Foto da Semana 2010

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potw1052 — Foto da Semana
The Long and Winding Road*
27 de Dezembro de 2010: This splendid picture shows the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal in the Chilean Atacama desert. The mountaintop, 120 km south of the town of Antofagasta, is a remote haven for scientific exploration.Its distance from populated areas means that light pollution is essentially non-existent, which helps to guarantee clear views for the telescopes. It also ensures that activity is not disturbed by other human activities, such as traffic on nearby roads or dusty air from mines. The desert location means that moisture in the atmosphere is at a very low level, which contributes to the excellent atmospheric conditions. As well as the VLT, Paranal Observatory is also home to the VISTA telescope on an adjacent peak, from which this photograph was taken. The road which links the two peaks can be seen in the centre of the image, winding through the desert landscape.The two distinct bright ...
potw1051 — Foto da Semana
Monuments of Science*
20 de Dezembro de 2010: On a remote mountaintop, 2600 metres above sea level in the Chilean Atacama Desert, lies the world’s most advanced visible-light observatory. The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) is not only a window on the Universe; it is also a celebration of modern science and technology. This photograph shows two of the four Unit Telescopes that make up the VLT. With its giant 8.2-metre diameter mirrors, sensitive detectors, and state-of-the art adaptive optics system, the VLT uses cutting-edge technology at every opportunity. Even the telescope enclosures — the domes — are highly advanced, being thermally controlled to reduce air turbulence in the telescope structure. Every night the VLT studies the sky to make discoveries about the Universe. Visible in this photo, sweeping between the two Unit Telescopes, is the plane of the Milky Way. Containing billions of stars, it is our own corner of the cosmos, but the VLT's ...
potw1050 — Foto da Semana
Collecting Precious Starlight*
13 de Dezembro de 2010: As soon as the Sun sets over the Chilean Atacama Desert, ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) begins catching light from the far reaches of the Universe. The VLT has four 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes such as the one shown in the photograph. Many of the photons — particles of light — that are collected have travelled through space for billions of years before reaching the telescope’s primary mirror. The giant mirror acts like a high-tech “light bucket”, gathering as many photons as possible and sending them to sensitive detectors. Careful analysis of the data from these instruments allows astronomers to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos. The telescopes have a variety of instruments, which allow them to observe in a range of wavelengths from near-ultraviolet to mid-infrared. The VLT also boasts advanced adaptive optics systems, which counteract the blurring effects of the Earth's atmosphere, producing images so sharp that they could ...
potw1049 — Foto da Semana
Up Close and Personal with the Very Large Telescope
6 de Dezembro de 2010: Imagine being a fly on the wall of ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the world's most advanced optical observatory. You could have a view a little like this. Fish-eye photography gives this unusual view of the 8.2-metre diameter telescope, poised and ready to begin gathering light from the deep recesses of the Universe as soon as the dome opens and starlight pours in. The VLT has four of these 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes, called Antu, Kueyen, Melipal and Yepun. These are the Mapuche names for the Sun, Moon, Southern Cross and Venus. This photograph shows Yepun. The names are from the native language of the indigenous people who live mostly in the area south of the Bio-Bio River, some 500 km south of Santiago de Chile. The VLT is so powerful that it allows us to see objects four thousand million times fainter than those that can be seen with ...
potw1048 — Foto da Semana
Crash of the Titans
29 de Novembro de 2010: NGC 520 — also known as Arp 157 — looks like a galaxy in the midst of exploding. In reality, it’s the exact opposite. Two enormous spiral galaxies are crashing into each other, melding and forming a new conglomerate. This happens slowly, over millions of years — the whole process started some 300 million years ago. The object, about 100 000 light-years across, is now in the middle stage of the merging process, as the two nuclei haven’t merged yet, but the two discs have. The merger features a tail of stars and a prominent dust lane. NGC 520 is one of the brightest interacting galaxies in the sky and lies in the direction of Pisces (the Fish), approximately 100 million light-years from Earth. This image was taken by the ESO Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera attached to the 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla in Chile. It is based on ...
