Gegenschein above the VLT *

At Paranal, home of ESO's Very Large Telescope, the sky is so dark that the famous and extremely difficult to observe Gegenschein (or "counter shine") can be seen here in its full glory. This is a faint brightening of the night sky in the region of the ecliptic directly opposite the Sun, caused by the reflection of sunlight by interplanetary dust in the Solar System. The Gegenschein is seen in this image as a band running diagonally from the top left to lower right. The image was obtained by Yuri Beletsky in October 2007 using a digital camera equipped with a 10-mm wide-angle lens and installed on a portable equatorial mount. The total exposure time was about 45 min. The weather conditions during the observations were excellent: the sky transparency was close to perfect, which allowed Yuri to capture very faint details of the Gegenschein and reveal its fine structure.

This image is available as a mounted image in the ESOshop


About the Image

Release date:2 May 2008
Related releases:eso0812
Size:3888 x 2800 px

About the Object

Name:Paranal, Very Large Telescope
Type:Solar System : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky
Unspecified : Technology : Observatory

Mounted Image

Image Formats

Large JPEG
3.8 MB
Screensize JPEG
357.2 KB


398.6 KB
661.1 KB
943.0 KB
1.1 MB
1.4 MB