ESO Photo Ambassadors

The dark Chilean sky at ESO sites in the Atacama Desert is among the best places on Earth for observing the stars. Professional astronomers can benefit here of the advanced instruments provided for them by ESO in order to find answers to the many questions we have about the Universe. But apart from offering professional astronomers access to the latest technologies in this favourable environment, ESO also encourages members of its staff who are amateur astronomers in their free time to take advantage of the clear skies.

The ESO education and Public Outreach Department has proudly designated night-sky photographers with special ties to ESO as ESO Photo Ambassadors, assisting them whenever possible and further promoting their photos, so as to bring astronomy closer to people. These are individuals who have surprised us with astonishing views of ESO sites and the Chilean skies.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Photo Ambassador, please send us an email at osandu@partner.eso.org with some of your photos attached or a link to where we can find them.

 

ESO Photo Ambassador Carlos A. Duran

  • 1Atacama Paronama
    Panoramic view of part of the Atacama Desert, Chile.
  • 2ALMA up Close
    Close-up image of two antennas of the ALMA.
  • 2ALMA Antennas
    Close-up view of the ALMA antennas on the Chajnantor Plateau, at an altitude of 5000 m. The antennas are designed to withstand the harsh conditions at the high site, where the extremely dry and rarefied air is ideal for ALMA’s observations of the universe at millimetre- and submillimetre-wavelengths.
  • 2The Shadow of ALMA
    A stunning image of the shadow cast by an ALMA antenna.

Born in 1977 in Temuco, Southern Chile, Carlos is an Electronics Engineer with a Masters degree. He studied at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in Santiago, where he has lived since he was a young boy.

He joined ESO in 2004, and since then he has been working for the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment, APEX. Here he became fascinated by the Chilean desert and developed a deep passion for photography. He enjoys making landscape photos, but also portraits, experimenting with techniques and formats. The site of APEX — the Chajnantor Plateau — has particularly caught his imagination, because of its deep dark blue sky and surreal saturated colours.

ESO Photo Ambassador Roger Wesson

  • 1Mars & Paranal
    The landscape at Paranal (right) is in many ways similar to the landscape probes have found at Mars (left).
  • 2Giants in Chajnantor
    The gigantic ALMA antennas look frozen in time in the otherworldly landscape at Chajnantor. The photographer used a red filter which turned the dark blue skies almost completely black.
  • 2Streaking Stars
    This image, taken from the La Silla Observatory site, shows a misty Atacama Desert with stars (and the moon) streaking across the sky. The streaking effect is created by taking the image with a very long exposure, showing up the observed movement of the stars as the Earth rotates.
  • 2La Silla
    This image shows the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope which has been in operation at the La Silla observatory since 1984. The telescope is shared between the Max Planck Society and ESO, with the operation and maintenance being ESO's responsibility. The effect of the stars swirling above the telescope is created by taking the photograph with a very long exposure time, capturing the way the stars appear to move as the Earth rotates.
  • 2La Silla at Sunrise
    The sun rises over La Silla Observatory in the Atacama Desert. The Chilean Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth, with one of the best possible views of the night sky.

Originally from the south east of England, Roger Wesson first visited Chile while backpacking around South America in 2005. Since September 2011 he has lived in Santiago, and spends 80 nights a year supporting operations at Paranal. A keen traveler, Roger likes to visit remote and interesting parts of the world and photograph them. Astronomy often provides the motivation for his journeys, and particular highlights have included seeing a total solar eclipse in western Zambia, and watching the northern lights while en route to the site of a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Having access to the dark skies and incredible landscapes of northern Chile provides him with ample opportunities to further explore the world of nighttime photography.

