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.
ESO, the European Southern Observatory, builds and operates a suite of the world's most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes
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This image, captured by the Wide Field Imager at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, shows two dramatic star formation regions in the southern Milky Way. The first is of these, on the left, is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located 20 000 light-years away, in the Carina–Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The second object, on the right, is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576 that lies only about half as far from Earth.
The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured a beautifully detailed image of the galaxy Messier 33. This nearby spiral, the second closest large galaxy to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is packed with bright star clusters, and clouds of gas and dust. The new picture is amongst the most detailed wide-field views of this object ever taken and shows the many glowing red gas clouds in the spiral arms with particular clarity.
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have found wildly misaligned planet-forming gas discs around the two young stars in the binary system HK Tauri. These new ALMA observations provide the clearest picture ever of protoplanetary discs in a double star. The new result also helps to explain why so many exoplanets — unlike the planets in the Solar System — came to have strange, eccentric or inclined orbits. The results will appear in the journal Nature on 31 July 2014.
In this striking new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile young stars huddle together against a backdrop of clouds of glowing gas and lanes of dust. The star cluster, known as NGC 3293, would have been just a cloud of gas and dust itself about ten million years ago, but as stars began to form it became the bright group of stars we see here. Clusters like this are celestial laboratories that allow astronomers to learn more about how stars evolve.
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.
About the ESO Science Outreach Network
The ESO education and Public Outreach Department has established a network of persons in the ESO Member states and other countries who serve as local contacts for the media in connection with ESO developments, Press Releases, etc. At the same time, they may help to provide useful contacts between the media and the scientists in their area. The ESON members, or their representatives, are typically full-time science communicators who know the national players (media, academia etc.) and regularly interact with them, are able to find a national angle, have a strong interest in promoting ESO and provide regular inputs and ideas for how to best reach the target groups in their area. More precisely, their mission is: "To act as ESO's media and outreach representative in the member states and potential member states with the general aim of promoting ESO's mission and demonstrating the many inspirational aspects of astronomy".
Contact in the U.K.
Science and Technology Facilities Council
North Star Avenue
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Wendy Ellison is a press officer for the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), one of the UK's leading research organisations. STFC runs the UK Astronomy Technology Centre and RAL Space, funds astronomy research in the UK, and manages the UK subscription to ESO.
Wendy has a background in PR and science communication, working to promote the wide range of science coming out of STFC.