Press Releases 2010

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eso1010 — Science Release
Jupiter’s Spot Seen Glowing
16 March 2010: New ground-breaking thermal images obtained with ESO’s Very Large Telescope and other powerful ground-based telescopes show swirls of warmer air and cooler regions never seen before within Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, enabling scientists to make the first detailed interior weather map of the giant storm system linking its temperature, winds, pressure and composition with its colour.
eso1009 — Photo Release
The Cosmic Bat
3 March 2010: The delicate nebula NGC 1788, located in a dark and often neglected corner of the Orion constellation, is revealed in a new and finely nuanced image that ESO is releasing today. Although this ghostly cloud is rather isolated from Orion’s bright stars, the latter’s powerful winds and light have had a strong impact on the nebula, forging its shape and making it home to a multitude of infant suns.
eso1008 — Photo Release
Light, Wind and Fire
24 February 2010: Today ESO has released a dramatic new image of NGC 346, the brightest star-forming region in our neighbouring galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud, 210 000 light-years away towards the constellation of Tucana (the Toucan). The light, wind and heat given off by massive stars have dispersed the glowing gas within and around this star cluster, forming a surrounding wispy nebular structure that looks like a cobweb. NGC 346, like other beautiful astronomical scenes, is a work in progress, and changes as the aeons pass. As yet more stars form from loose matter in the area, they will ignite, scattering leftover dust and gas, carving out great ripples and altering the face of this lustrous object.
eso1007 — Science Release
No Place to Hide: Missing Primitive Stars Outside Milky Way Uncovered
17 February 2010: After years of successful concealment, the most primitive stars outside our Milky Way galaxy have finally been unmasked. New observations using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have been used to solve an important astrophysical puzzle concerning the oldest stars in our galactic neighbourhood — which is crucial for our understanding of the earliest stars in the Universe.
eso1006 — Photo Release
Orion in a New Light
10 February 2010: The Orion Nebula reveals many of its hidden secrets in a dramatic image taken by ESO’s new VISTA survey telescope. The telescope’s huge field of view can show the full splendour of the whole nebula and VISTA’s infrared vision also allows it to peer deeply into dusty regions that are normally hidden and expose the curious behaviour of the very active young stars buried there.
eso1005 — Photo Release
The Stars behind the Curtain
3 February 2010: ESO is releasing a magnificent VLT image of the giant stellar nursery surrounding NGC 3603, in which stars are continuously being born. Embedded in this scenic nebula is one of the most luminous and most compact clusters of young, massive stars in our Milky Way, which therefore serves as an excellent “local” analogue of very active star-forming regions in other galaxies. The cluster also hosts the most massive star to be “weighed” so far.
eso1004 — Science Release
Black Hole Hunters Set New Distance Record
27 January 2010: Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have detected, in another galaxy, a stellar-mass black hole much farther away than any other previously known. With a mass above fifteen times that of the Sun, this is also the second most massive stellar-mass black hole ever found. It is entwined with a star that will soon become a black hole itself.
eso1003 — Photo Release
On the Trail of a Cosmic Cat
20 January 2010: ESO has just released a stunning new image of the vast cloud known as the Cat’s Paw Nebula or NGC 6334. This complex region of gas and dust, where numerous massive stars are born, lies near the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, and is heavily obscured by intervening dust clouds.
eso1002 — Science Release
VLT Captures First Direct Spectrum of an Exoplanet
13 January 2010: By studying a triple planetary system that resembles a scaled-up version of our own Sun’s family of planets, astronomers have been able to obtain the first direct spectrum — the “chemical fingerprint” [1] — of a planet orbiting a distant star [2], thus bringing new insights into the planet's formation and composition. The result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the Universe.
eso1001 — Organisation Release
Closing the Loop for ALMA
4 January 2010: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has passed a key milestone crucial for the high quality images that will be the trademark of this revolutionary new tool for astronomy. Astronomers and engineers have, for the first time, successfully linked three of the observatory's antennas at the 5000-metre elevation observing site in northern Chile. Having three antennas observing in unison paves the way for precise images of the cool Universe at unprecedented resolution, by providing the missing link to correct errors that arise when only two antennas are used.
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