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Full night at Paranal Observatory
Telescopes and the Laser Guide Star

© Stéphane Guisard, Los Cielos de Chile


The night Time Lapse movies presented here were taken at ESO Paranal observatory (Chile). The four UTs (8m diameter telescope) are observing independently while the 4 ATs (1.8m diameter telescope), but only 3 visible on the video, observe synchronously the same object in interferometric mode. UT4, the telescope specialized in adaptive optics in the foreground, uses a Laser Guide Star to measure and correct for the atmosphere turbulence. The movie starts after sunset and stops just before sunrise. Orion constellation and the two magellanic clouds are visible as well as the rising of the "summer" Milky Way (we are in the Southern hemisphere here :) !) You can see the "other visible side" of the Milky Way (the part visible during the Southern Hemisphere Winter and which contains the Galactic Center), in this Full sky Time Lapse movie also taken at Paranal Observatory.

The fish-eye Time Lapse Movie below was made with a special fish-eye lens and high resolution detector system covering a 360x200 degree field of view. You should really choose one of the highest quality settings to view this video (720p or better 1080p at the lower right bottom of the window)and wait for the time it takes to load it before watching. After you saw this fisheye view, you should also have a look at this unique 360 panoramic night time lapse below.

By "unwrapping" the high quality fisheye movie above, we can obtain a 360 degrees panoramic video paning all over the horizon. This geometrical transformation produces unavoidable geometrical distorsion. This distorsion can be seen on the laser beam (which is of course straight in normal life). You should really choose one of the highest quality settings to view this video (720p or better 1080p at the lower right bottom of the window)and wait for the time it takes to load before watching it.