Fotografia da Semana 2009

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potw0951 — Fotografia da Semana
Rendering of the E-ELT
28 de Dezembro de 2009: A new architectural concept drawing of ESO’s planned European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) shows the telescope at work, with its dome open and its record-setting 40-metre-class primary mirror pointed to the sky. In this illustration, clouds float over the valley overlooked by the E-ELT’s summit. The comparatively tiny pickup truck parked at the base of the E-ELT helps to give a sense of the scale of this massive telescope. The E-ELT dome will be similar in size to a football stadium, with a diameter at its base of over 100 m and a height of over 80 m. Scheduled to begin operations early in the next decade, the E-ELT will help track down Earth-like planets around other stars in the “habitable zones” where life could exist — one of the Holy Grails of modern observational astronomy. The E-ELT will also make fundamental contributions to cosmology by measuring the properties of ...
potw0950 — Fotografia da Semana
Telescope Domes Clustered at La Silla
21 de Dezembro de 2009: This view of ESO’s La Silla Observatory reveals the splendour of the night sky and shows several of the domed telescopes located at the site. The glowing band of the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy slants through the sky from the upper left to the lower middle, where the now closed GPO (Grand Prism Objectif) dome, which also hosted the Marly 1-metre telescope, looms in the foreground, together with the Danish 1.54-metre telescope. The ghostly, bluish objects above the GPO’s dome are two galaxies belonging to the Milky Way’s close neighbourhood and known as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. La Silla’s collection of domed telescopes also includes the ESO 3.6-metre telescope, home to HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher), the world’s foremost exoplanet hunter, and the 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope, which broke new ground for telescope engineering and design, and was the first in the world to ...
potw0949 — Fotografia da Semana
The European Extremely Large Telescope
14 de Dezembro de 2009: The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), with a main mirror 39 metres in diameter, will be the world’s biggest eye on the sky when it becomes operational early in the next decade. The E-ELT will tackle the biggest scientific challenges of our time, and aim for a number of notable firsts, including tracking down Earth-like planets around other stars in the “habitable zones” where life could exist — one of the Holy Grails of modern observational astronomy. The telescope design itself is revolutionary and is based on a novel five-mirror scheme that results in exceptional image quality. The primary mirror consists of almost 800 segments, each 1.4 metres wide, but only 50 mm thick. The optical design calls for an immense secondary mirror 4.2 metres in diameter, bigger than the primary mirrors of any of ESO's telescopes at La Silla. Adaptive mirrors are incorporated into the optics of the telescope ...
potw0948 — Fotografia da Semana
Transporting an Auxiliary Telescope
7 de Dezembro de 2009: ESO astronomer Yuri Beletsky captured images of the transport of one of the 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes (AT) that compose, together with their larger 8.2-metre companions, ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) array. The AT was moved with the utmost care from the base camp, where it had been undergoing maintenance, including the recoating of its mirrors, back to the VLT platform on top of Cerro Paranal. The ATs form part of the VLT Interferometer (VLTI), allowing this unique facility to operate every night. The ATs are mounted on tracks and can be moved between precisely defined observing positions, collecting light that is then combined in the VLTI. The ATs are very unusual telescopes, as they are self-contained in individual ultra-compact protective domes, and travel with their own electronics, ventilation, hydraulics and cooling systems. Each AT has a transporter that lifts the telescope and moves it from one position to the next. ...
potw0947 — Fotografia da Semana
GalileoMobile Completes Exciting Journey
30 de Novembro de 2009: After almost two months of life-changing experiences, bringing the excitement of astronomy to young children in Chile, Bolivia and Peru, the journey of the GalileoMobile Project has come to an end. As illustrated in this image, the astronomers and educators in the Galilomobile team visited numerous schools and villages during their expedition, engaging young students in educational activities about astronomy and science, and offering amazing stargazing opportunities to the local communities, in a region with one of the clearest skies on Earth. Last week the team visited ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), then continued to Taltal, the closest town to the VLT’s home, Cerro Paranal. Around sunset on 26 November, the GalileoMobile team showed the community of Taltal the highlights of the whole voyage, a voyage that covered around 5,000 kilometres through the Andes. The GalileoMobile was received with great enthusiasm by the people of Taltal. Hundreds of students took ...