potw1047 — Foto da Semana
Looking into the Milky Way’s Heart — ISAAC observes the Galactic Centre
22 de Novembro de 2010: The centre of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is again in the sights of ESO telescopes. This time it’s the turn of ISAAC, the VLT’s near- and mid-infrared spectrometer and camera. From Chile’s Atacama Desert, site of the ESO observatories, the Milky Way offers magnificent views, particularly in the southern hemisphere winter, when the central region of our galaxy is most visible (see eso0934). However, the Galactic Centre itself, located about 27 000 light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius, hides behind thick clouds of interstellar dust, which appear as dark obscuring lanes in visible light, but which are transparent at longer wavelengths such as the infrared. In this image, the infrared observations clearly reveal the dense clustering of stars in the galactic core. ESO telescopes have been tracking stars orbiting the centre of the Milky Way for more than 18 years, getting the highest resolution images of this ...
potw1046 — Foto da Semana
An Ancient Cluster of Stars Against a Stunning Background
15 de Novembro de 2010: Among the myriad of stars in this image shines NGC 2257, a collection of cosmic gems bound tightly by gravity. Many billions of years old, but still sparkling brightly, it is an eye-catching astronomical object. NGC 2257 is a globular cluster, the name given to the roughly spherical concentrations of stars that orbit galactic cores, but are often found far out from the centres in the halo areas of galaxies. Globular clusters contain very old stars, being typically over 10 billion years old, and can therefore be used like a "fossil record" to learn more about the Universe’s past. They are densely packed, with tens to hundreds of thousands of stars gathered within a diameter of just a few tens of light-years. NGC 2257 lies on the outskirts of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way. It is one of 15 very old globular ...
potw1045 — Foto da Semana
Shooting a Laser at the Galactic Centre
8 de Novembro de 2010: This impressive image, taken on 10 May 2010 by ESO astronomer Yuri Beletsky, beautifully depicts the sky above Paranal. One of the 8.2-metre telescopes of ESO's Very Large Telescope, Yepun, Unit Telescope 4, is seen against the wonderful backdrop of the myriad of stars and dust that makes up the Milky Way. A laser beam is coming out of Yepun, aiming perfectly at the Galactic Centre. When used with the adaptive optics system the artificial star created by the beam allows the telescope to obtain images and spectra that are free from the blurring effect of the atmosphere. When this image was taken, astronomers Stefan Gillessen and Hauke Enkel were using the SINFONI instrument, together with the laser guide star facility, to study the centre of our Milky Way, where a supermassive black hole is lurking. The field of view of the image is very wide, about 180 degrees. One ...
potw1044-pt-br — Foto da Semana
O Very Large Telescope do ESO espreita para o interior de uma nebulosa distante
1 de Novembro de 2010: Os astrónomos utilizaram dados do Very Large Telescope do ESO (VLT), situado no Observatório do Paranal, Chile, para criar esta imagem da nebulosa Messier 17, também conhecida como Nebulosa Ómega ou Nebulosa do Cisne. A imagem, mais parecida com uma pintura, mostra enormes nuvens de gás e poeira iluminadas pela intensa radiação emitida por estrelas jovens.Na imagem vemos a região central, que tem uma dimensão de cerca de 15 anos-luz. A nebulosa inteira é ainda maior, com uma dimensão total de aproximadamente 40 anos-luz. Messier 17 fica na constelação do Sagitário, a cerca de 6000 anos-luz de distância da Terra. É um alvo bastante popular entre os astrónomos amadores, que conseguem obter imagens de boa qualidade com o auxílio de pequenos telescópios.Estas observações profundas do VLT foram obtidas nos comprimentos de onda do infravermelho próximo com o instrumento ISAAC. Os filtros utilizados foram o J (1,25 µm, a azul), o ...
potw1043-pt-br — Foto da Semana
La Silla estrelada
25 de Outubro de 2010: As estrelas rodam em torno do polo sul celeste durante a noite, no Observatório de La Silla do ESO no norte do Chile. As partes tremidas dos rastos, no lado direito, correspondem às Nuvens de Magalhães, duas galáxias pequenas, vizinhas da Via Láctea. A cúpula que se vê na imagem pertence ao telescópio de 3,6 metros do ESO, onde está montado o instrumento HARPS (sigla do inglês para High Accurate Radial velocity Planet Searcher), o principal descobridor de exoplanetas do mundo. O edifício rectangular que aparece em baixo à direita, alberga o telescópio TAROT de 0,25 metros, concebido para reagir muito depressa quando é detectada uma explosão de raios gama. Em La Silla encontram-se ainda, entre outros, o telescópio MPG/ESO de 2,2 metros, e o New Technology Telescope de 3,58 metros, o primeiro telescópio a utilizar óptica activa e, como tal, percursor de todos os telescópios grandes modernos. La Silla ...
