Cinematographer Christopher Malin:

Atacama Starry Nights: Episode I

Astronomer’s Paradise is the first episode of a Atacama Starry Nights timelapse movie series.

Cerro Paranal is an astronomers paradise with its stunningly dark, steady and transparent sky. Located in the barren Atacama Desert of Chile it is home to some of the world’s leading telescopes.

Operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) the Very Large Telescope (VLT) is located on the Paranal mountain, composed of four 8 m telescopes which can combine their light to make a giant telescope by interferometry.

Four smaller auxiliary telescopes, each 1.8 m in aperture, are important elements of the VLT interferometer.

Walking on the desert near Paranal between the scattered stones and boulders on the pale red dust, feels like being on Mars but under the Earth sky.

Paranal was selected for cutting edge astronomical observations also because of the sky transparency and steady atmospheric condition which let astronomers peer into tiny details in the deep cosmos using giant telescopes.

This film is made with footage from the November 2011 TWAN imaging expedition to Paranal assigned by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). We photographed 14 nights in a row from usually 05:30 pm to08:00 a.m.

All video rights reserved by Christoph Malin and Babak Tafreshi of The World at Night (TWAN) program. The inside vista-observatory video is contributed by Stephane Guisard.

(hat tip to Tim F. for the find, via National Geographic)


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