Astronomer's Paradise

You know you’re in for something special when an online video says, “Make sure to watch this full-screen with the sound on!” Especially when it comes from astrophotography masters Christoph Malin and Babak Tafreshi.

Since Babak created The World at Night (TWAN) in late 2008 under Astronomers Without Borders, the project has become a legend with its unprecedented collection of images and time-lapse videos created by a carefully chosen team of experts in landscape astrophotography.

Astronomer's Paradise is the first episode of the Atacama Starry Nights series of time-lapse videos made during a November 2011 visit by Christoph and Babak to the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory on Cerro Paranal, a desolate Andean mountaintop high in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The site’s awe-inspiring dark, steady, crystal clear sky has attracted some of the world's greatest astronomical facilities and astronomers.

Christoph says, “Walking on the desert near Paranal between the scattered stones and boulders on the pale red dust, feels like being on Mars but under the Earth sky.”

In all, 14 nights in a row were spent imaging the night sky from Paranal, with 35,000 images shot for time-lapse videos alone. The remarkable result seen in Astronomer’s Paradise uses 7500 of those frames.

Christoph says of the effort, “I hope we could at least capture the magic of this very special place a bit - this is how the night sky looks like, if people care about light pollution. And we need more people to do that.” The magic is there, and anyone who falls under its spell will see value of the night sky to inspire and show us our place in the Universe.

Astronomer’s Paradise has also been featured on the websites of National Geographic and Nikon Rumours!