The Milky Way dazzles above the La Silla Observatory in Chile, framed by the now-deactivated Swedish-European Southern Observatory submillimetre telescope on the left and ESO’s 3.6-metre (11.8-foot) optical telescope on the right. But the Milky Way is the star of the show with the reddish Gum Nebula at the peak of the arc and the Large and Small Magellanic clouds visible just above and to the right of the dish antenna. Brilliant Jupiter shines above and to the left of the 3.6-metre telescope’s dome.
Astronomers using the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory have discovered a previously unknown component of the Milky Way. By mapping out the locations of a class of stars that vary in brightness called Cepheids, a disc of young stars buried behind thick dust clouds in the central bulge has been found.
In this new image of the nebula Messier 78, young stars cast a bluish pall over their surroundings, while red fledgling stars peer out from their cocoons of cosmic dust. ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) sees near-infrared light, which passes right through dust, permitting astronomers to probe deep into the heart of the stellar environment.
An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) has witnessed a cosmic weather event that has never been seen before — a cluster of towering intergalactic gas clouds raining in on the supermassive black hole at the centre of a huge galaxy one billion light-years from Earth.