Extremely Large Telescope eclipsed Hunter’s Full Moon: Impressive photo

The October full moon, also called the Hunter’s Moon, attracted the attention of many astrophotographers hunting for exciting photos. The other day, the team building the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) took this incredible picture against the background of a full moon. It was received on October 28 on the Cerro Armazones plateau in Chile, where the construction of the largest optical instrument continues.

ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has become the protagonist of this Halloween-inspired photo of the week. Photo: ESO 

The spectacular effect of the image is an optical illusion, thanks to which the Moon seems huge compared to the surrounding objects. The illusion occurs when it is low above the horizon. In fact, the size of the lunar disk remains unchanged. 

Obtaining such a photo required careful planning. Since the ideal position of the Moon on the horizon at the right time is visible only from a carefully selected point. The image was taken from a distance of 20 km from the observatory.

Framing with the ELT’s dome zoom

It should be noted that this photo is not only an impressive artistic achievement, but also evidence that the construction of the ELT is progressing very actively. This telescope, located on Mount Cerro Armazones in the Chilean Atacama Desert, is expected to be commissioned in 2028. At the time of completion, it will become the world’s largest instrument for observations in the visible and infrared ranges.

ELT’s extraordinary dimensions

The Extremely Large Telescope will have an impressive lens diameter of 39.3 m. Its optical system should include five separate mirrors. At the same time, the largest of them is divided into 798 separate hexagonal segments. The height of the structure will reach 80 m, and after completion of construction, the telescope will be able to rotate 360° to observe the night sky. “All while weighing 6100 tonnes — about as heavy as 1 500 000 pumpkins,” the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said in a press release.

In August of this year, ESO also shared an impressive photo showing the construction of the ELT from the top of Cerro Paranal Mountain. This mountain is located 23 km from Cerro Armazones and is home to the ELT’s “older brother,” ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT).

Earlier, we reported on how ESO published a photo of a fiery halo around the Extremely Large Telescope.

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