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Leaving us with starry eyes: Beautiful picture of the cosmic bat nebula



  Cosmic Bat Eso a in Flight
Hidden in one of the darkest corners of the Orion constellation, this Cosmic Bat spreads its blurred wings two thousand light-years away in interstellar space. NGC 1788 is too weak to be perceived by the naked eye. The Very Large Telescope from ESO shows its very soft colors in this picture ̵
1; the most detailed to date. ESO

A dark figure that spreads its wings against a starry backdrop: the fog of the "Cosmic Bat" was captured by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in a very detailed way. 1788 is two thousand light-years away in a dark corner of the Orion constellation. The mist does not emit its own light because it is called a "reflection nebula". This means that it is a cloud of dust and gas that it illuminates only by the light of neighboring stars. In the case of the bat, the lighting comes from a cluster of young stars in its core.

  Cosmic Bat Eso by ngc 1788
The NGC 1788 Fine Nebula is located in a dark and often neglected corner of the constellation Orion ESO / Digitized Sky Survey 2. Recognition: Davide de Martin

Around this faint mist To capture a strong telescope was required. ESO deployed its Very Large Telescope (VLT), part of the Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert of Chile, located at an altitude of 2,635 meters above sea level. The site has a very low level of light pollution, as the nearest community to the observatory is the small hamlet of Paposo with 259 inhabitants, which is 38 kilometers away.

This means that the VLT can capture very poorly or very distant phenomena with mirrors of 8.2 meters in diameter and minimal blurring through the Earth's atmosphere.

This particular image of the Cosmic Bat is the most detailed image of the nebula since it was first photographed by the astronomer William Herschel in 1888. It was selected as the target for imaging the 20th anniversary of one of ESO's instruments, the FOcal Reducer and the Spectrograph 2 with low dispersion (FORS2).

The FORS2 instrument attached to one of the VLT telescopes is a versatile tool that can simultaneously acquire spectra from one or more objects. As a spectrograph, it can scatter light into a rainbow of different wavelengths so that astronomers can study the chemical composition of distant objects. And it can also reproduce large areas of the sky with high sensitivity and produce beautiful pictures like this of the Cosmic Bat.






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