The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured a 16,000-pixel-wide image of the Lagoon Nebula, located around 5,000 light-years from us in the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer). A zoomable version of the image allows viewers to explore the many nooks and crannies of this fascinating object.

The telescope was not pointed at the Lagoon deliberately, it simply was included as part of one of three imaging surveys covering a much larger region of the Milky Way. The surveys are addressing many important questions in modern astronomy, including the nature of dark energy, searching for brilliant quasars in the early Universe, probing the structure of the Milky Way and looking for unusual and hidden objects.

ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is the world's most productive astronomical observatory and is supported by Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

ESO operates three sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory, and two survey telescopes: VISTA working in infrared and the VLT Survey Telescope, designed to survey the skies in visible light.

In this gallery, we look at some of the most spectacular space images produced by the ESO telescopes in Chile.