The galactic shot

The galactic shot

The galactic shot

The dome of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the ESO’s Paranal observatory is hiding one of the most scientifically productive instrument of the world. Pointing it’s powerful beam in the sky, it feels like the astronomers are somehow trying to communicate with potential extraterrestrial forms of life. But no, this beam has another, very sophisticated purpose. The so-called Laser Guide Star (LGS) is part of the VLT’s adaptive optics system and is used as a reference to correct the blurring effect of the atmosphere on images. But apart from this, the image gives opportunity to enjoy one more significant object in such a deep detail. One of the most majestic part of the southern sky, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), is in this wild scene. This irregular galaxy belongs to the Milky Way as its satellite, located about 160 000 light years from the the Sun. Even if it’s not a pretty typical and completely „grown up“ galaxy, it gives a view to some particular structures as bar in its center. In fact, it’s structure suggests that it may have previously been a standard barred spiral galaxy before being disrupted, likely by the gravitational tug of the Milky Way, resulting in the disruption of its spiral arms. The LMC’s present irregular appearance is likely the result of tidal interactions with both the Milky Way and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). The pink-red regions are created of emission hydrogen nebulae, full of material for producing new stars. One of the most spectacular region is the Tarantula Nebula (the brightest object in the LMC), which is apparently the most active star-forming region. Used Canon 6D Baader IR modified, Pentacon 135 mm, f3.0, ISO 10000, 14×6 seconds panorama from tripod.