En diciembre del año 2012, y gracias al telescopio VLT , se descubrió el quásar con la salida más energética que se había visto hasta ahora.

El telescopio VLT pertenece al Observatorio Europeo del Sur y está ubicado en el cerro Paranal, una montaña situada en el desierto de Atacama, al norte de Chile.

Esta potentísima salida energética se encuentra a unos mil años luz de un agujero negro súpermasivo, justo en el centro del quásar , que se mueve a una velocidad de 8.000 kilómetros por segundo. El tipo de energía que expulsa a alta velocidad es como mínimo equivalente a dos millones de millones de veces la potencia de salida del Sol. Más concretamente, es aproximadamente 100 veces mayor que la potencia total de la galaxia de la Vía Láctea.

Imagen de Astronomía en tu bolsillo

Road to astronomers’ paradise

The southern sky and the Milky Way is photographed in the morning twilight above a road approaching the European Southern Observatory (ESO) site of Cerro Paranal, in the Atacama Desert, Chile. At 2,635 meters (8,645 ft) from sea level, with its dark and transparent sky, Paranal is home to some of the world’s leading telescopes. On top is the Very Large Telescope (VLT); composed of four 8-metre telescopes.

Image credit: Christoph Malin

Thunderbolts and lightning over Cerro Paranal

In this electrifying image, taken on Friday 7 June 2013, a furious thunderstorm is discharging its mighty rage over Cerro Paranal. The colossal enclosures of the four VLT Unit Telescopes, each one the size of an eight-storey building, are dwarfed under the hammering of the powerful storm.

In the left of the image, a solitary star has emerged to witness the show — a single point of light against an obscured sky. This star is Procyon, a bright binary star in the constellation of Canis Minor (The Lesser Dog).

Clouds over ESO’s Paranal Observatory are a rare sight. On average, the site experiences an astonishing 330 clear days every year. Lightning is even rarer, as the observatory is located in one of the driest places in the world: the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile, 2,600 metres above sea level. If there are any clouds, most of the time the observatory stands above them.

Image credit: ESO/G. Hüdepohl


Astronomer’s Paradise

by Christoph Malin

The snows of Paranal

This dawn portrait of snowy mountain and starry sky captures a very rare scenario. The view does feature a pristine sky above the 2,600 meter high mountain Cerro Paranal, but clear skies over Paranal are not at all unusual. That’s one reason the mountain is home to the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. Considering the number of satellites now in orbit, the near sunrise streak of a satellite glinting at the upper left isn’t rare either. And the long, bright trail of a meteor can often be spotted this time of year too. The one at the far right is associated with the annual Perseid meteor shower. In fact, the rarest aspect of the picture is just the snow. Cerro Paranal rises above South America’s Atacama desert, known as the driest place on planet Earth.

Image credit & copyright: Yuri Beletsky (ESO)

An oasis or a secret lair?

This image shows a dark Chilean sky filled with spectacular star trails — caused by the Earth’s rotation during the camera’s long exposure time. Underneath these dramatic streaks lies the Paranal Residencia, an oasis to the staff and visitors to ESO's Very Large Telescope, located high on Cerro Paranal in the Chilean desert.

Construction of the Residencia began in 1998 and was completed by 2002. Since then, it has offered a welcome break from the harsh, dry climate of the desert to the scientists and engineers who work at Paranal Observatory.

The four-story building has the majority of its structure buried underground. The facility was designed by German architects Auer+Weber to complement the surrounding environment. From certain angles, the combination of hi-tech utilitarian architecture and inconspicuous, almost camouflage-like design is reminiscent of a villain’s secret lair. Perhaps it is no surprise that the Residencia was selected as the setting for the final battle in the 2008 James Bond movie Quantum of Solace.

Image credit: John Colosimo/ ESO


Nightsky at Cerro Paranal en Chile. Absolutely breathtaking

Wings for Science fly over Paranal

This rare aerial view of the Paranal Observatory was taken in December 2012 by Clémentine Bacri and Adrien Normier, who are flying a special eco-friendly ultralight  aeroplane on a year-long journey around the world. This striking view shows the raw natural beauty of the landscape at the remote home of one of the world’s finest astronomical facilities, ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), with its four independent 8.2-metre telescopes sitting at the top of Cerro Paranal.

ESO has an ongoing outreach partnership with the ORA Wings for Science project, a non-profit initiative which offers aerial support to public research organisations. The two crew members of the Wings for Science Project did a flyby above the observatories of Northern Chile, among other locations, before they left South America and jumped to Australia. During their trip, they help out scientists by providing aerial capabilities ranging from air sampling to archaeology, biodiversity observation and 3D terrain modelling.

The short movies and amazing pictures that are produced during the flights are used for educational purposes and for promoting local research. Their circumnavigation started in June 2012 and finished in June 2013 with a landing at the Paris Air Show on 17 June.

Image credit: Clem & Adri Bacri-Normier (wingsforscience.com)/ESO

In this image released April 25, 2011, taken atop Cerro Paranal, the 2,600-meter-high mountain in Chile’s Atacama Desert, home to the VLT, the atmospheric conditions are so exceptional that fleeting events such as the “green flash” of the setting Sun are seen relatively frequently. ESO Electronics Engineer Gerhard Hudeepohl captured an even rarer sight: a green flash from the Moon, instead of the Sun. (Reuters/ESO/G.Huedepohl)

360 degree panorama from Cerro Paranal - Atacama - Chile

Beautiful, properly beautiful long exposure photography that it shows a shiny Milky Way


Panorama de 360º desde Cerro Paranal - Atacama - Chile

Hermosa, hermosa fotografía en larga exposición que muestra una brillante Vía Láctea.

Source: Wikipedia


Astronomer’s Paradise

The VLT Survey Telescope

The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at Cerro Paranal. The VST is a state-of-the-art 2.6-metre telescope equipped with OmegaCAM, a monster 268 megapixel CCD camera with a field of view four times the area of the full Moon. It will survey the visible-light sky. The VST is the result of a joint venture between ESO and the Capodimonte Astronomical Observatory (OAC) of Naples, a research centre of the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF).

Image credit: ESO/G. Lombardi