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.
This new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that causes the surrounding hydrogen to glow with a characteristic red hue.
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have captured this eye-catching image of planetary nebula PN A66 33 — usually known as Abell 33. Created when an aging star blew off its outer layers, this beautiful blue bubble is, by chance, aligned with a foreground star, and bears an uncanny resemblance to a diamond engagement ring. This cosmic gem is unusually symmetric, appearing to be almost circular on the sky.
This new image from the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile shows two contrasting galaxies: NGC 1316, and its smaller neighbour NGC 1317. These two are quite close to each other in space, but they have very different histories. The small spiral NGC 1317 has led an uneventful life, but NGC 1316 has engulfed several other galaxies in its violent history and shows the battle scars.
Observations at many sites in South America, including ESO’s La Silla Observatory, have made the surprise discovery that the remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow rings. This is the smallest object by far found to have rings and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to have this feature. The origin of these rings remains a mystery, but they may be the result of a collision that created a disc of debris. The new results are published online in the journal Nature on 26 March 2014.
VLT Spots Largest Yellow Hypergiant Star — Mix of new and old observations reveals exotic binary system
ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer has revealed the largest yellow star — and one of the ten largest stars found so far. This hypergiant has been found to measure more than 1300 times the diameter of the Sun, and to be part of a double star system, with the second component so close that it is in contact with the main star. Observations spanning over sixty years, some from amateur observers, also indicate that this rare and remarkable object is changing very rapidly and has been caught during a very brief phase of its life.
Contacts and Bio
Dr. Paola Rebusco
ESO Science Outreach Network
MIT - Experimental Study Group
Massachusetts Avenue 77
Cambridge, MA 02139
Paola is currently working as a research scientist and lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT in Cambridge, MA). She was born in Italy, near Lake Garda. She earned her master's degree in theoretical physics from the University of Trieste (Italy) in 2003. She received her PhD in astronomy from the Ludwig Maximillian University (Munich, Germany) and the International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics in 2007. She then crossed the Atlantic, along with her dog Balù, and spent three years as a Pappalardo Postdoctoral fellow in Physics at MIT. Dr Rebusco is not only interested in theoretical astrophysics and teaching, but also in how specialised knowledge is made publicly accessible. During the last six months of her PhD she was a science-writing intern at ESO. Today, apart from being the ESON representative in the United States, Paola comments on scientific news for the Italian radio programme Moebius, and contributes to the Italian science magazine Newton. Paola loves travelling (especially to warm places), sailing, writing and reading, cooking and eating, and playing basketball with her husband. Although she is not an observer, she travels to Chile to visit her friends and ESO’s observatories whenever she can.
Read Paola’s webpages here and here.
About the ESO Science Outreach Network
The ESO education and Public Outreach Department has established a network of contacts in the ESO Member states and other countries. The goal of this ESO Science Outreach Network (ESON) is to act locally as ESO's media and outreach representative, in order to promote ESO's mission and achievements, and demonstrate the many inspirational aspects of astronomy.
More information about ESON is available on: http://www.eso.org/public/outreach/eson.html