Posted: February 12th, 2012 | Author: Michael Courtenay | Filed under: Applied Science, Astronomy, Cankler Science News | Tags: astronomy, Chile, ESO, European Southern Observatory, Paranal, Very Large Telescope, Virtual Telescope, VLT | No Comments »
ESO – European Southern Observatory – astronomers in Chile have created the world’s largest virtual optical telescope by using a special technique to combine images from the four most powerful devices as if they were one. ”This weekend we managed to finish the process (of merging the images) after almost a year,” says Jean-Philippe Berger, a scientist at the European Southern Observatory which operates the Very Large Telescope array – VLT – in Chile’s high northern desert. For the first time, we made scientific observations through this new instrument, and we can say that it can be used.”
The ESO’s VLT complex in Paranal includes four large optical telescopes, each of which are about 30 metres high and have mirrors eight metres in diameter. The astronomers brought together the signals received by the four telescopes thanks to a technique known as interferometry, which combines the images from the four to achieve a higher resolution image. This creates a virtual mirror which is the equivalent of 130 metres in diameter and, according to Berger, improves the resolution and the ability to “zoom” in on the cosmos. Read the full article »»»»
Posted: December 20th, 2011 | Author: M.Aaron Silverman | Filed under: Astronomy, Cankler Science News | Tags: Cerro Armazones, E-ELT, ESO, European Extremely Large Telescope | No Comments »
The governing body of the European Southern Observatory, the ESO Council, has approved ESO’s budget for 2012. This includes preparatory work on the road to the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) site at Cerro Armazones and the start of development of some very challenging optical components for the telescope. With several ESO Member States now having committed their part of the required additional funding, the final approval for the whole E-ELT programme is expected in mid-2012. Read the full article »»»»
Posted: December 15th, 2011 | Author: M.Aaron Silverman | Filed under: Astronomy, Cankler Science News | Tags: Chile, ESO, European Organisation for Astronomical Research, European Southern Observatory, NGC 253, Paranal, The Silver Coin Galaxy, Very Large Survey Telescope, VST | No Comments »
Europe’s state-of-the-art Very Large Survey Telescope - VST – in Paranal, Chile, has captured some of the most detailed images ever taken of a spiral galaxy. The Silver Coin Galaxy, known to scientists as NGC 253, gleams about 11.5 million light years away in the southern constellation of Sculptor.
One light year is the distance that light travels in 365 Earth days, about 9.46 trillion kilometres or 5.87 trillion miles. NGC 253 is labelled a “starbust” galaxy because it is a stellar nursery where super-hot young stars have ignited, forming what look like bright clumps dotting its spiral.
The radiation streaming from these giant blue-white babies makes the surrounding hydrogen gas clouds glow green in the images captured by the telescope, the European Southern Observatory – ESO – said in a statement. Read the full article »»»»
Posted: December 14th, 2011 | Author: M.Aaron Silverman | Filed under: Applied Science, Astronomy, Cankler Science News | Tags: ESO, eso0846, MPE, Sagittarius A, Sgr A, Very Large Telescope, VLT | No Comments »
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have discovered a gas cloud with several times the mass of the Earth accelerating fast towards the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. This is the first time ever that the approach of such a doomed cloud to a supermassive black hole has been observed. The results will be published in the 5 January 2012 issue of the journal Nature.
During a 20-year programme using ESO telescopes to monitor the movement of stars around the supermassive black hole - eso0846, formally known as Sgr A*  Sagittarius A - at the centre of our galaxy, a team of astronomers led by Reinhard Genzel at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics – MPE – in Garching, Germany, has discovered a unique new object fast approaching the black hole.
Over the last seven years, the speed of this object has nearly doubled, reaching more than 8 million km/h. It is on a very elongated orbit  and in mid-2013 it will pass at a distance of only about 40 billion kilometres from the event horizon of the black hole, a distance of about 36 light-hours . This is an extremely close encounter with a supermassive black hole in astronomical terms. Read the full article »»»»
Posted: October 8th, 2011 | Author: Buster Cookson | Filed under: Astronomy, Cankler, Science, Science News | Tags: 5000 Meters, 66 Antenna, ALMA, Atacama, Chajnantor, Chile, ESO, Large Millimeter Array, Radio Telescope, Worlds Largest Telescope | Comments Off
The human senses are a marvel of natural design but they are limited by their physical qualities. Perfectly adapted to life on the surface of the planet Earth, not so great if you want to listen to faint stars on the other side of the universe. Luckily enough one of humanities greatest survival techniques is making use of other sensory systems.
Whether it be listening for the bark of a guard dog to pointing the largest telescope in the world at just the right bit of the sky humanity has always made use of tools to extend our senses. The latest addition to our extra sensory abilities is the Worlds Largest Millimeter / Sub-Millimeter Radio Telescope in Chile, The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub millimeter Array – ALMA – sits upon the high planes of the Chajnantor plateau in northern Chile.
At an altitude of 5000 meters.in the middle of an isolated plateau the ALMA telescope has one of the clearest sky to look through. The array itself consists of 66 individual radio telescopes networked together, with their combined power being pointed at a single point they are able to produce the highest resolution images possible of the furthest reaches of our universe. Helping us look at the coldest darkest parts of the Universe with new clarity. ALMA joins other great names such as Hubble and SDO in our list of most valuable scientific instruments, or was that most popular scientific instruments :: Read the full article »»»»