As seen on the National Geographic News our Milky Way galaxy gleams in all its splendor, as seen from La Silla observatory in the southern outskirts of the Atacama Desert, Chile.
The clear, high altitude dry desert air provides a perfect home for the La Silla, operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), where the 3.6-meter New Technology Telescope (NTT) makes its nightly rounds of the sky’s far reaches.
The telescope rests between the open doors in the photo. The Milky Way spans more than 100,000 light-years across, putting Earth in the cosmic suburbs, some 27,000 light-years away from the brightly glowing center of the galaxy, seen at the center of this image.
Visible to the left of the Milky Way is the bright orange star Antares at the heart of Scorpius (The Scorpion). Saturn can be seen as the brightest point to the upper left of Antares and Alpha and Beta Centauri glow in the upper right of the image. The Southern Cross (Crux) and the Coalsack dark nebula are also visible at the upper right corner.