ESO — The European Southern Observatory (2024)

Highlights

EuropeanSouthernObservatory
ann24009 ESO network affected by cyber incident
eso2408 — Press Release Most massive stellar black hole in our galaxy found Astronomers have identified the most massive stellar black hole yet discovered in the Milky Way galaxy. This black hole was spotted in data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission because it imposes an odd ‘wobbling’ motion on the companion star orbiting it. Data from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) and other ground-based observatories were used to verify the mass of the black hole, putting it at an impressive 33 times that of the Sun.
eso2407 — Press Release Beautiful nebula, violent history: clash of stars solves stellar mystery When astronomers looked at a stellar pair at the heart of a stunning cloud of gas and dust, they were in for a surprise. Star pairs are typically very similar, like twins, but in HD 148937, one star appears younger and, unlike the other, is magnetic. New data from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) suggest there were originally three stars in the system, until two of them clashed and merged. This violent event created the surrounding cloud and forever altered the system’s fate.
eso2406 — Press Release Astronomers unveil strong magnetic fields spiraling at the edge of Milky Way’s central black hole A new image from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration has uncovered strong and organised magnetic fields spiraling from the edge of the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). Seen in polarised light for the first time, this new view of the monster lurking at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy has revealed a magnetic field structure strikingly similar to that of the black hole at the centre of the M87 galaxy, suggesting that strong magnetic fields may be common to all black holes. This similarity also hints toward a hidden jet in Sgr A*. The results were published today in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
ann24005 First segments of world’s largest telescope mirror have a shiny new surface
eso2405 — Press Release Groundbreaking survey reveals secrets of planet birth around dozens of stars In a series of studies, a team of astronomers has shed new light on the fascinating and complex process of planet formation. The stunning images, captured using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) in Chile, represent one of the largest ever surveys of planet-forming discs. The research brings together observations of more than 80 young stars that might have planets forming around them, providing astronomers with a wealth of data and unique insights into how planets arise in different regions of our galaxy.
eso2404 — Press Release Astronomers reveal a new link between water and planet formation Researchers have found water vapour in the disc around a young star exactly where planets may be forming. Water is a key ingredient for life on Earth, and is also thought to play a significant role in planet formation. Yet, until now, we had never been able to map how water is distributed in a stable, cool disc — the type of disc that offers the most favourable conditions for planets to form around stars. The new findings were made possible thanks to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner.
eso2403 — Press Release Metal scar found on cannibal star When a star like our Sun reaches the end of its life, it can ingest the surrounding planets and asteroids that were born with it. Now, using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) in Chile, researchers have found a unique signature of this process for the first time — a scar imprinted on the surface of a white dwarf star. The results are published today in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
eso2402 — Press Release Brightest and fastest-growing: astronomers identify record-breaking quasar Using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have characterised a bright quasar, finding it to be not only the brightest of its kind, but also the most luminous object ever observed. Quasars are the bright cores of distant galaxies and they are powered by supermassive black holes. The black hole in this record-breaking quasar is growing in mass by the equivalent of one Sun per day, making it the fastest-growing black hole to date.
eso2401 — Press Release Missing link found: supernovae give rise to black holes or neutron stars Astronomers have found a direct link between the explosive deaths of massive stars and the formation of the most compact and enigmatic objects in the Universe — black holes and neutron stars. With the help of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) and ESO’s New Technology Telescope (NTT), two teams were able to observe the aftermath of a supernova explosion in a nearby galaxy, finding evidence for the mysterious compact object it left behind.
eso2320 — Press Release New 1.5-billion-pixel ESO image shows Running Chicken Nebula in unprecedented detail While many holiday traditions involve feasts of turkey, soba noodles, latkes or Pan de Pascua, this year, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is bringing you a holiday chicken. The so-called Running Chicken Nebula, home to young stars in the making, is revealed in spectacular detail in this 1.5-billion-pixel image captured by the VLT Survey Telescope (VST), hosted at ESO’s Paranal site in Chile.
eso2319 — Press Release First segments of the world's largest telescope mirror shipped to Chile The construction of the European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope (ESO's ELT) has reached an important milestone with the delivery to ESO and shipment to Chile of the first 18 segments of the telescope’s main mirror (M1). Once they arrive in Chile, the segments will be transported to the ELT Technical Facility, at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in the country’s Atacama Desert, where they will be coated in preparation for their future installation on the telescope main structure. Unable to be physically made in one piece, M1 will consist of 798 individual segments arranged in a large hexagonal pattern, with an additional 133 being produced to facilitate the recoating of segments. With a diameter of more than 39 metres, it will be the largest telescope mirror in the world.
eso2318 — Press Release Astronomers discover disc around star in another galaxy for the first time In a remarkable discovery, astronomers have found a disc around a young star in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy neighbouring ours. It’s the first time such a disc, identical to those forming planets in our own Milky Way, has ever been found outside our galaxy. The new observations reveal a massive young star, growing and accreting matter from its surroundings and forming a rotating disc. The detection was made using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner.
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All Press Releases Announcements Pictures of the Week Blog Posts Videos

