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  • richardmitnick 11:34 am on September 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO, Ireland to Join the European Southern Observatory   

    From European Southern Observatory: “Ireland to Join the European Southern Observatory” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    26 September 2018
    Calum Turner
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: pio@eso.org

    Ireland signs agreement to become ESO’s 16th Member State.

    2
    The Irish flag is hoisted for the first time at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany, signifying Ireland becoming a Member State of ESO once the ratification process is complete. The flag joins those of the other Member States, taking the total number up to 16. Credit: ESO

    1
    On 26 September, John Halligan T.D., Irish Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development and Xavier Barcons, Director General of ESO signed the Accession Agreement that will lead to Ireland joining the European Southern Observatory (ESO) — the world’s most productive astronomical observatory. ESO is looking forward to welcoming Ireland and will work with the nation’s astronomers and industry to advance the cutting edge of astronomy.

    Irish astronomers are set to gain access to the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes following the signature of Ireland’s Accession Agreement in Dublin today, 26 September 2018. The signing of the Agreement follows the unanimous approval of Irish membership by the ESO Council at a meeting on 6 June 2018.

    The formal ratification process for Irish membership of ESO has already almost been completed, following the approval of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann — the Irish National Assembly and Senate. This process will be fully completed once the instrument of ratification — an official document — is deposited at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is expected to happen within a matter of days. The day of the deposit will be the official date of the Irish accession to ESO.

    “We are delighted to welcome Ireland as the newest member of our organisation” stated ESO’s Director General, Xavier Barcons. “Ireland’s mature and thriving astronomical community will add to the broad variety of expertise in the ESO Member States, strengthening ESO’s position at the forefront of global astronomy. Irish astronomers will gain access to a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes and will have the opportunity to be part of the construction of the next generation of ESO instruments in partnership with other ESO Member States. We are also very much looking forward to working with Irish industrial partners to build and operate ESO’s state-of-the-art telescopes.”

    The accession cements the position of Ireland’s astronomical research community as an asset to worldwide astronomy. With the ESO Membership, Ireland gets access to ESO’s world-class suite of telescopes and instruments, including the Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Paranal and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) at Chajnantor, as well as the opportunity to contribute to the construction of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in coming years.

    By joining ESO, Ireland adds to their already rich astronomical history, stretching back centuries. For several decades in the 19th century, Ireland hosted the world’s largest telescope — the Leviathan of Parsonstown — a 1.8-metre reflecting telescope at Birr Castle (whose grounds are now home to I-LOFAR, port of a Europe-wide low-frequency radio telescope).

    3
    Leviathan of Parsonstown – Offaly, Ireland – Atlas Obscura. Wikipdia

    I-Lofar Ireland I-Lofar- Birr’s low-frequency radio telescope

    Ireland’s vibrant research community and high-tech industrial sector have supported ESO membership for many years, and will now gain access to a range of instrumentation and industrial opportunities as a result of ESO membership.

    Speaking at the signing, Minister Halligan welcomed this important step in Ireland’s membership process: “I am delighted to have signed this membership agreement with the European Southern Observatory. This represents the culmination of significant work by the Government and ESO as well as the Irish astrophysics community. As a member of the leading astronomical research organisation in the world, Ireland has an opportunity to gain access to excellent research, innovation, collaboration and industry contracts. This significant investment in our scientific community demonstrates the Irish Government’s continued commitment to research and development in both our academic and industrial sectors.”

    See the full article here .


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    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre EEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at Cerro LaSilla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO/Cerro LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Platform at Cerro Paranal elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft)


    ESO VLT 4 lasers on Yepun

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres



    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. located at the summit of the mountain at an altitude of 3,060 metres (10,040 ft).

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 8:53 am on July 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO, ESO GRAAL laser guide star system, HAWK-I camera on UT 4 Yepun,   

    From European Southern Observatory: “Colourful Celestial Landscape” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    11 July 2018
    Calum Turner
    ESO Assistant Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    +49 89 3200 6670
    pio@eso.org

    1
    New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope show the star cluster RCW 38 in all its glory. This image was taken during testing of the HAWK-I camera with the GRAAL adaptive optics system. It shows RCW 38 and its surrounding clouds of brightly glowing gas in exquisite detail, with dark tendrils of dust threading through the bright core of this young gathering of stars.

    ESO HAWK-I on the ESO VLT

    ESO GRAAL adaptive optics system.

    This image shows the star cluster RCW 38, as captured by the HAWK-I infrared imager mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. By gazing into infrared wavelengths, HAWK-I can examine dust-shrouded star clusters like RCW 38, providing an unparalleled view of the stars forming within. This cluster contains hundreds of young, hot, massive stars, and lies some 5500 light-years away in the constellation of Vela (The Sails).


    ESOcast 171 Light: Colourful Celestial Landscape (4K UHD)


    Zooming into RCW 38

    The central area of RCW 38 is visible here as a bright, blue-tinted region, an area inhabited by numerous very young stars and protostars that are still in the process of forming. The intense radiation pouring out from these newly born stars causes the surrounding gas to glow brightly. This is in stark contrast to the streams of cooler cosmic dust winding through the region, which glow gently in dark shades of red and orange. The contrast creates this spectacular scene — a piece of celestial artwork.

    Previous images of this region taken in optical wavelengths are strikingly different — optical images appear emptier of stars due to dust and gas blocking our view of the cluster.

    2
    The dense star cluster RCW 38 glistens about 5,500 light years away in the direction of the constellation Vela (the Sails). RCW 38 is an “embedded” cluster, in that the nascent cloud of dust and gas still envelops its stars. There, young, titanic stars bombard fledgling suns and planets with powerful winds and large amount of light, helped in their devastating task by short-lived, massive stars that explode as supernovae. In some cases, this energetic onslaught cooks away the matter that may eventually form new planetary systems. Scientists think that our own Solar System emerged from such a dramatic environment. This image was obtained with the Wide Field Imager instrument on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at La Silla, using data collected through four filters (B, V, R and H-alpha). The field of view is about 10 arcminutes. Credit: ESO

    ESO WFI LaSilla 2.2-m MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    Observations in the infrared, however, allow us to peer through the dust that obscures the view in the optical and delve into the heart of this star cluster.

