Latest La Silla Observatory Stories

2011-04-13 08:25:00

This image of the nebula NGC 3582, which was captured by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, shows giant loops of gas bearing a striking resemblance to solar prominences. These loops are thought to have been ejected by dying stars, but new stars are also being born within this stellar nursery. These energetic youngsters emit intense ultraviolet radiation that makes the gas in the nebula glow, producing the fiery display shown here....

2011-03-16 09:40:00

New-born stars wreak havoc in their nursery A new image from ESO's Very Large Telescope gives a close-up view of the dramatic effects new-born stars have on the gas and dust from which they formed. Although the stars themselves are not visible, material they have ejected is colliding with the surrounding gas and dust clouds and creating a surreal landscape of glowing arcs, blobs and streaks. The star-forming region NGC 6729 is part of one of the closest stellar nurseries to the Earth and...

2011-03-02 06:45:00

This image of NGC 247, taken by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, reveals the fine details of this highly inclined spiral galaxy and its rich backdrop. Astronomers say this highly tilted orientation, when viewed from Earth, explains why the distance to this prominent galaxy was previously overestimated. The spiral galaxy NGC 247 is one of the closest spiral galaxies of the southern sky. In this new view from the Wide Field Imager...

2011-02-16 09:40:00

The nebula Messier 78 takes center stage in this image taken with the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, while the stars powering the bright display take a backseat. The brilliant starlight ricochets off dust particles in the nebula, illuminating it with scattered blue light. Igor Chekalin was the overall winner of ESO's Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition with his image of this stunning object. Messier 78 is a fine...

2011-02-02 10:20:00

The bright galaxy NGC 3621, captured here using the Wide Field Imager on the 2.2-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, appears to be a fine example of a classical spiral. But it is in fact rather unusual: it does not have a central bulge and is therefore described as a pure-disc galaxy. NGC 3621 is a spiral galaxy about 22 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra (The Sea Snake). It is comparatively bright and can be seen well in moderate-sized telescopes. This...

2011-01-19 10:04:20

This ethereal-looking image of the Orion Nebula was captured using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory, Chile. This nebula is much more than just a pretty face, offering astronomers a close-up view of a massive star-forming region to help advance our understanding of stellar birth and evolution. The data used for this image were selected by Igor Chekalin (Russia), who participated in ESO's Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition....

2011-01-12 09:06:33

ESO's Hidden Treasures 2010 astrophotography competition attracted nearly 100 entries, and ESO is delighted to announce the winners. Hidden Treasures gave amateur astronomers the opportunity to search ESO's vast archives of astronomical data for a well-hidden cosmic gem. Astronomy enthusiast Igor Chekalin from Russia won the first prize in this difficult but rewarding challenge "” the trip of a lifetime to ESO's Very Large Telescope at Paranal, Chile. The pictures of the Universe that...

2011-01-05 08:10:00

This new infrared image of the Lagoon Nebula was captured as part of a five-year study of the Milky Way using ESO's VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. This is a small piece of a much larger image of the region surrounding the nebula, which is, in turn, only one part of a huge survey. Astronomers are currently using ESO's Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) to scour the Milky Way's central regions for variable objects and map its structure in greater...

2010-12-30 07:39:20

The Federative Republic of Brazil has yesterday signed the formal accession agreement paving the way for it to become a Member State of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Following government ratification Brazil will become the fifteenth Member State and the first from outside Europe. On 29 December 2010, at a ceremony in Brasilia, the Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, Sergio Machado Rezende and the ESO Director General, Tim de Zeeuw signed the formal accession agreement...

2010-12-16 09:45:00

Gamma-ray bursts are among the most energetic events in the Universe, but some appear curiously faint in visible light. The biggest study to date of these so-called dark gamma-ray bursts, using the GROND instrument on the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla in Chile, has found that these gigantic explosions don't require exotic explanations. Their faintness is now fully explained by a combination of causes, the most important of which is the presence of dust between the Earth and the...

Latest La Silla Observatory Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:40

La Silla Observatory -- La Silla is a 2400-m mountain, bordering the southern extremity of the Atacama desert in Chile. It is located about 160 Km north of La Serena. Its geographical coordinates are: Latitude 29 15' south & Longitude 70 44' west. Originally known as Cinchado, the mountain was renamed La Silla (the saddle) after its shape. It rises quite isolated and remote from any artificial light and dust sources (astronomy's worst enemies). La Silla was the first ESO...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

European Southern Observatory -- ESO, the European Southern Observatory, was created in 1962 to: "establish and operate an astronomical observatory in the southern hemisphere, equipped with powerful instruments, with the aim of furthering and organising collaboration in astronomy". ESO is supported by Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Other countries have expressed interest to become a member as well. ESO...

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Word of the Day
  • A 'bachelor seal'; a young male seal which is prevented from mating by its herd's older males (mated bulls defending their territory).
This comes from the Russian word for 'bachelors.'