Llullaillaco Clear as Day
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Llullaillaco, Clear as Day

December 21, 2011
Bathed in the pristine light of the Chilean Atacama Desert, the ESO VLT’s Auxiliary Telescope 2 stands on Cerro Paranal. It is one of four that are used with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer. During the day, its bulbous dome is closed, protecting the sensitive telescope within.

The magnificent 6739-meter volcano Llullaillaco stands proudly in the background of this photograph. Although it looks relatively close on the horizon, it is actually an incredible 190 kilometers away, on the border with Argentina. That Llullaillaco can be seen so clearly is evidence of the region’s unparalleled atmospheric conditions. The clear air is one of the many factors that make this such a wonderful location for astronomical observatories. It is from this excellent vantage point that ESO astronomers study objects that are not just hundreds of kilometers in the distance, but billions of light-years away.

This photograph was taken by ESO Photo Ambassador Gianluca Lombardi.

Credit: ESO/G. Lombardi

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