Aerial view of the VLT

On the right of this image is the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) platform atop Cerro Paranal. The buildings of the four giant 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes (UTs) are clearly distinguishable in the picture. The UTs can observe either individually or combined by a technique called interferometry. In a line to the right of the UTs are the four 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs), entirely dedicated to interferometric observations. The ATs are movable and can be relocated in 30 different observing positions, allowing a huge number of different configurations. In the leftmost corner of the platform is the 2.6-metre VLT Survey Telescope (VST), while on the upper left of the image, on a neighbouring peak, is the 4-metre infrared survey telescope VISTA. VISTA is the most powerful near-infrared survey telescope in the world. On the lower edge of the platform is the Control Building, where astronomers operate the telescopes during the night. 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.


J.L. Dauvergne & G. Hüdepohl (

About the Image

Release date:28 July 2010, 13:41
Size:4256 x 2848 px

About the Object

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

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