Several billion kilometers from Earth, Neptune sees particularly sharp in a series of new images taken with one of the world's most powerful telescopes.
The Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory in Chile used so-called laser tomography to capture test images of the planet surrounding star clusters
The telescope's Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) device works with the so-called GALACSI Module for adaptive optics. This allows the telescope to correct for turbulence at different altitudes in the atmosphere, resulting in incredibly clear results, sharp images taken from Earth.
MUSE is the first instrument to benefit from two adaptive optical modes: wide-angle and narrow. Narrow Field mode produces these incredibly sharp images of Neptune – it nearly corrects all turbulence above the telescope, but only over a smaller portion of the sky.
Not sure how to represent the difference? Here's an idea of how the planet looks through the telescope with and without adaptive optics.
ESO says these images are sharper than the images of Neptune with the Hubble Space Telescope Comparison between the VLT and the Hubble, which has taken an extraordinary picture of Neptune, but it is undeniably not so clear.
And just for fun, how detailed the pictures of the surrounding star clusters in the VLT look like.
Several billion kilometers away and looks crisp. While you're out there, why not just drop by Titan, Saturn's equally sharp moon?