The Milky Way over Paranal

Majestic night landscape, where the dark silhouette of the VLT atop Paranal Mountain, brings out over the amazingly starry background. Because of the exceptional quality of the sky, stars are still perfectly visible just above the horizon, where clouds typically cover the Pacific Ocean, only 12 km away from the observatory. The brightest area, crossed by prominent dark lanes corresponds to the central bulge of our galaxy that we see perfectly edge-on. The centre of the galaxy itself is intersected by the vertical brighter column of the zodiacal light, which clearly marks the plan of the Earth´s orbit around the Sun. The Solar System planets, as well as the Sun itself, our Moon and the zodiacal constellations lie into this plan. In the picture, at the end of a dark lane which seems to hang directly from the Galactic Centre, the bright star Antares (Alpha Scorpii) is visible.


G. Hüdepohl (

About the Image

Release date:17 June 2010, 17:44
Size:4256 x 2832 px

About the Object

Name:Cerro Paranal, Paranal
Type:• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory

Image Formats

Large JPEG
5.1 MB
Screensize JPEG
302.5 KB



389.8 KB
663.7 KB
964.8 KB
1.1 MB
1.5 MB


Also see our