By Valentin Christiaens <firstname.lastname@example.org>
How do giant planets form? The latest generation of sub-millimetre interferometric arrays and infrared instruments at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) have recently provided an unprecedented direct view of protoplanetary discs — the birth place of planets. Thanks to these facilities, astronomers have found over the past few years a wealth of features in these discs indicating dynamical interactions with embedded planets, including cavities, annular gaps, spiral arms and asymmetries (see above). Are these structures induced by planets?
By Caroline Foster <email@example.com>
The Middle Ages Galaxy Properties with Integral field spectroscopy (MAGPI) Survey is an Australian-led ESO/VLT/MUSE Large Programme. MAGPI will map the properties of ~160 galaxies, elucidating what transformed galaxies during the Universe’s "middle ages” (~3-4 billion years ago).
By Guillaume Drouart <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Finding the first active supermassive black holes is one of the most exciting and yet challenging problems of extragalactic astronomy. These black holes are very rare, but they emit a considerable amount of light from their accretion disc and their very powerful radio jets. As such, they are amongst the brightest phenomena in the Universe. Finding them is of prime importance to understand their formation and evolution, but given their intrinsic rarity and distance, this becomes a needle-in-a-haystack problem. How can we most efficiently reveal those hidden monsters among the multitude of sources in the sky?
By Stuart Ryder
Did you know that since the start of Australia's Strategic Partnership with ESO in 2017, Australian astronomers have submitted or been Co-investigators on a total of 638 observing proposals? Or that nearly 40% of these proposals have been successful? Statistics like these are now at the fingertips of AAL thanks to ESOStats, a new database of Australian demand for and usage of ESO time.
By Dilyar Barat <email@example.com>
There is never a dull moment when you do science with the ESO VLT. In 2018, thanks to ESO and ASTRO3D, I was fortunate while an ANU graduate student to visit the Paranal Observatory, and carry out observations of 69 dwarf galaxies using the FLAMES instrument. FLAMES is a multi-object, intermediate and high resolution spectrograph mounted on UT2 (Kueyen), that can access targets over a field of view 25 arcmin in diameter, allowing the observation of up to 130 targets at a time, or (in our case) to do integral field spectroscopy.
By Caroline Foster
Dear fellow Australian astronomers,
This is an update from your ESO Users Committee (UC) representative. My role is to represent Australian ESO Users and act as a capillary link between ESO and the Australian community.
By Mark Durré <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Jeremy Mould <email@example.com>
Artist's impression of the jet from a supermassive black hole. Image credit: ESO
We are engaged in The Southern Hemisphere Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 Infrared Survey. Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 (NLSy1) galaxies may be a young, fast-growing phase of active galactic nuclei (AGN).
By Christopher Onken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Space is big. It’s so big that the brightest known object in the Universe can be so far away that it looks to us like a dim, red pinpoint as shown in the image above. Not much different from the multitude of small red stars that make up the bulk of the Milky Way. But with the X-shooter instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, we’ve discovered that the black hole powering this brightest of objects, the quasar SMSS J2157-3602, has a mass of 34 billion solar masses – the biggest black hole in the early universe!
By Stuart Ryder
(This blog post is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend and colleague, A/Prof Jean-Pierre ("J-P") Macquart, who tragically passed away shortly after the publication of his Nature paper.)
The origin of Fast Radio Bursts remains a mystery, and yet that hasn't stopped us using them as powerful cosmological probes. In a recent paper in the prestigious journal Nature, a team led by A/Prof. Jean-Pierre Macquart from Curtin University and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) has used FRBs to reveal the previously-missing baryons between galaxies.
By Adam Rains <email@example.com>
Optical interferometry is tricky. Unlike radio interferometers, which can have telescope separations measured in kilometres (or even across the entire planet in the case of the Event Horizon Telescope!), combining light in the optical is a tad more difficult, requiring that light be brought to some central location and combined in real-time, rather than digitally later on.
Michael Murphy is the Australian representative on the ESO Science Technical Committee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org