An Aged Observer

ESO’s observatories located on the mountains of Chile — La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor Plateau — are home to a wide range of telescopes built and operated by the organisation’s 16 Member States. As time passes, older telescopes are slowly overtaken by their newer and more advanced peers. One of these old-timers is pictured here: the Swedish-ESO Submillimetre Telescope (SEST).

Built back in 1987 at La Silla, the SEST was a groundbreaking instrument. It was the only large telescope in the southern hemisphere to study radio waves from objects in the distant Universe (known as submillimetre astronomy). A huge dish, with a diameter of 15 metres, the telescope was able to observe some of the most extreme phenomena in the cosmos.

Eventually, however, newer and more advanced telescopes — such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX), both situated on Chajnantor Plateau — began to produce better measurements and observations, and the SEST was decommissioned in 2003.

However, the story is not quite over. SEST may no longer observe, but the telescope’s reflective dish still stands proudly at La Silla, acting as a mirror for the site’s beautiful nighttime skies.



About the Image

Release date:24 June 2019, 06:00
Size:30000 x 10029 px
Field of View:360° x 120.3°

About the Object

Name:Swedish–ESO Submillimetre Telescope
Type:Unspecified : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky
Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope
Category:360 Panorama
La Silla

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