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This gorgeous 360° panorama shows the Milky Way arching across the night sky over the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope. The photo is a composite of 37 smaller shots with a total exposure time of about 30 minutes, taken in the early morning hours. The Moon is just rising and the zodiacal light shines above it, while the Milky Way Galaxy (our home) stretches across the sky opposite the observatory:

Click the image to see the ESO website.

The observatory's open telescope domes are all visible in the image, including 4 smaller 1.8-meter Auxiliary Telescopes that can be used together as an interferometer and the 4 giant 8.2-meter Unit Telescopes. To the right in the image and below the arc of the Milky Way, you can see the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds, our two irregular-galaxy companions.

Just WOW.




( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 15th, 2012 03:17 am (UTC)
omg, but that is just GORGEOUS. you know, the buildings are kinda weird-looking...adds to the surreal quality of the overall scene.
Feb. 15th, 2012 01:47 pm (UTC)
Totally! I thought of you when I saw this; for a shot by scientists, it's oddly artistic in its composition.
Feb. 15th, 2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
I actually put it up online so my digital students could see the full on sass of this picture. they did panoramas a couple weeks ago.
Feb. 15th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
Great, and a perfect example of an unusual panorama.
Feb. 15th, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC)
Feb. 15th, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
I will never grow tired of Milky Way photos.

(hilarious and ironic typo)

Edited at 2012-02-15 04:16 pm (UTC)
Feb. 15th, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
I want you to know that your astroporn posts are responsible for approximately 83% of my desktop background images.
Feb. 15th, 2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! So happy to supply 'em.
Feb. 16th, 2012 04:43 am (UTC)
Ohhh . . . . Sigh. So pretty!! You have a red car AND the galaxy. You the man!
Feb. 16th, 2012 05:20 am (UTC)
I could just look at this photo for hours....
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )