ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world's most productive astronomical observatory. It operates three sites in Chile — La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor — on behalf of its fifteen member states. It builds ALMA together with international partners, and designs the European Extremely Large Telescope.
A group of astronomers has been able to follow stardust being made in real time — during the aftermath of a supernova explosion. For the first time they show that these cosmic dust factories make their grains in a two-stage process, starting soon after the explosion, but continuing for years afterwards. The team used ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in northern Chile to analyse the light from the supernova SN2010jl as it slowly faded. The new results are published online in the journal Nature on 9 July 2014.
The little-known cloud of cosmic gas and dust called Gum 15 is the birthplace and home of hot young stars. Beautiful and deadly, these stars mould the appearance of the nebula from which they formed and, as they progress into adulthood, will eventually also destroy it.
Groundbreaking for the E-ELT — Ceremony marks next major step forward for the world’s largest optical/infrared telescope
Today a groundbreaking ceremony took place to mark the next major milestone towards ESO’s European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). Part of the 3000-metre peak of Cerro Armazones was blasted away as a step towards levelling the summit in preparation for the construction of the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world.
Observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have for the first time directly mapped out the molecular gas and dust in the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) — the biggest explosions in the Universe. In a complete surprise, less gas was observed than expected, and correspondingly much more dust, making some GRBs appear as “dark GRBs”. This work will appear in the journal Nature on 12 June 2014 and is the first ALMA science result on GRBs to appear. It shows ALMA’s potential to help us to better understand these objects.
SPHERE — the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument — has been installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile and has achieved first light. This powerful new facility for finding and studying exoplanets uses multiple advanced techniques in combination. It offers dramatically better performance than existing instruments and has produced impressive views of dust discs around nearby stars and other targets during the very first days of observations. SPHERE was developed and built by a consortium of many European institutes, led by the Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble, France, working in partnership with ESO. It is expected to revolutionise the detailed study of exoplanets and circumstellar discs.
Contacts and Bio
Dr. Paola Rebusco
ESO Science Outreach Network
MIT - Experimental Study Group
Massachusetts Avenue 77
Cambridge, MA 02139
Paola is currently working as a research scientist and lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT in Cambridge, MA). She was born in Italy, near Lake Garda. She earned her master's degree in theoretical physics from the University of Trieste (Italy) in 2003. She received her PhD in astronomy from the Ludwig Maximillian University (Munich, Germany) and the International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics in 2007. She then crossed the Atlantic, along with her dog Balù, and spent three years as a Pappalardo Postdoctoral fellow in Physics at MIT. Dr Rebusco is not only interested in theoretical astrophysics and teaching, but also in how specialised knowledge is made publicly accessible. During the last six months of her PhD she was a science-writing intern at ESO. Today, apart from being the ESON representative in the United States, Paola comments on scientific news for the Italian radio programme Moebius, and contributes to the Italian science magazine Newton. Paola loves travelling (especially to warm places), sailing, writing and reading, cooking and eating, and playing basketball with her husband. Although she is not an observer, she travels to Chile to visit her friends and ESO’s observatories whenever she can.
Read Paola’s webpages here and here.
About the ESO Science Outreach Network
The ESO education and Public Outreach Department has established a network of contacts in the ESO Member states and other countries. The goal of this ESO Science Outreach Network (ESON) is to act locally as ESO's media and outreach representative, in order to promote ESO's mission and achievements, and demonstrate the many inspirational aspects of astronomy.
More information about ESON is available on: http://www.eso.org/public/outreach/eson.html