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33. Expedition day 16: Home
Date: 09.4.2014
Location: ESO Headquarters, Garching bei München
Altitude: 508 metres
Coordinates: 48°15'36.90"N 11°40'15.16"E

Hi all, Herbert here again!

After a long journey from Santiago via São Paulo, Brazil, we have arrived back safely in Munich. Luckily our flights were all on time as we landed at around 09:20, just ahead of schedule.

Christoph and I called in at ESO Headquarters following our landing at Munich airport, which is where I’m writing to you from. As you can imagine we are both exhausted after a very long overnight trip. After lunch, I will head home to sleep and Christoph will return home to nearby Innsbruck, Austria (about an hour and a half away from Munich).

Christoph testing the ground-breaking Canon® EOS-1D C 4K camera near to Cerro Paranal, home to the VLT. In the background, a “TimeLapse Bot” – an autonomous GBTimelapse Rig, using XTPower powerbanks for powering a Emotimo TB3 motion control and a Canon 6D – is set up for some long distance shots of the site. Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi

Babak testing the Vixen Polarie Star Tracker on the VLT platform. Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi

Yuri and I on the VLT platform testing some of our equipment at sunset, next to one of the Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) – 1.8-metre telescopes that feed light to the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) at ESO's Paranal Observatory. Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi

We have had a very fruitful past couple of weeks at ESO’s astronomical sites. There is a lot of work still to do to process and combine all the footage we have taken – a staggering 10 TB of images and video.

In just two weeks we hope to release our first batch of Ultra HD content, so stay tuned!

All the best,

- Herbert

32. Expedition day 15: Homeward Bound
Date: 08.4.2014
Location: ESO Guesthouse, Santiago, Chile
Altitude: 2021 metres
Coordinates: 33°25'2.384"S 70°34'41.016"W

Hi, Christoph here!

Late last night we arrived back at the lovely ESO Guesthouse before our flight back to Europe, for which we’ll have an early start this morning — a very short night.

A look back to our time at Paranal. During the ESO Ultra HD Expedition the stars have been within our grasp. Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi

It is here that the team parts ways. As you read this, Herbert and I will be on our way back to Munich after a transfer at São Paulo, Brazil. We have a long journey ahead of us! Babak, on the other hand, will stay on for a few more days in Chile; whereas Yuri lives here in Santiago. All our equipment will be sent back separately in a return shipment from La Silla back to the ESO Headquarters in Munich.

This has been a wonderful trip and I’m excited to have been a part of the Ultra HD journey. I’m very happy to have had this amazing opportunity to use such innovative technology at the awe-inspiring ESO astronomical sites.

We have been able to gaze at the wonder of our Universe and capture some stunning footage at each of the ESO sites throughout the ESO Ultra HD Expedition. Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi

The Chilean skies have offered us some of the best conditions we could have hoped for. It’s a pity our time has come to an end here, but we look forward to delivering you all this Ultra HD content in the coming weeks. We have loved capturing and sharing the Universe with you for the past two weeks and hope you enjoyed following our travels through this blog.

We plan a few more updates to share the results of our trip with you.

All the best,

- Christoph

31. Expedition day 14: Santiago-bound
Date: 07.4.2014
Location: La Silla Observatory
Altitude: 2400 metres
Coordinates: 29°15'40.3"S 70°43'52.7"W

Hello, it’s Herbert!

After our last full day of shooting at La Silla Observatory yesterday, I still have time this morning and afternoon to take some daytime footage before we leave later this afternoon for Santiago.

A beautiful shot taken by Yuri of the The Swedish-ESO Submillimetre Telescope (SEST) and the ESO 3.6-metre telescope in the background — framed by star trails in the night sky. Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky

Christoph, Yuri and Babak spent last night capturing the last set of nighttime time-lapses and stills of the site from sunset to sunrise. The handy GBDeflicker and GBTimelapse programmes by Granite Bay Software have been the icing on top of our time-lapse cakes, allowing us to perfect them beautifully.

When I spoke to Christoph, Yuri and Babak, they told me that the night was clear, but extremely windy. Sometimes gusts of winds reached around 20 m/s, making it hard to walk in open areas of the observatory in our quest for some shelter from the wind. Despite this, the photographers managed to obtain some great images and time lapses. I also took some nice shots of La Silla during sunset.

Christoph took this beautiful sequence at Moonset last night. This sight is one that can only be witnessed in the Atacama Desert, right here at La Silla, where we are high above the clouds. Credit: ESO/C. Malin

Christoph took the shot above from the balcony of his room. He thought it was remarkable how the Moon sinks into the ocean of clouds and is distorted a couple of times before it finally reaches the horizon. I agree!

Today, we will be backing up data and material from last night as well as packing up our equipment and belongings, ready to depart for Santiago later on today.

A final photograph of the Ultra HD team at La Silla Observatory. Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi

With La Silla being our last stop on this 4K photographic tour of ESO’s sites, we are soon leaving the beauty and wonder of the northern Chilean landscape. We’re very happy about the content we’ve produced.

All the best,

- Herbert


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Here we will share our thoughts as we embark our revolutionary Ultra HD expedition, explain some of the background of the trip and then take you on our journey to each of ESO’s sites as we capture time-lapses, stills, videos, panoramas in Ultra HD and time-lapses in planetarium fulldome format. We aim to share what is set to be an amazing opportunity throughout our 17-day adventure. We very much hope you can feel you are with us as we provide you with such high-quality resolution at the world’s best sites for astronomy.




Read more about the Expedition in the PDF brochure (26.7 MB)