An Island in the Desert

This spectacular view of the utterly arid Atacama Desert around ESO Paranal Observatory was taken from the VLT platform. The facilities appear as a little island in an ocean of red hills, one of the most barren deserts on Earth. The closest town is Taltal, located on the coast, some 100 km south from the observatory, while Antofagasta, the capital of the II Region of Chile, is about 120 km to the north. Because of its remarkably favourable conditions for astronomy, this remote location is home of the Very Large Telescope (VLT), the most advanced optical and infrared ground-based astronomical facility on Earth and was selected as the site for the future European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The remoteness of the site makes operating Paranal Observatory a great logistical challenge.

Credit:

ESO/José Francisco Salgado (josefrancisco.org)

About the Image

Id:vlt-jfs_3128
Type:Photographic
Release date:26 July 2010, 17:15
Size:4256 x 2439 px

About the Object

Name:Paranal
Type:• Unspecified : Planet : Type : Terrestrial
• X - Paranal

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