ESO Announcements 25 May 2018, 13:00 UTC ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the flagship facility for European ground-based astronomy, celebrates its 20th anniversary today. The first of the VLT’s Unit Telescopes saw first light on 25 May 1998, ushering in a new era of astronomy. Over the following years three more 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes were completed and these giants were joined by the four smaller Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) that form part of the VLT Interferometer. The interferometer first combined the light from two ATs in 2005, creating a virtual telescope up to 200 metres in diameter that now regularly observes the surfaces of stars.
ESO Blog 25 May 2018, 10:00 UTC Mapping the sky has been one of humanity's quests since the dawn of time, and ESA’s Gaia satellite is taking our understanding of our stellar neighbourhood to a whole new level. But it can’t do this alone. ESA has a close collaboration with ESO to use our ground-based expertise to help Gaia excel up in space. We talked to ESO astronomer Henri Boffin to find out more.
ABC 25 May 2018, 01:04 UTC A NASA photographer's camera melted at a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch — but its photos survived, capturing its own demise. Bill Ingalls had set up several remotely triggered cameras near the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch went off without a hitch, and the camera managed to capture it.
Starts With a Bang! 24 May 2018, 14:01 UTC Scientists have just confirmed the second most distant galaxy of all: MACS1149-JD1, whose light comes from when the Universe was 530 million years old: less than 4% of its present age. But what’s remarkable is that we’ve been able to detect oxygen in there, marking the first time we’ve seen this heavy element so far back.
The Planetary Society Blog 24 May 2018, 11:00 UTC Starting in 2013, five teams of humans have voluntarily isolated themselves in a little dome on the side of a Hawai'i volcano for an experiment called HI-SEAS (Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation), which simulates what it might be like to live on Mars. Each mission lasted between four months and a year. A sixth was underway in February when a crew member was injured, forcing the simulation to be canceled. Actually, that might have been for the best, since Google Maps says the HI-SEAS habitat is just 20 miles from the erupting Kīlauea volcano!
ABC 24 May 2018, 08:03 UTC In a frenzy of citizen science and rapid astronomical observations, the audience of Stargazing Live on ABC TV has helped identify two new exploding stars — gathering enough data to estimate the age of the universe.
Geekwire 24 May 2018, 01:40 UTC Did Pluto form like its closer-in brethren in the solar system, or is it the result of an agglomeration of comets from the edge of the solar system? A study published in the journal Icarus makes the case for comets.
Starts With a Bang! 23 May 2018, 14:01 UTC After the Big Bang, the Universe was full of matter and radiation. It expanded and cooled, and over millions and even billions of years, the overdense regions attracted more and more matter into them, eventually forming stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies. A few billion years ago, a new form of energy — dark energy — became important in the Universe, and pushed the distant galaxies and clusters away, causing them to accelerate. One of the greatest puzzles in physics is where this dark energy came from, and why it has the value that it does.