Press Releases

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eso1314 — Organisation Release
The Crown Prince Couple of Denmark visits ESO's Paranal Observatory
15 March 2013: On 14 March 2013 His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Denmark, accompanied by his wife, Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess, visited ESO’s Paranal Observatory, as part of an official visit to Chile. They were taken on a tour of ESO’s world-leading astronomical facilities on Paranal by ESO’s Director General, Tim de Zeeuw.
eso1313 — Science Release
ALMA Rewrites History of Universe's Stellar Baby Boom
13 March 2013: Observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) show that the most vigorous bursts of star birth in the cosmos took place much earlier than previously thought. The results are published in a set of papers to appear in the journal Nature on 14 March 2013, and in the Astrophysical Journal. The research is the most recent example of the discoveries coming from the new international ALMA observatory, which celebrates its inauguration today.
eso1312 — Organisation Release
ALMA Inauguration Heralds New Era of Discovery
13 March 2013: Today, in a remote part of the Chilean Andes, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), was inaugurated at an official ceremony. This event marks the completion of all the major systems of the giant telescope and the formal transition from a construction project to a fully fledged observatory. ALMA is a partnership between Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.
eso1311 — Science Release
Measuring the Universe More Accurately Than Ever Before
6 March 2013: After nearly a decade of careful observations an international team of astronomers has measured the distance to our neighbouring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, more accurately than ever before. This new measurement also improves our knowledge of the rate of expansion of the Universe — the Hubble Constant — and is a crucial step towards understanding the nature of the mysterious dark energy that is causing the expansion to accelerate. The team used telescopes at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile as well as others around the globe. These results appear in the 7 March 2013 issue of the journal Nature.
eso1310 — Science Release
The Birth of a Giant Planet?
28 February 2013: Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have obtained what is likely the first direct observation of a forming planet still embedded in a thick disc of gas and dust. If confirmed, this discovery will greatly improve our understanding of how planets form and allow astronomers to test the current theories against an observable target.
eso1309 — Photo Release
Sweeping the Dust from a Cosmic Lobster
20 February 2013: A new image from ESO’s VISTA telescope captures a celestial landscape of glowing clouds of gas and tendrils of dust surrounding hot young stars. This infrared view reveals the stellar nursery known as NGC 6357 in a surprising new light. It was taken as part of a VISTA survey that is currently scanning the Milky Way in a bid to map our galaxy’s structure and explain how it formed.
eso1308 — Science Release
Clues to the Mysterious Origin of Cosmic Rays
14 February 2013: Very detailed new observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the remains of a thousand-year-old supernova have revealed clues to the origins of cosmic rays. For the first time the observations suggest the presence of fast-moving particles in the supernova remnant that could be the precursors of such cosmic rays. The results are appearing in the 14 February 2013 issue of the journal Science.
eso1307 — Photo Release
"A drop of ink on the luminous sky"
13 February 2013: This image from the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, shows the bright star cluster NGC 6520 and its neighbour, the strange gecko-shaped dark cloud Barnard 86. This cosmic pair is set against millions of glowing stars from the brightest part of the Milky Way — a region so dense with stars that barely any dark sky is seen across the picture.
eso1306 — Photo Release
The Wings of the Seagull Nebula
6 February 2013: This new image from ESO shows a section of a cloud of dust and glowing gas called the Seagull Nebula. These wispy red clouds form part of the “wings” of the celestial bird and this picture reveals an intriguing mix of dark and glowing red clouds, weaving between bright stars. This new view was captured by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.
eso1305 — Organisation Release
European High-level Delegations visit Paranal
28 January 2013: Several high-level European delegations visited ESO's Paranal Observatory in northern Chile over the past few days, following the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States–European Union (CELAC–EU). The summit, which is the biggest such event ever organised by Chile, took place in Santiago during the week of 22–28 January 2013. ESO had a starring role in the event and it was an excellent opportunity for it to show its work and facilities to representatives of the Member States.
