Latest Paranal Observatory Stories

2009-03-16 09:40:00

The ESO Very Large Telescope has taken the best image ever of a strange and chaotic duo of interwoven galaxies. The images also contain some surprises "” interlopers both far and near. Sometimes objects in the sky that appear strange, or different from normal, have a story to tell and prove scientifically very rewarding. This was the idea behind Halton Arp's catalogue of Peculiar Galaxies that appeared in the 1960s. One of the oddballs listed there is Arp 261, which has now been imaged...

2009-02-18 07:55:00

A team of French astronomers has captured one of the sharpest color images ever made. They observed the star T Leporis, which appears, on the sky, as small as a two-storey house on the Moon [1]. The image was taken with ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), emulating a virtual telescope about 100 meters across and reveals a spherical molecular shell around an aged star. "This is one of the first images made using near-infrared interferometry," says lead author Jean-Baptiste Le...

2009-02-04 09:00:00

A team of French and Italian astronomers have devised a new method for measuring the size and shape of asteroids that are too small or too far away for traditional techniques, increasing the number of asteroids that can be measured by a factor of several hundred. This method takes advantage of the unique capabilities of ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI). "Knowledge of the sizes and shapes of asteroids is crucial to understanding how, in the early days of our Solar System, dust...

2008-11-07 09:10:00

The deepest ultraviolet image of the Universe yet Anyone who has wondered what it might be like to dive into a pool of millions of distant galaxies of different shapes and colors, will enjoy the latest image released by ESO. Obtained in part with the Very Large Telescope, the image is the deepest ground-based U-band image of the Universe ever obtained. It contains more than 27 million pixels and is the result of 55 hours of observations with the VIMOS instrument. This uniquely beautiful...

2008-09-21 11:30:00

First Light for the PRIMA instrument The PRIMA instrument [1] of the ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) recently saw "first light" at its new home atop Cerro Paranal in Chile. When fully operational, PRIMA will boost the capabilities of the VLTI to see sources much fainter than any previous interferometers, and enable astrometric precision unmatched by any other existing astronomical facility. PRIMA will be a unique tool for the detection of exoplanets. "PRIMA is specifically...

2008-05-28 09:05:00

Today marks the 10th anniversary since First Light with ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), the most advanced optical telescope in the world. Since then, the VLT has evolved into a unique suite of four 8.2-m Unit Telescopes (UTs) equipped with no fewer than 13 state-of-the-art instruments, and four 1.8-m moveable Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs). The telescopes can work individually, and they can also be linked together in groups of two or three to form a giant 'interferometer' (VLTI), allowing...

2008-05-28 01:00:00

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Very Large Telescope's First Light, ESO is releasing two stunning images of different kinds of nebulae, located towards the Carina constellation. The first one, Eta Carinae, has the shape of a 'little man' and surrounds a star doomed to explode within the next 100 000 years. The second image features a much larger nebula, whose internal turmoil is created by a cluster of young, massive stars.Being brighter than one million Suns, Eta Carinae is...

2008-05-02 14:25:00

Cerro Paranal, home of ESO's Very Large Telescope, is certainly one of the best astronomical sites on the planet. Stunning images, obtained by ESO staff at Paranal, of the green and blue flashes, as well as of the so-called 'Gegenschein', are real cases in point.The Earth's atmosphere is a gigantic prism that disperses sunlight. In the most ideal atmospheric conditions, such as those found regularly above Cerro Paranal, this will lead to the appearance of so-called green and blue flashes at...

2008-04-17 10:55:00

A 4.1-metre diameter primary mirror, a vital part of the world's newest and fastest survey telescope, VISTA (the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy) has been delivered to its new mountaintop home at Cerro Paranal, Chile. The mirror will now be coupled with a small camera for initial testing prior to installing the main camera in June. Full scientific operations are due to start early next year. VISTA will form part of ESO's Very Large Telescope facility.The mirror arrived...

2008-03-26 01:15:00

Blockbuster shooting in ParanalCerro Paranal, the 2600m high mountain in the Chilean Atacama Desert that hosts ESO's Very Large Telescope, will be the stage for scenes in the next James Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace". Looking akin to Mars, with its red sand and lack of vegetation, the Atacama Desert is thought to be the driest place on Earth. Cerro Paranal is home to ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), which, with its array of four giant 8.2-m individual telescopes, is the world's most...

Latest Paranal Observatory Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:43

Very Large Telescope -- The Very Large Telescope (VLT) consist of four optical telescopes that have 8.4 meter aperture. The VLT is a project of the European Southern Observatory organization. It is located at the Paranal Observatory on Cerro Paranal, a 2,635-m high mountain in the Atacama desert in northern Chile. The VLT consists of a cluster four of large telescopes, and an interferometer (VLTI) which will be used to resolve fine features. The telescopes have been named after the...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Overwhelmingly Large Telescope -- The European Southern Observatory has undertaken a concept study for the next generation of ground-based Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs). Dubbed OWL, ESO's concept is conceived as a 100 m. diameter optical and near-infrared, adaptive telescope. With milliarc second resolution and limiting magnitude V~38, OWL will be capable of imaging solar system objects at resolutions comparable to that offered by space probes, over much longer time scales. It...

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...

More Articles (3 articles) »
Word of the Day
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'