“First Light” of the new Four Laser Guide Star Facility
Four new lasers have been installed on one of the 8-meter telescopes of the Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal in Chile. They are now tested on sky. The photos in the Paranal section show some impressive views of the new facility.
These lasers are now the most powerful lasers used in modern astronomical telescopes.
The purpose of the lasers is to produce 4 light spots in the sodium layer of the mesosphere at 90 km altitude. The spots are analyzed and the information is used in real time to correct for the turbulence of the atmosphere. As a result an image quality similar to that of a space telescope can be achieved. See more photos of the lasers in action.
UPDATE: the book is sold out and out of print
A new photo book about the Atacama Desert was published by Gerhard Hüdepohl and Hans-Jürgen Pfund.
This new book with over 100 partially double-page photos of landscapes, flora and wildlife of the Atacama desert was recently published. It includes chapters about the Atacama in Chile, one of the driest deserts on earth, about the Altiplano in Bolivia with Salar de Uyuni and the Puna de Atacama in Argentina.
Ecuador has an amazing variety of nature to offer. New photos are now online. One gallery shows the Cuyabeno Reserve, a large protected area of tropical rain fores in the Amazon basin.
The cloud forest west of Quito is a very different habitat with its steep mountain sides. It surprises with its many species of humming birds. During most of the day the mountain tops are covered with clouds. The trees are heavily overgrown with epiphytes like bromeliads, orchids and mosses.
New photo book about Paranal Observatory published
This new book “Paranal from the inside” shows a selection of the best photos of the Paranal Observatory taken by the author during 17 years.
With more than 120 photos the reader gets a real inside view of the ESO Very Large Telescope Observatory at Cerro Paranal in Chile, which is home to several of the largest and most advanced telescopes in the world. It shows high-tech science machines, people at work, the desert landscape of the site, rare and exceptional weather conditions, flora and fauna, the construction phase, aerial photos and more. Many of the photos have never been published before.
You can preview and buy the book here: PARANAL from the inside by Gerhard Hüdepohl
The photo below shows something very unusual: a glacier that is advancing. It can be clearly seen, that it is smashing and flattening all small trees that are in his path. This amazing sight is very rare in the times of global warming where most glaciers are receeding.
There are more photos of the fjords, forests and glaciers of Southern Patagonia in the gallery.
New photos of my recent trip to the amazing South Georgia Island have been added. South Georgia is a remote island in the southern ocean that has one of the highest wildlife concentration on earth. Hundred thousands of king penguins, elephant seals, giant wandering albatross and other animals are almost the only inhabitants of this amazing place.