An oasis, or a secret lair?

This image shows a dark Chilean sky filled with spectacular star trails — caused by the Earth's rotation during the camera's long exposure time. Underneath these dramatic streaks lies the Paranal Residencia, an oasis to the staff and visitors to ESO's Very Large Telescope, located high on Cerro Paranal in the Chilean desert.

Construction of the Residencia began in 1998 and was completed by 2002. Since then, it has offered a welcome break from the harsh, dry climate of the desert to the scientists and engineers who work at Paranal Observatory.

The four-storey building has the majority of its structure buried underground. The facility was designed by German architects Auer+Weber to complement the surrounding environment. From certain angles, the combination of hi-tech utilitarian architecture and inconspicuous, almost camouflage-like design is reminiscent of a villain’s secret lair. Perhaps it is no surprise that the Residencia was selected as the setting for the final battle in the 2008 James Bond movie Quantum of Solace.

Flickr user John Colosimo submitted this photograph to the Your ESO Pictures Flickr group. The Flickr group is regularly reviewed and the best photos are selected to be featured in our popular Picture of the Week series, or in our gallery.



John Colosimo (

About the Image

Release date:7 October 2013, 10:00
Size:5760 x 3840 px

About the Object

Name:Cerro Paranal, Paranal, Paranal Residencia
Type:Solar System : Technology : Observatory : Facility

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