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[M83 detail, VLT ]

This is an early image by the first VLT 8.2-m telescope (UT1) of details in southern spiral galaxy M83 in Hydra (ESO PR Photo 20/98). The beautiful, large photo is a combination of two 30 min exposures, obtained in succession with the VLT UT1. For both, the image quality is excellent (round images at 0.38 and 0.40 arcsec, respectively), despite the long exposure time. The small insert is a reproduction of a photographical plate obtained of the Messier 83 galaxy in the late 970's with the ESO 3.6-m telescope at La Silla. It shows the location of the field observed by the VLT UT1.

This image is a combination of two 30-min exposures through a 400 -wide optical filter centered at 5100 (green; image quality 0.38 arcsec) and a 400 Angstrom-wide optical filtre centered at 5300 (green; image quality 0.40 arcsec) with the VLT Test Camera. Individual frames were flat-fielded and cleaned for cosmics and then combined. The resulting FWHM is 0.39 arcsec. No further image processing was done. The field measures 1.5 x 1.5 arcmin. North is to the upper right; East is to the upper left.

  • More information on this image (ESO PR 20/98, 23 June 1998)

    [M83 in color, VLT]

    This image of the central region of a beautiful, well-known spiral galaxy, Messier 83, was prepared by superposing three CCD frames from the ESO Science Data Archive (ESO PR Photo 41/99). The bar-like structure at the centre is evident. The older stellar population of the central region with its yellowish color contrasts beautifully to the more bluish light of the younger stellar population in the spiral arms, which is dominated by more massive and hotter stars. The pinkish spots indicate large H II regions, diffuse nebulae where new stars currently form. Dark nebulae, indicating dust regions, can be traced throughout the inner disk.

  • ESO offers the M83 VLT slide in their ESO slide set 3
  • More information on thie image (ESO Press Release 18/99, photo 41/99, 29 November 1999)
  • This image was featured as Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) December 6, 1999

  • More ESO images of Messier objects


  • AAT images of M83
  • Hubble Space Telescope images of M83
  • NRAO/VLA radio images of M83
  • Chandra X-ray Observatory images of M83
  • More images of M83
  • Amateur images of M83


    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg
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    Last Modification: May 11, 2001