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Very Large Telescope

Nearby Star Hosts Three Super-Earths in Habitable Zone

A closer look at a star once thought to hold no more mysteries reveals a treasure trove of exoplanets.

An international team of researchers and astronomers  have found what could be the motherlode of habitable exoplanets in a nearby star system. According to a new examination of the data, researchers believe the nearby star Gliese 667C -- found just 22 light years away in the constellation Scorpius -- hosts six planets. That's twice as many bodies as the star was thought to be home to, but that's not the big news. The big news is that three of the planets orbiting Gliese 667C are thought to be in the habitable zone, capable of hosting liquid water, and possibly able to support life.

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New European Space Observatory Telescope Snaps It’s First Image Of The Amazing Carina Nebula

The astronomers and other fine folks at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) showed off the capabilities of their newest toy, the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) earlier this week, marking the official inauguration of the instrument with the release of an amazing new photo of the Carina Nebula.

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Lonely Planet: Researchers Discover Wandering World That Doesn’t Orbit A Star

A team of astronomers at the University of Montreal has uncovered a cosmic first -- a planet without a star to orbit. Though stargazing scientists have theorized the existence of planet-sized objects that don't orbit any star for years, research published today is the first to confirm a sighting of a so-called "free-floating planet," CFBDSIR2149, which meanders about a cluster of stars known as the AB Doradus Moving Group.

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Appropriately Named “Very Large Telescope” Uses World’s Largest Virtual Mirror

The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile has already made a name for itself in the scientific community, second only to the Hubble Space Telescope for generating optical observation related academic papers. Though the first of the VLTs four primary telescopes was completed in 1999, plans to link the telescopes together as a single, massive unit have been in the works for nearly a decade. After years of work, all four telescopes were successfully integrated last week, giving scientists a 130 meter (426 foot) "virtual" mirror.

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Massive Cosmic Collision Captured By Telescopes

An epic tale of space history is just coming to light, as new images pieced together by several different telescopes around the world and in space show that the galaxy cluster Abell 2744, more colloquially known as Pandora's Cluster, was formed by a massive cosmic collision of at least four separate galaxy clusters.

The cluster's history is both complex and violent, with the extreme crash that brought the galaxy clusters together occurring over a span of 350 million years. The galaxies themselves make up less than 5 percent of the mass of the cluster itself. The gas, which makes up around 20 percent, is emitted as X-rays (shown in the above image in red). The remaining 75 percent of the cluster is made of dark matter (shown in the image in blue). Dark matter does not emit, absorb, or reflect light so the best way to detect its presence is by tracking its apparent gravitational attraction.

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As The Earth Turns [Video]

What does the night sky look like from Earth's point of view? It seems like an obvious question since well, we are on Earth and capable of looking up. But what the night sky looks like as the Earth rotates over time is a particular point of view not often captured on film. Most time lapse footage of the night sky shows the sky and stars moving above Earth, rather than Earth moving below.

But now, YouTube user bulletpeople has taken footage by Stephane Guisard and Jose Francisco Salgado shot at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) observatory and modified it so that the Earth itself moves. The VLT is located in the Cerro Paranal, II Region of Chile and is home to four of the largest optical telescopes in the world. The modified video lets users see what the night sky would look like from Earth's point of view, sped up over time.

(Bad Astronomy via NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day)

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