    HAWK-I is installed on Unit Telescope 4 (Yepun) of the VLT, and operates at near-infrared wavelengths. It has many scientific roles, including obtaining images of nearby galaxies or large nebulae as well as individual stars and exoplanets. GRAAL is an adaptive optics module which helps HAWK-I to produce these spectacular images. It makes use of four laser beams projected into the night sky, which act as artificial reference stars, used to correct for the effects of atmospheric turbulence — providing a sharper image.

    ESO GRAAL 4 laser guid stars on UT 4 Yepun

    This image was captured as part of a series of test observations — a process known as science verification — for HAWK-I and GRAAL. These tests are an integral part of the commissioning of a new instrument on the VLT, and include a set of typical scientific observations that verify and demonstrate the capabilities of the new instrument.

    More information

    The Principal Investigator of the observing proposal which led this spectacular image was Koraljka Muzic (CENTRA, University of Lisbon, Portugal). Her collaborators were Joana Ascenso (CENTRA, University of Porto, Portugal), Amelia Bayo (University of Valparaiso, Chile), Arjan Bik (Stockholm University, Sweden), Hervé Bouy (Laboratoire d’astrophysique de Bordeaux, France), Lucas Cieza (University Diego Portales, Chile), Vincent Geers (UKATC, UK), Ray Jayawardhana (York University, Canada), Karla Peña Ramírez (University of Antofagasta, Chile), Rainer Schoedel (Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Spain), and Aleks Scholz (University of St Andrews, UK).

    The Science Verification of HAWK-I with the GRAAL adaptive optics module was presented in an article in ESO’s quarterly journal The Messenger entitled HAWK-I GRAAL Science Verification.

    The science verification team was composed of Bruno Leibundgut, Pascale Hibon, Harald Kuntschner, Cyrielle Opitom, Jerome Paufique, Monika Petr-Gotzens, Ralf Siebenmorgen, Elena Valenti and Anita Zanella, all from ESO.

    The Messenger is a quarterly journal presenting ESO’s activities to the public. To subscribe please fill in the attached form. As the journal is distributed on paper, we will need your full postal address. The subscription is free of charge.

    See the full article here .


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    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre EEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO La Silla HELIOS (HARPS Experiment for Light Integrated Over the Sun)

    ESO 3.6m telescope & HARPS at Cerro LaSilla, Chile, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO 2.2 meter telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO/Cerro LaSilla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Platform at Cerro Paranal elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft)

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/NTT at Cerro La Silla, Chile, at an altitude of 2400 metres

    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array in Chile in the Atacama at Chajnantor plateau, at 5,000 metres

    ESO/E-ELT,to be on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, at an altitude 3,046 m (9,993 ft)

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 10:45 am on July 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Asteroid Day 2018" Video, , , , , , ESO   

    From ESA/ESO: “Asteroid Day 2018” Video 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    and

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    On 30 June 2018, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and ESA teamed up to produce a packed Asteroid Day webcast, streamed live from the new ESO Supernova Planetarium and Visitor Centre in Munich. The programme featured expert interviews with ESA and ESO scientists, news and updates from Europe’s asteroid hunters and some of the most recent asteroid science results, including the blockbuster news on Oumuamua, the first-ever interplanetary visitor. The programme also included an interview with ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano on the challenges of future human missions to asteroids, as well as a surprise segment that answered the age-old question: What really killed off the dinosaurs?

    See the full article here .


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    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Visit ESO in Social Media-

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    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre EEuropean Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:46 pm on June 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How Productive is the Very Large Telescope?", , , , , ESO   

    From ESOblog: “How Productive is the Very Large Telescope?” 

    ESO 50 Large

    8 June 2018
    People@ESO

    From ESOblog

    Nando Patat on evaluating ESO’s science output.

    ESO is the most productive ground-based observatory in the world and operates a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes, but how much of ESO’s telescope time actually leads to published science? This week we catch up with Nando Patat, an astronomer based at ESO Headquarters in Germany, who has been investigating how much telescope time at ESO’s Very Large Telescope goes unused.

    Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your research at ESO.

    A: Since I first looked at the Moon with my father’s binoculars, I have been passionate about astronomy. Although I was torn between science and music, I finally made the decision to study astronomy. I obtained a Masters from the University of Padova, Italy, the same place where Galileo first pointed his cannocchiale (an early telescope) to the heavens. I then moved to ESO Headquarters in Germany to start PhD work, before moving to La Silla as an ESO Fellow. During those intense years, my passion for the night sky became scientifically mature; a fortunate series of events led me to become serious about professional astronomy.

    Since then, my career has developed at ESO. Being a restless person, I have changed jobs quite a bit in my twenty years here, most recently to the Observing Programmes Office, which I have led since 2011. The department is in charge of managing time allocation for all ESO telescopes, which sounds easier than it is! When I am not busy, I explore my original scientific passion for supernovae.

    ESO VLT Platform at Cerro Paranal elevation 2,635 m (8,645 ft)

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    Q: Can you talk us through how astronomers apply for observing time on ESO telescopes?

    A: The art of writing a proposal boils down to explaining how the proposer will answer an important astronomical question. In short, it means writing a fascinating “story”! Every semester about 900 proposals are submitted to ESO, involving more than 3500 scientists from about fifty countries. This is roughly a third of the active astronomers on the planet, so the competition is fierce. This is why the “story” needs to be better than good: it needs to be excellent.

    Once the applicant has prepared their “story”, they submit it to the Observing Programmes Committee (OPC). This is an important body of about 80 experts, who are asked to rank the applications on behalf of the astronomical community. As the OPC members are nominated by astronomers, this is a democratic process for telescope users to decide what science is most worthwhile.