ESO Photo Ambassador Malte Tewes

  • 1Atacama Clouds
    See this stunning image of clouds rolling over the hills of the Atacama desert. In this remote outpost of civilisation, one is greeted with some of the most beautiful wonders Man has ever witnessed.
  • 2Atacama Shadows
    A stunning image taken of the breathtaking scenery in the Atacama desert. The faded Sun barely illuminates the hills, high up in this arid landscape.
  • 3La Silla after a snow storm
    The stunning sight of La Silla Observatory after a snow storm. High up in the Atacama desert, above the clouds, you can see the clouds sprawl around this site of astronomical observation.
  • 4The Swiss 1.2-metre Leonhard Euler Telescope in its dome at La Silla
    This unusual and striking image is a fish-eye photograph of the inside of the dome of the Swiss 1.2-metre Leonhard Euler telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile.
  • 5View of La Silla
    Panoramic view of La Silla Observatory. In the centre of the image is the New Technology Telescope, and to the left the dome of the 1.2-metre Euler telescope.

Born in 1984 in southern Germany, Malte Tewes is an astronomer working in the field of cosmology with gravitational lensing. He did his PhD at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Since 2008, Malte has carried out numerous observing runs at the telescopes at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, most often at the Swiss 1.2-metre Leonhard Euler Telescope. Fascinated by the combination of La Silla's scenic landscape and its high-tech installations, he enjoys spending any free time during his stays hiking around with his camera, day or night.

Despite turning astrophysics into his profession, Malte remains an avid stargazer and amateur telescope maker. He takes great pleasure in exploiting the possibilities of digital imaging for both artistic and scientific purposes. However, in terms of aesthetic experience, he thinks that the direct view through a telescope under dark skies is hard to beat. He has been actively involved in the amateur astronomy association of EPFL since 2003, serving as its president for two years.

ESO Photo Ambassador Stefan Seip

  • 1ALMA Compact Array
    Image of the ALMA Compact Array (ACA) of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the largest astronomy project in existence, located at the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes.
  • 2Close-up on ALMA's Antennas
    Close-up image of the antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the largest astronomy project in existence, located at the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes.
  • 3 The VLT at Paranal Observatory
    Close-up image of one of the units of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.
  • 4 The VLT at Paranal Observatory
    Image of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.
  • 5 SEST at La Silla
    Image of the Swedish-ESO 15m Submillimeter Telescope (SEST) at ESO's La Silla Observatory, located on the outskirts of the Chilean Atacama Desert, 600 km north of Santiago de Chile and at an altitude of 2400 metres.

Stefan Seip is a professional photographer and astrophotographer, living in Stuttgart, a regional capital in the southwest of Germany, and at the heart of Europe. A biologist and IT specialist by training, Stefan decided in 2003 to follow his true calling and started to work as a freelance author and photographer.

Through his outstanding photographs Stefan has gained an impressive international reputation. In German-speaking areas he is well known as the author of several photography books on the sky, the night sky and on astrophotography. In addition, he regularly contributes columns, test reports and features, as well as articles on practical hints, to leading astronomy magazines. His numerous lectures, workshops and stargazing tours allow him to share his knowledge and his passion with a dedicated audience.

Stefan travels around the globe in search of the locations for his stunning images. But he doesn’t always travel alone. At times he works as a tour guide and photography instructor, offering his charges an unparalleled combination of magnificent celestial events, exotic locations, creative techniques and intensive individual instruction. Stefan was a founding member of TWAN (The World at Night), a project that presents extraordinary images of the night-sky set as a backdrop to the world’s great landmarks.

Stefan’s photographic skill set, however, covers much more than sky and astrophotography. This is evident from his love for monochrome fine-art photography.

ESO Photo Ambassador Julien Girard

  • 1Mars, 2099?
    On a cold dark night on Mars, in the middle of an arid desert, a narrow road lit by artificial lights winds its way up to a lonely human outpost on the top of an old mountain.
  • 2 Laser Guide Star Sweeps Across a Starry Sky
    A powerful laser beam from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) paints the night sky over the Chilean Atacama Desert in this stunning image taken by Julien Girard.
  • 3 The Heart of the Milky Way, for Valentine’s Day
    There is a lot to love about astronomy, and — in time for Valentine's Day — Julien Girard offers a "heartfelt" example in this image.

