Summary: ESOcast is a video podcast series dedicated to bringing you the latest news and research from ESO, the European Southern Observatory. Here we explore the Universe's ultimate frontier.
The ALMA and APEX telescopes have peered deep into space — back to the time when the Universe was one tenth of its current age — and witnessed the beginnings of gargantuan cosmic pileups: the impending collisions of young, starburst galaxies. Astronomers thought that these events occurred around three billion years after the Big Bang, so they were surprised when the new observations revealed them happening when the Universe was only half that age! These ancient systems of galaxies are thought to be building the most massive structures in the known Universe: galaxy clusters.
New images from the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope are revealing the dusty discs surrounding nearby young stars in greater detail than previously achieved. They show a bizarre variety of shapes, sizes and structures, including the likely effects of planets still in the process of forming.
New images from ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and other telescopes reveal a rich landscape of stars and glowing clouds of gas in one of our closest neighbouring galaxies, the Small Magellanic Cloud.
New data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and other telescopes have been used to create a stunning image showing a web of filaments in the Orion Nebula. These features appear red-hot and fiery, but in reality are so cold that astronomers must use telescopes like ALMA to observe them.
Europe to the Stars — ESO’s first 50 years of exploring the southern sky (Full movie, German)
The new MATISSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) has now successfully made its first observations at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. MATISSE is the most powerful interferometric instrument in the world at mid-infrared wavelengths. It will use high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy to probe the regions around young stars where planets are forming as well as the regions around supermassive black holes in the centres of galaxies.
The movie ALMA — In Search of our Cosmic Origins (German)
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.