Splitting the sky

This photograph, taken by ESO Photo Ambassador Petr Horálek, looks west from ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. 

The bright object at the centre of the frame is the Moon — slightly to its upper left is the ringed planet Saturn, while rocky Mercury sits to the lower left. Saturn and Mercury in conjunction can be difficult to see with the naked eye from some latitudes, but this breathtaking image captures them beautifully, despite the relatively bright light from the nearby Moon. The dusty Milky Way appears to split the sky horizontally, with a star-studded night view above and the last signs of the Sun lingering below. Many famous nebulae are visible across this cosmic curtain, such as the Lagoon Nebula, Cat’s Paw Nebula, and Trifid Nebula.

The individual telescopes in this image together make up ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the world’s most advanced optical and infrared observatory. The VLT consists of four large Unit Telescopes, each with a mirror 8.2 metres across, and four smaller Auxiliary Telescopes, with mirrors 1.8 metres in diameter.


About the Image

Release date:7 December 2020, 06:00
Size:12835 x 5933 px

About the Object

Name:Milky Way, Very Large Telescope
Type:Unspecified : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky : Milky Way
Unspecified : Technology : Observatory

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