For over a year, Ceres’ bright spots have dazzled astronomers and the space-loving public alike. The glimmers became a little less mysterious in December, when we learned that they’re essentially giant piles of salt. But now, ground-based observations are adding another fascinating wrinkle to the story.
Night falls in the Atacama Desert, but the day is far from over. In this wonderful little timelapse, sent along to us by the photographer Enrico Sacchetti, we get a sense for the constant work being done at the European Southern Observatory.
We've showed you the Paranal Observatory's laser-guided telescopes before, but never in gorgeous HD motion, replete with clear stars and deftly swiveling machinery. This is definitely one you're going to want to watch fullscreen.
The windswept, sunburned Chajnantor plateau in Chile rises 16,500 feet above sea level and has some of the driest air on Earth. That makes it the perfect location for the world's biggest, most sensitive, and most complex ground-based telescope.
Space photography requires a camera—a really big camera. One with 32 CCD sensors that snaps pictures at a mind-bending 268-megapixel resolution. Go ahead, you can call it the OmegaCam.
No, the astronomers at the European Southern Observatory are not playing a galactic-scale Space Invaders. They are just exciting atoms in the upper atmosphere, creating an artificial star 56 miles above the Earth.