May 9, 2011 - VISTA Cuts through the Dust

VISTA Cuts through Dust One of the newest telescopes at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile is a versatile telescope that can see through the dust that abounds in interstellar space. The Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) is a survey telescope with an attached 67-megapixel camera. VISTA’s first image was of the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024), a spectacular star-forming cloud of gas and dust in the familiar constellation of Orion, and its surroundings. In visible light the core of the object is hidden behind thick clouds of dust, but VISTA’s infrared image penetrated the murk to reveal the cluster of hot young stars hidden within. The wide field of view of the VISTA camera also captures the glow of NGC 2023, below center, and the ghostly form of the Horsehead Nebula, at lower right.

Image credit: ESO / J. Emerson / VISTA / Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

Weekly Calendar

May 9-15, 2011

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Monday 9

2003: Hayabusa launched, first mission to retrieve a sample from an asteroid

Tuesday 10

First Quarter Moon 4:33 PM ET
Mercury 2° south of Jupiter

1967: M2-F2 lifting body crash-lands; footage later becomes opening scene of “The Six Million Dollar Man”

Wednesday 11

Venus 0.6° south of Jupiter

1974: SMS-1 launched, first geostationary weather satellite
2009: STS-125 Atlantis launched, fifth and final Hubble servicing mission

Thursday 12

1930: Adler Planetarium opens, first planetarium in Western Hemisphere

Friday 13

1964: Apollo A-001 launched (Little Joe II test flight)

Saturday 14

Saturn 8° north of Moon

1973: Skylab launched
2009: Herschel and Planck space observatories launched
2010: STS-132 Atlantis launched

Sunday 15

Moon at perigee

1958: Sputnik 3 launched
1963: Faith 7 launched, last Mercury program flight
1997: STS-84 Atlantis launched, sixth Mir docking mission

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.