A powerful new telescope called VISTA — the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy — just started work at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in the Chilean desert.
In its first five years, the telescope will be used for six major sky surveys, including one of the entire southern sky. Other studies will examine smaller regions in greater detail.
The telescope can detect faint sources and cover wide areas of sky quickly. Each image captures a section of sky about 10 times the area of the full moon.
When its sky surveys are complete, data from VISTA and NASA's new space-based Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) will provide astronomers a new map of the universe's darkest corners.
VISTA's infrared sensors can see through interstellar dust, revealing new images of the southern sky. Here's a sampling of its first pictures.
These images are absolutely gorgeous. It certainly makes he science much more interesting, perhaps grab the publics attention.
Wow I've never seen and indepth space image that big. That first image is now saved into my collection.
If I squint just a bit and tip my head, I can see an angle in the bright area at the top.
But I'm not too worried.
Without any effort at all, I can see my mother-in-law in the darker area at the bottom.
I always like to see new pictures of space.
This is great, but I am really waiting for the James Webb Space Telescope. I personally know one of the people on the team who is working on it, and it should be amazing.
I lub this photo
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