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This artist’s impression represents the path of the fast radio burst FRB 181112 traveling from a distant host galaxy to reach the Earth. FRB 181112 was pinpointed by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope. Follow-up observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) revealed that the radio pulses have passed through the halo of a massive galaxy on their way toward Earth. This finding allowed astronomers to analyse the radio signal for clues about the nature of the halo gas.

Enigmatic radio burst illuminates a galaxy’s tranquil ​halo

Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have for the first time observed that a fast radio burst passed through a galactic halo.
ESO’s VISTA telescope reveals a remarkable image of the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of our nearest galactic neighbours. VISTA has been surveying this galaxy and its sibling the Small Magellanic Cloud, as well as their surroundings, in unprecedented detail. This survey allows astronomers to observe a large number of stars, opening up new opportunities to study stellar evolution, galactic dynamics, and variable stars. Credit: ESO/VMC Survey

VISTA unveils a new image of the Large Magellanic Cloud

ESO’s VISTA telescope reveals a remarkable image of the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of our nearest galactic neighbours. VISTA has been surveying this galaxy...
Colourful and wispy Sharpless 2-296 forms the “wings” of an area of sky known as the Seagull Nebula — named for its resemblance to a gull in flight. This celestial bird contains a fascinating mix of intriguing astronomical objects. Glowing clouds weave amid dark dust lanes and bright stars. The Seagull Nebula — made up of dust, hydrogen, helium and traces of heavier elements — is the hot and energetic birthplace of new stars. Credit: ESO/VPHAS+ team/N.J. Wright (Keele University)

Anatomy of a Cosmic Seagull

Colourful and wispy, this intriguing collection of objects is known as the Seagull Nebula, named for its resemblance to a gull in flight. Made...
Telescopes, including Hubble, have monitored the Eta Carinae star system for more than two decades. It has been prone to violent outbursts, including an episode in the 1840s during which ejected material formed the bipolar bubbles seen here. Now, using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 to probe the nebula in ultraviolet light, astronomers have uncovered the glow of magnesium embedded in warm gas (shown in blue) in places they had not seen it before. The luminous magnesium resides in the space between the dusty bipolar bubbles and the outer shock-heated nitrogen-rich filaments (shown in red). The streaks visible in the blue region outside the lower-left lobe are a striking feature of the image. These streaks are created when the star’s light rays poke through the dust clumps scattered along the bubble’s surface. Wherever the ultraviolet light strikes the dense dust, it leaves a long, thin shadow that extends beyond the lobe into the surrounding gas. Eta Carinae resides 7500 light-years away. Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of Arizona, Tucson), and J. Morse (BoldlyGo Institute, New York)

Hubble Captures Cosmic Fireworks in Ultraviolet

Hubble offers a special view of the double star system Eta Carinae’s expanding gases glowing in red, white, and blue. This is the highest...
The unique capabilities of the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope have enabled it to obtain the sharpest images of a double asteroid as it flew by Earth on 25 May. While this double asteroid was not itself a threatening object, scientists used the opportunity to rehearse the response to a hazardous Near-Earth Object (NEO), proving that ESO’s front-line technology could be critical in planetary defence. The left-hand image shows SPHERE observations of Asteroid 1999 KW4. The angular resolution in this image is equivalent to picking out a single building in New York — from Paris. An artist's impression of the asteroid pair is shown on the right. Credit: ESO

ESO contributes to protecting Earth from dangerous asteroids

The unique capabilities of the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope have enabled it to obtain the sharpest images of a double asteroid...
This image, a composite of several observations captured by ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST), shows the space observatory Gaia as a faint trail of dots across the lower half of the star-filled field of view. These observations were taken as part of an ongoing collaborative effort to measure Gaia’s orbit and improve the accuracy of its unprecedented star map. Credit: ESO

Pinpointing Gaia to Map the Milky Way

Gaia, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), surveys the sky from orbit to create the largest, most precise, three-dimensional map of our Galaxy....
Scientists have obtained the first image of a black hole, using Event Horizon Telescope observations of the center of the galaxy M87. The image shows a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. This long-sought image provides the strongest evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes and opens a new window onto the study of black holes, their event horizons, and gravity. Credit: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

Historic first real image of black hole has been unveiled

The European Southern Observatory announced earlier this week that they have some big news to share. The international collaboration, Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project,...
This artist’s impression shows the observed exoplanet, which goes by the name HR8799e. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

GRAVITY instrument breaks new ground in exoplanet imaging

GRAVITY, a second generation instrument on the ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) used optical interferometry and observed an exoplanet named HR8799e with clouds...
Hidden in one of the darkest corners of the Orion constellation, this Cosmic Bat is spreading its hazy wings through interstellar space two thousand light-years away. It is illuminated by the young stars nestled in its core — despite being shrouded by opaque clouds of dust, their bright rays still illuminate the nebula. Too dim to be discerned by the naked eye, NGC 1788 reveals its soft colours to ESO's Very Large Telescope in this image — the most detailed to date. Credit: ESO

A Cosmic Bat in Flight

ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has caught a glimpse of an ethereal nebula hidden away in the darkest corners of the constellation of Orion...

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