Open Skies and an Open Dome

The Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope has pristine access to wide open skies of the Chilean Andes from its perch at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. To the upper left of the telescope is the ‘evening star’, actually the planet Venus. Below on the left are the SMARTS 1.5-meter Telescope and SMARTS 0.9-meter Telescope (furthest back).

Housed within the silver dome of the Blanco Telescope is the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), mounted at the prime (first) focus near the top of the white Serrurier truss. The blue U-shaped structure holding the truss is the large bearing that sweeps the telescope around to a designated position for observing. DECam saw first light on 12 September 2012 and in its more than 10 years of operation it has contributed greatly to the field of astronomy. It was designed specifically for the Dark Energy Survey, operated by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation between 2013 and 2019. During this time, DECam cataloged nearly 1 billion objects, helping to construct the largest ever map of the night sky.

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


CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/T. Matsopoulos

About the Image

Release date:July 5, 2023, noon
Size:6838 x 5355 px

About the Object

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