Exiled asteroid discovered in outer reaches of solar system electricity 101 episode 1

If these theories are correct, some of the asteroids swirling around the Kuiper Belt must be the same sort of ancient, carbon-rich (or carbonaceous) asteroids commonly found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter today. But although "there have been previous reports of other "atypical" Kuiper Belt Object spectra" – indicating the objects were made of substances not normally found in the region – none were confirmed to the level of quality of 2004 EW95, Olivier Hainaut, an ESO astronomer who was not part of the team, said in the statement. "Because the spectrum was not typical for objects observed in this region", it looked enough of a weirdo for us to take a closer look", said Tom Seccull, a researcher at Queen’s University Belfast and the lead author of a new paper that explains these findings.

The asteroid’s reflectance spectrum – the specific pattern of wavelengths of light reflected from an object – was different to that of similar small Kuiper Belt objects, which typically have uninteresting, featureless spectra that reveal little information about their composition. The sensitivity of these spectrographs allowed the team to obtain more detailed measurements of the pattern of light reflected from the asteroid and thus infer its composition.

Closer observation of the Kuiper Belt could yield thousands of other clues to the foundational mysteries of our solar system – and all we need is a Very Large Telescope to uncover them. Carbonaceous – or C-type – asteroids can be identified by their dark surfaces, caused by the presence of carbon molecules. But scientists haven’t been able to find any of these carbonaceous asteroids in the Kuiper Belt – until now.

An international team of astronomers has used ESO telescopes to investigate a relic of the primordial Solar System. The team found that the unusual Kuiper Belt Object 2004 EW95 is a carbon-rich asteroid, the first of its kind to be confirmed in the cold outer reaches of the Solar System. This curious object likely formed in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and has been flung billions of kilometres from its origin to its current home in the Kuiper Belt.

The ALMA and APEX telescopes have peered deep into space — back to the time when the Universe was one tenth of its current age — and witnessed the beginnings of gargantuan cosmic pileups: the impending collisions of young, starburst galaxies. Astronomers thought that these events occurred around three billion years after the Big Bang, so they were surprised when the new observations revealed them happening when the Universe was only half that age! These ancient systems of galaxies are thought to be

The SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile allows astronomers to suppress the brilliant light of nearby stars in order to obtain a better view of the regions surrounding them. This collection of new SPHERE images is just a sample of the wide variety of dusty discs being found around young stars.

Spectacular new pictures, created from images from both ground- and space-based telescopes [1], tell the story of the hunt for an elusive missing object hidden amid a complex tangle of gaseous filaments in the Small Magellanic Cloud, about 200 000 light-years from Earth.

This spectacular and unusual image shows part of the famous Orion Nebula, a star formation region lying about 1350 light-years from Earth. It combines a mosaic of millimetre-wavelength images from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the IRAM 30-metre telescope, shown in red, with a more familiar infrared view from the HAWK-I instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, shown in blue. The group of bright blue-white stars at the upper-left is the Trapezium Cluster — made up of hot young stars that

One of the original design goals of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) was for its four Unit Telescopes (UTs) to work together to create a single giant telescope. With the first light of the ESPRESSO spectrograph using the four-Unit-Telescope mode of the VLT, this milestone has now been reached [1].

Planets around the faint red star TRAPPIST-1, just 40 light-years from Earth, were first detected by the TRAPPIST-South telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in 2016. In the following year further observations from ground-based telescopes, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, revealed that there were no fewer than seven planets in the system (http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1706/ ), each roughly the same size as the Earth. They are named TRAPPIST-1b,c,d,e,f,g and h, with increasing distance from the central star [1].

The Lupus 3 star forming region lies within the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), only 600 light-years away from Earth. It is part of a larger complex called the Lupus Clouds, which takes its name from the adjacent constellation of Lupus (The Wolf constellation ). The clouds resemble smoke billowing across a background of millions of stars, but in fact these clouds are a dark nebula.

Astronomers using ESO’s MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a star in the cluster NGC 3201 that is behaving very strangely. It appears to be orbiting an invisible black hole with about four times the mass of the Sun — the first such inactive stellar-mass black hole found in a globular cluster and the first found by directly detecting its gravitational pull. This important discovery impacts on our understanding of the formation of these star clusters, black holes,