A few days after we visited La Silla we went to the telescopes that defined astronomy in the 2000's: the VLT (Very Large Telescope) at Paranal.
These telescopes are a couple of hours from Antofagasta, a desolate plain utterly devoid of life. The dryness of the area makes Tucson look like an oasis by comparison. Thus the shock of the astronomer's hotel... It is built into the side of the mountain; from the road, all you can see is a small dome:
But once you go through the airlock double-doors, you find yourself in a moist rainforest environment!
In fact, the setting is so dramatic, it was used in the James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace"...
But the best part was being in the dome of one of the 8.2 meter telescopes as it was being prepared for observing that night...
More or less weekly diaries from Br Guy
- Br Guy’s Diary: December 31, 2014
- Br. Guy’s Diary: January 9, 2015
- Br. Guy Diary: January 17
- Br Guy Diary: February 7
- Br Guy Diary: February 13, 2015
- Br Guy Diary: February 22, 2015
- Chile Diary 1: La Silla Observatory, Chile
- Chile Diary 2: Paranal
- Chile Diary 3 (or 1.5, to be more accurate): Magellan
- Chile Diary 4: ALMA… and Ceres?
- Another meta-posting…
- Fan Mail Poetry
- 2016 Calendars are available!
- “Exploring the Big Questions of the Universe…”
- Happy Hundredth, Mildred!