The giant dome of one of the 4 VLT telescopes ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile is “leaning” towards space due to the perspective. It hides a telescope with a mirror diameter of 8.2 meters – one of the largest telescopes in the world! Next to the dome is the supporting Auxiliary Telescope AT1, whose mirror is 4 and a half times smaller. Among the telescopes, the VLTs are certainly giants, but as bodies in the Universe that clings above them, they are absolutely negligible. The bright “star” on the left is the planet Jupiter, the king of the planets in the Solar System, which would take 17.5 million of these telescopes in row, or 11 Earths. But even that is nothing compared to the red star Antares – the dimmer of the two orange points in the sky on the right above the VLT, above the center of the Milky Way. It is, in fact, a stellar red giant that would hold over 8,500 Jupiters across its stellar “body”, and if it were in the Sun’s location, its edge would extend far beyond the orbit of Mars (which is the second orange object close by in the sky). But it’s still nothing. Somewhere behind the opaque interstellar matter in the bright center of the Milky Way, a raging black hole is in full swing. To the Earth is completely harmless, it’s really far away, but if an Antares-size star swarms around it, black hole could suck it up. So what exactly is a giant and what is a dwarf? Captured in April 2016 during ESO UHD expedition, used Canon 6D BCF modified, Samyang 24mm, f2.2, ISO 10000, 39x15s panorama from tripod. ESO POTW version.
Credit of the Infographics: ESO/P. Horálek, M. Kornmesser, NASA, ESA, A. Simon (NASA Goddard), D. Berry/SkyWorks Digital.