Julien Girard has been a staff astronomer at ESO since 2009, dividing his time between Santiago and Paranal Observatory, where he is the instrument scientist for VLT/NACO (and soon SPHERE). His own research topics reflect his broad interests, and include the direct imaging of extrasolar planets, searching for brown dwarfs in nearby molecular clouds and studying young circumstellar discs.

Born in 1978 in the French Alps, Julien was always attracted to and fascinated by the night sky. At 20 he moved to the USA and began to work as a student for a large high-energy cosmic ray observatory in the Utah desert. And that was it! His life would be the one of an experimentalist involving trips to unusual places, with unusual equipment, technologies and people.

He is also convinced of the relevance of astronomy and science to society, and helped to organise the first Noche de las Estrellas, which in 2012 gathered around 500 000 participants at 49 sites in Mexico! He also produced the photo exhibition Ella es Astrónoma as part of the International Year of Astronomy (2009).

Julien Girard took up photography in 2002, and through his images is more interested in communicating emotions, rather than achieving the technical perfection he aims for in astronomy.

ESO Photo Ambassador Alexandre Santerne

  • 1Star trails over the ESO 3.6-metre telescope
    The ESO 3.6-metre Telescope hosts HARPS, the world's foremost exoplanet hunter.
  • 3 Close up of the SEST
    Close up of the Swedish–ESO Submillimetre Telescope (SEST), which was built on behalf of the Swedish Natural Science Research Council (NFR) and ESO.

Born in 1986 in the north of France, Alexandre Santerne did his PhD at the Aix-Marseille University (France) studying transiting extrasolar planets using the CoRoT and Kepler spacecraft. During his PhD, he travelled many times to Chile to use the HARPS spectrograph at La Silla Observatory in order to confirm and weight the planetary candidates discovered by CoRoT. He took advantage of observing with the ESO 3.6-metre telescope to catch the perpetual rotation of the stars over the Earth with his camera. Nowadays, Alexandre travels around the world (including Chile) to pursue his research on extrasolar planets.

Alexandre has been interested in astronomy since his childhood. Before doing his PhD, he was an amateur astronomer, observing and photographing the northern sky. He was also the funding president of an amateur astronomical association that has organised annual star parties in France since the IYA2009. Now a professional astronomer, he keeps the link between professional and amateur astronomy by participating in outreach events, public conferences and by promoting amateur/professional collaborations.

ESO Photo Ambassador Gabriel Brammer

  • 1Christmas Comet Lovejoy Captured at Paranal
    This photo comes from a time-lapse sequence taken by Gabriel Brammer from ESO just two days ago on 22 December 2011.
  • 2Comets and Shooting Stars Dance Over Paranal
    Sunset view of the Paranal Observatory, featuring two comets that are currently moving across the southern skies.
  • 3 ESO’s Paranal Observatory by night
    ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert, by night.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa (USA), Gabriel works as an astronomer at the ESO La Silla-Paranal Observatory. When not supporting the operations of the observatory, he studies the formation and evolution of distant galaxies using the most sophisticated telescopes and instrumentation in the world, including the ESO Very Large Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope.

Gabriel has long enjoyed the beautiful skies of northern Chile, from his first experience as an undergraduate intern at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, to an extended stay at the Departamento de Astronomia at the Universidad de Chile during his PhD, and finally to his current position as a professional astronomer with ESO. Always interested in photography, the recent births of his children, the landscapes of Chile, and the spectacularly dark skies at Cerro Paranal have provided him with an ideal opportunity to pursue the hobby with some of the best subjects available to a photographer.

ESO Photo Ambassador Christoph Malin

  • 1Yepun and the Laser Guide Star
    The beam of the Laser Guide Star system, on the ESO Very Large Telescope's Unit Telescope 4 (named Yepun), shoots into the night on Cerro Paranal.
  • 2 The Paranal Residencia
    The facade of the Paranal Residencia. The rooms, for astronomers, engineers, and other staff working at ESO's Paranal Observatory,
    look out onto the arid Atacama Desert.
  • 3 ALMA antennas on Chajnantor
    A cluster of 12-metre-diameter ALMA antennas are seen on the Chajnantor plateau, in this wide-angle night shot.

