A Science Machine
The Dwarf that Exploded
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.
Surfing a Black Hole
Astronomers have directly observed an otherwise normal star orbiting the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. Ten years of painstaking measurements have been crowned by a series of unique images obtained with the Adaptive Optics NAOS-CONICA instrument on the ESO VLT. Observations in 2002 showed that the star approached the central black hole to within 17 light-hours while travelling at no less than 5000 km/sec. Read more in the original news story.