For two years, astronomer Henning Avenhaus has worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in Santiago, Chile, studying protoplanetary disks and planet formation. During this time, he several times had the opportunity to work at ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal. But besides sitting in the control room in front of the computer screen analysing what the elaborate instrument detected, the researcher also walked out to look up at the magnificent sky and take photographs with his own DSLR camera. “Photography is an excellent way for me to relax, sometimes almost like meditation”, he says. The result is a fascinating series of images.
At the start of a busy night at the telescope: The Milky Way above Paranal photographed from near ESO’s VISTA survey telescope. On the right side you see the zodiacal light.
Moon and Venus above the VLT photographed from the ESO Hotel called Residencia about 230 metres below and about 2 kilometres away from the summit.
Unit Telescope 4 named Yepun with its laser guide star. The laser helps the adaptive optics system of the telescope and counteracts the blurring effect of the atmosphere. On the horizon the full moon is rising.
The center oft he Milky Way covered by clouds of dust. The bright star at the top on the left is Antares in the constellation Scorpius.
After a night at the VLT, just before sunrise: 360 degree panorama with Milky Way and zodiacal light.
Henning Avenhaus in front of one of the four Unit Telescopes of the VLT. More about the member of the NCCR PlanetS and photographer: http://nccr-planets.ch/team/avenhaus-henning-dr/