The Milky Way galaxy lights up the night above ALMA radio telescopes in Chile's Atacama Desert. The altitude—5,000 meters (16,400 feet) above sea level—allows for exceptional visibility. Mars, the Red Planet, is at the lower left, next to blue star Spica in Virgo. Near the center is Saturn and the zodiacal light brightens the sky at the upper right.
Located at the Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is considered as one of the most complex astronomical projects of our time. The 66 antennas of the array can operate together as a single giant telescope. ALMA is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with Chile. The site rarefied atmosphere, at about 50 percent sea level pressure, is also extremely dry. That makes it ideal for ALMA which is designed to explore the universe at wavelengths over 1,000 times longer than visible light. This visit to ALMA was arranged by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), one of the main partner organizations of ALMA. Babak Tafreshi, Dreamview.net