Born in 1969 in southern Germany and today based near Innsbruck, Austria, Christoph was originally a textile engineer and has worked in the fields of garment CAD/CAM system development, including laser and hydro-cutting systems.

In the nineties however, Christoph made his passion for outdoor and landscape photo- and videography and for writing about mountain biking his new job.

He has since worked for many years for various German and Austrian mountain-biking magazines as a senior tech and travel/event editor, which has taken him to many continents. As a professional photographer he has completed many catalogue shoots for bicycle and outdoor manufacturers, as well as extreme mountainbike sports videos, some of which have been shown on worldwide TV networks.

He is also a member of the instructor team for the Austrian Summit Club, holding and developing youth mountainbike riding and outdoor photography courses, and a consultant on bicycle path networks for tourist boards and ski resorts in Austria.

Christoph has made hundreds of trips to the Alps, both by bike and on foot, and has always enjoyed the star-filled skies. In 2010 he took up astrophotography and mountain time-lapse photography to record the clear skies and spectacular views for everyone. During the Austrian The World at Night (TWAN) lecture tour, he was given the task of introducing Babak Tafreshi to some of the most remote mountain locations and peaks in North Tyrol; an experience that changed his life.

The impressive night-sky imaging sessions during that trip forever addicted him to TWAN landscape astrophotography. Since then he has combined his outdoor time-lapse photography and post-processing skills with his mountaineering knowledge to create some of the finest astrophotography time-lapses from dark places throughout the Alps and other remarkable mountain and desert landscapes.

ESO Photo Ambassador Babak A. Tafreshi

  • 1ALMA's World At Night
    This panoramic view of the Chajnantor plateau, spanning about 180 degrees from north to south shows the antennas of the Atacama Large
    Millimeter/submillimeter Array ranged across the unearthly landscape.
  • 2 The Chilean Night Sky from ALMA
    This image taken by Babak Tafreshi shows the night sky seen from the Atacama Desert.

Babak is a science journalist, photographer and astronomy communicator working with all kinds of media. He is the founder and director of The World At Night (TWAN) programme, an international project to produce and present stunning night-sky images above various Earth landscapes. TWAN was designated a special project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and this brought Babak into contact with ESO.

Born in 1978 in Iran, he is based in Germany, but is always on the move, and could be anywhere, from the heart of Sahara to the Himalayas or Antarctica. Babak is a contributing photographer for Sky & Telescope magazine, and a board member of Astronomers Without Borders; a US-based organisation that connects people and cultures across the world through a common interest in astronomy. Babak received the 2009 Lennart Nilsson Award, the world’s most recognised award for scientific photography, for his global contribution to night-sky photography.

As a science journalist he was editor of Iranian astronomy magazine, Nojum, from 1997 to 2007. He has contributed to many television and radio programmes on astronomy and has interviewed world-renowned astronomers and space scientists. Besides TWAN imaging, chasing solar eclipses for an astronomy documentary series has taken him to all continents.

ESO Photo Ambassador Fred Kamphues

  • 1Sunset over Paranal Panorama
    The Very Large Telescope (VLT) on the 2,600m high Cerro Paranal is ESO’s premier site for observations in the visible and infrared light.
  • 2 Chajnantor panorama
    A view across the Chajnantor plain, high in the Chilean Andes, taken from Cerro Chico and looking towards the south, with the Moon visible in the sky.
  • 3 A 360 degree panorama of a unique cloudscape over La Silla
    360 degree view of a rare cloudscape over La Silla, in the southern edges of the Atacama Desert, home of ESO’s first observing site.

Fred’s first involvement with ESO projects dates back to 1998 and the development of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) delay lines. He was responsible for their mechanical design and assembly, integration and testing. After his first visit to Paranal in 2000 he was keen to immortalise the spectacular technology that was being assembled in the remote Atacama Desert. In 2008 he spent nearly a month in Chile, photographing the various observatories there, including Paranal, La Silla and Chajnantor.

