X-shooter spectrum of a quasar

Pointing VLT/X-shooter at the most luminous high-redshift quasars

Despite their reputation as invisible gluttons which can devour light itself, black holes are also responsible for the brightest non-transient phenomena in the universe. Quasars are extremely luminous active galactic nuclei powered by supermassive black holes with masses ranging from millions to billions of suns.
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Tatooine sunset

Unveiling the Cosmic Chemistry with C3PO: Exploring Wide Binary Stars Beyond Star Wars

Binary stars (like this famous scene from Star Wars) are prime examples of pairs of stars born from the same gas cloud. They share the same age and initial chemical composition.
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The Mass Structure of a Galaxy Depends on Where it Lives

Can the region in which a galaxy resides - its environment - influence how the mass within it is distributed? This is the question we set out to answer with some of the first data from the Middle Ages Galaxy Properties with Integral field spectroscopy (MAGPI) Survey.
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CN & CO spectra

X-shooter helps to distinguish red clump stars from red giant branch stars

One of the biggest questions in the field of astrophysics is, how do galaxies form and evolve? The ways in which spiral galaxies form and evolve leave imprints in the distribution of stellar ages, kinematics and abundances.
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KMOS reveals galactic-scale outflows in the early Universe

The first galaxies in the universe created bubbles of ionized gas that overlapped with each other, which led to the largest phase transition in the history of the universe known as the epoch of reionization (EoR). However, we don't know much about the galaxies involved in the phase-transition...
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The FLAMES of sodium and oxygen in the cluster NGC 1846

It has been known for several decades that globular clusters in the Milky Way display multiple stellar populations. This refers to a cluster having two main stellar groups: a first generation (1G), which are stars that are chemically similar to Milky Way halo stars, and a second generation...
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DG delegation

ESO delegation visits Australia

In our final AAL ESO Blog post for 2022, Romy Pearse (AAL Communications Manager) looks back on a recent highly productive visit to Australia by a delegation led by the Director General of ESO, Prof. Xavier Barcons.
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Using the ESO 3.6 metre telescope to test for variations in the fine structure constant among nearby solar twins

In lieu of an AAL ESO Blog post this month, we encourage our community to read the article that appeared recently in The Conversation by Prof. Michael Murphy from Swinburne University of Technology.
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Tracking Australian VLT publications

As part of AAL's role in assisting the Dept of Industry, Science and Resources in managing Australia's Strategic Partnership with ESO, we monitor not just the proposal submissions and allocations but also any refereed publications involving Australian-based astronomers that use data from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and...
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Fig 1

Measuring reliable stellar abundances towards crowded regions using MUSE

With the rapid development of stellar spectroscopy in the past decade, many stellar spectroscopic surveys, for example LAMOST, GALAH and APOGEE, combined with the astrometric information of Gaia have played a pivotal role in explaining the chemo-dynamic evolution of the Milky Way.
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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]