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A bubbly cosmic celebration of star birth

31 May 2015 Astronomy Now

In the brightest region of this glowing nebula called RCW 34, gas is heated dramatically by young stars and expands through the surrounding cooler gas, bursting outwards into the vacuum like the contents of an uncorked champagne bottle. But RCW 34 has more to offer than a few bubbles; there seem to have been multiple episodes of star formation within the same cloud.

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The dark side of globular star clusters

14 May 2015 Astronomy Now

Observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a new class of “dark” globular star clusters around the giant galaxy Centaurus A. These mysterious objects look similar to normal clusters, but contain much more mass and may either harbour unexpected amounts of dark matter, or contain massive black holes — neither of which was expected nor is understood.

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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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Massive galaxies died from the inside out

16 April 2015 Keith Cooper

Some of the biggest galaxies in the Universe started to shut down their star-formation from the inside-out ten billion years ago, according to new observations made using the Very Large Telescope in Chile and the Hubble Space Telescope.