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 Star Cluster Is Not What It Seems — VLT observations of Messier 54 show the lithium problem also applies outside our galaxy
This new image from the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in northern Chile shows a vast collection of stars, the globular cluster Messier 54. This cluster looks very similar to many others but it has a secret. Messier 54 doesn’t belong to the Milky Way, but is part of a small satellite galaxy, the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy. This unusual parentage has now allowed astronomers to use the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to test whether there are also unexpectedly low levels of the element lithium in stars outside the Milky Way.
Lupus 4, a spider-shaped blob of gas and dust, blots out background stars like a dark cloud on a moonless night in this intriguing new image. Although gloomy for now, dense pockets of material within clouds such as Lupus 4 are where new stars form and where they will later burst into radiant life. The Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile captured this new picture.
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.
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