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 Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 11:34 GMT
Planet Uranus caught on VLT
A picture showing Uranus and moons (pic: ESO)
The Very Large Telescope (VLT) has caught a remarkable image of the planet Uranus circled by some of its moons.

The rings of the planet - which is 3,000 million kilometres away from Earth - are clearly displayed in the image.

The rings are almost undetectable from Earth in visible light.

The VLT is located at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in Chile.

The image was obtained in the near-infrared, and includes seven of the planet's moons.

VLT
VLT is based at Paranal in Chile
Two of the moons in the picture, Puck and Portia, were only found in the 1980s as the Voyager probe prepared for its flyby of the planet.

Uranus, which is at a distance from the Earth equivalent to 20 times the distance between the Earth and Sun, was first spotted by William Herschel in 1781.

The UK joins the European Southern Observatory.


VLT FORUM

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