ESO: Stargazing the Majestic Milky Way (35 Pics)

March 10th, 2011 Permalink

When you were a kid, did you ever wish upon a star? Stargazing always seems to help put problems into perspective. Americans usually know more about and love NASA, but the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is cool too. The ESO operates the Paranal Observatory, located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile at an altitude of 8,645 feet. The largest telescope on Paranal is called the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and it shoots a super cool laser into outer space. These incredible pictures were all taken at the ESO, featuring gazillions of stars in the majestic Milky Way, the VLT, Cerro Armazones, La Silla Observatory, or ALMA antennas. We love these pics! [35 Photos]

ESO Laser Towards Milky Ways Center

ESO: Pointing the Laser towards the Milky Way’s Center is helping researchers better monitor the galactic core, where a central supermassive black hole, surrounded by closely orbiting stars, is swallowing gas and dust. In mid-August 2010 ESO Photo Ambassador Yuri Beletsky snapped this amazing photo at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. Photo #1 by ESO/Y. Beletsky

ESO ALMA antennas under the Milky Way

ALMA antennas under the Milky Way. ALMA stands for Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. It has 66 high precision antennas, which are either 39 feet (12 meters) or 22 feet (7 meters) wide. ALMA is the largest astronomical project in existence. It was an international partnership with Europe, North America, East Asia and the Republic of Chile all working together to build ALMA. Photo #2 by by ESO/José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org)


ESO - Starry La Silla

ESO – Starry La Silla. The La Silla Observatory in Chile has 18 telescopes, 9 of which were built by the ESO and the ESO helps to maintain the other 9. La Silla sits upon a 7,800 foot mountain. Photo #3 by by ESO/José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org)

ESO - Echinopsis Atacamensis and the Milky Way

Cactus (Echinopsis Atacamensis) under the Milky Way. Photo #4 by ESO/S. Guisard (www.eso.org/~sguisard)

ESO - Sunset view at Paranal with Moon, Venus and an AT

Sunset view at Paranal with Moon, Venus. This picture shows astronomers enjoying the sunset at Paranal, on ESO’s Very Large Telescope’s platform, just before the beginning of their night-time observations. The dome of one of the VLT’s Auxiliary Telescopes is seen in the foreground. The crescent Moon and, to its left, planet Venus, make for a beautiful scenery. Photo #5 by ESO/Y. Beletsky

ESO - The VLT in Action

The VLT in Action. Photo #7 by ESO/S. Brunier

ESO - Starry Night at Paranal

Starry Night at Paranal. Photo #8 by Iztok Boncina/ESO

Amazing Sight on Cerro Paranal, Home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT)

Amazing Sight on Cerro Paranal, Home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Does it make you want to howl at the moon? Photo #9 by G.Gillet/ESO

ESO -Starlight Shines Brightly Above Paranal

Starlight Shines Brightly Above Paranal. Photo #11 by ESO/José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org)

ESO - ALMA Prototype-Antennas at the ALMA Test Facility

ALMA Prototype-Antennas at the ALMA Test Facility. Photo #13 by ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

Starry Night at Cerro Armazones

Starry Night at Cerro Armazones. Photo #14 by ESO/S. Brunier

Celestial Tic-Tac-Toe - Mercury, Venus and the Moon Align

Celestial Tic-Tac-Toe – Mercury, Venus and the Moon Align. Photo #15 by ESO/Y. Beletsky

Exoplanet Hunters at La Silla

Exoplanet Hunters at La Silla. Photo #17 by Iztok Boncina/ESO

The Milky Way over Cerro Armazones

The Milky Way over Cerro Armazones. Photo #18 by ESO/S. Brunier

Orion above the VLT

Orion above the VLT. Photo #19 by ESO/Y. Beletsky

Straight to the Milky Way´s Heart

Straight to the Milky Way’s Heart. Photo #20 by G. Hüdepohl/ESO (www.atacamaphoto.com)

The Paranal Residencia at Night

“Paranal Residencia” – At the Paranal camp, this is the residence at night. Photo #21 by ESO/H. Heyer

Telescope Domes Clustered at La Silla

Telescope Domes Clustered at La Silla. Photo #22 by ESO/Y. Beletsky

Celestial Conjunction at Paranal

Celestial Conjunction at Paranal. The ESO notes, “the Moon shines along with two bright companions: already aloft in the heavens and glowing in the centre of the image is Venus, Earth’s closest planetary neighbour, and, to its right, the giant, though more distant planet, Jupiter. Such apparent celestial near misses—although the heavenly bodies are actually tens to hundreds of millions of kilometres apart—are called conjunctions. Still other sights delight this night view at Paranal : the radiant, reddish plane of the Milky Way, smouldering on the horizon, and an 8.2-metre VLT Unit Telescope, along with a 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescope, standing firmly on the ground.” Photo #23 by ESO/Y. Beletsky

Paranal After Sunset

Paranal After Sunset. Photo #24 by ESO/Y. Beletsky

Beautiful Sky over Paranal

Beautiful Sky over Paranal. Photo #25 by ESO/Y. Beletsky

Milky Way above Paranal

Milky Way above Paranal. Photo #26 by S. Deiries/ESO

ESO - The Long and Winding Road

The Long and Winding Road which leads to the Paranal camp. Photo #27 by José Francisco Salgado(josefrancisco.org)/ESO

ESO - Rare 360-degree Panorama of the Southern Sky

Rare 360-degree Panorama of the Southern Sky. Photo #28 by ESO/H.H. Heyer

ESO - Swiss and 3.6-m Telescope at La Silla

The ESO described this scene as the “1.2-m Swiss Telescope stands in front of ESO’s 3.6-metre telescope in this image from the La Silla observing site. 2400 metres above sea level in the southern part of the Atacama desert of Chile, La Silla was ESO’s first observation site. Along with the 3.6-metre telescope, La Silla hosts the New Technology Telescope (NTT) and the 2.2-m Max-Planck-ESO telescope. Photo #29 by Iztok Boncina/ESO

The Milky Way Shines on Paranal

The Milky Way Shines on Paranal. Photo #30 by B. Fugate (FASORtronics)/ESO

VLT Telescopes at Paranal

VLT Telescopes at Paranal. Photo #31 by Iztok Boncina/ESO

Zodiacal Light over La Silla

Zodiacal Light over La Silla. Photo #34 by ESO/Y. Beletsky

ESO - Shooting a Laser at the Galactic Center

Shooting a Laser at the Galactic Center. Photo #35 by Y. Beletsky/ESO


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