Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- 3 ATs [Auxiliary Telescopes]
Posted on 04/21/2012 7:33:55 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: Despite their resemblance to R2D2, these three are not the droids you're looking for. Instead, the enclosures house 1.8 meter Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) at Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert region of Chile. The ATs are designed to be used for interferometry, a technique for achieving extremely high resolution observations, in concert with the observatory's 8 meter Very Large Telescope units. A total of four ATs are operational, each fitted with a transporter that moves the telescope along a track allowing different arrays with the large unit telescopes. To work as an interferometer, the light from each telescope is then brought to a common focal point by a system of mirrors in underground tunnels. Above these three ATs, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are the far far away satellite galaxies of our own Milky Way. In the clear and otherwise dark southern skies, planet Earth's greenish atmospheric airglow stretches faintly along the horizon.
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[Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (ESO)]
Orion is visible off to the left. How come they can see Orion from Chile but I can’t see the Clouds of Magellan from Pennsylvania? Maybe it’s their altitude.
This will eventually be a new Stonehenge!!
Optical interferometry is cool! It seems like just yesterday when it was next to impossible.
wow, that’s an impressive installation!
As I recall, the center star of Orion’s belt is just about on the celestial equator, so you should be able to see Orion pretty far to the north or south
Dear human-eating-aliens; here is a photo of one of our smaller space defense weapons. Give up your human-eating ways, and we will let you live. And don’t listen to our President when he says he wants to go to the Dog Star for lunch.
Long live rock.
That just means all those so-called scientists were WRONG.
Oh, sorry. ;’)
It is, and I feel a little bad about my remark about YATS (yet another terrestrial shot). The big version shows a lot of cool sky.
;’) I kennel understand space alien talk.
Most of the landmasses of Earth (that is, not covered with water) are above the equator, making this installation almost ideally located.
Having been out in the Atacama late at night, Orion is much bigger and clearer than we see up here and the night sky in general is the closet you could come on land to a time before the invention of electric lights.
Actually, the night sky was destroyed in the fifties by the military by accident. Since then they have been projecting images of the stars from huge projectors on mountaintops all around the world. These are some of those projectors. I’ve been to astronomy star parties where people have exclaimed “it’s so beautiful, it looks fake!”, and you turn around — poof! They’ve vanished!
Go ahead and enjoy the show, but watch what you say.
You can’t be Sirius!
That must be the answer.
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