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Only the Penitentes Shall Pass: Snow and Stars Near the ALMA Array

23 Feb 2015, 19:15 UTC
Only the Penitentes Shall Pass: Snow and Stars Near the ALMA Array ESO/Babak Tafreshi
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I just had to share this beautiful image by ESO photo ambassador Babak Tafreshi; it shows a star-filled night sky above the Chajnantor Plateau on the border of Chile and Bolivia, the site of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory. The site, chosen for its remote location and incredibly clear, dry sky, is one of the best […]

Icy penitentes march along the cold, dry ground on the Chajnantor Plateau near ALMA (ESO/Babak Tafreshi)
I just had to share this beautiful image by ESO photo ambassador Babak Tafreshi; it shows a star-filled night sky above the Chajnantor Plateau on the border of Chile and Bolivia, the site of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observatory. The site, chosen for its remote location and incredibly clear, dry sky, is one of the best on Earth for observing the most distant objects in the Universe.
The jagged snow features in the foreground are known as penitentes, for their resemblance to the conical hats of Spanish religious group members known as the Nazarenos. They are the result of Sun and wind erosion on high-altitude snow, although the exact process isn’t entirely known.

According to an ESO description:
The penitentes are natural marvels ...

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