National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Upside-down Orion Shining Over the ALMA Array

Night Scape Photograph・

Upside-down Orion Shining Over the ALMA Array

Here, 7-meter antennas belonging to the ALMA Morita Array are aligned and staring at the heavens together. Over the group, the constellation Orion is shining in the upper left of the photo. Seen from Japan, Orion does not stand at the angle seen in this photo. Unlike what you see from the northern hemisphere, Orion seen from the southern hemisphere looks like he is standing on his head.

There are celestial bodies peculiar to the southern hemisphere, such as the Southern Cross and Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Other than those objects, the upside-down Orion is the constellation that also makes me feel that I am looking up at the sky of the southern hemisphere far from Japan.

Period Suitable for Antenna Shooting

When is the best time to take photos of ALMA antennas together with the starry sky? Is it during the new moon when there is no moonlight? Actually, the best is around the half moon. During the new moon, the surroundings become too dim and most antennas cannot be captured in the photo. And the antennas are too bright during the full moon. During the half moon, the ground is illuminated well enough and the night sky is dark enough to take a photo. Therefore, during the half moon is the best time to take a good photo of the mechanical beauty of the antennas and the beautiful starry sky together.

Text by: Masaaki Hiramatsu (NAOJ Chile Observatory)
Translation by: Hiroko Tsuzuki and Ramsey Lundock (Public Relations Center, NAOJ)

Image Data

DateDecember 10, 2013
PhotographerMasaaki Hiramatsu
CreditNational Astronomical Observatory of Japan


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