Dramatic Moonset — Amazing Sight on Cerro Paranal

[/caption]

Need a new desktop image? Usually the Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal in Chile provides us with stunning views of the cosmos. This image, however, is a gorgeous view of the observatory itself. As the Moon was setting after a long night of observing, ESO staff member Gordon Gillet welcomed the new day by capturing this stunning image from 14 km away. This image is not a montage or computer-generated (such as the infamous ‘Moon and Sun over the North Pole‘ urban legend)

The ESO website explains:

The Moon appears large because it is seen close to the horizon and our perception is deceived by the proximity of references on the ground. In order to get this spectacular close view, a 500-mm lens was necessary. The very long focal length reduces the depth of field making the objects in focus appear as if they were at the same distance. This effect, combined with the extraordinary quality of this picture, gives the impression that the Moon lies on the VLT platform, just behind the telescopes, even though it is in fact about 30,000 times further away.

Interestingly, Gillet took the image from the road leading to the nearby Cerro Armazones, the peak recently chosen by the ESO Council as the preferred location for the planned 42-meter European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), which should be open for business by 2018.

Source: ESO

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nancy_A and and Instagram at and https://www.instagram.com/nancyatkinson_ut/

Recent Posts

One of the World's Biggest Radio Telescopes is Hunting for Signals From Extraterrestrial Civilizations

Breakthrough Listen, a privately funded project seeking evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence, has started operations on…

2 days ago

Scientists Simulate a Wormhole, NASA’s Moon Infrastructure, China’s Space Station Crew

The best images from Artemis so far. More spacecraft are going to the Moon. Researchers…

2 days ago

How Do Stars Get Kicked Out of Globular Clusters?

Globular clusters are densely-packed collections of stars bound together gravitationally in roughly-shaped spheres. They contain…

2 days ago

NASA Releases Another Supercut of the Artemis I Mission, Showing the Launch and Flight Past the Moon

NASA has released a second supercut video of the Artemis I mission that captures the…

3 days ago

New Images of Titan From JWST and Keck Telescopes Reveal a Rare Observation

Planetary scientists have greatly anticipated using the James Webb Space Telescope’s infrared vision to study…

3 days ago

A Black Hole Consumed a Star and Released the Light of a Trillion Suns

When a flash of light appears somewhere in the sky, astronomers notice. When it appears…

4 days ago