Combine a state-of-the-art telescope with a 268-megapixel camera, point it at the sky, add in a bit of calculation and you could end up with a gorgeous photo of the Carina Nebula. That's exactly what the ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile did recently with its brand new VLT Survey Telescope -- just a portion of the resulting inaugural image is shown above. This isn't the first time the ESO has shown a love for large captures: it managed to stitch together a massive 9-gigapixel image of the Milky Way out of thousands of photographs taken with its VISTA telescope earlier this fall. However, with the 2.6-meter VLT and 268-megapixel OmegaCAM camera, the observatory is able to capture huge swaths of sky at a time -- no need for stitching here. The ESO says that it's the "largest telescope in the world exclusively dedicated to surveying the sky at visible wavelengths." As for the Carina Nebula, the star formation region is a popular choice among astronomers trying out new telescopes, and seeing how mesmerizing it is, we can't fault them for it. Click the source link below to see the whole image in all its zoomable glory.
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