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Disfrutando de las estrellas y el cielo limpio

This panoramic view of the Chajnantor plateau, spanning about 180 degrees from north (on the left) to south (on the right) shows the antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) ranged across the unearthly landscape. Some familiar celestial objects can be seen in the night sky behind them. These crystal-clear night skies explain why Chile is the home of not only ALMA, but also several other astronomical observatories. This image is just part of an even wider panorama of Chajnantor. In the foreground, the 12-metre diameter ALMA antennas are in action, working as one giant telescope, during the observatory’s first phase of scientific observations. On the far left, a cluster of smaller 7-metre antennas for ALMA’s compact array can be seen illuminated. The crescent Moon, although not visible in this image, casts stark shadows over all the antennas. In the sky above the antennas, the most prominent bright “star” — on the left of the image — is in fact the planet Jupiter. The gas giant is the third brightest natural object in the night sky, after the Moon and Venus. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds can also be clearly seen on the right of the image. The Large Magellanic Cloud looks like a puff of smoke, just above the rightmost antenna. The Small Magellanic Cloud is higher in the sky, towards the upper-right corner. Both “clouds” are in fact dwarf irregular galaxies, orbiting the Milky Way galaxy, at distances of about 160 000 and 200 000 light-years respectively. On the far left of the panorama, just left of the foreground antennas, is the elongated smudge of the Andromeda galaxy. This galaxy, more than ten times further away than the Magellanic Clouds, is our closest major neighbouring galaxy. It is also the largest galaxy in the Local Group — the group of about 30 galaxies which includes our own — and contains approximately one trillion stars, more than twice as many as the Milky Way. It is the only major galaxy visible