Astronomer’s Paradise

| August 26, 2012 | 18 Comments

It’s cold, it’s dry, the air is thin. The nearest city is miles away across a barren landscape of boulder-strewn hills. At night, the only lights to guide you are the stars in the sky. Astronomers, welcome to paradise. Known as the driest place on Earth, Chile’s Atacama Desert has long been recognized as an ideal spot for ground-based telescopes. The skies are free of light pollution, and the high plains enjoy long stretches of steady atmospheric conditions, allowing astronomers to peer deeply into the cosmos without having to worry about turbulence distorting the data. (Related blog: “The Dry Edge of Life—Studying ‘Martians’ in Chile.”) In the new time-lapse movie above, photographers Christoph Malin and Babak Tafreshi (founder of The World at Night, or TWAN, program) offer a rarely seen glimpse of Cerro Paranal, one of the high hills in the Atacama that houses instruments for the European Southern Observatory(ESO). Made by invitation from the ESO, the video includes more than 7500 still images taken between October and November 2011. It shows the beauty of the dark Atacama skies, sometimes framed by the four main domes of the Very Large Telescope, as well as a brief “behind the scenes” look at what telescope operators see from inside one of the domes. In an email to National Geographic, Tafreshi says of the Atacama: There are not many locations left on this planet where you can still experience a dark sky like this. I have been to similar dark skies in other continents


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  1. Abidal Rod says:

    how much will it cost to go there ?

  2. Kim Davis says:

    This is beautiful. I would love to be an astronomer when I grow up.

  3. stupida19 says:

    3 3 verdaderamente hermoso

  4. FracescaMaria says:


  5. mattybutta says:

    Good work boys!

  6. arvis951 says:

    What camera did you use ? :O

  7. MissSophisticated27 says:

    This is beautiful! Must come here and probably will start studying Astronomy :)

  8. iMATT961 says:

    i am obly in grade 10 and i did a survey to see what some of mu best future careers would be and astronomer was one of them.

  9. nooory3 says:

    It took me to another world…

  10. runawise says:

    Thumbs up!

  11. Finkletonian says:

    Meteor with ion trail at 4:07

  12. dpurcell84 says:

    This is a fantastic begging to a series, I really look forward to your next installment

  13. Javi Correa says:

    Hermoso… simplemente hermoso!

  14. dadatobe says:


  15. SUSIILDIVO says:


  16. Ken MacMillan says:

    It depends on the light pollution & probably the camera too.

  17. BleachDR says:

    I also want to know if only with a camera we can see the sky in that way

  18. themangix357 says:

    Same as 3:40, the sky is beautiful with the blue stars on the bg. Will we be able to see it with the naked eye or this is only viewable from a camera. Sorry to bug lol, I’m just really curious with this kind of things.

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