At its center, Chile’s Atacama desert is the driest place on the planet.
The high altitude desert stretches along beside the coast for 600 miles, reaching into southern Peru.
Dry air and high altitude make it a perfect location for astronomers to set up shop. The biggest optical telescope in the world is being built there and it’s already the location of the largest space observatory in the world, the Atacama Large Millimetre-submillimeter Array, better known as ALMA (Spanish for “soul”), which is located 5,000 meters above sea level.
The photo of the rare rainbow above was captured by Armin Silber, an employee of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), who took the photo showing the support facility where new technologies are developed and built at 2,900 meters before being transported to ALMA — it’s much easier to do that work a little lower down.
It’s a beautiful moment in one of the starkest places on the planet, or as the ESO writes, a “welcome touch of colour” on “an otherwise dark and dreary day.”
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