Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2007 January 23
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

The Milky Way Over Paranal
Credit & Copyright: Stéphane Guisard (Los Cielos de Chile)

Explanation: It's not the sky that's falling. More accurately, the Earth is rising. The Earth's rotation gives a continually changing view to all Earth observers, including those measuring the universe at the Paranal Observatory. The observatory's four, massive 8.2 meter telescope units are situated on top of the 2,600 meter high mountain, Cerro Paranal, in the dry Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The individual unit telescopes can be used separately or in combination. Their names, Antu, Kueyen, Melipal, and Yepun, are taken from the Mapuche language. Fittingly they translate to Sun, Moon, Evening Star, and Southern Cross. Together they are fittingly known as the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. A higher time resolution version of the above movie is available here.

Tomorrow's picture: naughty comet

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