Cocooned on Cerro Paranal

As the Sun sets, the last rays of the day creep through to illuminate ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) as it prepares for another night of cosmos-gazing! This unusual angle reveals the industrial interior of one of the four 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes that comprise the VLT, situated atop Cerro Paranal, Chile.

The Unit Telescope enclosures play a vital role in preserving the VLT’s position as the foremost astronomical ground-based observatory in the world. The vast air-conditioning system — seen in this image as the metallic tubing snaking around the telescope — and state-of-the-art dome work together to maintain the perfect observing environment. This housing shelters the telescope from its harsh surroundings and at night shields the sensitive instruments from windy weather conditions, which could warp the shape of the thin primary mirror and blur the observations.

The photo was taken by ESO Photo Ambassador Alexandru Tudorică.

Credit:

ESO/A. Tudorică

About the Image

Id:potw1745a
Type:Photographic
Release date:6 November 2017, 06:00
Size:5184 x 3456 px

About the Object

Name:VLT Unit Telescopes
Type:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope
Category:Paranal

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