Fred thinks that his photography, and in particular the large wide-field photo of the VLTI kicked off ESO's interest in ultra-high resolution panoramas.

He divides his time approximately equally between engineering consultancy and photography. He is currently the project manager at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research facility (TNO) for the VLT Four Laser Guide Star Facility optical tube assemblies (4LGSF OTA) and he is also working on the Gaia mission. His engineering background means that he has a very good understanding of complex technical systems, which is extremely helpful when photographing these subjects. Fred is also a member of the SanDisk Extreme Team (http://www.sandisk.com/about-sandisk/sandisk-extreme-team/nature-and-wildlife/fred-kamphues).

His future ESO-related goals are to photograph the new VLT 4LGSF and to get involved with the E-ELT (if possible on both the technical and communications side).

ESO Photo Ambassador José Joaquín Pérez

  • 1Stars Trails over La Silla
    A combined series of nighttime exposures captures these impressive star trails over ESO’s La Silla observatory.
  • 2 NGC 6188
    Impressive image of the NGC 6188 nebula, located some 4000 light-years away, in the southern constellation of Ara (the Altar).
  • 3 The Vela Supernova Remnant
    This beautiful structure is what remains of a massive star that ended its life with a supernova explosion some 11 000 years ago.

José has been taking astrophotographs for over ten years, but his fascination for the sky goes back to his childhood, when he lived in the region of Coquimbo, Chile,  a place with some of the most transparent and darkest skies on the planet. He used a telescope for the first time at the Tololito observatory, which belongs to the Seminario Conciliar of La Serena, and is still under the direction of the priest Juan Bautista Picetti. Picetti had the patience to answer José’s endless questions for whole afternoons and gave him his first telescope: a 3-inch f/12 refractor, with a wooden tripod and two eyepieces. José still has this telescope, which introduced him to the phases of the Moon, the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter and the brightest globular clusters in the Southern Hemisphere.

Currently José is an agricultural engineer in a transnational company dedicated to the protection of crops in central Chile. When there’s a new Moon he plans trips to places with great skies near his house or he goes to the north region of Chile, alone or with other astrophotographer friends.

José shares his hobby by publishing his images in magazines, at public conferences and on his website.

ESO Photo Ambassador Farid Char

  • 1Stars Trails over Armazones
    Multiple-exposure picture taken from the top of the 3060-metre-high Cerro Armazones, the selected site for the European Extremely Large
    Telescope (E-ELT).
  • 2 Chajnantor panorama
    Stars Trails over Armazones" alt="Multiple-exposure picture taken from the top of the 3060-metre-high Cerro Armazones, the selected site for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).
  • 3 Stars Trails over Armazones
    Multiple-exposure picture taken looking west from the top of the 3060-metre-high Cerro Armazones, the selected site for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

Born in  1983, and now living in Antofagasta (Chile), Farid Char works at ESO’s La Silla–Paranal Observatory as member of the E-ELT site-testing team, and he also works as tourist guide for the VLT. He has a degree in psychology, but is a serious amateur astronomer with several years of experience in observation, instrumentation and outreach.

Farid enjoys travelling and being in touch with different aspects of nature, such as forests, glaciers, valleys, mountains, and of course… deserts. For him the art of photography is exemplified by the best of astrophotography, which portrays the Universe as an amazing artwork full of cosmic jewelry.

His contributions to astronomical projects and popular science events have made him widely recognised in the Chilean amateur community, and his photos have been featured on dedicated websites and press releases. As a passionate stargazer, the use of his spare time to observe the night sky is almost an emotional need. And photographs are the best log of these emotions.

