Zooming in on the Galactic Center

This video sequence zooms from a broad view of the Milky Way into the dusty central region for a much closer look. A 4-million solar mass black hole lurks at the center surrounded by a swarm of rapidly orbiting stars. The animation of the stars’ motion is based on 26 years of data from ESO’s telescopes. One of the stars (S2) passed very close to the black hole in May. The video ends with a simulation of the motions of the stars.

Video Credit: ESO

A Celestial Diamond Ring

Celestial Diamond RingESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile captured this eye-catching image of planetary nebula PN A66 33 (aka Abell 33). This beautiful blue bubble in space was created when an aging star blew off its outer layers, and it is, by chance, aligned with a foreground star. From the Earth’s point of view the pair bears an uncanny resemblance to a diamond engagement ring.

Image Credit: ESO