A Celestial Self-Portrait

Some self-portraits are better than others — and this image of ESO Photo Ambassador Petr Horálek is certainly one of the more impressive! Here, the photographer basks in the light of the glowing Milky Way, dwarfed by the scale and wonder of the view overhead.

Horálek is standing at one of the highest and driest locations on Earth, amid the vast array of antennas that make up the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). ALMA is located on the 5000-metre-high Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Atacama Desert.The array sees the Universe in wavelengths of light between infrared and radio — key to observing extremely cold and distant objects — and studies the building blocks of stars, planetary systems, galaxies and life itself. ALMA probes right out to the edge of the observable Universe, and allows astronomers to explore and understand how our cosmos came to be.

The dark, clear, dry skies over Chile make the country one of the best places on Earth to observe the Universe. While professional astronomers make use of the advanced instruments located here, naked-eye observations are often just as breathtaking.

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About the Image

Id:potw2019a
Type:Photographic
Release date:11 May 2020, 06:00
Size:23664 x 8034 px
Field of View:360° x 122.2°

About the Object

Name:Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, Milky Way
Type:Unspecified : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky : Milky Way
Category:360 Panorama
ALMA

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