Celestial Pair and Zodiacal Light

By: Stephane Guisard


Region: Americas

Site: Cerro Paranal - Chile

Date: December 2008

Brightest planets in the sky, Venus (the brightest) and Jupiter are in a dramatic conjunction in this view from above Cerro Paranal in Atacama Desert of Chile. Because of its high altitude, nearly non-existent cloud cover, and lack of light pollution and radio interference from the very widely spaced cities, the site is one of the best places in the world to conduct astronomical observations. Visible in the foreground is one of the 8-meter VLT telescopes and further away are smaller auxiliary telescopes that join the array. In the background sky the cone shape glow is the zodiacal light, made by the sunlight reflection from dust particles in solar system plane. Much further away from this "local" light is a part of the disc of our home galaxy, Milky Way, setting at the exceptionally sharp and clear horizon of Paranal. Stephane

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