    The referees have four weeks to review the proposals. Once the OPC has made a first assessment, the bottom 30% of the proposals are discarded. The panels then physically convene in a meeting that lasts three days, in which the surviving applications are discussed, ranked, and made into a final list, which is used to allocate telescope time. The final result is submitted to the Director General for approval and then announced. Because of the oversubscription rate of ESO telescopes, only about a quarter of the applicants get observing time.

    Q: Scientists usually get excited about publishing results — what made you decide to study the opposite, namely non-publishing scientific programmes at ESO?

    A: An organisation the size of ESO needs to assess its performance and identify possible areas of improvement, and there are a number of ways to do this. The core task of ESO is building and operating world-class telescopes: a task at which we’re pretty successful! However, the ultimate purpose of all these efforts is to advance science, and assessing how much a telescope contributes to this is a complex (and sometimes controversial) task. Scientific progress is hard to quantify, and sometimes even hard to describe — it may take decades before the importance of a scientific discovery is fully appreciated. However, since scientific results are primarily communicated via peer-reviewed publications, a natural way to measure the overall success of a telescope is its publication rate. This is why we asked “How much telescope time eventually results in at least one refereed publication?”

    ESO had already asked this question for its flagship observing machine, the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, in an earlier analysis. The results revealed a surprising fact: about half of VLT observations do not turn into a refereed publication. Put crudely (and a little unfairly), about half of the telescope time is “wasted”. As usual, things are more complex than they appear at first glance, but this definitely called for further investigation. The Survey of Non-Publishing Programmes (SNPP) was created, and set out to explain “wasted” telescope time.

    However, don’t get me wrong — ESO is doing well: since the start of VLT operations, the publication rate of ESO has been steadily growing, reaching 1000 publications per year in 2017. The question is: can we do better?

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    ESO may be trying to improve its scientific output, but it’s still the most productive observatory in the world.
    Credit: ESO

    Q: Is the number of published scientific papers the only way to measure the performance of ESO telescopes?

    A: Certainly not! The fraction of accepted programmes that turn into publications is only one of many ways of measuring performance. For instance, you can go one step further and estimate the scientific impact of publications based on ESO data. This is done by counting the number of times a paper is cited by other papers, which provides a rough indication of how important a published finding is.

    However, this is not the full story. You could also say that the success of ESO can be measured by the number of applications we receive or by the number of distinct users, both of which reflect the interest in our telescopes within the astronomical community. You could also measure the success of our facility in terms of user satisfaction, and many other ways. A completely comprehensive performance indicator would take all these aspects into account, but exactly how is a matter of animated debate.

    Q: What was the most interesting thing you discovered about the performance of ESO telescopes? Did anything surprise you?

    A: One of the main results of the SNPP is that there is not a single reason that explains the observed publication return. One interesting fact was that the favourite answer for not publishing was: “I am still working on the data.” This may at first seem like just a bad excuse — a professional version of the popular line “the dog ate my homework” — but it really does take a long time to publish data. One of the surprises was that the time taken to get from an approved proposal to a scientific publication is three and a half years for half of these projects, and more than 10 years to reach 75% — astronomers really are still working years after they receive data. The bottom line is that, after correcting for the publication delay in the latest survey, the fraction of “wasted” time reduces to about 25%.

    Q: Could the fraction of unpublished science from ESO telescopes just be a side effect of the trial-and-error nature of the scientific process?

    A: “Inconclusive results” were indeed the culprit in about 12% of cases. Although this is not enough to explain the observed rate, it is still relevant. The problem is not that there are negative results, but rather that these negative results are not published. This is a real issue in all scientific disciplines, not just astronomy. The reasons for this worrisome trend have to do with the lack of resources and the pressure to publish appealing results. If researchers have to choose between a publication reporting a negative result and one presenting a very exciting finding, they certainly opt for the latter. This is understandable, but affects the scientific method at its very roots. Although counter-measures are being taken, the publication of negative results remains a low-priority task for scientists.

    Q: One of the interesting findings from your research was that scientists using ESO telescopes don’t have the resources to sift through all the data they get back. Could it be the case that ESO telescopes are producing more information than the astronomical community can deal with?

    A: About 10% of replies cited lack of resources as the reason for not publishing. Considering the long time it takes to publish, this means they may have access to more data than they can cope with. The ESO community has been steadily growing from about 1500 users at the start of VLT operations to about 3500 today. However, this growth was apparently not enough to keep up with the amount of data available. This may be related to funding problems, and the difficulty of attracting and keeping young astronomers, but that’s a different discussion…


    VLT (Very Large Telescope) HD Timelapse Footage
    Credits:
    ALL IMAGES: (eso.org) taken on location by Stephane Guisard and Jose Francisco Salgado.
    ESO/S. Guisard (http://www.eso.org/~sguisard)
    ESO/José Francisco Salgado (http://www.josefrancisco.org)
    MUSIC SCORE: “We Happy Few” – The Calm Blue Sea (2008) [http://www.facebook.com/thecalmbluese…]
    EDITION: Nicolas Bustos
    Standard YouTube License

    Q: You found that programmes that observe for longer are more likely to get published — do you think ESO should only focus on big observing programmes?

    A: An average VLT Normal programme lasts around 15 hours, with a very few lasting more than 25 hours. There are also Large Programmes that request more than 100 hours. About 15% of the total VLT time is spent on Large Programmes, and if we were to allocate more telescope time to larger projects, we’d have less time for smaller ones. Although these smaller projects are individually less productive, they are much more numerous and therefore significantly contribute to the overall productivity.

    In broader terms, suppose that an observatory gets 1000 citations/year from papers based on data gathered with its telescopes. This can be produced by 1000 papers with one citation each, or by one single paper with 1000 citations alone, and all possible combinations in between. The “success” is the same, but in terms of absolute impact (i.e., findings that “go down to history”), the second extreme case is incomparably better than the first.

