Not so Close Neighbors

By: Babak A. Tafreshi

 

Region: Americas

Site: Cerro Paranal - Chile

Date: October 2011

TWAN

Sky Zoom

 

One of the four 8-meter VLT telescopes (Very Large Telescope) located in the European Southern Observatory (ESO) site on Cerro Paranal is photographed under stunning starry sky of Atacama Desert, Chile. Paranal is an astronomer paradise and home to some of the world's leading telescopes. In this view three of the VLT auxiliary telescopes, each 1.8 m in diameter, are also captured in action. They are important part of the VLT interferometer. In the sky stars of constellations Andromeda (left and center) and Perseus (right) are visible. Beyond stars of the Milky Way, two extragalactic objects are visible. Our two major neighbors in the our Local Group of galaxies: The Andromeda Galaxy or M31 appears on the left and the smaller Triangulum Galaxy or M33 is the little cloud at the top, each a giant cosmic island, home to many billions of stars. The two galaxies are between 2.5 to 3 million light years away. The light we receive from them today belong to an era even before Homo Habilis appeared in Africa (the earliest human ancestors with significant increase in brain size and the first to use stone tools). Babak Tafreshi/Dreamview.net

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