At the beginning of dawn the southern Milky Way is photographed over the Cerro Paranal Observatory in the barren Atacama Desert. Bright stars Alpha and Beta Centauri are near the horizon and the Southern Cross (Crux) appear above them. Higher in the sky is the large red emission Carina Nebula. The Large Magellanic Clouds is on the right. With its dark, steady, and transparent sky, Paranal is home to some of the world’s leading telescopes. Operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) the Very Large Telescope (VLT) is located on Paranal, composed of four 8-meter telescopes and smaller auxiliary telescopes, each 1.8 m in aperture (appear in this image), which are important elements of the VLT interferometer.
Stars of the constellation Ursa Major (the Big bear) form the familiar dipper-like asterism in the northern sky as photographed from the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the Canary island of La Palma. The starry night sky is reflected from one of a pair of 17 meter diameter, multi-mirrored MAGIC telescopes. The MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov) telescope is intended to observe gamma rays indirectly by detecting brief flashes of optical light, called Cherenkov light.
Geminid Meteor Shower The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks next week. Sadly, the Moon will be near-full brightening the sky for most of the night causing rates to be lower. However, the Geminids will still put on a good show pretty much anywhere that isn’t overcast, so don’t worry. Southern Hemisphere viewers will see lower rates, with the peak being ~40-60 meteors/hour in some locations, so you won’t be missing out as was the case for the Persieds earlier this year. Use the Fluxtimator to estimate the rate in your location.
Meteors will be visible when the radiant point is above the horizon from your location. The radiant point is in the constellation Gemini (Jupiter will be too, so get your binocs/telescopes), right next to the Orion constellation. You can spot meteors anywhere in the sky and it is not necessary to look towards the radiant point as some may believe. So go out, find somewhere dark, look up and enjoy the show.