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.
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and many other telescopes on the ground and in space, an international team of astronomers has obtained the best view yet of a collision that took place between two galaxies when the Universe was only half its current age. They enlisted the help of a galaxy-sized magnifying glass to reveal otherwise invisible detail. These new studies of the galaxy H-ATLAS J142935.3-002836 have shown that this complex and distant object looks like the well-known local galaxy collision, the Antennae Galaxies.
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.
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