potw0946 — Fotografia da Semana
The Moon in Conjunction with Venus and Jupiter (artistic composition)
23 de Novembro de 2009: This dramatic triptych shows the Moon rise from left to right through the night sky over ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) observatory at Paranal in northern Chile. Already aloft in the heavens and glowing in the centre of the image is Venus, Earth’s closest planetary neighbour. Shining to Venus’s right, the giant, though more distant planet, Jupiter appears as a small orb that seems to rotate around Venus as time passes. Such apparent celestial near misses — although the heavenly bodies are actually tens to hundreds of millions of kilometres apart — are called conjunctions. Still other sights delight in the sky over Paranal. The radiant, reddish plane of the Milky Way smoulders on the horizon, with massive bands of dust giving this bright region a mottled complexion. On the ground, an 8.2-metre VLT Unit Telescope on the right and a 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescope to the left silently witness the ...
potw0945 — Fotografia da Semana
Weather balloons on Paranal in support of the E-ELT
16 de Novembro de 2009: A probe was launched last Friday (13 November 2009) from ESO’s Paranal observatory in northern Chile — home of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) — aboard a weather balloon. Such probes, called radiosondes, measure various atmospheric parameters and transmit them to a receiver on the ground. Researchers from ESO, the University of Lethbridge (Canada) and Universidad de Valparaiso (Chile) are currently in the middle of a 12-day programme, during which they plan to launch 29 radiosondes. Each night, parallel observations with the VLT instruments UVES, CRIRES and VISIR are carefully orchestrated to coincide with two additional radiosonde launches, while an infrared radiometer provides continuous coverage. This powerful combination of instruments and methods will provide a better understanding of the distribution and amount of water vapour in the atmosphere above Paranal, which is highly relevant for astronomical observations. The knowledge gained from these data can be used to optimise science operations ...
potw0944-pt — Fotografia da Semana
Panorâmica de 360 graus do céu austral
9 de Novembro de 2009: A Via Láctea arqueia ao longo desta panorâmica excepcional de 360 graus do céu nocturno, por cima da plataforma do Paranal, local de acolhimento do Very Large Telescope do ESO. A imagem foi criada a partir de 37 imagens individuais, somando um tempo de exposição total de 30 minutos, tiradas de madrugada. A Lua está mesmo a nascer e a luz zodiacal brilha por cima dela, enquanto a Via Láctea se estende por todo o céu, do lado oposto ao observatório.Podemos ver na imagem as cúpulas abertas do observatório astronómico terrestre mais avançado do mundo: os quatro Telescópios Auxiliares mais pequenos, de 1,8 metros, que podem ser usados em conjunto no modo interferométrico, e os Telescópios Principais gigantes de 8,2 metros. À direita na imagem e por baixo do arco da Via Láctea, podemos ver duas das nossas vizinhas galácticas, a Pequena e a Grande Nuvens de Magalhães. Encontra-se disponível ...
potw0943-pt — Fotografia da Semana
Criando uma estrela
2 de Novembro de 2009: Esta fotografia mostra um raio laser a ser lançado a partir do Yepun, o quarto Telescópio Principal do observatório mais emblemático da Europa , o Very Large Telescope do ESO (VLT). Este feixe é utilizado para criar uma estrela artificial por cima do Paranal, auxiliando assim os instrumentos de óptica adaptativa do VLT. A óptica adaptativa é uma técnica que permite aos astrónomos superar o efeito de distorção da atmosfera, obtendo-se imagens tão nítidas como se o telescópio estivesse no espaço, para lá da atmosfera terrestre. A óptica adaptativa necessita de uma estrela de referência nas proximidades do alvo astronómico, que deve ser relativamente brilhante, limitando assim a área do céu que pode ser observada. Para superar esta dificuldade, os astrónomos no Paranal utilizam um laser poderoso que cria uma estrela artificial onde e quando é preciso (veja eso0607 e eso0727). O lançamento de um laser de tal potência a ...
