Blogs about ESO (European Southern Observatory) activities

Artist's concept of the planet LHS 1140b about to pass in front of its star (Image M. Weiss/CfA)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the discovery of a super-Earth called LHS 1140b. A team led by Jason Dittmann of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics used the HARPS instrument installed on ESO’s 3.6-meter telescope in La Silla, Chile, to study that exoplanet after identifying it with the MEarth-South telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Its location in ​​its solar system’s habitable zone makes it particularly interesting.

NGC 6334 and NGC 6357 (Image ESO)

ESO has released one of the largest astronomical images created thanks to the VST (Very Large Telescope Survey Telescope) which includes two cosmic clouds of gas and dust, NGC 6334 and NGC 6357. Because of their shapes, they’re also known respectively with their popular names as the “Cat’s Paw Nebula” and the “Lobster Nebula”.

The solar disc seen by ALMA (Image ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO))

The first images of the Sun generated by observations carried out using the ALMA radio telescope have been published. This is the first time that the largest radio telescope in the world has been used in this way and this is the beginning of an important expansion in ALMA’s use. The first results are details of the Sun’s chromosphere such as a sunspot twice the size of Earth.

NGC 1448 in an image combining data from the Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey in the optical range and NuSTAR in the X-ray range (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey)

At the American Astronomical Society meeting the results of the study of galaxies NGC 1448 and IC 3639 were presented showing how they led to the identification of supermassive black holes at their centers. A team of researchers used NASA’s NuSTAR Space Telescope to detect the high energy X-ray emission from them and see beyond the dust and gas that hid those areas.

Global view of the Orion A molecular cloud (Image ESO/VISION survey)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes the most detailed view of the molecular cloud called Orion A, one of the two giant molecular clouds in the Orion molecular cloud complex. A team of researchers created it by putting together infrared images obtained from the VISION (Vienna Survey in Orion) survey with ESO’s VISTA telescope revealing many young stars and other objects normally hidden within dust clouds.