The European Southern Observatory — an international research organization that champions ground-based astronomy — plans to turn one of its giant telescopes into an even more superior planet hunter. Specifically, the organization’s Very Large Telescope, or VLT, in northern Chile is getting a hardware upgrade, so that it can better search for planets around the stars of Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to Earth. Located just over 4 billion light-years away, the triple-star Alpha Centauri system could be home to unseen, habitable planets — the closest possible places for life to exist outside our Solar System. If such worlds exist, ESO believes that VLT will be able to directly image them, by enhancing one of the telescope’s main instruments.
Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are showing themselves at its best this year. As Mars has recently passed its closest point to the Sun, Jupiter is rapidly approaching to the solar opposition thus becoming visible during the whole night.
Another series of great photoshoots was made by Belarusian astronomers in the beginning of June. Being lucky for a good weather and a cloudless sky the enthusiasts caught on their cameras a plenty of the objects including the planets of the Solar System as well as a far space objects.
As summer begins astronomers have discovered a group of unusual sunspots of a size bigger than that of Earth.
A cluster of sunspots titled AR 2546 was detected on May 22 with a help of telescope Sky Watcher BKP 2008 HEQ5 SynScan PRO and could be visible even with a naked eye when using safelight filters.
Two Belarusian astrology enthusiasts (Vitaly Hatsuk and Andrei Leichik) have sent us a spectacular time-lapse video with motion of Mercury across the night sky. This planet is considered one of the most difficult planets to observe in the Solar System.