July 2010 — The hidden fires of the Flame Nebula
This is one of the first images from ESO’s new VISTA telescope. VISTA is short for Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy and is part of ESO’s Paranal Observatory. VISTA is a survey telescope working at infrared wavelengths and is the world’s largest telescope dedicated to mapping the sky. Its large mirror, wide field of view and very sensitive detectors will reveal a completely new view of the southern sky. This spectacular image shows the star formation region known as the Flame Nebula in the constellation of Orion. In views of this evocative object in visible light the core of the nebula is completely hidden behind obscuring dust, but in this infrared VISTA view the cluster of very young stars at the object’s heart is revealed. The image also includes the ghostly outline of the Horsehead Nebula towards the bottom.
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