    For an intergovernmental organisation like ESO, this is a difficult problem, but the solution is most likely one in which ESO maintains a healthy diversity in the scale of projects. Though large projects may lead to big breakthroughs, just a few hours of telescope time can lead to major findings, opening new avenues for larger projects to follow up. There is certainly an ideal distribution of programme lengths that would maximise the number of papers produced, and we’re trying to find it!

    “ESO operates a fleet of world-class telescope [see below]. Deciding how to use its instruments to advance astronomy is one of the biggest challenges the organisation faces.”

    Science Paper: The ESO Survey of Non-Publishing Programmes

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.


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    Visit ESO in Social Media-

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    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
    • dan 7:25 pm on July 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hi really, enjoyed the article, i am quite in to telescopes, would you say this is good list? I am thinking of buying one from the list

      http://www.stargazingtelescope.com/best-telescopes-of-2018-review/

      Like

      • richardmitnick 7:21 pm on July 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I really cannot answer your question. I am a science communicator, not an astronomer or any other kind of scientist. If you search out astronomers like Phil Plait, they might be able to make suggestions to you.

        If you live near a university or astronomical institute you might get help there.

        Like

  • richardmitnick 1:12 pm on May 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESO, ,   

    From European Space Agency: “Our galaxy’s heart” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    From European Space Agency

    14/05/2018

    Milky Way NASA/JPL-Caltech /ESO R. Hurt

    1
    ESO/ATLASGAL consortium; ESA/Planck

    ESO APEX Telescope ATLASGAL Large Area Survey of the Galaxy

    ESO/APEX high on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama region, at an altitude of over 4,800 m (15,700 ft)

    ESA/Planck 2009 to 2013

    At first glance, this image may resemble red ink filtering through water or a crackling stream of electricity, but it is actually a unique view of our cosmic home. It reveals the central plane of the Milky Way as seen by ESA’s Planck satellite and the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX), which is located at an altitude of around 5100m in the Chilean Andes and operated by the European Southern Observatory.

    This image was released in 2016 as the final product of an APEX survey mapping the galactic plane visible from the southern hemisphere at submillimetre wavelengths (between infrared and radio on the electromagnetic spectrum). It complements previous data from ESA’s Planck and Herschel space observatories.

    Planck and APEX are an ideal pairing. APEX is best at viewing small patches of sky in great detail while Planck data is ideal for studying areas of sky at the largest scales. It covers the entire sky – no mean feat. The two work together well, and offer a unique perspective on the sky.

    This image reveals numerous objects within our galaxy. The bright pockets scattered along the Milky Way’s plane in this view are compact sources of submillimetre radiation: very cold, clumpy, dusty regions that may shed light on myriad topics all the way from how individual stars form to how the entire Universe is structured.

    From right to left, notable sources include NGC 6334 (the rightmost bright patch), NGC 6357 (just to the left of NGC 6334), the galactic core itself (the central, most extended, and brightest patch in this image), M8 (the bright lane branching from the plane to the bottom left), and M20 (visible to the upper left of M8). A labelled view can be seen here.

    Planck was launched on 14 May 2009 and concluded its mission in October 2013. The telescope returned a wealth of information about the cosmos; its main aim was to study the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the relic radiation from the Big Bang. Among other milestones, Planck produced an all-sky map of the CMB at incredible sensitivity and precision, and took the ‘magnetic fingerprint’ of the Milky Way by exploring the behaviour of certain light emitted by dust within our galaxy.

    Its observations are helping scientists to explore and understand how the Universe formed, its composition and contents, and how it has evolved from its birth to present day.

    APEX is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, the Onsala Space Observatory, and the European Southern Observatory, ESO. The telescope is operated by ESO.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    stem

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA50 Logo large

     
  • richardmitnick 4:19 pm on May 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ESO, , , ESO telescopes find first confirmed carbon-rich asteroid in Kuiper Belt, , Exiled Asteroid Discovered in Outer Reaches of Solar System,   

    From European Southern Observatory: “Exiled Asteroid Discovered in Outer Reaches of Solar System” 

    ESO 50 Large

    From European Southern Observatory

    9 May 2018

    Tom Seccull
    Postgraduate Research Student — Queen’s University, Belfast
    Belfast, United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 2890 973091
    Email: tseccull01@qub.ac.uk

    Wesley C. Fraser
    Lecturer — Queen’s University, Belfast
    Belfast, United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 28 9097 1084
    Email: wes.fraser@qub.ac.uk

    Thomas H. Puzia
    Professor — Institute of Astrophysics, Pontificia Universidad Catolica
    Santiago, Chile
    Tel: +56-2 2354 1645
    Email: tpuzia@astro.puc.cl

    Calum Turner
    ESO Assistant Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München Tel: +49 89 3200 6670
    Email: calum.turner@eso.org

    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1

    ESO telescopes find first confirmed carbon-rich asteroid in Kuiper Belt.

    Kuiper Belt. Minor Planet Center

    The early days of our Solar System were a tempestuous time. Theoretical models of this period predict that after the gas giants formed they rampaged through the Solar System, ejecting small rocky bodies from the inner Solar System to far-flung orbits at great distances from the Sun [1]. In particular, these models suggest that the Kuiper Belt — a cold region beyond the orbit of Neptune — should contain a small fraction of rocky bodies from the inner Solar System, such as carbon-rich asteroids, referred to as carbonaceous asteroids [2].

    Now, a recent paper [see below] has presented evidence for the first reliably-observed carbonaceous asteroid in the Kuiper Belt, providing strong support for these theoretical models of our Solar System’s troubled youth. After painstaking measurements from multiple instruments at ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), a small team of astronomers led by Tom Seccull of Queen’s University Belfast in the UK was able to measure the composition of the anomalous Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95, and thus determine that it is a carbonaceous asteroid. This suggests that it originally formed in the inner Solar System and must have since migrated outwards [3].

    The peculiar nature of 2004 EW95 first came to light during routine observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope by Wesley Fraser, an astronomer from Queen’s University Belfast who was also a member of the team behind this discovery.

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    The asteroid’s reflectance spectrum — the specific pattern of wavelengths of light reflected from an object — was different to that of similar small Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), which typically have uninteresting, featureless spectra that reveal little information about their composition.

