This zoom sequence starts with the familiar view of the constellation of Orion (the Hunter) and closes in on the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) and its surroundings, located close to the end of Orion's belt. First we are seeing the sky in visible light, but at the end we move to the VISTA infrared image and can see through the dust into the heart of this spectacular star-forming region and see the hidden cluster of very young stars.
A new telescope — VISTA (the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy) — has just started work at ESO's Paranal Observatory and has made its first release of pictures. 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. Spectacular new images of the Flame Nebula, the center of our Milky Way galaxy and the Fornax Galaxy Cluster show that it is working extremely well.
Credit: ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA and Digitized Sky Survey 2 Acknowledgment: Davide De Martin