16 September 2007

The Moon from the Southern Hemisphere

San Pedro is bustling with tour agencies hawking their services, offering guided trips to salt flats, geysers, flamingo reserves and mountain peaks. One of the more unique offerings is a night time tour of the skies, led by french astronomer Alain Maury and his wife Alejandra. Their home and laboratory in the desert is surrounded by telescopes through which visitors can take a close up look at the moon, planets, and instellar phenomena. Northern Chile is the site of numerous observatories, including the world’s largest, because of the clear sky, minimal interference and high altitude.

I took this photo through one of Alain’s telescopes, which has been fitted with a camera mount. Note that the orientation of the half moon is horizontal rather than vertical. Those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, Alain explained in a thick french accent, are all walking sidways.

SPACE : San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations 

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