ESO

  • Scientists have discovered a massive planet evaporating as it orbits the remains of a Sun-like star. This is the first time evidence of a huge planet orbiting a white dwarf has been observed, and it could help reveal the fate of our own solar system.
  • In 2006, Pluto was downgraded from planet to dwarf planet – and now, based on the same definition an object in the asteroid belt may need to be upgraded from asteroid to dwarf planet. New observations of asteroid Hygiea suggest it fits the criteria.
  • A few months ago, the asteroid 2006 QV89 grabbed headlines thanks to a slim chance of striking Earth this September. But now the potentially-hazardous space rock has missed its appointment. ESA has confirmed that the asteroid hasn’t appeared in the sky yet, ruling out an impact any time soon.
  • The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has captured a beautiful image of the planetary nebula ESO 577-24. The ionized mass of gas and dust is only expected to be visible for another 10,000 years – no time at all from a cosmic perspective – before fading from view.
  • The Sun is setting on 2018, and with so many eyes on (and in) the skies it’s been a stellar year for space photography. From mesmerizing nebulae to historic firsts to stunning views of Earth and other planets, New Atlas rounds up some of the best space photos of the year.
  • Astronomers have discovered a super-Earth located just six light-years from our planet, orbiting the nearest lone star to our Sun. Named for its parent star, the exoplanet Barnard's Star b has a mass roughly 3.2 times that of the Earth, and has a frigid surface temperature of -170 °C (-274 °F).
  • ​Astronomers have gazed into the gaping mouth of NGC 2467, also known as the Skull and Crossbones Nebula. The image reveals a cosmic vista populated by young stars and churning clouds of colorful cosmic dust and gas.
  • Astronomers have discovered and mapped an enormous structure in the early universe with a mass the equivalent to one million billion times that of the Sun. The proto-supercluster, which has been named Hyperion after the Titan of Greek mythology, formed when the cosmos was only 2.3 billion years old.
  • ​Astronomers have captured a striking view of the galaxy NGC 3981, which is revealed shining with the light of energetic stars, surrounded by its ghostly spiral arms. Located roughly 65 million light-years from Earth, it appears to have been disrupted by a close call with a neighboring galaxy.
  • ​The ESO's VISTA telescope has captured a breath-taking view of the Carina Nebula – one of the Milky Way’s largest star-forming regions. The image reveals the complexity of the nebula hidden behind its dusty shroud, and showcases some of the most massive and brightest stars in our galaxy.
  • Astronomers at the Paranal Observatory in Chile have achieved first light with a cutting-edge adaptive optics mode for the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), designed to remove interference caused by Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Astronomers have snapped the first confirmed image of a planet still in the process of forming. The newborn, named PDS 70b, was spotted by the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) as a bright splotch in the cloud of dust surrounding a young star.