The UK-designed and built Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) has, this week revealed a new image of the star forming region known as the Lagoon Nebula. The image demonstrates once again, the capability of the world’s largest survey telescope of producing infrared images that are unparalleled in the detail they reveal about the history and development of our galaxy.
The fine details of the Lagoon Nebula in the constellation of Sagittarius are not visible without an infrared telescope because dust in the region associated with the star formation that is constantly occurring there obscures them from view. However, because the VISTA telescope operates in the infrared spectrum its longer wavelengths can pass through the dust relatively unscathed, revealing what lies behind it in all its majestic glory.
The VISTA project involves a consortium of institutions led by Queen Mary, University of London and was project-managed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC). The camera for the telescope was part-built at the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.
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