Visible and Invisible

Cat's PawThis comparison of infrared and visible views of the Cat’s Paw Nebula uses images taken by two of the telescopes belonging to the European Southern Observatory. The visible light image (right) was taken with the Wide Field Imager on the 2.2-m MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla in Chile. The new infrared image (left) was taken with the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. In the infrared, the dust that hides many stars is almost transparent, allowing many more stars to be seen.

Image Credit: ESO / J. Emerson / VISTA
Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

Looking at an Exoplanet

The SPHERE instrument on the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory has captured a series of images showing the passage of the exoplanet Beta Pictoris b around its parent star. SPHERE observed Beta Pictoris b directly, seeing it emerge from its passage in front of its parent star. The planet orbits its star at about the same distance as between the Sun and Saturn, approximately 1.3 billion km, making it the most closely orbiting exoplanet ever to have been directly imaged. In spite of the distance from its star, planet is still hot, around 1500 C.

Image Credit: ESO

The Medusa Nebula

ESO’s Very Large Telescope images the Medusa NebulaESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile captured this image of the Medusa Nebula (also known Abell 21 and Sharpless 2-274). As the star at the heart of this nebula made its final transition into the final stage of its existence, it blew off its outer layers into space, forming this colorful cloud. The Sun will go through a similar process in a few billion years.

Image Credit: ESO