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.
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.
The little-known cloud of cosmic gas and dust called Gum 15 is the birthplace and home of hot young stars. Beautiful and deadly, these stars mould the appearance of the nebula from which they formed and, as they progress into adulthood, will eventually also destroy it.
Groundbreaking for the E-ELT — Ceremony marks next major step forward for the world’s largest optical/infrared telescope
Today a groundbreaking ceremony took place to mark the next major milestone towards ESO’s European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). Part of the 3000-metre peak of Cerro Armazones was blasted away as a step towards levelling the summit in preparation for the construction of the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world.
Contacts and Bio
Dr. Tanya Hill
Melbourne Planetarium, Scienceworks
GPO Box 666,
Melbourne 3001, Victoria, Australia
Public Phone Number: +61 400 130 675
Dr Tanya Hill has been the Astronomer for the Melbourne Planetarium since it opened at Scienceworks in 1999. She holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Sydney, where she searched for supermassive black holes within a sample of 25 galaxies. For her research, she has used a range of Australian telescopes including the Anglo-Australian Telescope, the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Radio Telescope, and NASA’s Tidbinbilla Radio Telescope located in the ACT. While studying for her PhD, Tanya also worked as a Guide Lecturer at Sydney Observatory, which ignited her passion for science communication. She has produced more than a dozen planetarium shows and Melbourne Planetarium productions can now be seen across 15 countries around the world. One of her favourites is Black Holes: Journey into the Unknown which draws together research from her postgraduate studies to bring to life all that is fascinating and extreme in the world black holes.
Dr. Mita Brierley
Project Officer, Astronomy Australia Limited
P.O. Box 2100,
Hawthorn, VIC 3122,
Mita Brierley is based in Melbourne, Australia and works for Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL) as their Project Officer. AAL is a not-for-profit company that aims to provide Australian astronomers with access to world-class national and international astronomy research infrastructure.
Mita holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, where her research focused on determining global properties of extra-galactic globular clusters, which can be used as tracers for galactic evolution. Mita has been interested in astronomy and astronomy outreach from a very young age. Her first job during high-school was as a planetarium presenter and telescope operator at the Carter Observatory in Wellington, New Zealand. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate years, she was heavily involved in a wide range of outreach activities: from running public telescope-viewing sessions, to giving talks and running activity sessions at primary and secondary schools, to presenting public lectures to general audiences. After completing her PhD, she continued at the University of Canterbury as a lecturer in undergraduate physics and astronomy until her move to Australia in 2011.
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: ESO Science Outreach Network