EYES ON THE SKY
Very Interesting|November/December 2020
Earth-bound telescopes are transforming our understanding of the universe. But we think they look pretty out-of-this-world too…
ALICE LIPSCOMBE-SOUTHWELL

PEEK INTO THE PAST

ATACAMA LARGE MILLIMETER/ SUBMILLIMETER ARRAY (ALMA)

Chajnantor plateau, Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert in Chile is an astronomer’s paradise. Thanks to its high altitude, cold nights, scant precipitation and lack of pollution, it boasts some of the clearest night skies on the planet. That’s why the European Southern Observatory (ESO) – an astronomical research organisation of 16 countries – worked with Chile to set up powerful ground-based telescopes in the desert, including the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Beginning observations in 2011, the high-tech telescope consists of 66 precise antennas that can be arranged in different ways to give a variable zoom, capturing sharper detail than the Hubble Space Telescope. ALMA studies light with wavelengths of around a millimetre, originating from the universe’s coldest objects that exist at temperatures at just above absolute zero. These objects include the molecular gas and dust clouds that are the building blocks of galaxies, stars and planets. By studying these regions of the universe, scientists will be able to decipher the mysteries of planetary formations, as well as our cosmic origins.

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope.

DECIPHER THE UNIVERSE

VERY LARGE TELESCOPE (VLT)

Cerro Paranal, Atacama Desert, Chile

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM VERY INTERESTINGView All

EYES ON THE SKY

Earth-bound telescopes are transforming our understanding of the universe. But we think they look pretty out-of-this-world too…

4 mins read
Very Interesting
November/December 2020

A learning curve

There’s nothing like a nationwide school closure to help you recognise the valuable work that teachers do, every single day

2 mins read
Very Interesting
November/December 2020

An Ocean Of Mysteries

Earth’s biggest habitat is also the one that we know the least about. Now, a new wave of innovators are engineering the technology that will help us find out more. Here’s what they are discovering…

10 mins read
Very Interesting
November/December 2020

Covid-19 Could Cause Delirium, Brain Inflammation And Stroke

A study carried out on a small number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients at England’s National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery has linked the coronavirus to a number of neurological conditions

4 mins read
Very Interesting
November/December 2020

Could Antibodies Found In Llamas Help US To Defeat Covid-19?

Researchers at the McLellan Lab in Austin, Texas, are using llama antibodies to attack ‘spike proteins’ found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus

4 mins read
Very Interesting
November/December 2020

Know Your Mind

Our brain uses shortcuts to think quickly but, sometimes, these mental timesavers let us down. Dr Pragya Agarwal discusses the science of cognitive biases, and why it’s more important than ever to understand how they hold sway over our views

7 mins read
Very Interesting
November/December 2020

Of Pandemics, Paradoxes And Cognitive Dissonance: Covid-19

Living through this difficult time raises demanding questions about what – or who – the real problems are

5 mins read
Very Interesting
November/December 2020

To The Ends Of The Earth

Scientists are going to extreme lengths to find out how climate change is affecting our planet

5 mins read
Very Interesting
November/December 2020

Be Mindful Of What's Good For You

Try out some tools for a more relaxed headspace

4 mins read
Very Interesting
November/December 2020

How To Get A Good Night's Sleep

Do you often find yourself lying awake in bed, unable to drop off? Help is at hand from sleep scientist Dr Alice Gregory

2 mins read
Very Interesting
November/December 2020
RELATED STORIES

THE MOST Surreal RIFE OF OUR LIVES

National Route 40 is not only the longest road in Argentina, but also the world. Parallel to the Andes, it crosses 11 provinces, connecting some of the most prominent places of natural beauty and cultural interest in the country. We’d planned to take our time and enjoy the seemingly endless points of interest in the southern part of RN40, but just before reaching the province of Mendoza, we realized that our visas would soon need renewing. The least complicated way to extend them was a “border run,” which meant a ride out of and back into the country from the nearest border crossing to obtain the passport stamps.

6 mins read
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)
September-October 2020

Red or Green?

We return to New Mexico’s Chile Challenge

3 mins read
Four Wheeler
August 2020

Open For Business

The resilient city of Santiago entices MICE planners and travelers.

3 mins read
Global Traveler
March 2020

Populism Comes To Chile

When The Chilean government announced on October 4 that it was hiking subway fares by roughly 4 cents in the capital city of Santiago, high school students started jumping turnstiles en masse.

2 mins read
Reason magazine
February 2020

The Bombmaking Vintner of Colchagua

Carlos Cardoen sold weapons to Saddam Hussein, then became a renowned winemaker in Chile. The U.S. wants him extradited.

2 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
September 02, 2019

Renovación a la chilena

El corazón del país andino y su territorio marítimo más remoto derivan en un viaje de transformación personal.

10+ mins read
National Geographic Traveler en Español
Mayo 2019

El gigante de Santiago

La ingeniería chilena ha logrado erigir el rascacielos más alto de latinoamérica en esta zona sísmica activa.

4 mins read
National Geographic en Español
Abril 2019

Nueva sección: Extra Hot!

Estas deliciosas botanas tienen todo el chilito necesario para gacerte agua la boca.

3 mins read
Cocina Fácil México
Marzo 2019

Superfoods Mexicanos

Te dejamos algunas ideas para integrarlos en tu dieta diaria.

5 mins read
Cocina Fácil México
Enero 2019

Los pumas de Patagonia

Proteger estos felinos de Chile ha tenido graves consecuencias para los ganaderos. ¿El turismo es la solución?

7 mins read
National Geographic en Español
Diciembre 2018