A Danish view of the Milky Way

Since 1979, the 1.54-metre Danish telescope at ESO’s La Silla observatory has been unveiling intricate details about our home galaxy. Stretching over the telescope in this image is the Milky Way and its galactic heart, lighting up the night sky in the Chilean desert. 

The Danish 1.54-m was used in a 15-year long survey published in 2004 to study 14,000 stars in our galaxy, providing the first clues to the turbulent and violent history of the Milky Way. The survey measured the motions of these stars and their distances, as well as their ages and chemical composition. This allowed the creation of a historical map of the Milky Way which revealed a far more complex history of the galaxy than previously expected.

The Milky way cruises the Chilean night sky and looks peaceful in this image, but the survey found traces of a much more dynamic activity in the past. In particular, collisions with other smaller galaxies brought gigantic gas clouds that made the Milky Way come alive with star-formation and supernova explosions, making it the stunning place that we call home. 


Zdeněk Bardon/ESO

About the Image

Release date:16 January 2023, 06:00
Size:5000 x 3331 px

About the Object

Name:Danish 1.54-metre telescope
Type:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope
Category:La Silla

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