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The Milky Way arches over La Silla Observatory

23 August 2018 Astronomy Now

The Milky Way arcs above ESO’s La Silla Observatory in this spectacular panorama demonstrating the extraordinarily clear, dark sky enjoyed by astronomers at one of the premier viewing sites in the world. This image captures the disk of the galaxy, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds and Jupiter.

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Astronomers locate isolated neutron star beyond our galaxy

9 April 2018 Astronomy Now

New images from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other telescopes reveal a rich landscape of stars and glowing clouds of gas in one of our closest neighbouring galaxies, the Small Magellanic Cloud. The pictures have allowed astronomers to identify an elusive stellar corpse buried among filaments of gas left behind by a 2000-year-old supernova explosion.

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First light achieved for next-generation planet-hunter

6 December 2017 Astronomy Now

A new planet-seeking instrument installed on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile has made its first observations, beginning a search for exoplanets with unprecedented precision by looking at the minuscule changes in the light of their host stars.

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Closest temperature world orbiting quiet star discovered

16 November 2017 Astronomy Now

A temperate Earth-sized planet has been discovered only 11 light-years from the Solar System. The new world has the designation Ross 128 b and is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life.

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ALMA discovers cold dust around nearest star

3 November 2017 Astronomy Now

The ALMA Observatory in Chile has detected dust around the closest star to the Solar System, Proxima Centauri. These new observations reveal the glow coming from cold dust in a region between one to four times as far from Proxima Centauri as the Earth is from the Sun. The data also hint at the presence of an even cooler outer dust belt and may indicate the presence of an elaborate planetary system.