The ESO views a cosmic rainbow (Image Credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi)

In this panoramic image taken by Babak Tafreshi—a member of the ESO Ultra HD Expedition team—the ALMA Observatory’s antennas appear to take in the sight of the Milky Way, arching like a galactic rainbow of dust and stars over the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes.

Located 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) above sea level, the Chajnantor Plateau serves as an ideal hunting ground for ALMA. The array uses observations at the millimetre and submillimetre wavelengths to explore the coldest parts of the Universe. The superb aridness of the plateau means that far less submillimetre radiation is absorbed and attenuated by water vapour than would be the case closer to sea level.

As ALMA seeks to capture the secrets of the Universe, Babak Tafreshi and his fellow team members seek to capture the beauty and grandeur of ESO’s observatories and their unusual surroundings. Comprising four celebrated astrophotographers and ESO Photo Ambassadors, the ESO Ultra HD expedition aimed to raise public awareness of the ongoing work in Chile through astonishing Ultra HD photos and videos.

See the image in stunningly high-definition here.

(Source: European Southern Observatory)


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