Jun 19, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

ESO VISTA Telescope Captured Infrared Gigapixel Image Of Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC)

May 08, 2017 04:22 AM EDT

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The European Southern Observatory(ESO) has photographed a detailed view of Small Magellanic Cloud(SMC) with their Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope(VISTA) at Paranal Observatory in Chile. SMC is known to be the closest galaxy of Milky way as it is about 200,000 light-years away from Earth.

Compared to Andromeda, SMC has located just one-twelfth of the Distance from Milky way which seeks the attention of astronauts to conduct the study about extraterrestrial life and evolution of stars. Sci News reported that the problem begins when scientists started observing, the interstellar dust were obstructing the visibility by absorbing the star radiation. To get around this problem, ESO astronauts used VISTA.

SMC belongs to the southern constellation Tucana. As its name suggest, it is a dwarf galaxy having 15,000 light-years of diameter and it’s paired with Large Magellanic Cloud(LMC). Generally, infrared lights have a longer wavelength than visible light, ESO scientists took this advantage and used infrared spectrometer of VISTA to penetrate the cosmic clouds.

According to New Atlas, the onboard camera of the 4.1-meter telescope has captured a gigapixel image with 43,223 x 38,236 resolution. VISTA is equipped with three-tonne camera and16 cutting-edge infrared detectors. Wide-field image of SMC reveals millions of stars and most of them have formed recently, compared to LMC. ESO also released an another zoomable version of the image at their official web page for the public visit.

The newly released gigapixel image was captured with the joint effort by ESO and the project team of VISTA Magellanic Survey (VMS). Lead researcher of ESO, Stefano Rubele from the University of Padova in Italy said in a statement,“Millions of SMC stars have been imaged in the infrared thanks to the VMC, providing an unparalleled view almost unaffected by dust extinction”. Scientists have also confirmed that after Andromeda, Milky Way and Triangulum, SMC is also the fourth-largest galaxy in the Local Group even it is visible to naked eye from the Southern hemisphere.

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