DAVID NUNUK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID NUNUK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Paranal Observatory. Site buildings and the road leading up the hill to the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at upper left. The VLT comprises four 8.2- metre mirror telescopes, providing images that are combined by interferometry. This gives an image equivalent to that obtained by a 16-metre diameter mirror, making the VLT one of the most powerful telescopes in the world. The mirrors are flexible, and are constantly adjusted by computers to compensate for errors. The European Southern Observatory's (ESO) site at Cerro Paranal, Chile, is at an altitude of 2600 metres in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth. This gives the site excellent viewing conditions.
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