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ESOcast SD
website ESOcast SD
ESOcast is a video podcast series dedicated to bringing you the latest news and research from ESO, the European Southern Observatory. Here we explore the Universe's ultimate frontier with our host Doctor J, a.k.a. Dr. Joe Liske.
The nearest single star to the Sun hosts an exoplanet at least 3.2 times as massive as Earth -- a so-called super-Earth. Data from a worldwide array of telescopes, including ESO’s planet-hunting HARPS instrument, have revealed this frozen, dimly lit world. The newly discovered planet is the second-closest known exoplanet to the Earth and orbits the fastest moving star in the night sky.
ESO's planet-hunting instrument SPHERE on the VLT has caught sight of the exoplanet Beta Pictoris b emerging from the bright halo of its parent star, 64 light-years away.
This vivid picture of an active star forming region — NGC 2467, otherwise known as the Skull and Crossbones nebula — is as sinister as it is beautiful. This image of dust, gas and bright young stars, gravitationally bound into the form of a grinning skull, was captured with the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Whilst ESO’s telescopes are usually used for the collection of science data, their immense resolving power makes them ideal for capturing images such as this — which are beautiful for their own sake.
video ESOcast 178 Light: A Universe Aglow (4K UHD)
Mon, 01 Oct 2018 17:00:00 +0200
Deep observations made with the MUSE spectrograph on ESO’s Very Large Telescope have uncovered vast cosmic reservoirs of atomic hydrogen surrounding distant galaxies. The exquisite sensitivity of MUSE allowed for direct observations of dim clouds of hydrogen glowing with Lyman-alpha emission in the early Universe -- revealing that almost the whole night sky is invisibly aglow.
video ESOcast 177 Light: A Galactic Gem (4K UHD)
Wed, 12 Sep 2018 13:00:00 +0200
FORS2, an instrument mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope captured the spiral galaxy NGC 3981 in all its glory. The image, captured during the ESO Cosmic Gems Programme, showcases the beauty of the southern skies when conditions don’t allow scientific observations to be made.
Construction is underway at Cerro Armazones -- the future home of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). When construction is done the ELT will be the largest optical telescope​ ever built -- a dome the size of a cathedral.
The VISTA telescope has allowed us to peer through the hot gas and dark dust shrouding the spectacular Carina nebula to show us myriad stars, both newborn and in their death throes.
video ESOcast 174 Light: Elliptical Elegance (4K UHD)
Wed, 08 Aug 2018 12:00:00 +0200
The peerless surveying properties of the VST uncover exquisite details of the elliptical galaxy NGC 5018 and the delicate streams of gas and stars that surround it. Discover more in this episode of ESOcast Light.
Observations made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have for the first time revealed the effects predicted by Einstein’s general relativity on the motion of a star passing through the extreme gravitational field near the supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milky Way. This long-sought result represents the climax of a 26-year-long observation campaign using ESO’s telescopes in Chile.
ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has achieved first light with a new adaptive optics mode called laser tomography — and has captured remarkably sharp test images of the planet Neptune, star clusters and other objects. The pioneering MUSE instrument in Narrow-Field Mode, working with the GALACSI adaptive optics module, can now use this new technique to correct for turbulence at different altitudes in the atmosphere. It is now possible to capture images from the ground at visible wavelengths that are sharper than those from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The combination of exquisite image sharpness and the spectroscopic capabilities of MUSE will enable astronomers to study the properties of astronomical objects in much greater detail than was possible before.
New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have revealed the star cluster RCW 38 in all its glory. These observations was taken during testing of the HAWK-I camera with the GRAAL adaptive optics system. It shows the cluster and its surrounding clouds of brightly glowing gas in exquisite detail, with dark tendrils of dust threading through the bright core of this young gathering of stars.
video Hiding the Sun
Wed, 04 Jul 2018 16:00:00 +0200

Astronomers using the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope captured the first clear image of a planet caught in the act of forming in the dusty disc surrounding a young star. The young planet is carving a path through the primordial disc of gas and dust around the very young star PDS 70. The data suggest that the planet’s atmosphere is cloudy.
video ESOcast 168: NEOs — Near Earth Objects
Fri, 29 Jun 2018 16:00:00 +0200
Near Earth Objects (NEOs) are bodies in the Solar System with orbits that can bring them into close proximity with the Earth. Every day, many of these objects collide with our planet, but most are too small to have any noticeable effect. However, there are larger objects that lurk within our Solar System with the potential to impact the Earth, like the large Chelyabinsk meteor in 2013, or even larger -- like the devastating asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.
video ESOcast 167: VLT sees `Oumuamua getting a boost
Wed, 27 Jun 2018 19:00:00 +0200
Astronomers have found that ‘Oumuamua, the first interstellar object discovered in the Solar System, is moving away from the Sun faster than expected. Using data from ESO’s Very Large Telescope, and from NASA/ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope, a team of researchers concluded that ‘Oumuamua is most likely outgassing — suggesting that this enigmatic interstellar nomad is a peculiar comet rather than an asteroid.
Astronomers have made the most precise test ever of general relativity outside the Milky Way.
Each year, several outstanding early-career scientists have the opportunity to further develop their independent research programmes at the European Southern Observatory. Fellowships are available both at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching near Munich, Germany, and at ESO’s astronomy centre in Santiago, Chile.
ALMA has uncovered convincing evidence that three young planets are in orbit around the infant star HD 163296. Using a new planet-finding technique, astronomers have identified three discrete disturbances in the young star’s gas-filled disc: the strongest evidence yet that newly formed planets are in orbit there. These are considered the first planets discovered with ALMA.
Astronomers using ALMA and the VLT have discovered that starburst galaxies in both the early and the nearby Universe contain a much higher proportion of massive stars than is found in more peaceful galaxies.
Glowing brightly about 160 000 light-years away, the Tarantula Nebula is the most spectacular feature of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to our Milky Way. The VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile has imaged this region and its rich surroundings in exquisite detail. It reveals a cosmic landscape of star clusters, glowing gas clouds and the scattered remains of supernova explosions. This is the sharpest image ever of this entire field.
Astronomers have used observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to determine that star formation in the very distant galaxy MACS1149-JD1 started at an unexpectedly early stage, only 250 million years after the Big Bang. This discovery also represents the most distant oxygen ever detected in the Universe and the most distant galaxy ever observed by ALMA or the VLT.