Image of the day: An astronomical Ojo de Dios

The Ojo de Dios, or God’s Eye, is a votive device used by throughout Latin America used as a talisman for both protection and veneration.

The phrase immediately popped into mind when we came across this image from the telescopes of the European Southern Observatory, a remarkable multi-government telescope located at three sites high in the dry, largely cloudless,  Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth.

Backed by the governments of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and Chile, the ESO hosts a wide array of telescopes, including one officially named the Extremely Large Telescope [a planned Overwhelmingly Large Telescope proved too costly].

Which brings us to the image [click on to enlarge]:

VISTA’s look at the Helix Nebula

ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) has captured this unusual view of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a planetary nebula located 700 light-years away. The coloured picture was created from images taken through Y, J and K infrared filters. While bringing to light a rich background of stars and galaxies, the telescope’s infrared vision also reveals strands of cold nebular gas that are mostly obscured in visible images of the Helix.
Credit: ESO/VISTA/J. Emerson. Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

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