potw1042 — Foto da Semana
Reflecting on the VLT
18 de Outubro de 2010: The Sun sets at ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in this image. Taken at the observatory on Cerro Paranal in the dry Atacama Desert of Chile, the observatory’s four 8.2-metre telescopes can be seen preparing for the night ahead. Three of the VLT’s four Auxiliary 1.8-metre Telescopes (AT), used for interferometry, are also visible. The telescopes are seen reflected in the protection cover of one of the AT stations. The ATs are mounted on tracks and can be moved between precisely defined observing positions from where the beams of collected light are combined in the interferometric laboratory. The ATs are very unusual telescopes, as they are self-contained in their own 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 other. At 2600 metres above sea level, the observing ...
potw1041 — Foto da Semana
New Temporary Offices at ESO Headquarters
11 de Outubro de 2010: ESO has grown significantly since 1980, when its European staff originally moved from offices at CERN to a dedicated headquarters building in Garching, near Munich, Germany. In the intervening three decades the number of ESO’s member states has increased from six to fourteen, and the organisation has achieved milestones such as the First Light of the New Technology Telescope at La Silla and of the Very Large Telescope at Paranal, becoming in the process the most productive observatory in the world. Today, ESO is constructing the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array at Chajnantor in collaboration with international partners, and is in the detailed design phase of a 40-metre-class European Extremely Large Telescope, which will be “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”. Over the years, the number of ESO staff working in Garching has increased from about 100 to about 450, as the organisation has grown and tackled these exciting new ...
potw1040 — Foto da Semana
ALMA Antennas on Chajnantor
4 de Outubro de 2010: Two of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) 12-metre antennas gaze at the sky at the observatory’s Array Operations Site (AOS), high on the Chajnantor plateau at an altitude of 5000 metres in the Chilean Andes. Eight antennas have been installed at the AOS since November 2009. More antennas will be installed on the Chajnantor plateau during the next months and beyond, allowing astronomers to start producing early scientific results with the ALMA system around late 2011. After this, the interferometer will steadily grow to reach its full scientific potential, with at least 66 antennas. ALMA is the largest ground-based astronomy project in existence, and will comprise a giant array of 12-metre submillimetre quality antennas, with baselines of up to about 16 kilometres. An additional, compact array of 7-metre and 12-metre antennas will complement the main array. The ALMA project is an international collaboration between Europe, East Asia and North ...
potw1039 — Foto da Semana
A Solargraph taken from APEX at Chajnantor
27 de Setembro de 2010: This unusual and artistic image, made using a technique known as "solargraphy" in which a pinhole camera captures the movement of the Sun in the sky over many months, was taken from the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope on the plateau of Chajnantor. The plateau is also where ESO, together with international partners, is building the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The solar trails in the image were recorded over half a year and clearly show the quality of the 5000-metre altitude site, high in the Chilean Andes, for astronomical observations. The idea for creating the solargraphs at ESO's telescopes came from Bob Fosbury, an astronomer based at ESO Headquarters in Germany, after learning about the technique from Finnish artist Tarja Trygg. Trygg provided the cameras, known as "cans". The cans are constructed from small black plastic canisters used for storing 35 mm film cassettes. A pinhole in a sheet ...
potw1038-pt-br — Foto da Semana
O céu estrelado brilha intensamente por cima do Paranal
20 de Setembro de 2010: Quando o Sol se põe no Observatório do Paranal do ESO e a escuridão chega, o céu negro aparece salpicado por uma miríade de estrelas a piscar. Esta exposição fotográfica de 15 segundos demonstra bem quão deslumbrante pode ser o céu por cima do Paranal. Situado a elevada altitude, no deserto chileno do Atacama, longe de qualquer fonte de poluição luminosa, numa noite límpida sem luar é possível ver a sombra lançada apenas pela luz da Via Láctea.José Francisco Salgado, artista visual e Embaixador Fotográfico do ESO, diz: “O céu do Paranal é um dos mais escuros e estáveis que tenho fotografado. Adoro fotografar observatórios e no Paranal é perfeitamente incrível o que se consegue ver apenas à luz das estrelas e à luz zodiacal!”Na imagem, as estrelas da Via Láctea parecem estar a sair da cúpula aberta do telescópio. A zona mais brilhante próximo do telescópio é a Nebulosa ...
