ESO Blog


Meet your new ESO Users Committee representative

The ESO Users Committee is an advisory body whose remit is to relay to ESO the experiences of the national communities, recommend improvements to ESO’s services, and communicate progress to their communities.
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Probing the Broad Line Region of Active Galactic Nuclei with SOFI at La Silla

Type 1 active galactic nuclei (AGN) show broad spectral lines, with characteristic velocities of several thousand kilometres per second. These are thought to come from a region (BLR – the broad-line region) of gas clouds close to the central black hole, but how these are distributed and orbit...
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A FLASH combination: ASKAP and MUSE sniff out gas around galaxies

The timescales in which star-forming galaxies deplete their gas is found to be short relative to the age of the Universe. This points to the conclusion that galaxies must have a way to replenish their gas reservoirs and indeed, early cosmological simulations reveal cold gas being channeled along...
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Paranal telescopes & meteor

ESO Pipelines Project: The Australian Collaboration Supporting VLT Pipelines

In 2019, a team of software engineers from Astralis-AAO (Macquarie University) and Astralis-AITC (ANU) took over the maintenance and upkeep of 19 data processing pipelines used by the VLT, as a part of the ESO Pipelines Project. Currently in its 3rd successful year, this project between ESO and...
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Artist's rendition of a magnetorotational hypernova explosion

SkyMapper and the VLT reveal a new source of uranium and gold in the early Universe

How were the heavy elements like uranium and gold produced? Until recently, neutron star mergers were the only confirmed source of the rapid neutron-capture (r-) process elements (roughly half of the elements heavier than zinc in the Periodic Table). Those events involve the merger of the remnants of...
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Reconstructing the assembly history of galaxies with Fornax3D

To infer the history of mass growth experienced by individual galaxies, their constituent stars need to be analysed based on their chemistry, ages, and present-day kinematics. Using stars in our Milky Way galaxy, where such information is readily available, many new discoveries have been made in recent years...
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MUSE reveals the Milky Way is not alone in harbouring chemically distinct thick and thin disks

The Milky Way is by far the best-studied galaxy in the Universe, with observations of it and speculation on its nature dating back thousands of years, including amongst Indigenous Australians. The disk nature of the Galaxy has been evident for at least a hundred years, with early maps...
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KMOS and SAMI Reveal the Mechanisms Governing the Electron Density in Star-Forming Regions across Cosmic History

Galaxies in our present-day Universe form stars much less rapidly than they did in the past. Most of the stars in nearby massive galaxies formed during the ‘peak epoch of star formation’ – a period of cosmic history that occurred approximately 8-11 billion years ago, at redshift z≈1-3....
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My (virtual) ESO Summer Research Programme

Early last year I was selected to attend ESO’s 2020 Summer Research Programme, which is an opportunity for university students who are not yet enrolled in a PhD programme and are interested in astronomy to obtain research experience alongside astronomers based at ESO Headquarters (HQ) in Garching, Germany....
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A mysterious young and faint object revealed by the VLT

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...
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