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  • richardmitnick 2:48 pm on April 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: “Capturing the Ultra High Definition Universe” 


    European Southern Observatory

    hd

    This photo, taken at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, is the first photograph from the ESO Ultra HD Expedition — a pioneering journey currently being undertaken by four world-renowned videographers and ESO Photo Ambassadors. Equipped with state-of-the-art Ultra HD tools, the team are capturing ESO’s three unique observing sites in Chile in all their grandeur, while documenting their journey and escapades in a blog.

    par
    Paranal Observatory

    The four Unit Telescopes — Antu, Kueyen, Melipal and Yepun — one of the Auxiliary Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the VLT Survey Telescope (VST), are captured from an unusual perspective in this image. Taken using a fisheye lens, this photography technique produces a 360° view of the location — creating an immersive Paranal world with the swirling Milky Way at the centre of it.

    Distant cosmic gems are seen scattered above the VLT — speckling the sapphire shades of the night sky. Near the top of the image, the Moon and Venus sit side-by-side, beaming brightly along with Saturn (just above the dome towards the bottom of the picture) as they align beautifully across the line of the ecliptic. Antares, Vega and Altair — some of the brighter stars in the sky are also visible. Two irregular dwarf galaxies which are neighbours of the Milky Way, known as the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds, can be seen glowing faintly to the left, near the Auxiliary Telescope. The fulldome footage gained from the fisheye lens during the expedition will soon be distributed for free for use in planetarium shows (such as those in the upcoming ESO Supernova facility from 2017).

    The expedition began in Santiago, Chile, on 25 March 2014. The following day the team set off for their first observatory stop: ESO’s Paranal Observatory, where this image was taken on 26 March 2014. Here they will spend the next few days shooting time-lapse stills, videos and panoramas of Paranal — home to ESO’s flagship facility the Very Large Telescope — before moving onwards to snap the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the La Silla Observatory, returning to Europe on 8 April.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Paranal

    ALMA Array
    ALMA

    ESO LaSilla
    LaSilla

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 8:09 am on March 14, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: “ESO Remains World’s Most Productive Ground-based Observatory” 


    European Southern Observatory

    14 March 2014
    Contacts

    Uta Grothkopf
    ESO Librarian
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6280
    Email: uta.grothkopf@eso.org

    Lars Lindberg Christensen
    Head of ESO ePOD
    ESO ePOD, Garching, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6761
    Cellular: +49-173-3872-621
    E-mail: lars@eso.org

    A survey of the number of peer-reviewed scientific papers published in 2013 using data from ESO’s telescopes and instruments has shown that ESO remains the world’s most productive ground-based observatory. Astronomers used observational data from ESO facilities to produce 840 refereed papers last year. The number of papers published from ESO data in 2013 has even remained slightly higher than the number of papers using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

    graph

    Nearly 70% of all papers credited to ESO in 2013 used data acquired using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) or VLT Interferometer facilities. The most productive VLT instruments in terms of papers remain FORS2 and UVES. X-shooter also showed a steep increase in the number of publications and has produced a total of almost 170 papers from 2010 to 2013.

    ESO VLTI
    VLT with Interferometer

    ESO FORS1
    FORS

    ESO UVES
    UVES

    Other facilities at the La Silla [and] Paranal Observatory — including the survey telescope VISTA at Paranal, as well as La Silla’s telescopes and instruments — have seen an increase compared to the previous year. HARPS remains La Silla’s most productive instrument. Facilities located at the La Silla Observatory provided data for more than 270 papers, almost matching the number of papers of the next most productive ground-based observatories.

    ESO LaSilla
    La Silla

    ESO HARPS
    HARPS

    The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope (APEX) operated by ESO on the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile’s Atacama region — a collaboration between the Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR, 50%), the Onsala Space Observatory (OSO, 23%) and ESO (27%) — has seen a slight increase in ESO publications since last year.

    ESO APEX
    APEX

    The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) celebrated its transition from a construction project to a fully fledged observatory on 13 March 2013 with its official inauguration. It has seen its refereed papers using ESO data more than double since 2012, as the results from the Early Science phase are being published.

