telescopes

Let’s look a̶t̶ with the Sun

Astronomers use several techniques to find exoplanets, including the so-called “gravitational microlensing” method. The light from a faraway star and its exoplanet is bent around another star located midway between Earth and the distant star/exoplanet,…


How James Webb will be deployed in space

The actual launch date in 2018 is coming closer for the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The megaconstruction, roughly as large as a tennis court, will be lauched…


First Light for a transformed Yepun

A major milestone has been reached in the project to transform Unit Telescope 4 (Yepun) of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) into a fully adaptive telescope, with the installation of a deformable secondary mirror on…


Breaking Raleigh’s curse a blessing

The resolution of an optical system (like a telescope or a camera) is limited by the so-called Rayleigh criterion. An international team, led by Complutense University of Madrid, has broken this limit, showing that it…


Not for coffee aficionados: what does ESPRESSO mean?

More power to look at exoplanets and their atmospheres. For the first time, starlight from one of the Unit Telescopes (UT) that make up ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has been successfully channelled 60 metres…


How to look at a black hole

A supermassive black hole churns at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy. To see it clearly, we need a telescope the size of the Earth. But building that is impossible. So scientists have flipped…


Looking for heavenly SPHEREs

SPHERE — the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument — has been installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile and has achieved first light. This powerful new facility for finding…