Search Results for 'vlt'

The new VLT Survey Telescope delivers spectacular images

June 8, 2011 | By

[Update: I originally had called this the Very Large Survey Telescope, but have learned it’s actually the VLT (for Very Large Telescope) Survey Telescope. I’ve corrected this in the title and below. I like my less-redundant name for it better, but it’s best to be accurate.] The European Southern Observatory is an agency that governs […]

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Saturn storm cranks the heat WAY up

October 26, 2012 | By

In late 2010, amateur astronomers discovered a white spot on Saturn – a gigantic storm forming in its northern hemisphere. The storm grew rapidly, and within weeks had embiggened to an almost unbelievable size, much larger than our entire planet. The winds in Saturn’s atmosphere sheared the storm, pulling it apart while it still raged, […]

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That's not what the Batsignal is supposed to look like!

September 23, 2012 | By

The dark night rises? [Click to stimulatedemissionate.] Nope. This way cool picture is actually the Very Large Telescope observatory in Chile, though that really is a laser being shot into the sky. Our atmosphere boils and writhes, distorting the view of the stars. There’s a layer of sodium atoms in the atmosphere far above the […]

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A serene spiral with a double blast

August 1, 2012 | By

It’s been a while since I posted a devastating spiral galaxy picture, so why not now? I present NGC 1187, a gorgeous barred spiral about 60 million light years away: [Click to galactinate, or grab the 3300 x 1900 pixel version.] This image was taken with the Very Large Telescope to help astronomers study a […]

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A red nursery with a long smoke stack

April 27, 2012 | By

Something like 6000 light years away, roughly toward the downtown area of our galaxy, lies NGC 6604, a tight cluster of young, massive, hot, bright stars. Just starting to shrug off the gas cloud of its birth, these stars emit a fierce light that makes the gas glow. When you point the 2.2 meter ESO/MPG […]

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To grasp a billion stars

April 4, 2012 | By

There are times — rare, but they happen — when I have a difficult time describing the enormity of something. Something so big, so overwhelming, that words simply cannot suffice. The basic story is: Using the VISTA telescope in Chile and the UKIRT telescope in Hawaii, astronomers have made an incredibly detailed map of the […]

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Desktop Project Part 3: The massive massiveness of M54

March 28, 2012 | By

[Over the past few weeks, I’ve collected a metric ton of cool pictures to post, but somehow have never gotten around to actually posting them. Sometimes I was too busy, sometimes too lazy, sometimes they just fell by the wayside… but I decided my computer’s desktop was getting cluttered, and I’ll never clean it up […]

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Breaking: possible supernova in nearby spiral M95

March 19, 2012 | By

I just learned that there’s a possible (but nearly certain) supernova on the rise in the relatively nearby spiral galaxy M95. This is exciting, because it should get bright enough to spot in small telescopes! By coincidence, Mars happens to be sitting in the sky very close to the location of M95; that makes it […]

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Labors of the Hercules Cluster

March 7, 2012 | By

We live in the Milky Way galaxy, a collection of more than a hundred billion stars forming a flat, spiral disk. Our galaxy is in turn part of a small group called the Local Group, just a few dozen members strong, of which we are among the largest. But galaxies live in larger groups yet, […]

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Siriusly twinkling

January 27, 2012 | By

If you live nearly anywhere on Earth — those of you north of 73° you’re out of luck, but I’m guessing there aren’t many of you! — and look to the southeast shortly after sunset, you’ll see the figure of Orion. Follow the three belt stars to the east, and you’ll see a bright star: […]

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