Zooming Into The Orion Nebula (2010) [720p]
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Uploaded on Feb 10, 2010
The Orion Nebula reveals many of its hidden secrets in a dramatic image taken by ESO's new VISTA survey telescope. The telescope's huge field of view can show the full splendor of the whole nebula, and VISTA's infrared vision also allows it to peer deeply into dusty regions that are normally hidden and expose the curious behavior of the very active young stars buried there.
VISTA -- the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy -- is the latest addition to ESO's Paranal Observatory. It is the largest survey telescope in the world and is dedicated to mapping the sky at infrared wavelengths. The large (4.1-meter) mirror, wide field of view and very sensitive detectors make VISTA a unique instrument. This dramatic new image of the Orion Nebula illustrates VISTA's remarkable powers.
The Orion Nebula is a vast stellar nursery lying about 1350 light-years from Earth. Although the nebula is spectacular when seen through an ordinary telescope, what can be seen using visible light is only a small part of a cloud of gas in which stars are forming. Most of the action is deeply embedded in dust clouds and to see what is really happening astronomers need to use telescopes with detectors sensitive to the longer wavelength radiation that can penetrate the dust. VISTA has imaged the Orion Nebula at wavelengths about twice as long as can be detected by the human eye.
In this zoom sequence we start with the familiar view of the bright constellation of Orion (The Hunter) to the right and the brilliant star Sirius to the lower-left. We then zoom in on the region of the hunters sword to reveal the Orion Nebula, also known as Messier 42, a vast stellar nursery about 1350 light-years from the Earth. As we close in further we shift to the view from the VISTA survey telescope, observing in the infrared part of the spectrum. The new telescopes huge field of view allows it to image the whole nebula and its surroundings in a single picture and its infrared vision also means that it can peer deep into the normally hidden dusty regions and reveal the curious antics of the very active young stars buried there.
credit: ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA and R. Gendler
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