Related topics: stars

ESA confirms asteroid will miss Earth in 2019

Asteroid 2006 QV89, a small object 20 to 50 metres in diameter, was in the news lately because of a very small, one-in-7000 chance of impact with Earth on 9 September 2019.

Gaia starts mapping the galactic bar in the Milky Way

The second release of data from the Gaia star-mapping satellite, published in 2018, has been revolutionising many fields of astronomy. The unprecedented catalogue contains the brightness, positions, distance indicators and ...

Chile, Argentina prepare for spectacular solar eclipse

Day will briefly turn to night Tuesday over large parts of Chile and Argentina as a total eclipse of the Sun plunges a vast swath of the southern Pacific and the cone of South America into darkness.

Observing Gaia from Earth to improve its star maps

While ESA's Gaia mission has been surveying more than one billion stars from space, astronomers have been regularly monitoring the satellite's position in the sky with telescopes across the world, including the European Southern ...

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European Southern Observatory

The European Southern Observatory (ESO, whose official name is the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere), is an intergovernmental research organization for astronomy, composed and supported by fourteen countries from Europe. Created in 1962, to provide state-of-the-art facilities and access to the Southern Sky to European astronomers, it is famous for building and operating some of the largest and most technologically advanced telescopes in the world, such as the New Technology Telescope (NTT), the telescope that pioneered active optics technology, and the VLT (Very Large Telescope), consisting of four 8-meter class telescopes and four 1.8-m Auxiliary Telescopes.

Its numerous observing facilities have made many astronomical discoveries, and produced several astronomical catalogues. Among the more recent discoveries is the discovery of the farthest gamma-ray burst and the evidence for a black hole at the centre of our Galaxy, the Milky Way. In 2004, the VLT allowed astronomers to obtain the first picture of an extrasolar planet, 2M1207b, orbiting a brown dwarf 173 light-years away. The HARPS spectrograph led to the discoveries of many other extrasolar planet, including a 5 earth mass planet around a red dwarf, Gliese 581c. The VLT has also discovered the candidate farthest galaxy ever seen by humans, Abell 1835 IR1916.

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