Silent night over Paranal

A sweeping blanket of stars gazes serenely down over Cerro Paranal, Chile, as the rising Sun gently warms the horizon with splashes of red and yellow.

Cerro Paranal is home to ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) — and this striking panorama reveals the telescope in all its glory. All four of the VLT’s large 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes are visible along the left side of the image, lined up and ready to explore the Universe.

Two smaller 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes can be seen scattered across the right side of the frame; the VLT has four of these in total, all of which are movable along a grid of tracks, and can be rearranged as needed. In the distance, the 2.6-metre VLT Survey Telescope (VST) — the newest addition to Paranal — can be seen just beyond the rightmost Unit Telescope.

Above and between the two leftmost Unit Telescopes, the mighty extent of our nearest neighbour, the Andromeda Galaxy, is visible as a bright smudge in the night sky.

The photo was taken by ESO Photo Ambassador Alexandru Tudorică.


ESO/A. Tudorică

About the Image

Release date:12 March 2018, 06:00
Size:8729 x 2782 px
Field of View:200° x 60°

About the Object

Name:Auxiliary Telescopes, Very Large Telescope, VLT Unit Telescopes
Type:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory

Image Formats

Large JPEG
7.2 MB
Screensize JPEG
152.7 KB



365.6 KB
573.8 KB
809.5 KB
978.3 KB
1.2 MB

Colours & filters

Very Large Telescope
Auxiliary Telescopes