Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

Posts tagged ‘Andes’

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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Winter can be a frustrating time at an astronomical observatory with the presence of dark threatening clouds, freezing temperatures, high humidity, blustery winds, and blowing snow.

With a month remaining in the Chilean southern winter and the forecast for clearing skies, the nighttime-observing crew arrived tonight (28 Aug 2011) at the Cerro Pach贸n summit with the following view towards the Andean spine to the east, and the setting sun behind us to the west.

Cerro Pachon, Chile
View from Cerro Pach贸n, Chile – 28 August 2011.

This photo was taken at an altitude of about 2700 metres (8860 feet) above sea-level.

The dome-shadow at lower-centre is Gemini Observatory (South); I stood in its shadow at the edge of the ridge where I made this photograph. The dome-shadow at the lower-left is the SOAR Telescope.

You can compare the photo above with the following photo I made 5 weeks ago, one minute after sunset …

Cerro Pachon, Chile
View from Cerro Pach贸n, Chile – 24 July 2011.

The view sure is pretty up here.

At the centre of the photo above, the background ‘peak’ marked by the red pin (in the Google map below) is 4450 metres high (14600 feet) with a line-of-sight distance of 32 km (20 miles) to the east southeast (heading 96 degrees). Over to the right of the photo, the foreground ‘peak’ marked by the green pin is 4340 metres high (14200 feet) with a line-of-sight distance 19 km (12 miles) to the east southeast (heading 106 degrees). The location of Cerro Pach贸n is marked by the blue pin below.

After 15 years in the business, it’s a little difficult to imagine (but getting easier to accept) that I’m packing it in by the end of this year for something new and different.

This post was published originally on Fotoeins Fotopress (

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