Two naked-eye galaxies above the VLT

This stunning image of the clear Chilean sky shows a speckling of bright stars and distant galaxies across the frame, all suspended above one of the four Unit Telescopes (UTs) of the Very Large Telescope (VLT). This is the fourth UT and it is known as Yepun (Venus).

Two objects seen in this frame are more famous than their neighbours. In the left hand portion of the image is a fairly prominent galaxy that forms a streak across the sky — Messier 31, or the Andromeda Galaxy. Upwards and to the right of this smudge is a bright star, which in turn points upwards to a galaxy that lies roughly along the same extended line. This star is named Beta Andromedae — otherwise known as Mirach — and the second galaxy is Messier 33 (at the top of the frame). These two galaxies are thought to have interacted in the past, forming a bridge of hydrogen gas that spans the gap between them.

This image was taken by ESO photo ambassador Babak Tafreshi.



ESO/B. Tafreshi (

About the Image

Release date:21 October 2013, 10:00
Size:6289 x 5700 px

About the Object

Name:Andromeda Galaxy, Galaxies, M 31, M 33, Messier 31, Messier 33, Very Large Telescope, VLT Unit Telescopes
Type:Unspecified : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky
Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope

Image Formats

Large JPEG
12.0 MB
Screensize JPEG
338.9 KB



251.9 KB
429.8 KB
653.8 KB
823.6 KB
1.1 MB