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Chile’s mystical Elqui valley and its sky full of stars

The Atacama desert may be the driest non-polar place on Earth but on its southern fringe is a stretch of vineyard-lined hills – the Elqui valley. This streak of green in arid northern Chile wiggles inland from the Pacific near the nation’s second-oldest city, La Serena. Historically the domain of agriculturists, it’s now increasingly visited by people with a different profession: astronomy.

By 2020, this grape-filled valley (along with the greater Atacama desert) will have an estimated 70% of the world’s astronomy infrastructure, thanks to its high altitudes, low population density and near non-existent cloud cover. As more scientists move to Elqui’s space-age facilities so do everyday astro-tourists in the hope of gazing at the heavens.

Read more HERE The Guardian

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