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eso1234 — Science Release
29 August 2012: A team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has spotted sugar molecules in the gas surrounding a young Sun-like star. This is the first time sugar been found in space around such a star, and the discovery shows that the building blocks of life are in the right place, at the right time, to be included in planets forming around the star.
eso1233 — Photo Release
15 August 2012: Just as René Magritte wrote “This is not a pipe” on his famous painting, this is also not a pipe. It is however a picture of part of a vast dark cloud of interstellar dust called the Pipe Nebula. This new and very detailed image of what is also known as Barnard 59 was captured by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. By coincidence this image is appearing on the 45th anniversary of the painter’s death.
eso1232 — Organisation Release
8 August 2012: ESO builds and operates some of the most advanced telescopes on Earth including the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory. These huge machines have made many fascinating discoveries about the Universe. Now, for the first time in its history, you can decide what to observe with the VLT, or even win an amazing trip to Chile’s breathtaking Atacama Desert to help make the observations yourself.
eso1231 — Photo Release
1 August 2012: A new image taken with ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows the galaxy NGC 1187. This impressive spiral lies about 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Eridanus (The River). NGC 1187 has hosted two supernova explosions during the last thirty years, the latest one in 2007. This picture of the galaxy is the most detailed ever taken.
eso1230 — Science Release
The Brightest Stars Don't Live Alone — VLT finds most stellar heavyweights come in interacting pairs
26 July 2012: A new study using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has shown that most very bright high-mass stars, which drive the evolution of galaxies, do not live alone. Almost three quarters of these stars are found to have a close companion star, far more than previously thought. Surprisingly most of these pairs are also experiencing disruptive interactions, such as mass transfer from one star to the other, and about one third are even expected to ultimately merge to form a single star. The results are published in the 27 July 2012 issue of the journal Science.
eso1229 — Organisation Release
APEX takes part in sharpest observation ever — Telescopes in Chile, Hawaii, and Arizona reach sharpness two million times finer than human vision
18 July 2012: An international team of astronomers has observed the heart of a distant quasar with unprecedented sharpness, two million times finer than human vision. The observations, made by connecting the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope  to two others on different continents for the first time, is a crucial step towards the dramatic scientific goal of the “Event Horizon Telescope” project : imaging the supermassive black holes at the centre of our own galaxy and others.
eso1228 — Science Release
11 July 2012: For the first time, dark galaxies — an early phase of galaxy formation, predicted by theory but unobserved until now — may have been spotted. These objects are essentially gas-rich galaxies without stars. Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, an international team thinks they have detected these elusive objects by observing them glowing as they are illuminated by a quasar.
eso1227 — Science Release
27 June 2012: For the first time a clever new technique has allowed astronomers to study the atmosphere of an exoplanet in detail — even though it does not pass in front of its parent star. An international team has used ESO’s Very Large Telescope to directly catch the faint glow from the planet Tau Boötis b. They have studied the planet’s atmosphere and measured its orbit and mass precisely for the first time — in the process solving a 15-year old problem. Surprisingly, the team also finds that the planet’s atmosphere seems to be cooler higher up, the opposite of what was expected. The results will be published in the 28 June 2012 issue of the journal Nature.
eso1226 — Photo Release
eso1225 — Organisation Release
11 June 2012: ESO is to build the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world. At its meeting in Garching today, the ESO Council approved the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) Programme, pending confirmation of four so-called ad referendum  votes. The E-ELT will start operations early in the next decade.
eso1224 — Organisation Release
eso1223 — Organisation Release
Fourth Summit of the Pacific Alliance takes place at ESO's Paranal Observatory — Four Presidents at Paranal for signature of Pacific Alliance Treaty
6 June 2012: The presidents of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru met today at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert of Chile, seeing first hand the state-of-the-art telescopes and technology of ESO’s flagship site. The presidents gathered at Paranal for the fourth Summit of the Pacific Alliance, at which the Alliance’s Framework Agreement was ratified.
eso1222 — Photo Release
31 May 2012: A new image of the centre of the distinctive galaxy Centaurus A, made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), shows how the new observatory allows astronomers to see through the opaque dust lanes that obscure the galaxy’s centre, with unprecedented quality. ALMA is currently in its Early Science phase of observations and is still under construction, but is already the most powerful telescope of its kind. The observatory has just issued the Call for Proposals for its next cycle of observations, in which the growing telescope will have increased capabilities.
eso1221 — Photo Release
16 May 2012: The strange galaxy Centaurus A is pictured in a new image from the European Southern Observatory. With a total exposure time of more than 50 hours this is probably the deepest view of this peculiar and spectacular object ever created. The image was produced by the Wide Field Imager of the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.
eso1220 — Photo Release
9 May 2012: A new image of Messier 55 from ESO's VISTA infrared survey telescope shows tens of thousands of stars crowded together like a swarm of bees. Besides being packed into a relatively small space, these stars are also among the oldest in the Universe. Astronomers study Messier 55 and other ancient objects like it, called globular clusters, to learn how galaxies evolve and stars age.
eso1219 — Photo Release
2 May 2012: A new image of the region surrounding the reflection nebula Messier 78, just to the north of Orion’s Belt, shows clouds of cosmic dust threaded through the nebula like a string of pearls. The observations, made with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope, use the heat glow of interstellar dust grains to show astronomers where new stars are being formed.
eso1218 — Photo Release
25 April 2012: The star cluster NGC 6604 is shown in this new image taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is often overlooked in favour of its more prominent neighbour, the Eagle Nebula (also known as Messier 16), that lies a mere wingspan away. But the framing of this picture, which places the star cluster in a landscape of surrounding gas and dust clouds, shows what a beautiful object NGC 6604 is in its own right.
eso1217 — Science Release
Serious Blow to Dark Matter Theories? — New study finds mysterious lack of dark matter in Sun’s neighbourhood
18 April 2012: The most accurate study so far of the motions of stars in the Milky Way has found no evidence for dark matter in a large volume around the Sun. According to widely accepted theories, the solar neighbourhood was expected to be filled with dark matter, a mysterious invisible substance that can only be detected indirectly by the gravitational force it exerts. But a new study by a team of astronomers in Chile has found that these theories just do not fit the observational facts. This may mean that attempts to directly detect dark matter particles on Earth are unlikely to be successful.
eso1216 — Science Release
12 April 2012: A new observatory still under construction has given astronomers a major breakthrough in understanding a nearby planetary system and provided valuable clues about how such systems form and evolve. Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have discovered that planets orbiting the star Fomalhaut must be much smaller than originally thought. This is the first published science result from ALMA in its first period of open observations for astronomers worldwide.
eso1215 — Organisation Release
4 April 2012: The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has contracted architects Auer+Weber to design an extension to its Headquarters at Garching bei München, Germany. The innovatively styled new office building will help to house the growing number of Garching staff, and be the cradle of the technological innovations needed for ESO’s ambitious projects such as the European Extremely Large Telescope. With construction expected to be completed by the end of 2013, the expanded ESO Headquarters will contribute greatly to the development of the Garching research campus.
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