Meteor in a MASCOT image

An image extracted from the MASCOT sequence obtained in the morning of 18 December 2006. A meteor is clearly visible as a faint trace in the middle right. MASCOT is the Mini All-Sky Cloud Observation Tool at the ESO Paranal Observatory, and consists of a small CCD camera behind a fish-eye objective.

An unusual object was found on MASCOT images in the morning of 18 December 2006. The image above shows one of the first images where the object appears as a bright streak. The images clearly show the Milky Way spreading out above Paranal and the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way's satellite, in the lower middle part. A few prominent constellations, among which Orion, are also recognisable.

Here is a list of some other interesting features seen in these images:

  • In one frame close to the end of the sequence, a meteor shoots parallel to the Milky Way in the south-east quadrant
  • The sky is getting bright towards the eastern horizon due to the moon about to rise.
  • Harder to see, but also in that region is the zodiacal light coming up. The sequence was taken 07:00 to 08:00 GMT, and the astronomical night ended at 08:19
  • The constant "flickering" of the sky is the varying near-infrared OH sky emission. The camera sensitivity goes farther into the red than the human eye.
  • A few lonely clouds are seen passing as dark spots, e.g. in the north-western horizon, or towards the bright eastern horizon.
  • The Yepun (UT4) dome is seen turning and opening and closing its ventilation louvers to control the microclimate in the dome and keep turbulence low, thereby increasing image quality.
  • The closed dome, still empty, is to host soon the VLT Survey Telescope.
  • The steel tower is part of the meteorological site monitor equipment.



About the Image

Release date:20 December 2006
Related releases:eso0648
Size:731 x 567 px

About the Object

Name:Very Large Telescope
Type:Solar System : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky
Milky Way

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