Stunning Night Sky of Atacama Desert

By: Babak A. Tafreshi


Region: Americas

Site: Cerro Paranal - Chile

Date: March 2014

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Spectacular view of the Milky Way above the Cerro Paranal Observatory, Atacama Desert, Chile. At 2,635 metres (8,645 ft) from sea level and at an extremely dry condition, with its dark and transparent sky, Paranal is home to some of the world's leading telescopes. On top is the Very Large Telescope (VLT), operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). It is composed of four 8-metre telescopes. The central bulge of the galaxy in the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius is on the top left. Planet Saturn is the brightest point in the upper right next to the yellow-red star Antares at the Scorpion's heart. Lower in the sky along the Milky Way are two bright stars Alpha and Beta Centauri, the Southern Cross (Crux) next to the Coalsack dark nebula, and the Carina Nebula right above the mountain. On the Lower left the Large Magellanic Cloud is visible at the horizon.
Click on the constellation icon above the image to see a closer view of this southern galactic vista. Babak Tafreshi,

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