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Comparing M83 from the Ground

ESO Image of M83 taken at the 2.2m telescope in La Silla, Chile

The Hubble Space Telescope has incredible resolving power, also called resolution, such that it can show detail in objects that are far away. It can achieve this much better than most ground-based telescopes, not only because of its size but also because Hubble rides above the Earth's atmosphere. Some astronomical objects, like M83, are so large that it would take many pointings of the Hubble image to get the entire field. By choosing a section of the spiral arms and the nucleus of the galaxy, astronomers are able to observe M83 with Hubble and infer science about much of the galaxy without having to look at the entire galaxy. The above ground-based image of M83 was taken with the ESO 2.2 meter telescope in La Silla, Chile. Below we can compare the central region of M83 in two image: taken from the ESO ground-based image and from Hubble. Objects, such as clusters of stars, star-forming regions and dust lanes appear more focused, more pin-point.

Place mouse over image to compare ESO and Hubble images of M83