Telescope Domes Clustered at La Silla
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Telescope Domes Clustered at La Silla

January 2, 2010
This view of ESO's La Silla Observatory reveals the splendor of the night sky and shows several of the domed telescopes located at the site. The glowing band of the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy slants through the sky from the upper left to the lower middle, where the Danish 1.54-meter telescope looms in the foreground. The ghostly, bluish objects above the telescope's dome are two galaxies belonging to the Milky Way's close neighborhood and known as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

La Silla's collection of domed telescopes also includes the ESO 3.6-meter telescope, home to HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher), the world's foremost exoplanet hunter, and the 3.58-meter New Technology Telescope, which broke new ground for telescope engineering and design, and was the first in the world to have a computer-controlled main mirror (active optics), a technology developed at ESO and now applied to most of the world's current large telescopes. La Silla is one of the most scientifically productive ground-based facilities in the world after ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) observatory, both of which are located in northern Chile's Atacama Desert.

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