ATACAMA SKY FROM THE VLT…….
Photo Credit: Yuri Beletsky. CLICK the photo to view full size and look below for all related links.
ESO photographer Yuri Beletsky has one of the greatest jobs in the world in my opinion. Here he’s captured three of the four 1.8 meter auxiliary telescopes for the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert, Chile. This location is the darkest and driest in the world and makes a perfect location for the most powerful ground based telescopes on Earth to include the VLT & ALMA as well as many planned telescopes.
Easily discernible here is a favorite for southern observers and one I hope to view someday; the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and next to it the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) which are satellite dwarf galaxies to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Also, if you look to the left you can make out the bottom half of the constellation Orion, which near the equator lies on its side. If you look near the horizon you can also see the green tint of Earth’s sky glow.
NASA Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD) page for this photo: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120421.html
European Southern Observatory (ESO) page on Yuri Beletsky: http://www.eso.org/public/images/yuribeletsky/
Yuri Beletsky ESO photo archive: http://www.eso.org/public/images/?search=beletsky
ESO page on the VLT Axillary Telescopes: http://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/vlt/auxiliarytelescopes/