A gorgeous photo of a star-forming region of space called the Carina Nebula marks the inauguration of a new telescope — the largest instrument in the world devoted to surveying the sky in visible light.
Image: The spectacular star-forming Carina Nebula has been captured in great detail by the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. This picture was taken with the help of Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile, during his visit to the observatory on June 5, 2012 and released on the occasion of the new telescope’s inauguration in Naples on Dec. 6, 2012. Credit: ESO. Acknowledgement: VPHAS+ Consortium/Cambridge
The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile was officially inaugurated today (Dec. 6) in Naples, Italy.
While the Carina nebula has been photographed many times before, most telescopes can only observe a small part of it at once. The VST, designed for large surveys of the sky, has a very wide field of view, and was able to image almost all of Carina in a single photo.
A time lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. Beginning over the Pacific Ocean and continuing over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica.
Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Also visible is the Earth’s ionosphere (thin yellow line), a satellite and the stars of our galaxy.
I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer, born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace and propelled by compressible flow.
NASA asked the public to vote for their favorite satellite image from the series created by the U.S. Geological Survey, “Earth as Art,” and posted the five most favorited images about a month ago. “Earth as Art” is composed of images taken by satellites part of the Landsat Program, which is managed by both NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. The U.S. Geological Survey selected certain features from the images and colored them from a digital palate. The series was created for aesthetic purposes rather than scientific interpretation.
Personally, I can’t choose. They’re all gorgeous.