    ESO ALMA Array
    ALMA

    The methods used to obtain these numbers vary across the different observatories, so the figures cannot always be compared precisely. However, ESO has significantly surpassed any other ground-based observatory for the seventh year in a row and even remains slightly ahead of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope — results that clearly cement ESO’s major contribution to astronomical research. These publication statistics give an idea of how much scientific work gets done with data from the individual observatories, but do not address the impact of this science.

    These figures are published in the annual Basic ESO Publication Statistics published by ESO’s Library, calculated using the ESO Telescope Bibliography (telbib), a database containing refereed publications that use ESO data. ESO makes extensive efforts to identify all refereed papers that use ESO data and considers telbib essentially complete.

    Interactive graphs of selected statistics are also available online. These graphs display the entire content of the telbib database, which contains records for publications from the year 1996 to the present. They can be used to explore the development of science papers using data from ESO instruments, the use of archival data as well as the average number of authors and ESO programmes per paper.
    Notes

    See the full article, with notes, here.

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  • richardmitnick 5:01 pm on March 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: “ESOCast 63 Flexible Giants — The Evolution of Telescope Mirrors” 


    European Southern Observatory

    ESOCast 63 – Flexible Mirrors, Flexible Giants, great telescopes. Learn and enjoy

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  • richardmitnick 2:31 pm on February 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: “Born from the Wind” 2008 


    European Southern Observatory

    8 October 2008
    Dimitrios Gouliermis
    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Email: dgoulier@mpia.de

    Telescopes on the ground and in space have teamed up to compose a colourful image that offers a fresh look at the history of the star-studded region NGC 346. This new, ethereal portrait, in which different wavelengths of light swirl together like watercolours, reveals new information about how stars form.

    ngc346

    The picture combines infrared, visible and X-ray light from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, ESO’s New Technology Telescope (NTT) and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton orbiting X-ray telescope, respectively. The NTT visible-light images allowed astronomers to uncover glowing gas in the region and the multi-wavelength image reveals new insights that appear only thanks to this unusual combination of information.

    NASA Spitzer Telescope
    Spitzer

    ESO NTT
    NTT

    ESA XMM Newton
    XMM-Newton

    NGC 346 is the brightest star-forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud, an irregular dwarf galaxy that orbits the Milky Way at a distance of 210 000 light-years.

    “NGC 346 is a real astronomical zoo,” says Dimitrios Gouliermis of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, and lead author of the paper describing the observations. “When we combined data at various wavelengths, we were able to tease apart what’s going on in different parts of this intriguing region.”

    Small stars are scattered throughout the NGC 346 region, while massive stars populate its centre. These massive stars and most of the small ones formed at the same time out of one dense cloud, while other less massive stars were created later through a process called “triggered star formation”. Intense radiation from the massive stars ate away at the surrounding dusty cloud, triggering gas to expand and create shock waves that compressed nearby cold dust and gas into new stars. The red-orange filaments surrounding the centre of the image show where this process has occurred.

    But another set of younger low-mass stars in the region, seen as a pinkish blob at the top of the image, couldn’t be explained by this mechanism. “We were particularly interested to know what caused this seemingly isolated group of stars to form,” says Gouliermis.

    By combining multi-wavelength data of NGC 346, Gouliermis and his team were able to pinpoint the trigger as a very massive star that blasted apart in a supernova explosion about 50 000 years ago. Fierce winds from the massive dying star, and not radiation, pushed gas and dust together, compressing it into new stars, bringing the isolated young stars into existence. While the remains of this massive star cannot be seen in the image, a bubble created when it exploded can be seen near the large, white spot with a blue halo at the upper left (this white spot is actually a collection of three stars).

    The finding demonstrates that both wind- and radiation-induced triggered star formation are at play in the same cloud. According to Gouliermis, “the result shows us that star formation is a far more complicated process than we used to think, comprising different competitive or collaborative mechanisms.”

    The analysis was only possible thanks to the combination of information obtained through very different techniques and equipments. It reveals the power of such collaborations and the synergy between ground- and space-based observatories.
    More information

    D. Gouliermis et al., NGC 346 in the Small Magellanic Cloud. IV. Triggered Star Formation in the H II Region N 66, to appear in the Astrophysical Journal

    Other authors of this paper include Thomas Henning, Wolfgang Brandner, Eva Hennekemper, and Felix Hormuth of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, and You-Hua Chu and Robert Gruendl of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

    The ESO 3.5-m New Technology Telescope (NTT), located at La Silla in Chile, was the first in the world to have a computer-controlled deformable main mirror (active optics), a technology developed at ESO and now applied to most of the world’s current large telescopes.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 10:17 am on January 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: ESOcast 62 Three New Exoplanets 


    European Southern Observatory

    This is a big deal.

