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Watching The Southern Sky From On High

by Wright Bryan
Mar 18, 2011

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Wright Bryan

As an editor and producer for 13.7, I often find myself going to the European Southern Observatory's website to look for images that can illustrate the posts of our regular bloggers.

Today we're a little short on big ideas. So, instead, I'm going to offer up this beautiful time-lapse video of the heavens by ESO Photo Ambassador Jose Francisco Salgado. The images were taken last June at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Here's how the ESO describes the array:

"ALMA is being constructed at an altitude of 5000 m on the Chajnantor plateau in the Atacama Desert in Chile. This is one of the driest places on Earth and this dryness, combined with the thin atmosphere at high altitude, offers superb conditions for observing the Universe at millimetre and submillimetre wavelengths. At these long wavelengths, astronomers can probe, for example, molecular clouds, which are dense regions of gas and dust where new stars are born when a cloud collapses under its own gravity. Currently, the Universe remains relatively unexplored at submillimetre wavelengths, so astronomers expect to uncover many new secrets about star formation, as well as the origins of galaxies and planets, when ALMA is operational."

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