Stunning Night Sky of Cerro Paranal
A deep view of the Milky Way in the constellation Carina is photographed from the European Southern Observatory on Cerro Paranal, Chile. Move the slider on the image to see the labels for the celestial objects. The most notable object is the Great Carina Nebula. Although it is four times as large and even brighter than the famous Orion Nebula, the Carina Nebula is much less well known, due to its location far in the southern celestial hemisphere. To its upper right is a star cluster filled with young blue stars, known as the Southern Pleiades. Down at lower right near the horizon the stars of the Southern Cross and the dark nebula known as the Coalsack are rising. This is not a composite or a photo-montage. The challenge of going deep in this photograph was achieved using a fast telephoto lens, high sensitivity of a modified DSLR camera, a tracking mount, and not too long exposure to avoid the foreground getting blurred by the tracking. These come along with excellent sky quality of Cerro Paranal far from any major source of light pollution. Paranal is an astronomer paradise in the barren Atacama Desert. It is home to some of the world’s leading telescopes. Operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) the Very Large Telescope (VLT) is located on this mountain, composed of four 8 m telescopes which can combine their light to make a giant telescope by interferometry. What captured here are two of the smaller auxiliary telescopes each 1.8 m in diameter. They are important part of the VLT interferometer.