potw0942 — Fotografia da Semana
3D Glimpse into the Life of Two Astronomers
26 de Outubro de 2009: Sitting in the stunning environment surrounding ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal, Chile, are Joe Liske from ESO and Eva Noyola from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. The photo is a still image from the recently released 3D film, The EYE 3D — Life and Research on Cerro Paranal, directed by Nikolai Vialkowitsch. The movie, starring the two young scientists, as well as other people involved in the exciting activities at the VLT, offers a brand new, three-dimensional take on the life and research of astronomers. It has been produced by parallax raumprojektion and fact&film;, in close collaboration with ESO and other partners and will be coming soon in cinemas across Germany. Don’t forget to wear red-cyan glasses to enjoy the spectacular 3D effect! Links The movie's ESO web page The movie’s external web page: The EYE 3D, press kit (German, PDF format)
potw0941 — Fotografia da Semana
A Supernova Duet in NGC 1448
19 de Outubro de 2009: Portrayed in this beautiful image is the spiral galaxy NGC 1448, with a prominent disc of young and very bright stars surrounding its small, shining core. Located about 60 million light-years away from the Sun, this galaxy has recently been a prolific factory of supernovae, the dramatic explosions that mark the death of stars : after a first one observed in this galaxy in 1983, two more have been discovered during the past decade. Visible as a red dot inside the disc, in the upper right part of the image, is the supernova observed in 2003 (SN 2003hn), whereas another one, detected in 2001 (SN 2001el), can be noticed as a tiny blue dot in the central part of the image, just below the galaxy’s core. If captured at the peak of the explosion, a supernova might be as bright as the whole galaxy that hosts it. This image was ...
potw0940-pt — Fotografia da Semana
Madrugada no Paranal
12 de Outubro de 2009: Esta bela panorâmica mostra a plataforma de observação do Very Large Telescope do ESO (VLT) no Cerro Paranal, Chile. Tirada de madrugada, com a Lua ainda alta no céu, o ambiente de paz e tranquilidade contrasta bem com a actividade frenética do observatório. Os quatro telescópios principais gigantes do VLT de 8,2 metros, encontram-se todos a trabalhar, observando diversos alvos celestes e ajudando assim os astrónomos na sua demanda diária pela compreensão dos mistérios do Universo. Um raio laser está a ser disparado a partir do Telescópio Principal número 4, o Yepun, raio esse necessário ao bom funcionamento do sistema de óptica adaptativa do telescópio, o qual permite corrigir o efeito de distorção que a atmosfera terrestre tem sobre as imagens observadas, tornando-as assim muito mais nítidas. Entretanto, três dos quatro telescópios mais pequenos, de 1,8 metros, os Telescópios Auxiliares, estão a trabalhar em uníssono no modo interferométrico, obtendo imagens ...
potw0939 — Fotografia da Semana
A Cosmic Flame
5 de Outubro de 2009: Sparkling at the edge of a giant cloud of gas and dust, the Flame Nebula, also referred to as NGC 2024, is in fact the hideout of a cluster of young, blue, massive stars, whose light sets the gas ablaze. Located 1,300 light-years away towards the constellation of Orion, the nebula owes its typical colour to the glow of hydrogen atoms, heated by the stars. The latter are obscured by a dark, forked dusty structure in the centre of the image and are only revealed by infrared observations. This image is based on data acquired with the 1.5-metre Danish telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile, combining three exposures in the filters B (40 seconds), V (80 seconds) and R (40 seconds).
potw0938 — Fotografia da Semana
Diving into the Lagoon Nebula
28 de Setembro de 2009: Through three giant images, the GigaGalaxy Zoom project reveals the full sky as it appears with the unaided eye from one of the darkest deserts on Earth, then zooms in on a rich region of the Milky Way using an amateur telescope, and finally uses the power of a professional telescope to reveal the details of a famous nebula. In this way, the project links the sky we can all see with the deep, “hidden” cosmos that astronomers study on a daily basis and allows the viewers to take a breathtaking dive into our Milky Way. The wonderful quality of the images is a testament to the splendour of the night sky at ESO’s sites in Chile, which are the most productive astronomical observatories in the world.
potw0937 — Fotografia da Semana
Paranal under snow
21 de Setembro de 2009: Cerro Paranal, in the Chilean Atacama Desert, is considered one of the best astronomical observing sites in the world. It is home to ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the flagship facility for European ground-based astronomy. The humidity at Paranal is generally below five percent and the overall precipitation is only 4 mm per year — a rather dry place indeed. It does, on very rare occasions, snow on this 2600-metre-high peak as illustrated by this beautiful image taken in 2002. The snow-covered terrain gleams under a bright blue sky as the snow storm passes.
