Family tradition

Each family has its own traditions and the staff at ESO’s Paranal observatory in the Atacama Desert of Chile are no exception. Before the observations start, people meet on the observatory’s platform to enjoy the sunset, accompanied in this picture by one of the 1.8-metre diameter Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). 

The ATs can be moved along rails, and they work together as a single, “virtual” instrument, the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), which uses interferometry to combine the light collected by the individual telescopes and probe the cosmos with much sharper eyes. The VLT also comprises four static 8.2m Unit Telescopes, which can work either as standalone telescopes or with the VLTI.

The orange colour of the Sun and the sky at sunset is caused by the Earth’s atmosphere. This scatters the light reaching the Earth from space in different directions, depending on the colour. When the Sun is low on the horizon, blue colours are scattered out and do not reach our eyes, leaving only the stunning oranges, yellows and reds of this photograph.

This image is featured in the month of June in the ESO Calendar 2022. If you want to buy a copy, you can find it on our online ESOshop. Deliveries are already ongoing. The calendar measures 47 x 33 cm when packed and has 7 pages, printed on both sides. It is delivered in a cardboard box. Inside, Lunar phases are also indicated and stunning astronomical images together with breathtaking pictures of ESO's telescopes and landscapes will accompany you each month.


G. Hüdepohl (

About the Image

Release date:4 October 2021, 06:00
Size:5820 x 3848 px

About the Object

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

Image Formats

Large JPEG
4.2 MB
Screensize JPEG
108.6 KB



148.2 KB
225.7 KB
321.9 KB
384.9 KB
534.0 KB