ESO Blog

MAVIS team outside

MAVIS gets busy!

The Australian-led international consortium building the MAVIS (Multi-conjugate adaptive optics Assisted Visible Imager and Spectrograph) instrument for the European Southern Observatory (ESO) gathered together recently for a project ‘Busy Week’ - five days of intensive activity and interaction to progress on key aspects of the project.
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Synthetic Li spectra

Removing the second cosmological lithium problem with a shot of ESPRESSO

Lithium is the heaviest element produced in Big Bang nucleosynthesis (BBN). As such, it is a unique element that can be used to study the conditions of the Big Bang. Standard BBN theory produced mostly hydrogen and helium, with trace amounts of lithium - about 1 in 10...
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FRB 190608

Going global with fast radio bursts, the VLT, and ASKAP

Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are now showing their potential as a cosmological tool. The bursts were initially discovered with single dish radio telescopes like Murriyang (the 64-m Parkes Radio Telescope), as dispersed pulses of radio emission.
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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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Michael Murphy is the Australian representative on the ESO Science Technical Committee. Contact: [email protected]

Sarah Sweet is the Australian representative on the ESO Users Committee. Contact: [email protected]

Stuart Ryder is a Program Manager with AAL. Contact: [email protected]

Guest posts are also welcome – please submit these to [email protected]