La Silla Poses for an ultra HD shootA curtain of stars surrounds the 3.58-metre New Technology Telescope (NTT) in this new Ultra High Definition photograph from the ESO Ultra HD Expedition. It was captured on the first night of shooting at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, which sits at 2400 metres above sea level on the outskirts of the Chilean Atacama Desert.
The majestic telescope enclosure aligns perfectly with the Milky Way’s central region — the brightest section and the area which obscures the galactic centre. The distinctive octagonal enclosure that houses the NTT stands tall in this image — silhouetted against the glittering cosmos above and almost appearing to consume the Milky Way. This telescope housing was considered a technological breakthrough when completed in 1989.
Visible to the left of the Milky Way is the bright orange star Antares at the heart of Scorpius (The Scorpion). Saturn can be seen as the brightest point to the upper left of Antares and Alpha and Beta Centauri glow in the upper right of the image. The Southern Cross (Crux) and the Coalsack dark nebula are also visible looming above Alpha and Beta Centauri.
La Silla was ESO’s first observatory, inaugurated in 1969. The NTT pictured above was the first telescope in the world to have a computer-controlled main mirror and broke new ground for telescope engineering and design paving the way for ESO’s Very Large Telescope.
Image credit: ESO/B.Tafreshi