Announcement 21 May 2024 — ann24009 ESO network affected by cyber incident
Video 3 May 2024 — cs0010a The largest telescope dome ever built | Chasing Starlight 10
Picture of the Week 20 May 2024 — potw2421 Sleep tight, ELT
Announcement 15 May 2024 — ann24008 The ELT's M5 mirror blank is finalised
Announcement 14 May 2024 — ann24007 Final design of the ELT's METIS instrument completed

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ESO — The European Southern Observatory (2024)

FAQs

What does the European Southern Observatory do? ›

Created in 1962, ESO has provided astronomers with state-of-the-art research facilities and access to the southern sky. The organisation employs over 750 staff members and receives annual member state contributions of approximately €162 million. Its observatories are located in northern Chile.

Can you visit European Southern Observatory? ›

Tourist and student visits to Paranal Observatory are scheduled every Saturday at 10:00 or 14:00. Prior registration is always necessary. Please check the Weekend Visits to Paranal page for further information and the registration form.

What countries are in the European Southern Observatory? ›

We are an intergovernmental organisation established in 1962 supported by 16 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom), our host country Chile and strategic partners.

What is the largest telescope in ESO? ›

Part of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) agency, it is located on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The design consists of a reflecting telescope with a 39.3-metre-diameter (130-foot) segmented primary mirror and a 4.2 m (14 ft) diameter secondary mirror.

What do they do at the observatory? ›

About the Observatory

Visitors may look through telescopes, explore exhibits, see live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, and enjoy spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign.

What does ESO mean in optics? ›

Certain prefixes are also used to define phorias and tropias more specifically. As indicated in the table below, exo means out; eso in, hyper up, and hypo down.

Can you visit the VLT in Chile? ›

The visit will be guided by professional staff provided by the Observatory. The first access is the Visitor Center: Here there is an explanatory video of the observatory and its history. Then we climb to the top of Cerro Paranal where there are the giant telescopes of the VLT of 8.2 meters in diameter.

What is the European Southern Observatory in the Atacama Desert? ›

Paranal Observatory is an astronomical observatory operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). It is located in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile on Cerro Paranal at 2,635 m (8,645 ft) altitude, 120 km (70 mi) south of Antofa*gasta.

Where is the best observatory in the world? ›

Among the largest, best developed, and most renowned of these high altitude sites is the Mauna Kea Observatory located near the summit of a 4,205 m (13,796 ft) volcano in Hawaii, which has grown to include over a dozen major telescopes during the four decades since it was founded.

How big is the European Southern Observatory? ›

Very Large Telescope (VLT), observatory located on the mountain Cerro Paranal (2,635 metres [8,645 feet]) in Chile and consisting of four telescopes with mirrors 8.2 metres (27 feet) in diameter and four others with mirrors 1.8 metres (5.9 feet) in diameter.

What is the most powerful observatory in the world? ›

The Webb Space Telescope is the largest, most powerful and most complex telescope ever launched into space .

How much does the elt cost? ›

What is the cost of the ELT? A: The construction cost of the full baseline ELT is estimated to be about 1.45 billion euros in 2023 economic conditions.

How much did the elt cost? ›

I am extremely proud that the ELT has reached this milestone.” The total cost is now over 1.3 billion euros ($2.1 billion AUD). Currently the telescope in Chile's Atacama Desert is just the steel structure, but it will eventually house five separate mirrors.

Does eso have the biggest map? ›

Daggerfall Is Around The Size of The UK In Real Life

The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall is the largest game in the Elder Scrolls franchise by a massive margin, when ignoring Arena. The specific number is up for debate, but many fans have settled on the Daggerfall map size being approximately 161,600 kilometers sq.

What is the purpose of the observatory spacecraft? ›

Why a Space Telescope. Observing the universe above Earth's light-distorting atmosphere allows astronomers to see, discover, and better understand cosmic mysteries. Hubble was designed as a general-purpose observatory, meant to explore the universe in visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths.

What is Gran Canarias observatory used for? ›

The GTC looks at visible and infra-red light. It has a special camera for each called OSIRIS (for visible light) and the CanariCam (for the infrared). The telescope can take images of objects millions of light years away within minutes.

What is the purpose of the Royal Observatory? ›

The purpose of the Royal Observatory was a practical one: to reduce shipwrecks. At that time mariners had no accurate way of working out their position when out of sight of land. They could find their latitude (north-south position) by observing the sun or stars, but not their longitude (east-west position).

What is the purpose of an observatory dome? ›

The purpose of a dome is to protect them from the environment, i.e. sunlight, humidity, rain, snow, dust and wind. As well as protecting the telescope, a dome should also: Allow the telescope to access the entire sky. Hence they must have some form of opening and the ability to track with the telescope.

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