VLT at Paranal

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO's Cerro Paranal observing site. The VLT is the world’s most advanced optical instrument, consisting of four Unit Telescopes with main mirrors 8.2-m in diameter and four movable 1.8-m diameter Auxiliary Telescopes. The telescopes can work together, in groups of two or three, to form a giant interferometer, allowing astronomers to see details up to 25 times finer than with the individual telescopes. Located in the Atacama Desert of Chile, Paranal is over 2600 metres above sea level, providing incredibly dry, dark viewing conditions.



Paranal Site Information

The Paranal Observatory is located on the top of Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert in the northern part of Chile (map) and what is believed to be the driest area on Earth. Cerro Paranal is a 2,635-m high mountain, about 120 km south of the town of Antofagasta and 12 km inland from the Pacific Coast. The geographical coordinates are 24o 40' S, 70o 25' W.

The Paranal mountain was chosen because of its excellent atmospheric conditions and, not the least, its remoteness. This will ensure that the front-line astronomical observations to be carried out there will not be disturbed by adverse human activities, e.g. dust and light from roads and mines.


Iztok Boncina/ESO

About the Image

Release date:6 April 2010, 16:09
Size:4066 x 2642 px

About the Object

Name:Very Large Telescope
Type:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope

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