Trails of Stars over Paranal

Images such as this one really highlight the movement of our planet through space. As well as travelling on an elliptical path around the Sun, the Earth spins on its axis — and it is this rotational motion that’s responsible for this eye-catching view.

As the Earth rotates, the stars above appear to change position and move through the sky on long arches, creating these eye-catching star trails centred on the south celestial pole. To successfully capture the apparent motion of the stars, photographer Fred Kamphues took multiple long-exposure shots and stacked them together, creating this remarkable photograph. 

The illuminated road below leads up to Paranal Observatory, home to ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). In this image, two of the four main Unit Telescopes (UTs) and the VST can be seen atop the mountain (Cerro Paranal). It is the laser beams from one of these UTs, emphasised by the long exposure photograph, that have created the orange beacon sweeping through the night sky.

Credit:

About the Image

Id:potw2040a
Type:Photographic
Release date:5 October 2020, 06:00
Size:4928 x 3280 px

About the Object

Name:Adaptive Optics, Star Trails, Very Large Telescope
Type:Milky Way : Sky Phenomenon : Night Sky : Trail : Star
Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope
Category:Paranal

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