potw0936 — Fotografia da Semana
A Cosmic Embrace
14 de Setembro de 2009: In this image, two spiral galaxies, similar in looks to the Milky Way, are participating in a cosmic ballet, which, in a few billion years, will end up in a complete galactic merger — the two galaxies will become a single, bigger one. Located about 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Canis Major (the Great Dog), NGC 2207 — the larger of the two — and its companion, IC 2163, form a magnificent pair. English astronomer John Herschel discovered them in 1835. The fatal gravitational attraction of NGC 2207 is already wreaking havoc throughout its smaller partner, distorting IC 2163’s shape and flinging out stars and gas into long streamers that extend over 100,000 light-years. The space between the individual stars in a galaxy is so vast, however, that when these galaxies collide, virtually none of the stars in them will actually physically smash into each other. This ...
potw0935 — Fotografia da Semana
A European ALMA antenna takes shape
7 de Setembro de 2009: In this photograph taken on 18 August 2009, a European ALMA antenna takes shape at the observatory's Operations Support Facility (OSF). ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, is a revolutionary astronomical telescope, comprising an array of 66 giant 12-metre and 7-metre diameter antennas observing at millimetre and submillimetre wavelengths. The telescope is being built on the breathtaking location of the Chajnantor plateau, at 5000 metres altitude in the Chilean Andes. The OSF, at which the antennas are being assembled and tested, is at an altitude of 2900 metres. ESO has contracted with the AEM (Alcatel Alenia Space France, Alcatel Alenia Space Italy, European Industrial Engineering S.r.L., MT Aerospace) Consortium for the supply of 25 of the 12-metre diameter ALMA antennas, with options to increase the number to 32. ALMA is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.
potw0934 — Fotografia da Semana
Cosmic Bubble NGC 6781
31 de Agosto de 2009: Stars such as our Sun do not contain enough mass to finish their lives in the glorious explosions known as supernovae. However, they are still able to salute their imminent demise into dense, Earth-sized embers called white dwarfs by first expelling colourful shells of gas known as planetary nebulae. This misnomer comes from the similarity in appearance of these spherical mass expulsions to giant planets when seen through small telescopes. NGC 6781 is a nice representative of these cosmic bubbles. The planetary nebula lies a few thousand light-years away towards the constellation of Aquila (the Eagle) and is approximately two light-years across. Within NGC 6781, shells of gas blown off from the faint, but very hot, central star’s surface expand out into space. These shells shine under the harsh ultraviolet radiation from the progenitor star in intricate and beautiful patterns. The central star will steadily cool down and darken, eventually ...
potw0933 — Fotografia da Semana
Orion above the VLT
24 de Agosto de 2009: The great hunter Orion hangs above ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), in this stunning, previously unseen, image. As the VLT is in the Southern Hemisphere, Orion is seen here head down, as if plunging towards the Chilean Atacama Desert. At night the four giant 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes of the VLT are all turned skywards to help astronomers in their quest to understand the Universe. The band of the Milky Way, crisscrossed by contrasting dark dust lanes, stretches up over the VLT’s Unit Telescope 3 (Melipal), with the bright star Capella glinting just above the telescope. Up and to the left, Orion’s belt and sword, containing the Orion Nebula, lie between the blue star Rigel and the orange Betelgeuse. The red Rosetta Nebula is seen in the middle part of the Milky Way, while Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, hangs above the scene. The red patch just above ...
potw0932 — Fotografia da Semana
The VLT platform on top of Cerro Paranal
17 de Agosto de 2009: This image shows the platform on the summit of Cerro Paranal, in Northern Chile that houses the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT). Three of the enclosures protecting the 8.2-metre diameter VLT Unit Telescopes (UTs) are shown and the photographer was on the top of the fourth one, about 35 metres above the platform. At night the huge doors in the enclosures slide open and the 275-tonne top parts of these buildings rotate so that the telescope can observe any part of the sky. The pick-up truck in front of the first UT helps give the scale of this 10-story high building. On the left of the image the rails on which the 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) can be moved to different observing stations are visible. Two of the four ATs are visible in the picture. The low building in the lower left corner houses the VLT Interferometer laboratory, where the ...
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