Bridging the Abyss

Deep in the Chilean Atacama Desert, far from sources of light pollution and other people-related disturbances, there is a tranquil sky like few others on Earth. This is the site for the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, a scientific machine at the cutting-edge of technology.

In this panoramic photograph, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds — satellite galaxies of our own — glow brightly on the left, while the VLT’s Unit Telescope 1 stands vigil on the right. Appearing to bridge the gap between them is the Milky Way, the plane of our own galaxy. The seemingly countless stars give a sense of the true scale of the cosmos. Every night ESO astronomers rise to the challenge of studying this vista to make sense of the Universe.

This awe-inspiring image was taken by ESO Photo Ambassador Yuri Beletsky. Born in Belarus, Yuri now lives in Chile where he works as an astronomer. The dark skies above the Atacama Desert provide him with splendid opportunities to reveal the majesty of our cosmos, which he is keen to share.

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Credit:

ESO/Y. Beletsky

About the Image

Id:potw1114a
Type:Photographic
Release date:4 April 2011, 10:00
Size:3097 x 1500 px

About the Object

Name:Milky Way, Panorama, Very Large Telescope
Type:• Unspecified : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky : Milky Way
• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory
• X - Paranal

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