    “The reflectance spectrum of 2004 EW95 was clearly distinct from the other observed outer Solar System objects,” explains lead author Seccull. “It looked enough of a weirdo for us to take a closer look.”

    The team observed 2004 EW95 with the X-Shooter and FORS2 instruments on the VLT. The sensitivity of these spectrographs allowed the team to obtain more detailed measurements of the pattern of light reflected from the asteroid and thus infer its composition.

    ESO X-shooter on VLT at Cerro Paranal, Chile

    ESO FORS2 VLT

    However, even with the impressive light-collecting power of the VLT, 2004 EW95 was still difficult to observe. Though the object is 300 kilometres across, it is currently a colossal four billion kilometres from Earth, making gathering data from its dark, carbon-rich surface a demanding scientific challenge.

    “It’s like observing a giant mountain of coal against the pitch-black canvas of the night sky,” says co-author Thomas Puzia from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

    “Not only is 2004 EW95 moving, it’s also very faint,” adds Seccull. “We had to use a pretty advanced data processing technique to get as much out of the data as possible.”

    Two features of the object’s spectra were particularly eye-catching and corresponded to the presence of ferric oxides and phyllosilicates. The presence of these materials had never before been confirmed in a KBO, and they strongly suggest that 2004 EW95 formed in the inner Solar System.

    Seccull concludes: “Given 2004 EW95’s present-day abode in the icy outer reaches of the Solar System, this implies that it has been flung out into its present orbit by a migratory planet in the early days of the Solar System.”

    “While there have been previous reports of other ‘atypical’ Kuiper Belt Object spectra, none were confirmed to this level of quality,” comments Olivier Hainaut, an ESO astronomer who was not part of the team. “The discovery of a carbonaceous asteroid in the Kuiper Belt is a key verification of one of the fundamental predictions of dynamical models of the early Solar System.”
    Notes

    [1] Current dynamical models of the evolution of the early Solar System, such as the grand tack hypothesis and the Nice model, predict that the giant planets migrated first inward and then outward, disrupting and scattering objects from the inner Solar System. As a consequence, a small percentage of rocky asteroids are expected to have been ejected into orbits in the Oort Cloud and Kuiper belt.

    [2] Carbonaceous asteroids are those containing the element carbon or its various compounds. Carbonaceous — or C-type — asteroids can be identified by their dark surfaces, caused by the presence of carbon molecules.

    [3] Other inner Solar System objects have previously been detected in the outer reaches of the Solar System, but this is the first carbonaceous asteroid to be found far from home in the Kuiper Belt.

    More information

    This research was presented in a paper entitled 2004 EW95: A Phyllosilicate-bearing Carbonaceous Asteroid in the Kuiper Belt by T. Seccull et al., which appeared in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The team was composed of Tom Seccull (Astrophysics Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, UK), Wesley C. Fraser (Astrophysics Research Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, UK) , Thomas H. Puzia (Institute of Astrophysics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile), Michael E. Brown (Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, USA) and Frederik Schönebeck (Astronomisches Rechen-Institut, Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Germany).

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.
    ESO Vista Telescope

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 8:39 pm on March 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO, This is not a pipe.   

    From ESO via Manu: “This is not a pipe.” 


    Manu Garcia, a friend from IAC.

    The universe around us.
    Astronomy, everything you wanted to know about our local universe and never dared to ask.

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    15 August 2012

    Richard Hook
    ESO, La Silla, Paranal, E-ELT & Survey Telescopes Press Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    Just as René Magritte wrote “This is not a pipe” on his famous painting, this is also not a pipe. It is however a picture of part of a vast dark cloud of interstellar dust called the Pipe Nebula. This new and very detailed image of what is also known as Barnard 59 was captured by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory. By coincidence this image is appearing on the 45th anniversary of the painter’s death.

    ESO WFI LaSilla 2.2-m MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres

    The Pipe Nebula is a prime example of a dark nebula. Originally, astronomers believed these were areas in space where there were no stars. But it was later discovered that dark nebulae actually consist of clouds of interstellar dust so thick it can block out the light from the stars beyond. The Pipe Nebula appears silhouetted against the rich star clouds close to the centre of the Milky Way in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer).

    Barnard 59 forms the mouthpiece of the Pipe Nebula [1] and is the subject of this new image from the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope. This strange and complex dark nebula lies about 600–700 light-years away from Earth.

    The nebula is named after the American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard who was the first to systematically record dark nebulae using long-exposure photography and one of those who recognised their dusty nature. Barnard catalogued a total of 370 dark nebulae all over the sky. A self-made man, he bought his first house with the prize money from discovering several comets. Barnard was an extraordinary observer with exceptional eyesight who made contributions in many fields of astronomy in the late 19th and early 20th century.

    At first glance, your attention is most likely drawn to the centre of the image where dark twisting clouds look a little like the legs of a vast spider stretched across a web of stars. However, after a few moments you will begin to notice several finer details. Foggy, smoky shapes in the middle of the darkness are lit up by new stars that are forming. Star formation is common within regions that contain dense, molecular clouds, such as in dark nebulae. The dust and gas will clump together under the influence of gravity and more and more material will be attracted until the star is formed. However, compared to similar regions, the Barnard 59 region is undergoing relatively little star formation and still has a great deal of dust.

    If you look carefully you may also be able to spot more than a dozen tiny blue, green and red strips scattered across the picture. These are asteroids, chunks of rock and metal a few kilometres across that are orbiting the Sun. The majority lie in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Barnard 59 is about ten million times further away from the Earth than these tiny objects [2].

    And finally, as you take in this richly textured tapestry of celestial objects, consider for a moment that when you look up at this region of sky from Earth you would be able to fit this entire image under your thumb held at arms-length despite it being about six light-years across at the distance of Barnard 59.
    Notes

    [1] The entire Pipe Nebula is comprised of Barnard 65, 66, 67 and 78, in addition to Barnard 59. It can be seen easily with the unaided eye under dark and clear skies and is best spotted from southern latitudes where it appears higher in the sky.

