Lights over La Silla

Light travels to the telescopes at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Northern Chile over vast distances, from the planets and moons within the Solar System, and from the distant stars of the Milky Way and beyond. This spectacular Ultra High Definition panorama of the observatory, created by ESO Photo Ambassador Babak A. Tafreshi, captures light from a wide range of celestial objects.

Two of the most prominent sources of light in this spectacular shot are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, which can be seen as two diffuse fuzzy patches at the centre of the photo. These two galaxies are located 160 000 and 200 000 light-years away from us.

The nearest celestial object in this starry scene is Mars, shining next to the open dome of the 1.54-metre Danish telescope in the foreground. At the time of this photograph, the red planet was 93 million kilometres from Earth. Venus, at a distance of 120 million kilometres, can be seen glowing above the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope to the left. The plane of the Milky Way, containing billions of glittering stars, arches above the New Technology Telescope (NTT) and the ESO 3.6-metre telescope, both pictured in the background.

La Silla was ESO’s first observatory and has been an ESO stronghold in the Chilean Atacama Desert since the 1960s. The observatory’s various telescopes help astronomers to explore and understand the many mysteries of the Universe.


About the Image

Release date:9 April 2018, 06:00
Size:15305 x 3438 px
Field of View:350° x 60°

About the Object

Name:La Silla, Milky Way
Type:Solar System : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky : Milky Way
Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope
Category:La Silla

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