ESO Blog

Paranal telescopes & meteor
06
Sep

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
21
Jul

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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05
Jul

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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28
Jun

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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16
Jun

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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02
May

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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31
Mar

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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03
Feb

Introducing MAGPI: Australia’s first ESO Large Programme

The 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).
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08
Jan

Revealing the first supermassive black holes with MWA and the VLT

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...
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23
Nov

ESO by the numbers

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...
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