Recently, for the very first time a newly made heavy element—strontium—was found in space, in the upshot of a collision of two neutron stars. This outcome was seen by ESO’s (European Space Observatory) X-shooter spectrograph on the VLT (Very Large Telescope) and was published in the journal Nature. The discovery shows that in the Universe the heavier elements can create neutron star by collisions, offering a missing piece of the mystery of chemical element arrangement. In 2017, after the discovery of gravitational waves passing the Earth, the ESO focused its telescopes in Chile, counting the VLT, to a neutron star merger designated GW170817.
The astronomers alleged that if heavier elements formed in neutron star mergers, marks of those elements can be identified in kilonovae—also known as macronova or r-process supernova—which is the explosive repercussions of these collisions. This is what a panel of European scientists has now done, by utilizing statistics from the X-shooter device on ESO’s VLT. After the GW170817 collision, the ESO’s convoy of telescopes started to monitor the budding kilonova outburst in a broad range of wavelengths. The X-shooter especially took a string of spectra from the ultraviolet to infrared.
Similarly, the ESO was in news for capturing the image of the unusual blue comet. In the past year, astronomers in Paris spotted a distinctive and beautiful comet known as C/2016 R2 but more colloquially called “the blue comet” for its rare hue. Now, the ESO has disclosed this new picture demonstrating the comet up close. C/2016 R2 is thought to begin from the Oort Cloud, which is a distant area of the Solar System with entities orbiting the Sun that are way ahead of the Kuiper Belt. The cloud contains billions or even trillions of entities that create a sphere all around the Sun, unlike the Kuiper Belt and the planets that form a flat disk-shaped nearby the Sun.