    [2] Asteroids move during the exposures and create short trails. As this picture was created from several images taken in different colours at different times the different colour trails are also shifted relative to each other.
    More information

    .

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    Glistening against the awesome backdrop of the night sky above ESO_s Paranal Observatory, four laser beams project out into the darkness from Unit Telescope 4 UT4 of the VLT.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 9:37 am on March 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO, , VLT Interfeormeter   

    From ESO: “MATISSE Instrument Sees First Light on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    5 March 2018

    Andreas Glindemann
    ESO
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49-89-32006-590
    Email: aglindem@eso.org

    Paul Bristow
    ESO
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49-89-32006-506
    Email: bristowp@eso.org

    Bruno Lopez
    Laboratoire J.-L. Lagrange, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur
    Nice, France
    Tel: +33 4 92 00 31 46
    Email: bruno.lopez@oca.eu

    Stéphane Lagarde
    Laboratoire J.-L. Lagrange, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur
    Nice, France
    Tel: +33 4 92 00 31 46
    Email: stephane.lagarde@oca.eu

    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    Most powerful interferometric instrument ever at mid-infrared wavelengths.

    1
    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 first MATISSE observations used the VLTI’s Auxiliary Telescopes to examine some of the brightest stars in the night sky, including Sirius, Rigel and Betelgeuse, and showed that the instrument is working well.

    ESO CNRS VLT Matisse Multi-AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment

    MATISSE (Multi AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment) observes infrared light — light between the visible and microwave wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, covering wavelengths from 3–13 micrometres (µm) [1]. It is a second-generation spectro-interferometer instrument for ESO’s Very Large Telescope that can take advantage of multiple telescopes and the wave nature of the light. In this way, it produces more detailed images of celestial objects than can be obtained with any existing or planned single telescope at these wavelengths.

    After 12 years of development by a large number of engineers and astronomers in France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and at ESO, and following an extensive period of demanding work installing and testing this very complex instrument, initial observations have now confirmed that MATISSE is working as expected [2].

    The initial MATISSE observations of the red supergiant star Betelgeuse, which is expected to explode as a supernova in a few hundred thousand years, showed that it still has secrets to reveal [3]. The new observations show evidence that the star appears to have a different size when seen at different wavelengths. Such data will allow astronomers to further study the huge star’s surroundings and how it is shedding material into space.

    The principal investigator of MATISSE, Bruno Lopez (Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur (OCA), Nice, France), explains its unique power: “Single telescopes can achieve image sharpness that is limited by the size of their mirrors. To obtain even higher resolution, we combine — or interfere — the light from four different VLT telescopes. Doing this enables MATISSE to deliver the sharpest images of any telescope ever in the 3–13 μm wavelength range, where it will complement the James Webb Space Telescope’s future observations from space.”

    MATISSE will contribute to several fundamental research areas in astronomy, focusing in particular on the inner regions of discs around young stars where planets are forming, the study of stars at different stages of their lives, and the surroundings of supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies.

    Thomas Henning, director at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, Germany, and MATISSE co-principal investigator, comments: “By looking at the inner regions of protoplanetary discs with MATISSE, we hope to learn the origin of the various minerals contained in these discs — minerals that will later go on to form the solid cores of planets like the Earth.”

    Walter Jaffe, the project scientist and co-principal investigator from University of Leiden in the Netherlands, and Gerd Weigelt, co-principal investigator from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR), Bonn, Germany, add: “MATISSE will give us dramatic images of planet-forming regions, multiple stars, and, when working with the VLT Unit Telescopes, also the dusty discs feeding supermassive black holes. We hope also to observe details of exotic objects in our Solar System, such as volcanoes on Io, and the atmospheres of giant exoplanets.”

    MATISSE is a four-way beam combiner, meaning it combines the light collected from up to four of the 8.2-metre VLT Unit Telescopes or up to four of the Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) that make up the VLTI, performing both spectroscopic and imaging observations. In doing so, MATISSE and the VLTI together possess the imaging power of a telescope up to 200 metres in diameter, capable of producing the most detailed images ever at mid-infrared wavelengths.

    Initial tests were made with the Auxiliary Telescopes, and further observations with the four VLT Unit Telescopes are planned during the next few months.

    MATISSE superimposes the light of an astronomical object from the combined light of multiple telescopes, resulting in an interference pattern that contains information about the appearance of the object, from which an image can then be reconstructed.

    MATISSE’s first light marks a big step forward in the scope of current optical/infrared interferometers and will allow astronomers to obtain interferometric images with finer detail over a wider wavelength range than currently possible. MATISSE will also complement the instruments planned for ESO’s upcoming Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), in particular METIS (the Mid-infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph). MATISSE will observe brighter objects than METIS, but with higher spatial resolution.

    Andreas Glindemann, MATISSE project manager at ESO, concludes: “Making MATISSE a reality has involved the work of many people over many years and it is wonderful to see the instrument working so well. We are looking forward to the exciting science to come!”
    Notes

    [1] MATISSE was designed, funded and built in close collaboration with ESO, by a consortium composed of institutes in France (INSU-CNRS in Paris and OCA in Nice hosting the PI team), Germany (MPIA, MPIfR and University of Kiel), the Netherlands (NOVA and University of Leiden), and Austria (University of Vienna). The Konkoly Observatory and Cologne University have also provided some support in the manufacture of the instrument.

    [2] With MATISSE, the last of the suite of second generation VLT/VLTI instruments has now arrived at Paranal. For the VLTI this means that 17 years — almost exactly to the day — after obtaining first fringes with VINCI and two siderostats, the first generation of instruments has now been replaced by PIONIER, GRAVITY and MATISSE, all of them combining four telescopes (UTs or ATs) and together covering a wide range of infrared wavelengths (from 1.6–13 µm). MATISSE is the first mid-infrared interferometer that can be used to reconstruct images.

