A tour of the massive desert telescopes discovering exoplanets

11 the amazing machines in the alien world of atacama

Via Fastcodesign
The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world, a barren, 41,000-square-mile landscape made of stone, salt lakes, sand, and lava distributed along a 600-mile-long strip on Chile’s Pacific Coast. The desert’s most arid point, on its northern end, is home to Earth’s clearest night skies–and as a result, the amazing Paranal Observatory, the most powerful eye in Earth’s southern hemisphere.

Paranal was recently captured in all its glory by Benedict Redgrove, the London-based photographer who is known for gorgeous commercial work. However, Redgrove says he always wanted to photograph Atacama and its telescopes, including the Very Large Telescope, or VLT, at Cerro Paranal. The VLT is a massive composition of four 320-inch telescopes that work together to survey the sky in visible and infrared lights to capture images like the first photo of an exoplanet. Only the Hubble Space Telescope produces more scientific papers–just this week, astronomers published yet another groundbreaking image captured by the VLT: the first image of a newborn planet, which was published today.

“I had wanted to go there for years and the opportunity came along to photograph the telescopes over a number of days,” Redgrove says over email. “We were allowed to stay at the habitat, capturing the facilities during the day and the sky and lasers at night.”

The process of planning Redgrove’s shoot, which he managed to pull off by working with the production company Luxy Images, turned out to be nearly as challenging as hunting for exoplanets.

He knew the Atacama landscape was extremely aggressive towards any kind of life, for starters. And secondly, he wouldn’t have much time to photograph the telescopes’ guts, since astronomers keep them so busy probing the skies. He went through a long research process before the trip, speaking to scientists and technicians about the facilities and their schedules. He and his crew planned an intricate choreography of shoots, including “where we could be during daylight and evening hours, then timetable it so we moved from telescope to telescope and base to mountaintop.” The resulting images capture the desert, and the telescopes and scientists themselves, with clarity and sharpness that reflects the work they do.

See more!

P 1 the amazing machines in the alien world of atacama

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.