ESO

Artistic impression of the VFTS 352 stars (Image ESO/L. Calçada)

An article published in “Astrophysical Journal” describes a research on a couple of very special stars. The binary system called VFTS 352 is in fact composed of two stars that are touching and these stars are the largest discovered to date in this situation. An international team of astronomers used ESO’s VLT (Very Large Telescope) to observe this double star, also to try to understand what kind of development could have.

Images of the dust disk around the star AU Microscopii taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and SPHERE (Image NASA, ESA, ESO, A. Boccaletti (Paris Observatory))

An article just published in the journal “Nature” describes the discovery of mysterious ripples across the disk of dust surrounding the star AU Microscopii, or AU Mic. Through SPHERE, an instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, a team led by Anthony Boccaletti, LESIA (Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/UPMC/Paris-Diderot), France, discovered these structures never seen before and yet to be explained.

The Southern Owl Nebula planetary nebula (Photo ESO)

It’s nicknamed the Southern Owl Nebula and its an extraordinarily symmetrical and round planetary nebula. Using ESO’s VLT (Very Large Telescope) in Chile now it’s been possible to capture an extraordinary image of this dying star and what’s left around it. The result gives the impression of a sphere lit up like a ghost in the darkness of space.

This artist’s impression shows a supernova and associated gamma-ray burst driven by a magnetar (Image ESO)

An article published in “Nature” describes the research conducted by an international team led by Jochen Greiner of the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany who studied a gamma-ray burst (GRB) detected on December 9, 2011 by NASA’s Swift satellite and called GRB 111209A. It was an exceptional phenomenon because it lasted more than three hours when gamma-ray bursts typically last from a few seconds to a few minutes. It was the first case of GRB associated with a supernova, called SN 2011kl, which produced a magnetar, a neutron star with an incredibly strong magnetic field.

Artistic impression of the galaxy CR7 (Image ESO/M. Kornmesser)

An article accepted for publication in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes the discovery of a galaxy called CR7 seen as it was at the time of the early universe in which first-generation stars were found. This research was carried out mainly using ESO’s Very Large Telescope but data collected by the W. M. Keck Observatory, the Subaru Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope were also used.