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New pictures of the Lagoon Nebula
VISTA image compared to a standard images using visible light
The two images show the clarity achieved by the infrared telescope

Pictures have been released from a telescope part-built at Oxfordshire's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

The new infrared images show the Lagoon Nebula, a star-forming region about 4-5000 light years away from Earth.

They were captured by the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) at the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

It is hoped they will provide information about the history and development of our galaxy.

Normally when astronomers look at the Lagoon Nebula the fine detail is obscured by dust associated with star formation.

But VISTA uses light at longer wavelengths which can pass through the dust revealing what lies behind it.

Professor Richard Holdaway, from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory said: "We are breaking new ground all of the time with the VISTA telescope.

"Region by region we are building up a solid picture of how our galaxy formed".


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