ESOcast 89: Chile Chill 8 – “A Bird’s Eye View of ESO Observatories”

This is the ESOcast! Cutting-edge science and life behind the scenes at ESO, the European Southern Observatory. ESO’s facilities in Chile are very photogenic. But almost all pictures and videos of them have been taken from the ground. This time, however, we have spectacular aerial views, which offer a surprising new perspective. The Very Large Telescope at Paranal is a true jewel on the mountaintop. Located some 12 kilometres inland from the Pacific coast of nothern Chile, it’s an astronomer’s nirvana. Lasers shoot skywards to make artificial stars — to help astronomers to create even sharper images. Not far away from Paranal, Cerro Armazones will be the home of the European Extremely Large Telescope. The summit has a platform large enough to house the giant 39-metre telescope. La Silla was ESO’s first observatory in Chile. It operates two of the most productive 4-metre-class telescopes in the world. The tried-and-tested infrastructure of La Silla is also used by ESO Member States to run projects at their own facilities. You are now about to reach, quite literally, breathtaking heights. The spectacular Chajnantor plateau, at an altitude of 5000 metres, is “nature’s gift” to astronomers searching for thin, dry air. Here, ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array can achieve its full observational potential. ALMA is the largest ground-based astronomical project in existence. As night falls, the beautiful Chilean night sky becomes the star of the show. And astronomers can observe the heavens, hoping to unravel some of the secrets of the Universe… Transcription by ESO; translation by —

9 thoughts on “ESOcast 89: Chile Chill 8 – “A Bird’s Eye View of ESO Observatories”

  1. In the distant future, aliens will find the ruins of VLT and know then that this is a sacred place–that whatever beings occupied this planet knew of the cosmos around them, and were striving to understand it. It is a precious testament to not only our technological savvy, but to our will to discover the untouchable cosmos.

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