Fr.: Observatoire de Paranal
An → ESO observatory, located on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile, at 2,635 m altitude. It is about 120 km south of the town of Antofagasta and 12 km inland from the Pacific Coast. The Paranal Observatory hosts the → Very Large Telescope (VLT) with four 8.2 m telescopes. Each telescope provides one → Cassegrain and two → Nasmyth focus stations for facility instruments. One Nasmyth focus is available for visitor instruments. In addition each telescope is equipped with a → coudé focus station from which the light can be coherently combined in the interferometric focus. ESO also operates four 1.8 m Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs), that are used as an interferometric array (VISA) and a 4 m infrared survey telescope (VISTA). Currently, more than 10 instruments including two interferometric instruments (MIDI, AMBER) are operational and offered for science observations.
Paranal, the name of the mountain, in the Quechua language meaning "whirlwind;" → observatory.