Amazing Space Views of ESO's Very Large Telescope (Photos)

Omega Nebula's Bright Pink Heart


This image of the Omega Nebula (Messier 17), captured by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, is one of the sharpest of this object ever taken from the ground. It shows the dusty, rosy central parts of the famous star-forming region in fine detail.

The VLT in Action

ESO/S. Brunier

The ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) during observations. In this picture, taken from the VLT platform looking north-northwest at twilight, the four 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes (UTs) are visible.

Carina Nebula Infrared Image from ESO's Very Large Telescope

ESO/T. Preibisch

This panorama of the Carina Nebula, a region of massive star formation in the southern skies, was taken in infrared light using the HAWK-I camera on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile and released Feb. 8, 2012. Many previously hidden features, scattered across a spectacular celestial landscape of gas, dust and young stars, have emerged.

Milky Way in 360-Degree Panorama

ESO/S. Brunier

This amazing image seems to show the Milky Way streaming down not once, but twice, at ESO's Very Large Telescope on Chile's Cerro Paranal mountain. Actually, the photo shows a 360-degree panorama of the sky, so the two streams of stars are two halves of the band of the Milky Way arcing across the sky.

Yepun’s Laser and the Magellanic Clouds

ESO/B. Tafreshi/TWAN

This spectacular image shows Yepun, the fourth 8.2-metre Unit Telescope of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) facility, launching a powerful yellow laser beam into the sky.

War and Peace Nebula Captured by ESO's Very Large Telescope


The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope has taken the most detailed image so far of a spectacular part of the stellar nursery called NGC 6357. The view shows many hot young stars, glowing clouds of gas and weird dust formations sculpted by ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds.

VLT Looks into the Eyes of the Virgin


This striking image, taken with the FORS2 instrument on the Very Large Telescope, shows a beautiful yet peculiar pair of galaxies, NGC 4438 and NGC 4435, nicknamed The Eyes. The larger of these, at the top of the picture, NGC 4438, is thought to have once been a spiral galaxy that was strongly deformed by collisions in the relatively recent past. The two galaxies belong to the Virgo Cluster and are about 50 million light-years away.

NGC 6729 - Baby Stars Spit Up High-Speed Jets in Photo


This very detailed false-colour image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows the dramatic effects of very young stars on the dust and gas from which they were born in the star-forming region NGC 6729.

Orion Nebula Spied by Hawk I 1024


The central region of the Orion Nebula (M42, NGC 1976) as seen in the near-infrared by the High Acuity Wide field K-band Imager (HAWK-I) instrument at ESO's Very Large Telescope at Paranal.

Hot Stars Found Hidden in Galaxy's Dusty Embrace


This infrared image of the nearby galaxy Messier 83 was taken by ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Tom Chao
Tom Chao has contributed to as a producer and writer since 2000. As a writer and editor, he has worked for the Voyager Company, Time Inc. New Media, HarperCollins and Worth Publishers. He has a bachelor’s degree in Cinema Production from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Tom on Google+.