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The VISIR instrument on ESO’s VLT captured this stunning image of a newly-discovered massive binary star system. Nicknamed Apep after an ancient Egyptian deity, it could be the first gamma-ray burst progenitor to be found in our galaxy. Apep’s stellar winds have created the dust cloud surrounding the system, which consists of a binary star with a fainter companion. With 2 Wolf-Rayet stars orbiting each other in the binary, the serpentine swirls surrounding Apep are formed by the collision of two sets of powerful stellar winds, which create the spectacular dust plumes seen in the image. The reddish pinwheel in this image is data from the VISIR instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), and shows the spectacular plumes of dust surrounding Apep. The blue sources at the centre of the image are a triple star system — which consists of a binary star system and a companion single star bound together by gravity. Though only two star-like objects are visible in the image, the lower source is in fact an unresolved binary Wolf-Rayet star. The triple star system was captured by the NACOadaptive optics instrument on the VLT. Credit:ESO/Callingham et al.

Cosmic Serpent

The VISIR instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has captured this stunning image of a newly discovered massive triple star system. Nicknamed Apep after...
Simulation of Material Orbiting close to a Black Hole

Most detailed observations of material orbiting close to a Black Hole

ESO Gravity is a four-way beam combination second generation instrument for the VLTI. Its main operation mode makes use of all four 8m Unit...
This vivid picture of an active star forming region — NGC 2467, otherwise known as the Skull and Crossbones nebula — is as sinister as it is beautiful. This image of dust, gas and bright young stars, gravitationally bound into the form of a grinning skull, was captured with the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Whilst ESO’s telescopes are usually used for the collection of science data, their immense resolving power makes them ideal for capturing images such as this — which are beautiful for their own sake. Credit:ESO

The Pirate of the Southern Skies

FORS2, an instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, has observed the active star-forming region NGC 2467 — sometimes referred to as the Skull...
An international team of astronomers using the VIMOS instrument of ESO’s Very Large Telescope have uncovered a colossal structure in the early Universe. This galaxy proto-supercluster — which they nickname Hyperion — was unveiled by new measurements and a complex examination of archive data. This is the largest and most massive structure yet found at such a remote time and distance — merely 2 billion years after the Big Bang. This visualization shows Hyperion and is based on real data. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada & Olga Cucciati et al.

Largest Galaxy Proto-Supercluster Found

An international team of astronomers using the VIMOS instrument of ESO’s Very Large Telescope have uncovered a titanic structure in the early Universe. This...
Deep observations made with the MUSE spectrograph on ESO’s Very Large Telescope have uncovered vast cosmic reservoirs of atomic hydrogen surrounding distant galaxies. The exquisite sensitivity of MUSE allowed for direct observations of dim clouds of hydrogen glowing with Lyman-alpha emission in the early Universe — revealing that almost the whole night sky is invisibly aglow. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, ESO/ Lutz Wisotzki et al.

MUSE spectrograph reveals that nearly the entire sky in the early Universe

An unexpected abundance of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). The discovered emission covers nearly the entire field of view — leading the team to...
FORS2, an instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope captured the spiral galaxy NGC 3981 in all its glory. The image, captured during the ESO Cosmic Gems Programme, showcases the beauty of the southern skies when conditions don’t allow scientific observations to be made.

A Galactic Gem

This wonderful image shows the resplendent spiral galaxy NGC 3981 suspended in the inky blackness of space. This galaxy, which lies in the constellation...
Breakthrough Detection and Imaging Technology

€17 Million Fund to Power European Detection and Imaging Innovation

The pioneering ATTRACT initiative couples world-class research laboratories and business management experts to create a European innovation ecosystem that will accelerate the development of...
This wider coverage area reveals even more stars from the crowded neighbourhood surrounding the Carina nebula. Captured by VISTA, the world’s largest infrared survey telescope, we witness the dramatic evolution of this living stellar city, where stars form and perish side by side.

Stars v. Dust in the Carina Nebula

The Carina Nebula, one of the largest and brightest nebulae in the night sky, has been beautifully imaged by ESO’s VISTA telescope at the...
This deep image of the area of sky around the elliptical galaxy NGC 5018 offers a spectacular view of its tenuous streams of stars and gas. These delicate features are hallmarks of galactic interactions, and provide vital clues to the structure and dynamics of early-type galaxies.

Astronomers have captured a collection of elliptical galaxies in different environments

Utilizing the sensitive OmegaCAM detector at the core of the VST, a group driven by Marilena Spavone from INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte in Naples,...

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