    In this ESOcast we look at how astronomers have used ESO’s HARPS planet hunter in Chile, along with other telescopes around the world, to discover three planets orbiting stars in the cluster Messier 67. Although more than one thousand planets outside the Solar System are now confirmed, only a handful have been found in star clusters. Remarkably one of these new exoplanets is orbiting a star that is a rare solar twin — a star that is almost identical to the Sun in all respects.

    HARPS
    HARPS

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  • richardmitnick 3:37 pm on January 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: “Caught in the Cobweb” 2004 


    European Southern Observatory

    Turbulent and Colourful LMC Region Imaged from La Silla.

    10 December 2004

    The Tarantula Nebula (also known as 30 Doradus, or NGC 2070) is one of the most impressive views in the Southern sky. Visible to the unaided eye in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way that is located in the direction of the southern constellation Doradus at a distance of about 170,000 light-years, this huge nebula is the prototype of what astronomers refer to as a “Giant HII region“. In this complex of glowing gas and very hot and luminous stars, the gas is mainly composed of protons and electrons, which are kept apart by energetic photons emitted by the stars in this area.

    lmc
    Ultraviolet
    Optical VLT
    LaSilla MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
    Release date: 10 December 2004

    The Tarantula Nebula (also designated 30 Doradus) owes its name to the arrangement of its brightest patches of nebulosity that somewhat resemble the legs of a spider. They extend from a central “body” where a cluster of hot stars (designated “R136″) resides that illuminate the nebula. This name, of the biggest spiders on the Earth, is also very fitting in view of the gigantic proportions of the celestial nebula – it measures nearly 1,000 light years across!

    While the central regions of 30 Doradus may be compared to a tarantula, the entangled filaments in the outskirts of this nebula could well be likened with its cobweb. They testify to an ongoing history of very vigorous activity and make this spectacular sky region a showcase of dramatic effects caused by the tremendous output of energy from the most massive stars known.
    Intricate colours

    The marvellous richness of the filament colours is due to the varying conditions in the interstellar gas in this region. The red in these images is caused by emission of excited hydrogen atoms, the green shades correspond to emission from oxygen atoms from which two electrons (“doubly-ionized oxygen”) have been “knocked off” by the energetic radiation of hot stars in the R136 cluster, that is located beyond the lower right corner of this photo. The intensity of this emission increases towards R136, explaining the yellowish colour near the edge of the photo.

    A blue colour is contributed by singly-ionized atoms of oxygen. Other atoms like nitrogen and sulfur at different levels of ionization also add to the emission of the nebula at specific wavelengths. The observed colours thus probe the physical condition of the emitting gas and the temperature of the star(s) that excite(s) it. The intricate appearance of the filaments is mostly a consequence of turbulence in the interstellar gas, of the magnetic fields, and of the energy input by the massive stars in the neighbourhood.
    Supernovae blow interstellar “bubbles”

    The large ring-shaped nebula slightly to the lower-left (South-East) of the centre of the first image is known as DEM L 299 [1] Detailed investigations show that it represents an “interstellar bubble” which was “blown” by supernovae explosions, most probably happening millions of years ago, as massive stars near the centre of this structure ended their comparatively short lives in glorious flashes.

    A closer inspection shows that another supernova exploded somewhat later near the rim, forming a bright and more compact nebula known as SNR 0543-689 (ESO Press Release eso0437). Other supernovae in this general field exploded even more recently, such as the one that created the remnant B0544-6910 (ESO Press Release eso0437) only a few tens of thousands of years ago, a blink of an eye by all astronomical standards.
    Nebulae with built-in powerhouses

    Not all the nebulae seen in this region are caused by supernovae, however. The glow of N 164 [1], a bright, extended red-yellow nebula just below DEM L 299, is mostly due to its own “private” powerhouse, that consists of several massive stars deeply embedded in its interior.

