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European Southern Observatory

The European Southern Observatory (ESO, also more formally the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere) is an intergovernmental research organisation for astronomy, composed and supported by eleven countries from the European Union plus Switzerland.

Created in 1962, it is famous for building and operating some of the largest and most technologically advanced telescopes in the world, such as the New Technology Telescope (NTT), which was one of the telescopes which pioneered active optics technology, and more recently the VLT (Very Large Telescope), consisting of four 8-meter class telescopes.

In 2005, it obtained the first picture of an exosolar planet, 2M1207b, orbiting a brown dwarf 260 light-years away.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "European Southern Observatory", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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last updated on 2014-08-01 at 8:30 am EDT

E-ELT: Looking Into Black Holes

E-ELT: Looking Into Black Holes

Deutsche Welle (July 21, 2013) Known as the E-ELT for short, the European Extremely Large Telescope will be located at the European Southern Observatory, the ESO. At the moment, parts of the spyglass are being assembled in Garching in southern Germany. Jochen Liske of the ESO is involved in the project, which is expected to be ready to operate in the coming decade. Yet astronomers already know the telescope will be used to research black holes. At the moment, an enormous gas cloud is being torn apart by a black hole in the galaxy where the earth is located, the Milky Way. The E-ELT will be used to probe events like this, with the aim of answering key astronomical questions, such as the role of black holes in the development of galaxies.
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E-ELT in Search of Black Holes

E-ELT in Search of Black Holes

Deutsche Welle (Nov. 26, 2012) The E-ELT, or European Extremely Large Telescope, is set to be the world's most powerful telescope ever. It's a project of the European Southern Observatory. It's not due to go into operation for about another decade, but the sense of anticipation is already growing. We take a look at how "the worlds biggest eye on the sky" is coming along. One area that the E-ELT will be focusing on is the mystery of black holes. It will investigate for the first time the closer vicinity around the super-massive black hole at the center of our galaxy. We ask what scientists are hoping to discover and how fundamental their discoveries could be.
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Astronomers Zoom Into Pencil Nebula, 4800 Trillion Miles Away

Astronomers Zoom Into Pencil Nebula, 4800 Trillion Miles Away

Reuters (Sep. 12, 2012) The European Southern Observatory in northern Chile has released new images of a massive glowing cloud of gas called The Pencil Nebula, 800 lightyears from Earth. The images show pink, white and blue filaments streaking across the sky, the result of a stellar explosion 11,000 years ago.
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Chilean Observatory Reaches for the Stars

Chilean Observatory Reaches for the Stars

Reuters (Oct. 29, 2012) Stunning new images of the Milky Way, recently released by the European Southern Observatory, have excited astronomers and amateur star gazers around the world. But they are merely the latest of many ground-breaking observations recorded at the facility since it was established fifty years ago.
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