Fotoeins Fotografie

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Posts tagged ‘Andean Fox’

Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, CTIO, Cerro Tololo, Regi贸n de Coquimbo, Chile,

Chilean Andes: morning send-off with Atacama minions

Above/featured: Morning fog in the valleys below, facing north-northeast from Cerro Tololo Observatory – 9am CLDT (12pm UTC), 22 Sept 2011.

Late-2011: Cerro Tololo Observatory, Región de Coquimbo, Chile.

The morning creeps gently forward, up and over the desert sky. Sounds? What sounds? What scarce sounds there are, they pierce the silence with soft whistles and drawn-out wails. Alternating light and dark horizontal streamers, known also as “the rays of God,” mark the first light of dawn. Small clumps break loose, as the overnight shroud of valley fog pulls back slowly from view.

The sun climbs higher, the shadows grow shorter, the cotton patch dissolves. It isn’t long until a spectacular sight is revealed. This is what you get from a height of 7500 feet above sea level.

Dry river beds twist and sweep and stretch along canyon floors. Cactus and desert scrub carpets the surrounding hills in faded greens and dusty browns. To the east rise jagged rocky teeth capped with white frosting, fixing the location of the Andes along the Chilean spine.

In this desolate and isolated part of the world, I’ve often wondered about the few brave souls who make this place their home. They’re prospectors, miners, even some farmers, all of whom carry their burden for financial endeavour. People have been digging around in these parts for centuries, whether it’s plant, mineral, or some kind of monetary paydirt.

But there’s another human enterprise with different rewards, a quest that asks questions on a much larger scale.

How do planets take shape?
How do stars form?
How are galaxies assembled?
Is there life elsewhere in the universe?

These issues occupy astronomers from all over the world. Many astronomers go up onto mountains, just like this one, onto the summit of Cerro Tololo, peering into the skies. The telescopes point straight up, reaching out like outstretched hands, wanting more.

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desert fox, zorro culpeo, Cerro Tololo, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, CTIO, Regi贸n de Coquimbo, Chile,

Fotoeins Friday: Asleep at the Atacama view

At the southern edge of the Atacama desert is an arid region in Chile called Norte Chico (“near north”) which includes the administrative regions of Coquimbo and Atacama. From 1996 to 2011, I spent plenty of time in these “foothills” to the Andes, particularly on the mountains Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pach贸n at an altitude of 7500 and 9000-feet, respectively. In any season, the views are unbeatable under clear skies. We’re often reminded we aren’t alone in the desert-mountain landscape, as indicated by the presence of the sleeping “zorro culpeo” (desert- or Andean-fox) in this view facing east. This little guy is no bigger than a shoe box, and despite their wild untamed nature, they’ve figured out where to pick up food left out by the bipeds (re. kitchen staff).

I made the photo above with a Canon Powershot A510 camera on 23 June 2007 at Cerro Tololo. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at as

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