    The same holds for DEM L 297, the somewhat smaller and fainter nebula to the right of DEM L 299. It is divided into two half-circle formed segments by a dark lane of interstellar dust in front of it. Indeed, within the Tarantula complex many such dark and dusty clouds are seen in silhouette as they obscure bright nebulosity behind them.

    Many stellar clusters

    The outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula are also rich in stellar clusters. One of them, NGC 2093 [1], has relatively few stars and is relatively young, just a few tens of millions of years. It appears that its stars have already excavated a sizeable cavity around them that is now relatively void of gas.

    An older and much more compact cluster, NGC 2108, is seen near the bottom of the first image. It resembles the globular clusters in our own Galaxy, but it formed much more recently, about 600 million years ago. Still, NGC 2108 is much older than the Tarantula complex and it is quite possible that in its “youth” it was the core of another giant HII region that has since dissolved into interstellar space.

    The images for this release were produced by two ESO astronomers who are impressed by this sky region. Nausicaa Delmotte did the observations for her thesis and notes that: “many of the nebulae and clusters seen in these photos would stand out prominently if they were located elsewhere in the sky and not this close to the core of the spectacular Tarantula complex.”. She is echoed by her colleague, Fernando Comeron: “This amazing concentration of clusters, HII regions, supernova remnants, and extremely hot and luminous stars in a single region makes the Tarantula in the LMC a unique celestial object, unrivalled in our own Galaxy and other nearby galaxies!”.
    Notes

    [1]: The designation “DEM L 299″ indicates that this object is no. 299 in the list of nebulae in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds published in 1976 by astronomers R.D.Davies, K.H.Elliott and J.Meaburn. “N” refers to a list of bright nebulae in these galaxies that was compiled in 1956 by K.G.Henize. “NGC” stands for the “New General Catalogue” published in 1888 by J.L.E. Dreyer.
    More information

    The present colour photo of the Northeastern outskirts of the Tarantula nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud is based on three monochromatic images taken on 6 and 7 December 2001 with the Wide-Field-Imager (WFI) at the ESO/MPG 2.2-m telescope, through an U-band filter (with the forbidden emission line of singly-ionised oxygen, [OII], at wavelength 372.7 nm) and two narrow-band filters centred on the wavelengths of the forbidden line of doubly-ionised oxygen ([OIII], at 500.7 nm) and hydrogen (H-alpha line, at 656.2 nm), respectively. Each single-colour image is in turn composed of four individual frames of 20 minutes of exposure time each.

    wfi
    WFI at ESO/MPG 2.2m at La Silla

    The WFI detector system is composed of eight individual 2k x 4k CCDs with small gaps between them; for this reason, the individual frames in each filter were obtained with the telescope pointing at slightly different positions in the sky, so that the parts of the sky falling in the detector gaps in any given frame are recorded on the others. A problem with one of the detector chips causes double stellar images to appear over a small, narrow strip near the upper left edge of the full field image. The monochromatic images were produced by superimposing the individual frames, correcting for the telescope offsets. Finally, the combined images in each filter were aligned and colour-coded to produce the resulting colour picture. North is up and East is left. The extensive image processing was performed by ESO-astronomers Fernando Comeron and Nausicaa Delmotte.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 2:27 pm on December 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: The 1000 Flicker views 


    European Southern Observatory

    Check out the ESO 1000 views at Flicker.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 4:57 pm on December 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From ESO: “Reaching New Heights in Astronomy” 


    European Southern Observatory

    New ESO brochure published
    19 December 2013

    brochure

    Available at the ESOshop
    Price: € 1,99

    See the full article here, especilly for the pdf download.

    Don’t miss out.

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  • richardmitnick 9:24 am on December 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    ESO 2014 Calendar is a Thing of Incomparable Beauty 


    European Southern Observatory

    If you want to see some of the results of ESO’s awesome science, avail yourself of the ESO 2014 Calendar.

    eso2014
    ESO Calendar 2014

    The graphics from the work of the various telescopes and from ESO Photographic Ambassadors is incomparably beautiful.

    Tha Clanedar is available at ESOshop, Price: € 9,99

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  • richardmitnick 4:04 pm on December 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Hubblecast is Worth Your Time 

    Hubblecast is produced by ESA/Hubble at [the] European Southern Observatory (ESO).It is definitely worth your time.

    Here is Hubblecast 69.

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

    ESO 50


    ESA Icon II


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