Starting off the year with a bang

Firework displays are used to mark the beginning of the New Year all over the world, so we thought we’d bring you our own, space-themed display to kick things off in 2024. This Picture of the Week is a time-lapse video of the night sky above ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal, Chile. Look closely, and you’ll catch a glimpse of an extraterrestrial firework, otherwise known as a meteor. 

Meteors are objects from outer space that burn up as they enter Earth's atmosphere at high speeds. Often called “shooting stars” or “fireballs”, they create dazzling displays as they crash through our gaseous atmosphere, heating up as a result of friction with the air. In this sped-up time-lapse, captured in June last year, the meteor left behind a trail of smoke that slowly dispersed in the atmosphere. By some estimates, 44 tonnes of meteoric material fall into Earth’s atmosphere every day — six times the amount of fireworks used in the famed Sydney Harbour display on New Year’s Eve.    

The year 2023 marked a significant milestone for the VLT, our flagship facility, which celebrated its 25th birthday. Comprising four 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes, two of which are visible in the showcased video, and four 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes, one of which is in the foreground, the VLT remains a sharp eye on the sky. 

So, what’s in store for 2024? Expect more groundbreaking discoveries and some exciting upgrades on the horizon. As the VLT continues to push the boundaries of astronomical exploitation, 2024 will likely be brimming with cosmic revelations and advancements.

Happy New Year from ESO!


B. Häußler/ESO

A proposito del video

Data di rilascio:Lunedì 01 Gennaio 2024 06:00
Durata:21 s
Frame rate:25 fps

Riguardo all'oggetto

Nome:Very Large Telescope
Tipo:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory

Ultra HD (info)



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