    [3] Betelgeuse was the first star resolved by interferometry by Michelson and Pease in 1920. It was also used as a bright test case by precursor mid-infrared interferometers — including MIDI on the VLTI.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
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    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 5:44 pm on February 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ESO, , ,   

    From ESO: “7. Challenges in Obtaining an Image of a Supermassive Black Hole” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    “Seeing a black hole” has been a long-cherished desire for many astronomers, but now, thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) and the Global mm-VLBI Array (GMVA) projects, it may no longer be just a dream.

    Event Horizon Telescope Array

    Arizona Radio Observatory
    Arizona Radio Observatory/Submillimeter-wave Astronomy (ARO/SMT)

    ESO/APEX
    Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment

    CARMA Array no longer in service
    Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA)

    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)
    Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)

    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
    Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO)

    IRAM NOEMA interferometer
    Institut de Radioastronomie Millimetrique (IRAM) 30m

    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA
    James Clerk Maxwell Telescope interior, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano
    Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano

    CfA Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO
    Submillimeter Array Hawaii SAO

    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array
    ESO/NRAO/NAOJ ALMA Array, Chile

    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL
    South Pole Telescope SPTPOL

    Future Array/Telescopes

    Plateau de Bure interferometer
    Plateau de Bure interferometer

    NSF CfA Greenland telescope

    Global mm-VLBI Array

    Greenland Telescope

    To make it possible to image the shadow of the event horizon of Sagittarius A* [SgrA*], many researchers and cutting-edge technologies have been mobilised — because obtaining an image of a black hole is not as easy as snapping a photo with an ordinary camera.

    Sagittarius A* has a mass of approximately four million times that of the Sun, but it only looks like a tiny dot from Earth, 26 000 light-years away.

    SGR A* , the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory

    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    To capture its image, incredibly high resolution is needed. As explained in the fifth post of this blog series, the key is to use Very-Long-Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), a technique that combines the observing power of and the data from telescopes around the world to create a virtual giant radio telescope.

    The resolution of a telescope can be calculated from the radio wavelength the telescope is observing at and the size of the telescope — or in VLBI, the distance between the antennas. However, while actually observing, several kinds of noise and errors interfere with the telescope’s performance and affect the resolution.

    In VLBI, each antenna is equipped with an extremely precise atomic clock to record the time at which radio signals from the target object were received. The gathered data are synthesised using the times as a reference, so that the arrival time of the radio waves to each antenna can be accurately adjusted.

    But this process isn’t always straightforward because the Earth’s atmosphere blocks a certain range of wavelengths. Several kinds of molecules such as water vapour absorb a fraction of radio waves that pass through the atmosphere, with shorter wavelengths more susceptible to absorption. To minimise the effect of atmospheric absorption, radio telescopes are built at high and dry sites, but even then they are still not completely immune from the effect.

    The tricky part of this absorption effect is that the direction of a radio wave is slightly changed when it passes through the atmosphere containing water vapour. This means that the radio waves arrive at different times at each antenna, making it difficult to synthesise the data later using the time signal as a reference. And even worse: since VLBI utilises antennas located thousands of kilometres apart, it has to take into account the differences in the amount of water vapour in the sky above each site, as well as the large fluctuations of water vapour content during the observation period. In optical observations, these fluctuations make the light of a star flicker and lower the resolution. Radio observations have similar problems.

    “We have only a few ways to reduce this effect in VLBI observations,” explains Satoki Matsushita at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) of Taiwan. “If there is a compact object emitting intense radiation near the target object, we can remove most of the effect of refraction of radio waves by water vapour by using such an intense radiation source as a reference. However, no such intense reference source has been found near Sagittarius A* so far. And even if there is a reference source, there are still necessary conditions that must be satisfied: the telescopes need to have the ability to observe the target object and reference object at the same time; or the telescopes need to have the high-speed drive mechanism to quickly switch the observation between the target object and the reference object. Unfortunately, not all telescopes participating in the EHT/GMVA observations have this capability. One of the methods to remove the effect is to equip each antenna with an instrument to measure the amount of water vapour, but ALMA is the only telescope that has adopted this method at this point.”

    Another major challenge in imaging a black hole is obtaining a high-quality image. By combining the data collected by antennas thousands of kilometres apart, VLBI achieves a resolution equivalent to a radio telescope several thousands of kilometres in diameter. However, VLBI also has a lot of large blank areas that are not covered by any of the antennas. These missing parts make it difficult for VLBI to reproduce a high-fidelity image of a target object from the synthesised data. This is a common problem for all radio interferometers, including ALMA, but it can be more serious in VLBI where the antennas are located very far apart.

    It might be natural to think that a higher resolution means a higher image quality, as is the case with an ordinary digital camera, but in radio observations the resolution and image quality are quite different things. The resolution of a telescope determines how close two objects can be to each other and yet still be resolved as separate objects, while the image quality defines the fidelity in reproducing the image of the structure of the observed object. For example, imagine a leaf, which has a variety of veins. The resolution is the ability to see thinner vein patterns, while the image quality is the ability to capture the overall spread of the leaf. In normal human experience, it would seem bizarre if you could see the very thin veins of a leaf but couldn’t grasp a complete view of the leaf — but such things happen in VLBI, since some portions of data are inevitably missing.

    1
    This infographic illustrates how ALMA contributes to the EHT observations. With its shorter baseline, ALMA is sensitive to larger scales than the EHT and so ALMA can fill in the lower-resolution, larger-scale structures that the EHT misses. Credit: NRAO

    Researchers have been studying data processing methods to improve image quality for almost as long as the history of the radio interferometer itself, so there are some established methods that are already widely used, while others are still in an experimental phase. In the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) and the Global mm-VLBI Array (GMVA) projects, which are both aiming to capture the shadow of a black hole’s event horizon for the first time, researchers began to develop effective image analysis methods using simulation data well before the start of the observations.

