A VISTA Before Sunset

ESO’s Paranal Observatory — located in Chile’s Atacama region — is most well known for the Very Large Telescope (VLT), ESO’s flagship telescope facility. However, over the last few years, the site has also become home to two state-of-the-art survey telescopes. These new members of the Paranal family are designed to image large areas of the sky quickly and deeply.

One of them, the 4.1-metre Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), is located on a neighbouring peak not far from the Paranal summit. It is shown in this beautiful photograph taken from Paranal by ESO Photo Ambassador, Babak Tafreshi. VISTA is the world’s largest survey telescope, and has been operating since December 2009.

At the lower right corner of the image, VISTA’s enclosure appears in front of a seemingly endless mountain range, which stretches to the horizon. As sunset approaches, the mountains cast longer shadows, which slowly cover the brownish tones that colour the magnificent landscape that surrounds Paranal. Soon, the Sun will drop below the horizon, and all the telescopes at Paranal will start another night of observations.

VISTA is a wide-field telescope, designed to map the southern sky in infrared light with high sensitivity, allowing astronomers to detect extremely faint objects. The goal of these surveys is to create large catalogues of celestial objects for statistical studies and to identify new targets that can be studied in more detail by the VLT.

Links

Credit:

ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org)

About the Image

Id:potw1241a
Type:Photographic
Release date:8 October 2012, 10:00
Size:13741 x 3909 px

About the Object

Name:Panorama, Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy
Type:• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope
• X - Survey Telescopes

Image Formats

Large JPEG
37.4 MB
Screensize JPEG
113.2 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
321.6 KB
1280x1024
526.6 KB
1600x1200
767.6 KB
1920x1200
917.6 KB
2048x1536
1.2 MB

Also see our