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.
On Saturday 15 October 2011 ESO opened the doors of its headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany, to the public. Throughout the day, thousands of visitors had the chance to help build a full-size mock-up mirror of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) -- the largest planned telescope in the world -- and to experience many other aspects of ESO's work.
The most complex ground-based astronomy observatory in the world, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), has officially opened for astronomers. The first released image, from a telescope still under construction, reveals a view of the Universe that cannot be seen at all by visible-light and infrared telescopes.
Astronomers using ESO’s leading exoplanet hunter HARPS have today announced more than fifty newly discovered planets around other stars. Among these are many rocky planets not much heavier than the Earth. One of them in particular seems to orbit in the habitable zone around its star. This ESOcast we look at how astronomers discover these distant worlds and what the future may hold for finding rocky worlds like the Earth that may support life.
We have all looked up at the sky at night and seen the stars twinkle. It may be pretty and romantic, but it is also a big problem for astronomers, as the shimmering starlight blurs observations.
In the pursuit of pristine skies, ESO, the European Southern Observatory, operates its telescopes far beyond Europe, in the remote and arid landscape of the Atacama Desert in Chile. Check why in this ESOcast episode.
Zooming in on the Leo Triplet of galaxies
This ESOcast is about the discovery of the most distant quasar found to date. This brilliant beacon is powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun. It is by far the brightest object yet discovered in the early Universe.
This joint episode of the Hubblecast and ESOcast presents Abell 2744, an unusual cluster of galaxies nicknamed "Pandora's Cluster" by the astronomers who have studied it. Looking at the galaxies, gas and dark matter in the cluster, scientists have reconstructed the series of huge collisions that created it, and have uncovered some strange phenomena never seen together before.
Pan across Abell 2744, Pandora’s Cluster
Simulation of the merging events in Abell 2744
Zooming in on Pandora’s Cluster
This ESOcast introduces the VLT Survey Telescope (VST), the latest addition to ESO's Paranal Observatory. This new telescope has just made its first release of impressive images of the southern sky. The VST is a state-of-the-art 2.6-metre telescope, with the huge 268-megapixel camera OmegaCAM at its heart. It is designed to map the sky both quickly and with very fine image quality. It is a visible-light telescope that perfectly complements ESO's VISTA infrared survey telescope. New images of the Omega Nebula and the globular cluster Omega Centauri demonstrate the VST's power.
The Atacama Desert in northern Chile -- one of the driest and most hostile environments in the world. Under the blazing Sun, only a few species of animals and plants have evolved to survive. Yet, this is where the European Southern Observatory operates its Very Large Telescope. Running this technological oasis in the barren desert, and making it a comfortable place for people to live, poses many challenges.
The observations from ESO's powerful ground-based telescopes are veritable treasures, stored in a huge archive usually only visited by professional astronomers on a mission. And yet, an amateur astrophotographer from Russia managed to uncover a veritable gem from ESO's Hidden Treasures, winning a trip to Chile to observe with the Very Large Telescope.
Life as an ESO astronomer is demanding, but working on one of the world's most powerful telescopes is also immensely rewarding. In this episode of the ESOcast, come with us as we follow ESO astronomer Henri Boffin through his day-to-day life. Learn all about what it takes to be a professional astronomer producing top-notch science, and see what it's like working in exotic locations and collaborating with astronomers from around the world. Get a glimpse behind the scenes at the Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal, and see the site's famous Residencia, a home-from-home for staff on duty at the observatory.