Aerial view of Paranal Observatory

On the left of this image is the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) atop Cerro Paranal. The VLT consists of an array of four giant 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes (UTs), that can observe together or individually, and four 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) dedicated to interferometry. The buildings of the four UTs are distinguishable on the platform, together with the 2.6-metre VLT Survey Telescope (VST), on the left edge. In the lower right of the image, on a neighbouring mountain peak, is the 4-metre infrared survey telescope VISTA. VISTA is the most powerful near-infrared survey telescope in the world. The Paranal Observatory is located at 2600 metres altitude, in the Taltal district, some 120 km south of Antofagasta, in the II Region of Chile. In the background is the “sea of clouds” which typically covers the Pacific Ocean, only 12 km west of the observatory. This phenomenon is due to the fact that the cold oceanic stream keeps the thermal inversion layer very low, making Cerro Paranal one of the best sites in the world for ground-based astronomy.


J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl (

About the Image

Release date:28 July 2010, 13:41
Size:3500 x 2342 px

About the Object

Name:Cerro Paranal, Paranal
Type:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.5 MB
Screensize JPEG
233.9 KB



316.9 KB
500.3 KB
717.3 KB
864.8 KB
1.1 MB


Also see our