The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter (artistic composition)

This dramatic triptych shows the Moon rise from left to right through the night sky over ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) observatory at Paranal in northern Chile. Already aloft in the heavens and glowing in the centre of the image is Venus, Earth’s closest planetary neighbour. Shining to Venus’s right, the giant, though more distant planet, Jupiter appears as a small orb that seems to rotate around Venus as time passes. Such apparent celestial near misses — although the heavenly bodies are actually tens to hundreds of millions of kilometres apart — are called conjunctions.

Still other sights delight in the sky over Paranal. The radiant, reddish plane of the Milky Way smoulders on the horizon, with massive bands of dust giving this bright region a mottled complexion. On the ground, an 8.2-metre VLT Unit Telescope on the right and a 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescope to the left silently witness the splendour above, while probing the sky to address some of astronomy’s remaining mysteries. The triptych is composed of three exposures of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter and one exposure of the Paranal telescopes.


About the Image

Release date:10 December 2009, 23:35
Size:8124 x 2000 px

About the Object

Type:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory
Solar System

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.8 MB
Publication JPEG
820.8 KB
Screensize JPEG
67.6 KB