ESO’s Vista telescope brings a distant galaxy near

The European Space Agency’s Vista telescope has shown scientists the heart of a distant galaxy.

The Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope based at the European Southern Observatory in Chile’s Atacama desert has captured a 1.6 gigapixel image (43 223 x 38 236 pixels) of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy 200,000 light years away.

The detail is so sharp, scientists can see constellations, and even estimate the ages of the stars forming them.

The ESO is funded by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and with Chile.

It houses the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory, and two survey telescopes.