From an altitude of over 5,000 meters,
the night sky view from Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean
Andes is breathtaking in more ways than one.
The dark site's rarefied atmosphere, at
about 50 percent sea level pressure, is also
That makes it ideal for the
Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
designed to explore the universe at wavelengths over
1,000 times longer than visible light.
Near the center of the
panoramic scene, ALMA's 7 and 12 meter wide dish antennas are
illuminated by a young Moon nestled in the arc of the Milky Way.
configurations are intended to achieve a resolution
comparable to space telescopes by operating as an
At left, a meteor's streak and the Milky Way's satellite galaxies,
the Large (bottom) and Small Magellanic Clouds grace the night.
(Los Cielos de