Miguel Claro is a professional photographer, author and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, who creates spectacular images of the night sky. As a European Southern Observatory photo ambassador, a member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical skyscapes that connect Earth and the night sky. Join him here as he takes us through his photograph "Magellanic Clouds Above the Hotel from 007 'Quantum of Solace.'"
Stars, galaxies and an eerie, green airglow light up the sky over a hotel famously infiltrated by James Bond in the 2008 film "Quantum of Solace." Located at the top of Cerro Paranal, a mountain in Chile's Atacama Desert, the hotel houses astronomers and staff of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
The left edge of the image shows the constellation Orion, the hunter, which appears inverted when seen from the Southern Hemisphere. Close to the right of Orion shines the brightest star of the entire celestial sphere, Sirius. Farther up, in the center of the image, is Canopus, the second-brightest star in the sky.
The pair of large smudges on the right side of the photo are two of the Milky Way's close galactic neighbors, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. This duo of irregular dwarf galaxies are members of the Local Group and orbit the Milky Way galaxy. [Gallery: James Bond's Space Adventures]
On the ground, we can see the white dome of "Residencia," the hotel for astronomers and staff at ESO's Paranal Observatory. It was also a key location in "Quantum of Solace." In the film, the hotel is called "Perla de las Dunas" (Pearl of the Dunes), and it is destroyed during a struggle between Agent 007 and villain Dominic Greene.
Cerro Paranal is an 8,500-foot-high (2,600 meters) mountain in the Chilean Atacama Desert, "perhaps the driest [desert] on Earth," ESO officials said in a statement. "The high-altitude site and extreme dryness make excellent conditions for astronomical observations."
"To make it possible for people to live and work here, a hotel, or Residencia, was built at the base camp," ESO officials said. "The award-winning design by architects Auer & Weber, which includes an enclosed tropical garden and pool under a futuristic domed roof, gives the Residencia interior a feeling of open space within the protecting walls."
In the background, we also can see faint green and reddish light coming from the airglow phenomenon.
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