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Photos of Giant Science Facilities That Look Straight Out of Science Fiction

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Scientists around the world create massive and elaborate facilities for carrying out groundbreaking research. Photographer Enrico Sacchetti is a guy who specializes in capturing them on camera. He’s a “science, technology, and industrial” photographer based out of Rome and London, and his images have appeared in many of the world’s top science and technology magazines.

Sacchetti just returned from Puerto Rico, where he photographed the William Gordon Radio Telescope at the Arecibo Observatory. At a whopping 1,000 feet from one side to the other, it’s the world’s largest single dish, radio telescope. You may recognize it from movies such as GoldenEye and Contact.

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“I mainly photograph large scale scientific projects in the field of particle physics, nuclear fusion and astronomy,” Sacchetti tells PetaPixel. “I’m also a specialized offshore photographer for various petroleum companies.”

Many of the images in Sacchetti’s portfolio look like still frames taken from science fiction movies. Here’s a selection:

Atlas Detector: A particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN that is searching for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons.
Atlas Detector: A particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN that is searching for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons.
The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) is a 10.4-metre diameter submillimeter-wavelength telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea in the U.S. state of Hawaii.
The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) is a 10.4-metre diameter submillimeter-wavelength telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea in the U.S. state of Hawaii.
Opera Detector: Opera is designed to test the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations. The experiment exploits a high-intensity and high-energy beam of muon neutrinos produced at the CERN SPS in Geneva, Switzerland and shot towards the Gran Sasso Laboratory in central  Italy, 730 km away in 3 milliseconds.
Opera Detector: Opera is designed to test the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations. The experiment exploits a high-intensity and high-energy beam of muon neutrinos produced at the CERN SPS in Geneva, Switzerland and shot towards the Gran Sasso Laboratory in central Italy, 730 km away in 3 milliseconds.
CMS Detector: Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment is one of two large general-purpose particle physics detectors built on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland. The CMS detector is capable of studying many aspects of proton collisions.
CMS Detector: Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment is one of two large general-purpose particle physics detectors built on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland. The CMS detector is capable of studying many aspects of proton collisions.
NoVA Near Detector: NoVA is a particle physics experiment designed to detect neutrinos. It consist of two detectors, the Near Detector at Fermilab, near Chicago and the other, the Far Detector, in northern Minnesota. Neutrinos shot from Fermilab will pass through 810 km of Earth to reach the far detector.
NoVA Near Detector: NoVA is a particle physics experiment designed to detect neutrinos. It consist of two detectors, the Near Detector at Fermilab, near Chicago and the other, the Far Detector, in northern Minnesota. Neutrinos shot from Fermilab will pass through 810 km of Earth to reach the far detector.
Subaru Telescope: The 8.2 meter Japanese optical telescope, located near the summit of Mauna Kea in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It has one of the largest monolithic primary mirrors in the world.
Subaru Telescope: The 8.2 meter Japanese optical telescope, located near the summit of Mauna Kea in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It has one of the largest monolithic primary mirrors in the world.
L.V.D. Detector: The Large Volume Detector (LVD) is a particle physics experiment mainly dedicated to the detection of neutrino bursts from stellar collapses. Situated at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy.
L.V.D. Detector: The Large Volume Detector (LVD) is a particle physics experiment mainly dedicated to the detection of neutrino bursts from stellar collapses. Situated at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy.
DarkSide Detector: Experiment designed for the direct detection of dark-matter particles. Located at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy.
DarkSide Detector: Experiment designed for the direct detection of dark-matter particles. Located at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy.
Telescope II of the W. M. Keck Observatory at an elevation of 4,145 meters near the summit of Mauna Kea in the U.S. state of Hawaii.
Telescope II of the W. M. Keck Observatory at an elevation of 4,145 meters near the summit of Mauna Kea in the U.S. state of Hawaii.
James Clerk Maxwell Submillimeter Telescope JCMT: A 15-meter submillimeter-wavelength telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea in the U.S. state of Hawaii.
James Clerk Maxwell Submillimeter Telescope JCMT: A 15-meter submillimeter-wavelength telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea in the U.S. state of Hawaii.
Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Tunnel: Is the world's largest and most powerful particle collider built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometers (17 mi) in circumference, as deep as 175 meters (574 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.
Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Tunnel: Is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometers (17 mi) in circumference, as deep as 175 meters (574 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland.
Giant Magellan Telescope’s (GMT) third mirror being polished at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona. GMT will become one of the worlds largest optical telescope planned for completion in 2020 and will be located in northern Chile.
Giant Magellan Telescope’s (GMT) third mirror being polished at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona. GMT will become one of the worlds largest optical telescope planned for completion in 2020 and will be located in northern Chile.

You can find more of Sacchetti’s work over on his website.


Image credits: Photographs by Enrico Sacchetti and used with permission

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