This above photo is the first composite photo of the Antennae Galaxies taken by the newly functioning ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array), taken in conjunction with photos from the Hubble Space Telescope.
There is a good report about this FOX news. I won't quote any of it, just go read it and have fun.
The Atacama desert in Chile is not the hottest desert in the world, but rather, the dryest. It also has one salt lake, or better put, sinkhole, with the largest salt content in the entire world.
I was in Chile in December 2009 on an opera tour of a modern work, which was performed in the capital of Santiago. After the tour, some colleagues and I took a plane to Calama airport and from there we took a bus to get to the small city of San Pedro, which is right at the edge of the Atacama desert. We all swam in that sinkhole, where it that boasts a a salt concentration so high that "you can do yoga on the surface."
Here are two photos of me and my colleagues at the Atacama Salt Lake (Sinkhole):
That's me in the black shirt.
And here we are, floating in the lake. It was a fantastic day, at about 4,000 meters above sea level:
Actually, the real point of this story is that on the way from Calama airport to San Pedro, it was approaching midnight. There is one single road leading from Calama to San Pedro, that's it. And no street lights. For about 70 miles. About half way through the trip the driver asked us if we wanted to stop and look at the stars, and so we did.
And when we stepped out of the bus, a wonder hit my eyes. Never in my entire life have I seen so many stars, so perfectly clear to see. Literally, billions of stars, and they looked bigger than I have ever seen them. Constellations I had never seen before, for in the southern Hemisphere, there are other constellations. I had the feeling they were so close to me, all I had to do was to reach up with my arm and pull a star down to earth. It was amazing. There we all stood in absolute silence and awe and wonder, with our heads cocked up toward the sky, for a good 10 minutes, and not one of us noticed that the temperature had fallen from 20 celsius at the airport to just above freezing where we were on the highway. And not one vehicle came by as we watched the stars. Wow. Just wow.
If anyone here gets a chance to vacation in Chile, take time to go visit the Atacama desert. There are also thermal baths way up at about 5,000 meters above sea level. The desert itself is enormous.
So, I can understand why the array has been built there, near the Atacama: no light pollution, the view is truly unbelievable.
Today marks yet another day marching forward in the quest for knowledge. GEIL!!! (German: COOL!!!)
BTW, from the Atacama some salt is mined, but the real element that is mined is LITHIUM.
Chile produces 50% of the world's lithium, the element powers the chilean economy.