Feb 5

Starlit Solar Panels at Gemini South — IOTW2006

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iotw2006a – Starlit Solar Panels at Gemini South

This night-time photo of the Gemini South telescope on Cerro Pachón, Chile features a marvelous view of the Milky Way arching overhead and reflecting off some of the 668 photovoltaic panels that help power the facility.

Credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory/AURA/M. Paredes

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This night-time photo of the Gemini South telescope on Cerro Pachón, Chile features a marvelous view of the Milky Way arching overhead and reflecting off some of the 668 photovoltaic panels that help power the facility. The same clear skies that provide such spectacular views of our galaxy also allow Gemini South, one of two telescopes making up the international Gemini Observatory a program of NSF’s Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, to enjoy abundant sunlight during the day — making solar panels a down-to-earth addition to the facility. Starlight isn’t bright enough to generate electricity at night, when the astronomical observations take place, but during daylight hours these solar panels can provide over 28% of the power needed to run the observatory — helping to keep astronomy environmentally friendly.

Credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory/AURA/M. Paredes

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