ESO: Dark Sky and White Desert

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bystander
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ESO: Dark Sky and White Desert

Post by bystander » Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:07 pm

Dark Sky and White Desert
Snow pays a rare visit to ESO’s Paranal Observatory
ESO Picture of the Week | 2011 Aug 08

The night sky above Cerro Paranal, the home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), is dark and dotted with the bright stars of the Milky Way, and more distant galaxies. But it is very rare to see the ground contrasting with the sky as markedly as in this photograph, which shows a gentle layer of white snow dotted with darker spots of the desert terrain beneath.

The picture was taken last week, shortly before sunrise, by ESO Photo Ambassador Yuri Beletsky, who works as an astronomer at the La Silla Paranal Observatory. He captured not only the beautiful snowy landscape of the Atacama and the mountaintop domes of the VLT, but also an incredible night sky. To the left of the VLT is a satellite trail, and to the right is the trail of a meteor.

Cerro Paranal is a 2600-metre-high mountain located in the Chilean Atacama Desert. It is a very dry place with humidity often dropping below 10 percent and rainfall of less than 10 millimetres per year. Snow, however, does occasionally fall in the desert, providing fleeting but magnificent views such as this one.

Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky

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Beyond
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Re: ESO: Dark Sky and White Desert

Post by Beyond » Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:24 pm

How come the satellite trail has a bigger blob of white almost in the middle of it?
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bystander
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Re: ESO: Dark Sky and White Desert

Post by bystander » Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:20 am

Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor

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owlice
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Re: ESO: Dark Sky and White Desert

Post by owlice » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:40 am

Beyond wrote:How come the satellite trail has a bigger blob of white almost in the middle of it?
Beyond, that looks like an Iridium flare.
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