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The MATISSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) successfully made its first observations at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile in early-2018. MATISSE is the most powerful interferometric instrument in the world at mid-infrared wavelengths. It will use high-resolution imaging and spectroscopy to probe the regions around young stars where planets are forming as well as the regions around supermassive black holes in the centres of galaxies. This image is a colourised version of the first MATISSE interferometric observations of the star Sirius, combining data from four Auxiliary Telescopes of the VLT. The colours represent the changing wavelengths of the data, with blue showing the shorter wavelengths and red the longer. The observations were made in the infrared, so these are not the colours that would be seen with the human eye.

MATISSE instrument sees first light on ESO’s Very Large Telescope interferometer

MATISSE (Multi AperTure mid-Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment) observes infrared light, light between the visible and microwave wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, covering wavelengths from 3–13 micrometers (µm). It...