ESO Photo Ambassador Gianluca Lombardi

  • 1A view of Paranal at sunset from Armazones
    The above picture shows Cerro Paranal, home to the flagship Very Large Telescope, at sunset, as seen from Cerro Armazones.
  • 2 E-ELT site testing — Cerro Armazones / Chile
    The above amazing picture shows Cerro Armazones with trailed stars in the backgound.
  • 3 By the Light of the Moon
    SO Photo Ambassador Gianluca Lombardi used a remote shutter release and a 30-second exposure to take this night-time shot

    of himself sitting on a railing on the observing platform of the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT).

Born in Taranto (Italy) in 1979, Gianluca Lombardi works as an astronomer at ESO La Silla–Paranal Observatory and has been in charge of the E-ELT site testing at all Chilean sites since 2007.

Gianluca followed his father into amateur photography, fascinated by the world in which films were still developed in the home-made darkroom in the small alcove just downstairs. The driving concept behind his photographs is to give people the chance to experience the different landscapes and scenery of our planet, and particularly those that are otherwise inaccessible. He always tries to express his feelings by capturing the beauty of nature, in particular through landscapes, wildlife, large-scale subjects and starry skies. He always says he is “honoured to have the opportunity to share with others what he can see with his eyes”.

His photos are published in magazines and books and used at conferences and exhibitions.

ESO Photo Ambassador Serge Brunier

  • 1Cerro Armazones night-time panorama
    Cerro Armazones was chosen as the site for the planned European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).
  • 2 Astrophotographer Serge Brunier
    The famous science writer and astrophotographer, Serge Brunier, contributed to ESO’s GigaGalaxy Zoom project.
  • 3 360° panorama of the VLT platform at sunset
    Spectacular 360-degree view of the VLT platform at sunset, when the telescopes are opening and preparing for the night observations.

Born in 1958 in Paris, Serge Brunier has been living in the City of Light ever since. He is a prizewinning photographer and author of books that have been translated into ten languages. He has visited the majority of the world's great observatories and has photographed solar eclipses from the most wonderful landscapes on Earth. As a journalist, he is a contributor to many science and astronomical magazines, such as Ciel et Espace, Science et Vie, La Recherche, The Tenmon Guide, Sky and Telescope, as well as popular magazines such as Paris Match.

In 1986, Serge was awarded the French Academy’s Montyon prize for his book Architecture of the Universe, and in 1994, the French Astronomical Society awarded him the Henry–Rey prize. Serge has been awarded the French Astronomy Book of the Year prize twice, in 1997 and in 2007. Also in 2007, his one-hundred-million pixel picture of the Milky Way was shown as a 144 square-metre image in the Palais de la Découverte, the biggest science museum in Paris. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) named asteroid 10943 in his honour and in recognition of his work of science popularisation.  During the International Year of Astronomy 2009, Serge participated in the GigaGalaxy project, taking an all-sky, 800-million-pixel picture from ESO’s La Silla and Paranal observatories.

Today, Serge Brunier works on new landscape night sky photos, essentially in Europe, the United States and South America. His photographic work tends to make a link between the breathtaking, very deep images taken by professional astronomers through their giant telescopes and the sky that anyone can see with the unaided eye.

ESO Photo Ambassador José Francisco Salgado

  • 1The Paranal Residencia
    Panoramic view of the Paranal Residencia, taken from the south corner of the building, looking north. The windows of the 108 rooms look
    west (left on the picture), towards the Pacific Ocean.
  • 2 The central hall at the Paranal Residencia
    Panoramic view of the central hall at the Paranal Residencia, with a swimming pool and the main indoor garden.
  • 3 The ESO VLT Yepun Telescope Opening
    The fourth of the ESO Very Large Telescope 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes (UTs) during the start-up procedures before sunset.

Born in Puerto Rico, José Francisco Salgado lives in Chicago where he works as an astronomer and science visualizer at the Adler Planetarium. He uses his skills in astronomy, education, and visual arts to create multimedia works that communicate science in engaging ways. His education and outreach efforts include an Emmy-nominated astronomy TV news segment and critically acclaimed astronomy films created to accompany live performances of classical music works. These films were named a Special Project of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) and have been presented around the world more than 50 times in 13 countries with orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony, the Boston Pops, and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

Salgado, an avid photographer who has visited more than 17 observatories, experiments with high dynamic range imaging, time-lapse, infrared, and fisheye photography, as well as with stereoscopic photography and video to enhance his multimedia works. Through his work, Salgado seeks to create visually appealing images to provoke curiosity and a sense of wonder about the Earth and the Universe.

