News

Mysterious ripples found racing through planet-forming disc

7 October 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered never-before-seen moving features within the dusty disc surrounding the young, nearby star AU Microscopii. The fast-moving, wave-like structures are moving at 22,000 miles per hour — fast enough to escape the star’s gravitational pull.

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Messier 17 in Sagittarius: a cosmic rose with many names

24 September 2015 Astronomy Now

This new image of the rose-coloured star forming region Messier 17 was captured by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is one of the sharpest images showing the entire nebula and not only reveals its full size, but also retains fine detail throughout the cosmic landscape of gas clouds, dust and newborn stars.

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UK scientists seal deal on European Extremely Large Telescope’s first-light spectrograph

23 September 2015 Astronomy Now

UK researchers have just signed an agreement to lead one of the first instruments for what will become the World’s largest visible and infrared telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The spectrograph, called HARMONI, will provide the European Southern Observatory’s telescope with a sensitivity that is up to hundreds of times better than any current telescope of its kind.

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The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy: a shy galactic neighbour

16 September 2015 Astronomy Now

The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy, pictured in this new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory, is a close neighbour of the Milky Way. This galaxy is much smaller and older than ours, making it a valuable subject for studying both star and galaxy formation in the early universe. However, due to its faintness, studying this object is no easy task.

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Huge new survey to shine light on dark matter

11 July 2015 Astronomy Now

The first results have been released from a major new dark matter survey of the southern skies using ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. The VST KiDS survey will allow astronomers to make precise measurements of dark matter, the structure of galaxy halos, and the evolution of galaxies and clusters.

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Merging galaxies break radio silence

29 May 2015 Astronomy Now

A large Hubble survey confirms an unambiguous link between the presence of supermassive black holes that power high-speed, radio-signal-emitting jets and the merger history of their host galaxies. The results lend significant weight to the case for jets being the result of merging black holes.

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Colourful skies over ESO

21 April 2015 Keith Cooper

A kaleidoscope of colours hang above the giant structures of the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. The scene is a mixture of a red sunset, the hazy zodiacal light and the pearlescent pinks of star-forming regions in our own Milky Way Galaxy.

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A dramatic starscape in the Southern Hemisphere

29 March 2015 Astronomy Now

This view in the southern constellation of Ara (The Altar) is a treasure trove of celestial objects. Star clusters, emission nebulae and active star-forming regions are just some of the riches observed in this region lying some 4000 light-years from Earth.