Impressive sky of Cerro Paranal with an unusual cloudy sky hiding part of the Milky Way, while the moon is trying to shine through the dark scar, formed by fast moving clouds. In the foreground are the closed domes of the VLT’s Auxiliary Telescopes.

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is an array of optical telescopes operated by ESO, the European Southern Observatory. It consists of four telescopes with main mirrors of 8.2m diameter, which are generally used separately but can be used together (and with the smaller auxiliary telescopes pictured here) to achieve very high angular resolution, allowing astronomers to see details up to 25 times finer than with the individual telescopes. The VLT interferometer can reconstruct images with an angular resolution of milliarcseconds, equivalent to distinguishing the two headlights of a car at Moon distance.



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