The southern sky speeded up

The European Southern Observatory‘s Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal, a 2,635 m high mountain in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, combines the light from four fixed optical telescopes equipped with 8.2 meter (27 foot) lenses with that from four moveable auxiliary telescopes equipped with 1.8 meter (6 foot) lenses to produce images of the southern sky with a resolution of one milliarcsecond. This means it could distinguish the gap between the headlights of a Ford pickup parked on the Moon (if they had Fords on the Moon, and no winter parking ban).

The observatory’s José Francisco Salgado and Stephane Guisard have produced a gorgeous time-lapse video of the VLT’s images:

Direct video link at 720p resolution (recommended, but slower to load). Direct video link at 360p resolution (loads faster).

Note that all images were taken at night. The bright intervals were caused by moonlight.

H/T: Steve Manley

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