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Time-lapse reveals splendor of Chilean night sky

posted 1 Jun 2011, 05:28 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 1 Jun 2011, 06:34 ]

The Chilean night sky has been revealed in all its star-studded glory by time-lapse video shot by two astronomers at the Euopean Southern Observatory (ESO) in northern Chile.

Jose Francisco Salgado, an astronomer and self-described science visualizer together with photographer and fellow astronomer Stephane Guisard captured the night-sky

images at the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile's Atacama Desert. Guisard works as an optics engineer at the VLT. Salgado is employed by the Adler Planetarium in Chicago but both share a passion for recording images of the cosmos.

The VLT is the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory. It comprises four main rotating telescopes located at an altitude of 2400 metres (7874 feet), ideal for both studying and photographing the stars.

Salgado and Guisard's images highlight the Milky Way as it moves across the sky between dusk and dawn, while the the telescopes rotate in the foreground. The final images in the sequence show a yellow laser guide star pointing into the sky. Laser guide stars are a tool used by astronomers to correct the atmospheric distortion of light through space. The laser can be focussed on any area of the sky an astonomer wants to see more clearly. It also makes an intruguing prop in time-lapse photography.