A galactic view from the observation deck

This stunning panorama shows the Milky Way galaxy arching above the platform of ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal, Chile. At 2635 metres above sea level, Paranal Observatory is one of the very best astronomical observing sites in the world and is the flagship facility for European ground-based astronomy. The extent of our galaxy's cloudy and dusty structure can be seen in remarkable detail as a dim glowing band across the observation deck.

From Earth, we see the Milky Way as a band across the sky because from our vantage point in one of its spiral arms we are seeing its disc-shaped structure edge-on as we peer towards its centre. Our galaxy is surrounded by several smaller satellite galaxies. Prominent here, to the left, are the Small Magellanic Cloud and Large Magellanic Cloud — dwarf galaxies which are members of our Local Group of galaxies.

The VLT consists of four 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes (UTs) and four 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) which can be used together to form the ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI).

Flickr user John Colosimo submitted this photograph to the Your ESO Pictures Flickr group. The Flickr group is regularly reviewed and the best photos are selected to be featured in our popular Picture of the Week series, or in our gallery.



John Colosimo (colosimophotography.com)/ESO

About the Image

Release date:7 December 2015, 06:00
Related announcements:ann16026
Size:12616 x 4304 px
Field of View:220° x 90°

About the Object

Name:Very Large Telescope
Type:Unspecified : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky : Milky Way
Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope

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