Six Busy Days (and Nights) With Some of the World's Largest Telescopes

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Night falls in the Atacama Desert, but the day is far from over. In this wonderful little timelapse, sent along to us by the photographer Enrico Sacchetti, we get a sense for the constant work being done at the European Southern Observatory.

Sacchetti visited the Atacama this fall and spent six days shooting two of the ESO's three sites there. First, the ALMA or Atacama Large Millimeter Array, a group of 66 radio telescopes studying the early Universe. The ESO describes it as "the largest ground-based astronomy project in existence," but it's difficult to comprehend the scale until you see the array in action. Sacchetti also shot the ESO's Very Large Telescope array, a foursome of telescopes that make up proverbial workhorse of the ESO's stable, and the site of a new ESO project to search for exoplanets.


There are whole books to be written about these incredible arrays, but I'll let you watch Sacchetti's video in peace. For more on the way the ESO operates, check out our sister site io9's coverage of the machines that move the arrays themselves.