VLT first unit telescope ANTU

Night Falls at Paranal — Preparing for the Observations

The first of the four unit telescopes of the VLT, ANTU during the evening start-up sequence. The last rays of the sun illuminate part of the mechanical structure. (Photo obtained on March 18, 2000).

Astronomical observations begin soon after sunset at Paranal.

Normally, they start with a series of test and calibration exposures that serve to determine the exact status of the various instruments, e.g., in terms of sensitivity at different wavelengths.

Some of these exposures are performed on a white target on the inside of the telescope enclosure, others are made on the sky, as it gets progressively darker.

If they are included in a programme, observations of comparatively bright objects may be carried out while the sky is still relatively bright. However, those of the faintest objects must wait until the period of "astronomical twilight" is over, i.e., when the Sun is at least 18° below the horizon.

Credit:

ESO

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About the Image

Id:eso0021e
Type:Photographic
Release date:16 June 2000
Related releases:eso0021
Size:2983 x 3000 px

About the Object

Name:Very Large Telescope, VLT Unit Telescopes
Type:• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope
• X - Paranal

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