Telescopes and star trails at Paranal Observatory, Atacama Desert, Chile
© Matteo Omied/Alam
Info. Telescopes and star trails at Paranal Observatory, Atacama Desert, Chile
If you watch the stars here at Paranal Observatory, located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, you'll get one of the clearest views of the southern skies. This photo was taken with a very slow shutter speed – so what we're seeing is these stars' paths as they track across the night sky due to our planet's rotation.
The structures you can see beneath the starry sky are three of the eight telescopes making up the Very Large Telescope, a facility operated by the European Southern Observatory. Each individual telescope can detect objects that are four billion times fainter than what can be seen with the unaided eye. Together, the telescopes are so powerful that they could distinguish the headlights of a car located on the Moon.