Sun, Moon and Telescopes above the Desert

The otherworldly beauty of Chile’s Atacama Desert, home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), stretches to the horizon in this panorama. On Cerro Paranal, the highest peak in the centre of this image, are the four giant Unit Telescopes of the VLT, each of which has a mirror with a diameter of 8.2 metres. On the peak to the left of Cerro Paranal is the VISTA survey telescope. This 4.1-metre telescope surveys broad swathes of the heavens, searching for interesting targets which the VLT, as well as other telescopes on the ground and in space, will study in greater detail.

This region offers some of the best conditions for viewing the night sky found anywhere on our planet. On the right of this 360-degree panorama, the Sun is setting over the Pacific Ocean, throwing long shadows across the mountainscape. On the left, the Moon gleams in the sky. Soon, the night’s observations will begin.

This wonderful panorama was made by Serge Brunier, an ESO Photo Ambassador. It is one of many awe-inspiring images in which he captures ESO’s observatories, their beautiful locations, and the splendour of the skies above them.

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Credit:

ESO/S. Brunier

About the Image

Id:potw1218a
Type:Photographic
Release date:30 April 2012, 10:00
Size:16726 x 5336 px

About the Object

Name:Panorama, Paranal
Type:• Unspecified : Planet : Feature : Surface : Mountain
• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory
• X - Paranal

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