ESO

Pillars within the Carina Nebula (Image ESO/A. McLeod)

An article accepted for publication in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a research on the large columnar structures in the Carina Nebula. A team led by Anna McLeod, a PhD student at ESO, used the MUSE instrument installed on ESO’s VLT (Very Large Telescope) to examine these structures that have been nicknamed “pillars of destruction” for certain similarities with the “Pillars of Creation” photographed by the Hubble space telescope.

18 of the quasars studied (Image ESO/Borisova et al.)

An article to be published in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes an investigation into the glowing gas clouds around distant quasars. An international team of astronomers led by a group at the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich, Switzerland, used the MUSE instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to look at very distant galaxies that are active, of the type called quasar, and discovered that the gas halos that surround them are more common than expected.

The central part of the Milky Way (Image ESO/VVV Survey/D. Minniti)

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” describes the discovery of the relics of an ancient globular cluster in the Milky Way’s central area. A team of astronomers led by Dante Minniti (Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile) and Rodrigo Contreras Ramos (Instituto Milenio de Astrofísica, Santiago, Chile) used observations from the “Variables in the Via Lactea with VISTA” (VVV) survey carried out with ESO’s VISTA telescope to discover the ancient stars of type RR Lyrae for the first time in that area.

Galaxies rich in carbon monoxide seen in orange together with the ones seen by Hubble in blue (Image B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); NASA/ESA Hubble)

A series of articles to be published in “Astrophysical Journal” and “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describe different parts of a research based on the observation of the Hubble Space Telescope’s Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) using the radio telescope ALMA. These observations show that the rate of star formation in young galaxies is closely related to their total mass in stars.

Artistic concept of Proxima b's surface. In the upper-right of Proxima Centauri there are Alpha Centauri A and B (Image ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Yesterday ESO held a press conference to announce that probably they discovered an exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the solar system. A team of astronomers led by Guillem Anglada-Escudé from Queen Mary University of London found what was called Proxima b, a planet a little more massive than the Earth orbiting in the habitable zone of its star.