Over the last twenty years, astronomers have found that almost all galaxies have a huge black hole at their centre. Some of these black holes are growing by drawing in matter from their surroundings, creating in the process the most energetic objects in the Universe: active galactic nuclei (AGN).
Clouds of gas and interstellar dust are the raw materials from which stars are made. But these tiny dust grains block our view of what lies within and behind the clouds â€” at least at visible wavelengths â€” making it difficult to observe the processes of star formation.
The Danish 1.54-metre telescope located at ESOâ€™s La Silla Observatory in Chile has captured a striking image of NGC 6559, an object that showcases the anarchy that reigns when stars form inside an interstellar cloud.
This part of the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer) is one of the richest star fields in the whole sky â€” the Large Sagittarius Star Cloud. The huge number of stars that light up this region dramatically emphasise the blackness of dark clouds like Barnard 86, which appears at the centre of this new picture […]
Astronomers using ESOâ€™s Very Large Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope have identified a body that is very probably a planet wandering through space without a parent star.
Globular star clusters are among the oldest objects in the Universe, and NGC 6362 cannot hide its age in this picture. The many yellowish stars in the cluster have already run through much of their lives and become red giant stars. But globular clusters are not static relics from the past â€” some curious stellar […]
Alpha Centauri is one of the brightest stars in the southern skies and is the nearest stellar system to our Solar System â€” only 4.3 light-years away. It is actually a triple star â€” a system consisting of two stars similar to the Sun orbiting close to each other, designated Alpha Centauri A and B, […]
Just as RenÃ© Magritte wrote â€œThis is not a pipeâ€ on his famous painting, this is also not a pipe. It is however a picture of part of a vast dark cloud of interstellar dust called the Pipe Nebula. This new and very detailed image of what is also known as Barnard 59 was captured […]
A new image taken with ESOâ€™s Very Large Telescope shows the galaxy NGC 1187. This impressive spiral lies about 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Eridanus (The River). NGC 1187 has hosted two supernova explosions during the last thirty years, the latest one in 2007. This picture of the galaxy is the most […]