform for communication between science teachers, practising scientists and other stakeholders in science education.
eso0611 — Science Release
The Sun's New Exotic Neighbour — Very Cool Brown Dwarf Discovered Around Star in the Solar Neighbourhood
22 March 2006: Using ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile, an international team of researchers  discovered a brown dwarf belonging to the 24th closest stellar system to the Sun. Brown dwarfs are intermediate objects that are neither stars nor planets. This object is the third closest brown dwarf to the Earth yet discovered, and one of the coolest, having a temperature of about 750 degrees Celsius. It orbits a very small star at about 4.5 times the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun. Its mass is estimated to be somewhere between 9 and 65 times the mass of Jupiter.
eso0610 — Science Release
The Cosmic Dance of Distant Galaxies — GIRAFFE at VLT reveals the turbulent life of distant galaxies
15 March 2006: Studying several tens of distant galaxies, an international team of astronomers found that galaxies had the same amount of dark matter relative to stars 6 billion years ago as they have now. If confirmed, this suggests a much closer interplay between dark and normal matter than previously believed. The scientists also found that as many as 4 out of 10 galaxies are out of balance. These results shed a new light on how galaxies form and evolve since the Universe was only half its current age.
eso0609 — Science Release
28 February 2006: Using ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at Cerro Paranal, Chile, and the CHARA Interferometer at Mount Wilson, California, a team of French and North American astronomers has discovered envelopes around three Cepheids, including the Pole star. This is the first time that matter is found surrounding members of this important class of rare and very luminous stars whose luminosity varies in a very regular way. Cepheids play a crucial role in cosmology, being one of the first "steps" on the cosmic distance ladder.
eso0608 — Photo Release
23 February 2006: Possibly similar to what our own Milky Way looks like, Messier 100  is a grand design spiral galaxy that presents an intricate structure, with a bright core and two prominent arms, showing numerous young and hot massive stars as well as extremely hot knots (HII regions). Two smaller arms are also seen starting from the inner part and reaching towards the larger spiral arms.
eso0607 — Organisation Release
23 February 2006: Scientists celebrate another major milestone at Cerro Paranal in Chile, home of ESO's Very Large Telescope array. Thanks to their dedicated efforts, they were able to create the first artificial star in the Southern Hemisphere, allowing astronomers to study the Universe in the finest detail. This artificial laser guide star makes it possible to apply adaptive optics systems, that counteract the blurring effect of the atmosphere, almost anywhere in the sky.
eso0606 — Science Release
15 February 2006: Astronomers, using the unique capabilities offered by the high-resolution spectrograph UVES on ESO's Very Large Telescope, have found a metal-rich hydrogen cloud in the distant universe. The result may help to solve the missing metal problem and provides insight on how galaxies form.
eso0605 — Organisation Release
eso0604 — Photo Release
eso0603 — Science Release
It's Far, It's Small, It's Cool: It's an Icy Exoplanet! — Distant Planet Brings Astronomers Closer To Home
25 January 2006: Using a network of telescopes scattered across the globe, including the Danish 1.54m telescope at ESO La Silla (Chile), astronomers  discovered a new extrasolar planet significantly more Earth-like than any other planet found so far. The planet, which is only about 5 times as massive as the Earth, circles its parent star in about 10 years. It is the least massive exoplanet around an ordinary star detected so far and also the coolest . The planet most certainly has a rocky/icy surface. Its discovery marks a groundbreaking result in the search for planets that support life.
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