Despite the expedition being over for the ESO Ultra HD team, the most exciting work is still to be done. Having traveled across Chile, visiting the different telescope sites and collecting data from each from their powerful, high-definition recording equipment, they are now ready to collate and present their images.
From the different sites they visited, which included the massive ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) facility in the Atacama desert, they collected around 10 TB, equal to 10 000 gigabytes, of video and images. This was all done in Ultra HD, which is four times the resolution of regular HD, meaning that the images they have collected will bring the universe into better, clearer focus than it has ever been before.
This is still one of the first Ultra HD productions that has been made available worldwide, and, as if that wasn’t enough, ESO have gone one further and made it free to view, allowing everyone to catch a glimpse of the universe at its finest.
The expedition started just over a month ago as the photographer, Herbert Zodet, along with the ESO Photo Ambassadors, Yuri Beletsky, Cristoph Malin and Babak Tafreshi, headed to Chile to visit three of the largest observatories here. Their first stop was the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile, where the VLT (Very Large Telescope array) is situated, and from there they visited ALMA on the Chajnantor Plateau and finally they finished their journey at La Silla, home to ESO’s first observatory.
The telescopes are all located in northern Chile due to its incomparably clear skies, a condition that you wouldn’t find anywhere in Europe. To take advantage of this opportunity, the team took time-lapse videos, still images and panoramic views, all of which have been used in the compilation. The most exciting images captured however, are the time-lapses in planetarium fulldome format, which allow you to see these crystal-clear images as if you were actually looking up into the sky. These will be used in the ESO’s planetarium shows in their Supernova facility from 2017.
You can follow the ESO team’s work on Twitter @ESO.
Below is a compilation from their visit to Chile’s huge ALMA facility, showing the day-time images of their HD footage.