2012 is over, and it was a pretty great year for all sorts of entertainment, as we pointed out earlier today. Sometimes, though, we're in a more ruminative mood, and in those moments, we like nothing more than looking at pictures of space, wishing and hoping that one day, we'll even get to visit. Until then, though, photos will have to do -- it turns out that 2012 was one heck of a year for those, too, though. We welcome you to 2013 with a retrospective of the best images of some of our new favorite places in the universe that last year had to offer, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope, Cassini probe, International Space Station, and more. Have a very happy new year, everyone, and be sure to check back with us for the best images from space from 2013 -- we couldn't be more excited to bring them to you as they happen.
The astronomers and other fine folks at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) showed off the capabilities of their newest toy, the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) earlier this week, marking the official inauguration of the instrument with the release of an amazing new photo of the Carina Nebula.
The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile has already made a name for itself in the scientific community, second only to the Hubble Space Telescope for generating optical observation related academic papers. Though the first of the VLTs four primary telescopes was completed in 1999, plans to link the telescopes together as a single, massive unit have been in the works for nearly a decade. After years of work, all four telescopes were successfully integrated last week, giving scientists a 130 meter (426 foot) "virtual" mirror.