eso1304 — Photo Release
Setting the Dark on Fire
23 January 2013: A new image from the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile shows a beautiful view of clouds of cosmic dust in the region of Orion. While these dense interstellar clouds seem dark and obscured in visible-light observations, APEX’s LABOCA camera can detect the heat glow of the dust and reveal the hiding places where new stars are being formed. But one of these dark clouds is not what it seems.
eso1303 — Photo Release
Light from the Darkness
16 January 2013: An evocative new image from ESO shows a dark cloud where new stars are forming, along with a cluster of brilliant stars that have already emerged from their dusty stellar nursery. The new picture was taken with the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile and is the best image ever taken in visible light of this little-known object.
eso1302 — Photo Release
A Jumble of Exotic Stars
10 January 2013: This new infrared image from ESO’s VISTA telescope shows the globular cluster 47 Tucanae in striking detail. This cluster contains millions of stars, and there are many nestled at its core that are exotic and display unusual properties. Studying objects within clusters like 47 Tucanae may help us to understand how these oddballs form and interact. This image is very sharp and deep due to the size, sensitivity, and location of VISTA, which is sited at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile.
eso1301 — Science Release
ALMA Sheds Light on Planet-Forming Gas Streams
2 January 2013: Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope have seen a key stage in the birth of giant planets for the first time. Vast streams of gas are flowing across a gap in the disc of material around a young star. These are the first direct observations of such streams, which are expected to be created by giant planets guzzling gas as they grow. The result is published on 2 January 2013 in the journal Nature.
eso1253 — Organisation Release
All Systems Go for Highest Altitude Supercomputer
21 December 2012: One of the most powerful supercomputers in the world has now been fully installed and tested at its remote, high altitude site in the Andes of northern Chile. This marks one of the major remaining milestones toward completion of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the most elaborate ground-based telescope in history. The special-purpose ALMA correlator has over 134 million processors and performs up to 17 quadrillion operations per second, a speed comparable to the fastest general-purpose supercomputer in operation today.
eso1252 — Science Release
Stars Reveal the Secrets of Looking Young
19 December 2012: Some people are in great shape at the age of 90, while others are decrepit before they’re 50. We know that how fast people age is only loosely linked to how old they actually are — and may have more to do with their lifestyle. A new study using both the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals that the same is true of star clusters.
eso1251 — Organisation Release
24-armed Giant to Probe Early Lives of Galaxies
12 December 2012: A powerful new instrument called KMOS has just been successfully tested on ESO’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. KMOS is unique as it will be able to observe not just one, but 24 objects at the same time in infrared light and study the structure simultaneously within each one. It will provide crucial data to help understand how galaxies grew and evolved in the early Universe — and provide it much faster than has been possible up to now. KMOS was built by a consortium of universities and institutes in the United Kingdom and Germany in collaboration with ESO.
eso1250 — Photo Release
Image of the Carina Nebula Marks Inauguration of VLT Survey Telescope
6 December 2012: A spectacular new image of the star-forming Carina Nebula has been captured by the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory and released on the occasion of the inauguration of the telescope in Naples today. This picture was taken with the help of Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile, during his visit to the observatory on 5 June 2012.
eso1249 — Science Release
Galaxy-wide Echoes from the Past
5 December 2012: A new galaxy class has been identified using observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Gemini South telescope, and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). Nicknamed “green bean galaxies” because of their unusual appearance, these galaxies glow in the intense light emitted from the surroundings of monster black holes and are amongst the rarest objects in the Universe.
eso1248 — Science Release
Even Brown Dwarfs May Grow Rocky Planets
30 November 2012: Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have for the first time found that the outer region of a dusty disc encircling a brown dwarf contains millimetre-sized solid grains like those found in denser discs around newborn stars. The surprising finding challenges theories of how rocky, Earth-scale planets form, and suggests that rocky planets may be even more common in the Universe than expected.
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