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15 years of the VLT

  • Cerro Paranal, in Chile, is home to the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). The Paranal Observatory, located at an altitude of 2 600 metres in the Atacama Desert has just celebrated its 15th anniversary. © ESO/G.Hüdepohl
  • The VLT observatory includes four giant 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes and four smaller 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes that can be used together in the interferometric mode. © ESO
  • The central parts of our galaxy, the Milky Way, as observed in near-infrared by the NACO instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope. © ESO/S. Gillessen et al.
  • A pair of galaxies (NGC 4438 and NGC 4435) nicknamed ‘The Eyes’, taken with the FORS2 instrument on the Very Large Telescope. The two galaxies belong to the Virgo Cluster and are about 50 million light-years away. © ESO
  • One of the latest views of the stellar nursery IC 2944, as well as a group of thick dust clouds known as the Thackeray globules silhouetted against the pale pink glowing gas of the nebula. © ESO
  • The large spiral galaxy NGC 1232, as seen on 21 September 1998. The central areas contain older stars of reddish colour, while the spiral arms are populated by young, blue stars and many star-forming regions. NGC 1232 is located 20 degrees south of the celestial equator, in the constellation Eridanus (The River). The distance is about 100 million light-years, but the excellent optical quality of the VLT and FORS allows us to see an incredible wealth of details. © ESO
  • The Carina Nebula, a region of massive star formations in the southern skies, taken in infrared light using the HAWK-I camera on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Many previously hidden features, scattered across a spectacular celestial landscape of gas, dust and young stars, have emerged. © ESO/T. Preibisch
  • A composite colour image of the Horsehead Nebula and its immediate surroundings. It is based on three exposures in the visual part of the spectrum by the FORS2 multi-mode instrument at the 8.2-m KUEYEN telescope at Paranal. © ESO