ESO Photo Ambassador Yuri Beletsky

  • 1Paranal After Sunset
    The four Unit Telescopes of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) on top of Cerro Paranal, illuminated by starlight on a dark and very clear night,
    typical of this excellent site, among the best in the world for astronomical observations.
  • 2 Celestial Conjunction at Paranal
    In the night sky over ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) observatory at Paranal.
  • 3 Panorama of Sunset on Paranal
    Magnificent sunset view on the telescopes of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) observatory on Cerro Paranal.

Born in Belarus, Yuri now lives in Chile where he works as an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory’s La-Silla/Paranal observatory. Yuri has been an enthusiastic amateur stargazer since childhood. With the rapid development of digital imaging technology, he discovered a passion for astrophotography.

The dark skies above Cerro Paranal Mountain in the Atacama Desert provide a unique opportunity to reveal the majesty of our cosmos. During his spare time at the observatory, Yuri likes to set up a small equatorial mount and take wide-field panoramic images of the Milky Way and other natural phenomena. What can be achieved with a simple DSLR camera under dark Chilean skies is nothing short of amazing. Short snapshots deliver fascinating views of the surrounding landscape at dusk or dawn, while longer exposures produce breathtaking pictures of the starry sky.

Images obtained by Yuri have been featured on popular websites, and in press releases, books and magazines. He continually shares his passions for astronomy and astrophotography with people around the world.

ESO Photo Ambassador Stéphane Guisard

  • 1A 340-million pixel starscape from Paranal
    The second of three images of ESO’s GigaGalaxy Zoom project is a new and wonderful 340-million-pixel vista of the central parts of our galactic home.
  • 2 Trailing stars above Paranal
    The rotating sky above ESO's Very Large Telescope at Paranal.
  • 3 Sunset at Paranal
    Twice per year, the sunset passes exactly behind Paranal for somebody located on the summit of Armazones mountain, 20 kilometres away.

Native of the Lorraine region in France, Stéphane Guisard has been living in Chile since 1994, where he works as an Optics engineer at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in the Atacama Desert. He is specialized in active optics, optical alignment and telescope image quality improvement.

Besides working in a professional observatory, Stéphane is also an amateur astronomer, a hobby enjoyed since childhood when he started to build his first telescopes.

What he likes most is taking pictures and time-lapse movies of the night sky in order to share the beauty of the heavens to the public. He takes advantage of the pure and dark skies over the Atacama Desert and Andes Altiplano to make sharp deep sky astrophotographs. His images have been published in many books, magazines and television programmes around the world.

Stéphane also shares his passions for telescope optics, astrophotography, photography and astronomy through lectures at amateur meetings and in schools.

ESO Photo Ambassador Gerhard Hüdepohl

  • 1Paranal under snow
    Cerro Paranal, in the Chilean Atacama Desert, is considered one of the best astronomical observing sites in the world.
  • 2 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.
  • 3 The Paranal Residencia
    The long, facade opens towards the Pacific Ocean and provides a great view of the colourful sunset.

Gerhard Hüdepohl was born in Germany and lives in Chile since 1997, where he works as an Electronics Engineer at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal.

Since his early years he has been fascinated by nature and started to capture its beauty with his camera.

In Chile he frequently travels through the Atacama Desert to photograph remote and little known places. What he enjoys most is to explore locations where nature is still untouched, such as Antarctica and subantarctic islands, the temperate rainforests and glaciers of Patagonia or the jungle and mountains of Bolivia.

As a private pilot Gerhard Hüdepohl often takes the opportunity to fly over desert and mountain landscapes to capture them from the air.

His photos have been widely published in books, magazines, exhibitions and calendars.