Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Thursday February 02, 2017

Celestial Cat Meets Cosmic Lobster in 2 Billion Pixels

How do you like that headline? It is what it is; the European Southern Observatory is showing off their VLT Survey Telescope again, this time with a considerably large shot of the Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334, upper right) and the Lobster Nebula (NGC 6357, lower left). I didn’t wake up today expecting to download a 49511 x 39114 px, 5.4GB image, but what the hell.

News Image

This spectacular image from the VLT Survey Telescope shows the Cat’s Paw Nebula (NGC 6334, upper right) and the Lobster Nebula (NGC 6357, lower left). These dramatic objects are regions of active star formation where the hot young stars are causing the surrounding hydrogen gas to glow red. The very rich field of view also includes dark clouds of dust. With around two billion pixels this is one of the largest images ever released by ESO. A zoomable version of this giant image is available here. Note that the circular features in the image around bright stars are not real, they are due to reflections within the optics of the telescope and camera.

Discussion