Set lasers to star mode. The European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile now has four powerful laser beams with which to create artificial stars in the night sky.
Behold VFTS 352, the hottest and most massive “overcontact binary” star system ever discovered. The two stars, which are so close that they’re touching, feature a combined mass 57 times that of our Sun. Astronomers say it’s a unique stellar relationship that will culminate in a rather dramatic finish.
Located 1,500 light years away and measuring four light-years across, the gorgeous Medusa Nebula offers a sneak preview of what our Sun will look like when it finally enters into its final death throes.
This breathtaking photo shows the intense orange beam of a new 22-watt laser pointed at the planet Saturn. Wait, isn’t this like the shocking scene in Star Wars where the Death Star’s superlaser completely annihilated planet Alderaan?
This stunning aerial photograph of the Very Large Telescope platform somehow reminds me of a smaller base in a real time strategy game, like Starcraft or Total Annihilation.
One way or another, the Pillars of Creation are toast. Based on new observations at the European Southern Observatory, these awe-inspiring structures have another 3 million years before their ghostly image fizzles away into cosmic nothingness.
Being an astronomer working at the Very Large Telescope is probably one of the best jobs in the world. Just look at the view this office has. It's full of stars!
This stunning fisheye photograph shows the towering wonder of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope—plus, you know, some galaxy called the Milky Way in the background, too.
Our nearest galactic neighbor is the Large Magellanic Cloud. But despite its close proximity — about 160,000 light-years — astronomers are still finding new features to explore, including this stunning supernova remnant that appears to be sitting right beside a stellar nursery.
We’ve found hundreds of planets outside the solar system, but taking a picture of one is still something quite special.
To produce stunning images of our galaxy like this, your rinky-dink smartphone camera just isn't going to cut it. No, to generate 9GP masterpieces, you'll need to use the world's largest infrared survey telescope outfitted with the world's largest infrared camera.
We've showed you the Paranal Observatory's laser-guided telescopes before, but never in gorgeous HD motion, replete with clear stars and deftly swiveling machinery. This is definitely one you're going to want to watch fullscreen.
How do you create the world's largest virtual optical telescope and the most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory? Teamwork. The Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory combines the visual prowess of four huge telescopes—for the first time ever—to mimic a 130-meter-wide mirror.
How we see the universe is defined by where we're standing, and that can create some fundamental misconceptions about the cosmos. Case in point: this time-lapse video that reminds us it isn't the stars that are moving...it's the Earth itself.
These buildings are three of the structures that make up the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, located in Chile's Atacama Desert. In the skies above them are the constellations Orion, Canis Major, and the Southern Cross, among many others.
Here are six of the most beautiful galaxies, "stripped bare" by a new camera. The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, paired with the HAWK-l infrared camera, saw past the interstellar dust to show us just the galaxies themselves.
The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope is shooting a freakin big laser into space, to create a virtual star to compensate for the Earth's atmospheric interference.
No, the astronomers at the European Southern Observatory are not playing a galactic-scale Space Invaders. They are just exciting atoms in the upper atmosphere, creating an artificial star 56 miles above the Earth.
Check out this artist's impression of an super-violent supernova. The Very Large Telescope managed to obtain the first 3-D view of material after a star's explosion, traveling 100 million kilometers per hour. And check out a video below.