Sun Pillar over Cerro Paranal

By: Miguel Claro


Region: Americas

Site: Cerro Paranal - Chile

Date: 2015 October 16

Right after the sunset in the partially cloudy sky, an atmospheric phenomenon known as the Sun Pillar (a vertical shaft of light extending upward from the sun) appears over Cerro Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert, Chile.
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 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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