An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes the detection of variations in the brightness of the famous white spots on the dwarf planet Ceres. Using the HARPS spectrograph at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile they were observed showing for example a higher brightness during the day. One explanation is that they contain volatile materials that evaporate due to the sunlight.

The dwarf galaxy IC 1613 photographed by the OmegaCAM on ESO's VST (Image ESO)

The OmegaCAM camera mounted on ESO’s VST (VLT Survey Telescope) was used to take a picture of the dwarf galaxy IC 1613. It has the distinction of being really clean, meaning that it contains very little dust while most galaxies contain dust clouds or are even full of it. The very low dust content of IC 1613 allows astronomers to observe its inside and is therefore an excellent target for astronomy and astrophysics studies.

Image of the star VY Canis Majoris captured by the SPHERE instrument on VLT (Photo ESO)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes a study on the star VY Canis Majoris, one of the largest in the Milky Way. The SPHERE instrument installed on ESO’s VLT (Very Large Telescope) allowed to obtain very detailed images of this star making it possible to study the dust that surrounds it and the considerable mass it loses in time ejecting it.