Astrophysics (Index)About

Atacama Desert

(high altitude, dry plateau in Chile, the site of observatories)

The Atacama Desert is a 40,000 square mile plateau in Chile. Its altitude varies, but 7,000 feet is common and its highest peaks exceed 22,000 feet.

The plateau is clear and dry with an average of 30 cloudy days per year, and an average annual rainfall of about a millimeter. This leaves many cloudless days/nights suitable for observation, and also means less absorption from water lines, i.e., more substantial atmospheric windows for far infrared and microwave.

Observatories and telescopes include:

(La Silla Observatory (LSO) is at the edge of the desert.)

Plans and under construction:

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
Atacama B-Mode Search (ABS)
Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT)
Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA)
Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX)
Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE)
Cosmic Background Imager (CBI)
Fred Young Submillimeter Telescope (FYST)
Llano de Chajnantor Observatory
CMB Stage-4 (CMB-S4)
Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA)
European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT)
European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope (ESO VLT)
Las Campanas Observatory (LCO)
La Silla Observatory (LSO)
Paranal Observatory
Simons Observatory (SO)
University of Tokyo Atacama Observatory (TAO)
VLT Survey Telescope (VST)