La Silla ESO Observatory, Chile
© Alberto Ghizzi Panizza/Getty Image
La Silla Observatory, Chile
In one of the darkest places on Earth there's a group of telescopes that examine the heavens each night, sending detailed information about the celestial bodies they observe to astronomers across the planet. Far from any population centres or light pollution, the Atacama Desert in Chile is the world’s driest nonpolar desert. It’s the perfect place for La Silla Observatory, one of the largest observatories in the Southern Hemisphere, and the first to be used by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), a research organisation made up of astronomers from 16 European nations. The first ESO telescope at the La Silla site began operating in 1966.