potw1037-pt-br — Foto da Semana
A Grande Galáxia em Espiral Barrada
13 de Setembro de 2010: Rodando a 61 milhões de anos-luz de distância na constelação da Fornalha, encontra-se a enorme NGC 1365. Com uma dimensão de 200 000 anos-luz, esta é uma das maiores galáxias conhecidas dos astrónomos. Este facto, aliado à sua barra de estrelas velhas bem definida que atravessa a estrutura, faz com que seja conhecida pela Grande Galáxia em Espiral Barrada. Os astrónomos pensam que a Via Láctea é muito parecida a esta galáxia, embora tenha metade do seu tamanho. Pensa-se que o centro da galáxia brilha tanto devido a enormes quantidades de gás extremamente quente ejectado pelo anel de material que circunda o buraco negro central. Estrelas quentes luminosas, nascidas das nuvens interestelares, dão aos braços uma cor azulada e uma aparência bem proeminente. A barra e os braços em espiral rodam, com uma volta completa a durar cerca de 350 milhões de anos.Esta imagem combina observações obtidas, através de três ...
potw1036-pt-br — Foto da Semana
Um raio laser lançado na direção do centro da Via Láctea
6 de Setembro de 2010: A meados de agosto de 2010, o Embaixador Fotográfico do ESO, Yuri Beletsky, tirou esta fotografia no Observatório do Paranal do ESO. Um grupo de astrónomos estava a observar o centro da Via Láctea com o auxílio do sistema de estrela guia laser do Yepun, um dos quatro Telescópios Principais do Very Large Telescope (VLT).O raio laser do Yepun atravessa o majestoso céu austral, criando uma estrela artificial a uma altitude de 90 km na mesosfera terrestre. A Estrela Guia Laser faz parte do sistema de óptica adaptativa do VLT e é usada como referência para corrigir as imagens astronómicas que aparecem desfocadas devido ao efeito de distorção da atmosfera. A cor do laser está calibrada de forma precisa de modo a que a sua energia excite uma faixa de átomos de sódio situada numa das camadas superiores da atmosfera - podemos reconhecer a cor familiar das lâmpadas de sódio ...
potw1035 — Foto da Semana
Arp 271 — Galaxies Drawn Together*
30 de Agosto de 2010: NGC 5426 and NGC 5427 are two spiral galaxies of similar sizes engaged in a dramatic dance. It is not certain that this interaction will end in a collision and ultimately a merging of the two galaxies, although the galaxies have already been affected. Together known as Arp 271, this dance will last for tens of millions of years, creating new stars as a result of the mutual gravitational attraction between the galaxies, a pull seen in the bridge of stars already connecting the two. Located 90 million light-years away towards the constellation of Virgo (the Virgin), the Arp 271 pair is about 130 000 light-years across. It was originally discovered in 1785 by William Herschel. Quite possibly, our own Milky Way will undergo a similar collision in about five billion years with the neighbouring Andromeda galaxy, which is now located about 2.6 million light-years away from the Milky Way. ...
potw1034 — Foto da Semana
Starry Night at Paranal*
23 de Agosto de 2010: During a night at ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the stars seem to rotate around the southern celestial pole. The skies over Paranal provide splendid observing opportunities for the astronomers below. At the observatory on Cerro Paranal in the dry Atacama Desert of Chile, one of the observatory’s four 8.2-metre telescopes can be seen on the right performing its nightly task of looking at the heavens. Two of the four 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes are also seen in the picture. The dry, high environment at 2600 metres above sea level, and the extraordinarily advanced equipment makes observing time at the VLT highly sought after by astronomers around the world.
potw1033 — Foto da Semana
The 2010 Perseids over the VLT
16 de Agosto de 2010: Every year in mid-August the Perseid meteor shower has its peak. Meteors, colloquially known as “shooting stars”, are caused by pieces of cosmic debris entering Earth’s atmosphere at high velocity, leaving a trail of glowing gases. Most of the particles that cause meteors are smaller than a grain of sand and usually disintegrate in the atmosphere, only rarely reaching the Earth’s surface as a meteorite. The Perseid shower takes place as the Earth moves through the stream of debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. In 2010 the peak was predicted to take place between 12–13 August 2010. Despite the Perseids being best visible in the northern hemisphere, due to the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle's orbit, the shower was also spotted from the exceptionally dark skies over ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. In order not to miss any meteors in the display, ESO Photo Ambassador Stéphane Guisard set up 3 cameras ...
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