Reflections of Paranal

In this image we see a rare sight — water in the Atacama Desert! Reflected on the water’s calm surface we can see the familiar sight of Cerro Paranal, home to ESO’s Paranal Observatory.

This desert is one of the driest and most inhospitable places on Earth. The average rainfall in the Cerro Paranal region is less than 10 millimetres per year, indicating that this photograph was taken just after a period of rare rainfall in the area. Soon after the image was taken, the temporary lagoon evaporated swiftly, leaving the valley floor as dry and desiccated as ever.

However, what is arguably bad for the minimal flora and fauna of the region is excellent for astronomers. The lack of rainclouds and the dry air allow Paranal astronomers to observe all year round. With over 300 clear nights per year, the Atacama Desert is one of the best sites in the world for astronomy, almost always offering an uninterrupted view of the cosmos.

This image was taken by ESO Photo Ambassador Gerhard Hüdepohl.

Credit:

ESO/G. Hüdepohl (atacamaphoto.com)

About the Image

Id:potw1629a
Type:Photographic
Release date:18 July 2016, 06:00
Size:6938 x 2398 px

About the Object

Name:Cerro Paranal
Type:Unspecified
Category:Paranal

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