ESO telescope images a spectacular cosmic dance ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has imaged the result of a spectacular cosmic collision — the galaxy NGC 7727. This giant was born from the merger of two galaxies, an event that started around a billion years ago. At its centre lies the closest pair of supermassive black holes ever found, two objects that are destined to coalesce into an even more massive black hole. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

‘Black hole police’ discover a dormant black hole outside our galaxy A team of international experts, renowned for debunking several black hole discoveries, have found a stellar-mass black hole in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighbour galaxy to our own. “For the first time, our team got together to report on a black hole discovery, instead of rejecting one,” says study leader Tomer Shenar. Moreover, they found that the star that gave rise to the black hole vanished without any sign of a powerful explosion. The discovery was made thanks to six years of observations obtained with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) Very Large TelescopeRead More →

The Tarantula’s cosmic web: astronomers map violent star formation in nebula outside our galaxy Astronomers have unveiled intricate details of the star-forming region 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula, using new observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). In a high-resolution image released today by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and including ALMA data, we see the nebula in a new light, with wispy gas clouds that provide insight into how massive stars shape this region. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

Astronomers reveal first image of the black hole at the heart of our galaxy Today, at simultaneous press conferences around the world, including at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) headquarters in Germany, astronomers have unveiled the first image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy. This result provides overwhelming evidence that the object is indeed a black hole and yields valuable clues about the workings of such giants, which are thought to reside at the centre of most galaxies. The image was produced by a global research team called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration, using observations fromRead More →

Astronomers discover micronovae, a new kind of stellar explosion A team of astronomers, with the help of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT), have observed a new type of stellar explosion — a micronova. These outbursts happen on the surface of certain stars, and can each burn through around 3.5 billion Great Pyramids of Giza of stellar material in only a few hours. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

ESO telescope captures surprising changes in Neptune’s temperatures An international team of astronomers have used ground-based telescopes, including the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT), to track Neptune’s atmospheric temperatures over a 17-year period. They found a surprising drop in Neptune’s global temperatures followed by a dramatic warming at its south pole. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

Astronomers discover largest molecule yet in a planet-forming disc Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, researchers at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands have for the first time detected dimethyl ether in a planet-forming disc. With nine atoms, this is the largest molecule identified in such a disc to date. It is also a precursor of larger organic molecules that can lead to the emergence of life. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

“Closest black hole” system found to contain no black hole In 2020 a team led by European Southern Observatory (ESO) astronomers reported the closest black hole to Earth, located just 1000 light-years away in the HR 6819 system. But the results of their study were contested by other researchers, including by an international team based at KU Leuven, Belgium. In a paper published today, these two teams have united to report that there is in fact no black hole in HR 6819, which is instead a “vampire” two-star system in a rare and short-lived stage of its evolution. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

Supermassive black hole caught hiding in a ring of cosmic dust The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (ESO’s VLTI) has observed a cloud of cosmic dust at the centre of the galaxy Messier 77 that is hiding a supermassive black hole. The findings have confirmed predictions made around 30 years ago and are giving astronomers new insight into “active galactic nuclei”, some of the brightest and most enigmatic objects in the universe. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

New planet detected around star closest to the Sun A team of astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) in Chile have found evidence of another planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System. This candidate planet is the third detected in the system and the lightest yet discovered orbiting this star. At just a quarter of Earth’s mass, the planet is also one of the lightest exoplanets ever found. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

Orion’s fireplace: ESO releases new image of the Flame Nebula Orion offers you a spectacular firework display to celebrate the holiday season and the new year in this new image from the European Southern Observatory (ESO). But no need to worry, this iconic constellation is neither exploding nor burning. The “fire” you see in this holiday postcard is Orion’s Flame Nebula and its surroundings captured in radio waves — an image that undoubtedly does justice to the nebula’s name! It was taken with the ESO-operated Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX), located on the cold Chajnantor Plateau in Chile’s Atacama Desert. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

ESO telescopes help uncover largest group of rogue planets yet Rogue planets are elusive cosmic objects that have masses comparable to those of the planets in our Solar System but do not orbit a star, instead roaming freely on their own. Not many were known until now, but a team of astronomers, using data from several European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes and other facilities, have just discovered at least 70 new rogue planets in our galaxy. This is the largest group of rogue planets ever discovered, an important step towards understanding the origins and features of these mysterious galactic nomads. ESO News Feed Go toRead More →

Watch stars move around the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole in deepest images yet The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (ESO’s VLTI) has obtained the deepest and sharpest images to date of the region around the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. The new images zoom in 20 times more than what was possible before the VLTI and have helped astronomers find a never-before-seen star close to the black hole. By tracking the orbits of stars at the centre of our Milky Way, the team has made the most precise measurement yet of the black hole’s mass. ESO News FeedRead More →

ESO telescope images planet around most massive star pair to date The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) has captured an image of a planet orbiting b Centauri, a two-star system that can be seen with the naked eye. This is the hottest and most massive planet-hosting star system found to date, and the planet was spotted orbiting it at 100 times the distance Jupiter orbits the Sun. Some astronomers believed planets could not exist around stars this massive and this hot — until now. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

ESO telescope uncovers closest pair of supermassive black holes yet Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT), astronomers have revealed the closest pair of supermassive black holes to Earth ever observed. The two objects also have a much smaller separation than any other previously spotted pair of supermassive black holes and will eventually merge into one giant black hole. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

Black hole found hiding in star cluster outside our galaxy Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT), astronomers have discovered a small black hole outside the Milky Way by looking at how it influences the motion of a star in its close vicinity. This is the first time this detection method has been used to reveal the presence of a black hole outside of our galaxy. The method could be key to unveiling hidden black holes in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, and to help shed light on how these mysterious objects form and evolve. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

Astronomers make most distant detection yet of fluorine in star-forming galaxy A new discovery is shedding light on how fluorine — an element found in our bones and teeth as fluoride — is forged in the Universe. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner, a team of astronomers have detected this element in a galaxy that is so far away its light has taken over 12 billion years to reach us. This is the first time fluorine has been spotted in such a distant star-forming galaxy. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

Meet the 42: ESO images some of the biggest asteroids in our Solar System Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) in Chile, astronomers have imaged 42 of the largest objects in the asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter. Never before had such a large group of asteroids been imaged so sharply. The observations reveal a wide range of peculiar shapes, from spherical to dog-bone, and are helping astronomers trace the origins of the asteroids in our Solar System. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

ESO captures best images yet of peculiar “dog-bone” asteroid Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT), a team of astronomers have obtained the sharpest and most detailed images yet of the asteroid Kleopatra. The observations have allowed the team to constrain the 3D shape and mass of this peculiar asteroid, which resembles a dog bone, to a higher accuracy than ever before. Their research provides clues as to how this asteroid and the two moons that orbit it formed. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →

New ESO observations show rocky exoplanet has just half the mass of Venus A team of astronomers have used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) in Chile to shed new light on planets around a nearby star, L 98-59, that resemble those in the inner Solar System. Amongst the findings are a planet with half the mass of Venus — the lightest exoplanet ever to be measured using the radial velocity technique — an ocean world, and a possible planet in the habitable zone. ESO News Feed Go to SourceRead More →