Summary: ESOcast is a video podcast series dedicated to bringing you the latest news and research from ESO – Astronomy made on planet Earth. Here we explore the Universe's ultimate frontier with our host Doctor J, a.k.a. Dr. Joe Liske.
The ESPRESSO instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile has used the combined light of all four of the 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes for the first time. Combining light from the Unit Telescopes in this way makes the VLT the largest optical telescope in existence in terms of collecting area.
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a state-of-the-art telescope to study light from some of the coldest objects in the Universe. The music is by Stan Dart from "Supernova", the soundtrack for the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre, available on syngate.com and for download on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.
ESOcast 150 Light: Planets around TRAPPIST-1 Probably Rich in Water
In ESOcast 149 we hear from some of ESO’s current students about their experience at ESO, and they offer their advice to those considering following in their footsteps.
In the star-forming region Lupus 3, in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), dazzlingly hot stars are born from collapsing masses of gas and dust.
A new national facility at ESO’s La Silla Observatory has successfully made its first observations. The ExTrA telescopes will search for and study Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby red dwarf stars. ExTrA’s novel design allows for much improved sensitivity compared to previous searches. Astronomers now have a powerful new tool to help in the search for potentially habitable worlds.
Astronomers using ESO’s MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving very strangely. It appears to be orbiting an invisible black hole with about four times the mass of the Sun — the first such inactive stellar-mass black hole found in a globular cluster.
The first hexagonal segments for the main mirror of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) have been successfully cast by the German company SCHOTT at their facility in Mainz. These segments will form parts of the ELT’s 39-metre main mirror, which will have 798 segments in total when completed. The ELT will be the largest optical telescope in the world when it sees first light in 2024.
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have for the first time directly observed granulation patterns on the surface of a star outside the Solar System — the ageing red giant π1 Gruis.
This ESOcast Light explores how and why engineers are undertaking wind tunnel tests for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope.
The OmegaCAM imager on ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured a glittering view of the stellar nursery called Sharpless 29. Many astronomical phenomena can be seen in the giant image, including cosmic dust and gas clouds that reflect, absorb, and re-emit the light of hot young stars within the nebula.
The Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) successfully made its first observations in November 2017. Installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, ESPRESSO will search for exoplanets with unprecedented precision by looking at the miniscule changes in the properties of light coming from their host stars.
Astronomers using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have conducted the deepest spectroscopic survey ever. They focused on the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, measuring distances and properties of 1600 very faint galaxies including 72 galaxies that have never been detected before, even by Hubble itself. This wealth of new information is giving astronomers insight into star formation in the early Universe, and allows them to study the motions and other properties of early galaxies — made possible by MUSE’s unique spectroscopic capabilities.
Your home and the Universe have at least one thing in common: they can be very dusty places! When you get back after a very long vacation, it may happen that the windows in your home are so full of dust that you can’t see through them anymore. Surprisingly, astronomers have a similar problem!
For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was travelling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object.