    2
    A simulated image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the M87 galaxy. The dark gap at the centre is the shadow of the black hole. Credit: Monika Moscibrodzka (Radboud University)

    The observations with the EHT and the GMVA were completed in April 2017. The data collected by the antennas around the world has been sent to the US and Germany, where data processing will be conducted with dedicated data-processing computers called correlators. The data from the South Pole Telescope, one of the participating telescopes in the EHT, will arrive at the end of 2017, and then data calibration and data synthesis will begin in order to produce an image, if possible. This process might take several months to achieve the goal of obtaining the first image of a black hole, which is eagerly awaited by black hole researchers and the general astronomical community worldwide.

    This lengthy time span between observations and results is normal in astronomy, as the reduction and analysis of the data is a careful, time-consuming process. Right now, all we can do is wait patiently for success to come — for a long-held dream of astronomers to be transformed into a reality.

    Until then, this is the last post in our blog series about the EHT and GMVA projects. When the results become available in early 2018, we’ll be back with what will hopefully be exciting new information about our turbulent and fascinating galactic centre

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
  • richardmitnick 7:17 am on January 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ESO, Lupus 3   

    From ESO: “Glory From Gloom” 

    ESO 50 Large

    European Southern Observatory

    31 January 2018
    Richard Hook
    ESO Public Information Officer
    Garching bei München, Germany
    Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
    Cell: +49 151 1537 3591
    Email: rhook@eso.org

    1
    A dark cloud of cosmic dust snakes across this spectacular wide field image, illuminated by the brilliant light of new stars. This dense cloud is a star-forming region called Lupus 3, where dazzlingly hot stars are born from collapsing masses of gas and dust. This image was created from images taken using the VLT Survey Telescope and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope and is the most detailed image taken so far of this region.

    2
    This wide-field view shows a dark cloud where new stars are forming along with cluster of brilliant stars that have already burst out of their dusty stellar nursery. This cloud is known as Lupus 3 and it lies about 600 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion). It is likely that the Sun formed in a similar star formation region more than four billion years ago. This view was created from images forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2. Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin


    Published on Jan 31, 2018
    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. This short podcast showcases a new picture of this dramatic object, created from images taken using the VLT Survey Telescope and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is the most detailed image taken so far of this region. The video is available in 4K UHD.
    The ESOcast Light is a series of short videos bringing you the wonders of the Universe in bite-sized pieces. The ESOcast Light episodes will not be replacing the standard, longer ESOcasts, but complement them with current astronomy news and images in ESO press releases.
    More information and download options: http://www.eso.org/public/videos/eso1804c/

    The Lupus 3 star forming region lies within the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), only 600 light-years away from Earth. It is part of a larger complex called the Lupus Clouds, which takes its name from the adjacent constellation of Lupus (The Wolf). The clouds resemble smoke billowing across a background of millions of stars, but in fact these clouds are a dark nebula.

    Nebulae are great swathes of gas and dust strung out between the stars, sometimes stretching out over hundreds of light-years. While many nebulae are spectacularly illuminated by the intense radiation of hot stars, dark nebulae shroud the light of the celestial objects within them. They are also known as absorption nebulae, because they are made up of cold, dense particles of dust that absorb and scatter light as it passes through the cloud.

    Famous dark nebulae include the Coalsack Nebula and the Great Rift, which are large enough to be seen with the naked eye, starkly black against the brilliance of the Milky Way.

    Lupus 3 has an irregular form, appearing like a misshapen snake across the sky. In this image it is a region of contrasts, with thick dark trails set against the glare of bright blue stars at the centre. Like most dark nebulae, Lupus 3 is an active star formation region, primarily composed of protostars and very young stars. Nearby disturbances can cause denser clumps of the nebula to contract under gravity, becoming hot and pressurised in the process. Eventually, a protostar is born out of the extreme conditions in the core of this collapsing cloud.

    The two brilliant stars in the centre of this image underwent this very process. Early in their lives, the radiation they emitted was largely blocked by the thick veil of their host nebula, visible only to telescopes at infrared and radio wavelengths. But as they grew hotter and brighter, their intense radiation and strong stellar winds swept the surrounding areas clear of gas and dust, allowing them to emerge gloriously from their gloomy nursery to shine brightly.

    These two stars are still very young — so young that nuclear fusion has not yet been triggered in their cores. Instead, their brightness is caused by the conversion of gravitational energy into heat as their turbulent cores contract.

    Understanding nebulae is critical for understanding the processes of star formation — indeed, it is thought that the Sun formed in a star formation region very similar to Lupus 3 over four billion years ago. As one of the closest stellar nurseries, Lupus 3 has been the subject of many studies; in 2013, the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile captured a smaller picture of its dark smoke-like columns and brilliant stars (eso1303).

    Research review paper
    The Lupus clouds
    Fernando Comer´on
    European Southern Observatory
    Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2
    D-85737 Garching bei M¨unchen
    Germany

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Visit ESO in Social Media-

    Facebook

    Twitter

    YouTube

    ESO Bloc Icon

    ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

    ESO LaSilla
    ESO/Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT
    VLT at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO Vista Telescope
    ESO/Vista Telescope at Cerro Paranal, with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ESO NTT
    ESO/NTT at Cerro LaSilla 600 km north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2400 metres.

    ESO VLT Survey telescope
    VLT Survey Telescope at Cerro Paranal with an elevation of 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level.

    ALMA Array
    ALMA on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 metres.

    ESO E-ELT
    ESO/E-ELT to be built at Cerro Armazones at 3,060 m.

    ESO APEX
    APEX Atacama Pathfinder 5,100 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert.

    Leiden MASCARA instrument, La Silla, located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    Leiden MASCARA cabinet at ESO Cerro la Silla located in the southern Atacama Desert 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of Santiago de Chile at an altitude of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft)

    ESO Next Generation Transit Survey at Cerro Paranel, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    SPECULOOS four 1m-diameter robotic telescopes 2016 in the ESO Paranal Observatory, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO TAROT telescope at Paranal, 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) above sea level

    ESO ExTrA telescopes at Cerro LaSilla at an altitude of 2400 metres

     
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