A Sky for Discovery

The beauty of the night sky is often a subtle one, but from the right location the Universe’s radiance truly emerges. Wide, clear skies perfect for exploration are luckily commonplace for Gemini South, the southern twin of the International Gemini Observatory, operated by NSF’s NOIRLab.

This photo shows a brilliantly colored menagerie above and below Gemini South on Cerro Pachón. The telescope’s laser guide star system beams a column of light at the Milky Way. Our galaxy stretches like a belt across this photo, above the plethora of other objects. The most obvious of these are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds at the bottom left of the center of the image. These galaxies are most conspicuous in the southern hemisphere and are easy to spot from Chile. Further to the left, near the horizon, is light generated from the nearby town of Andacollo. To the right of the laser beam are the two brightest stars in the entire night sky: Canopus (left) and Sirius (right). Lastly is the understated reddish glow permeating through the center of the Milky Way’s galactic disc. This is the Gum Nebula, located in the constellations of Vela and Puppis, and itself a cornucopia of astronomical phenomena including globular clusters and the Vela Supernova Remnant. Many more spectacular objects can be captured from Cerro Pachón, from nearby stars to supernovae, and the exciting work at Gemini South is helping to reveal it all!

This photo was taken as part of the recent NOIRLab 2022 Photo Expedition to all the NOIRLab sites.


International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/P. Horálek (Institute of Physics in Opava)

About the Image

Release date:Feb. 1, 2023, noon
Size:11772 x 14715 px

About the Object

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