Blogs about ESO (European Southern Observatory) activities

The sky around NGC 5018

An article accepted for publication in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes the VST Early-type GAlaxy Survey (VEGAS). A team of researchers led by Marilena Spavone from INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte in Naples, Italy, used ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST) in Chile to obtain highly detailed images of many elliptical galaxies. Among them there’s NGC 5018, interesting among other things for structures such as what’s called a tidal tail, a stream of gas containing various stars stretching outwards from that galaxy. These are evidence of interactions between galaxies that provide information on the characteristics of primordial galaxies.

Artist's impression of Sagittarius A* and S2

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describes a verification of a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Scientists from the GRAVITY collaboration used observations conducted with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile to observe the effects of the motion of a star called S2 as it passes through the extreme gravitational field near the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

The PDS 70 system (Image ESO/A. Müller et al.)

Two articles to be published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” describe the discovery and characterization of a planet still in its formation phase orbiting the young star PDS 70. Two teams of astronomers used the SPHERE instrument installed on ESO’s VLT to obtain for the first time images of a planet while it’s forming in what is still more or less a disk of gas and dust around the star. Called PDS 70b, the planet is a gas giant that could be larger than expected for its age.

The Tarantula Nebula and its A crowded neighborhood for the Tarantula Nebula (Image ESO)

An image published by ESO shows the Tarantula Nebula along with the neighboring areas in their details. A team of astronomers used the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, in Chile, to capture unseen details of star clusters, bright gas clouds and supernova remnants scattered around. It’s the sharpest image ever obtained of that region of the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way’s satellite dwarf galaxies.

The center of the galaxy NGC 5643 (Image ESO/A. Alonso-Herrero et al.; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO))

An image published by ESO and ALMA collaboration shows the center of the galaxy NGC 5643 obtained by combining observations made with the ALMA radio telescope with archive data of the MUSE instrument, mounted on ESO’s VLT. In this way it was possible to see beyond the clouds of dust and gas that obscure it even though it’s an active galactic nucleus with strong electromagnetic emissions generated by the activity of the supermassive black hole at the center of NGC 5643.