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There is no better sky than in the Atacama Desert - especially at the outstanding ESO observatories Cerro Paranal, ALMA and La Silla. Men's outposts to deep space observation far away from light pollution are impressive - especially Cerro Paranal is for sure a modern Stonehenge.

Whenever I watch the scenes I get reminded about how marvelous an unspoiled Night Sky looks - and how silent the Atacama itself is.

While setting up equipment everyone is busy, but at the precise moment when all parameters are set and the cameras start to capture the sky and desert below for the night and day to come, it‘s time to relax and enjoy seeing the Sun dive from the Desert Sky into the Pacific.

Atacama Sunsets and Sunrises are the most beautiful, comparable to what one usually only can witness from the clear atmosphere outside an Airplane at 10000 m... colorful, striking, mind bending.

And then, when one thinks that these epic moments can never be beaten again by something else, the stars come up.

One by one like diamonds, sparkling, twinkling, glittering, followed by the sheer beauty of the Southern Sky Milky Way. It seems so bright and brilliant (Eye adaption!), that you can see your own shadow on the ground.

And at night, while you walk around or just lay on the ground to watch the zillion of sparkling stars, you realize you don't need a flashlight. The starlight illuminates the environment for you. It is ancient light, so precious - yet we waste it with our light polluted cities.

The starry sky above, the red desert below - it makes one feel like being on Mars, close to space.

Later, driving back from somewhere remote out in the Desert, the 4x4 set to parking lights to not spoil the telescopes observations, one can even see the Milky Way from inside the car (what about a convertible next time ;).

Driving to locations trough the wide open, lonely desert at night, one can easily navigate by the stars, and can clearly see the Magellanic Clouds behind the steering wheel. It's simply awesome - always makes me feel like riding a little Space Ship.

All these experiences are overwhelming, and all I can do is my best to share them with this little Video.

So put up the Volume (or watch mute with your own Music of choice) and enjoy a collection of great and unique Day to Night to Day transitions from the #ESOUltraHD Expedition (eso.org/public/outreach/ultra-high-definition/) combined with some great Moby Tracks - I love the tunes. Thanks to Mobygratis.com - awesome!

Some other facts:

The #ESOUltraHD Expedition meant: Three ESO Observatories in two Weeks, Cerro Paranal, ALMA, La Silla, from 2000 to 5000 m Altitude. Quite a task, but we made it thanks to a great team.

I left most of the Transitions at their original Speed (25 fps) for Visual Enjoyment. No Rush. And while watching, you discover a lot of (atmospheric) phenomena and Sky objects in there... to name a few: cosmic rays ("cosmics" - white pixel streaks on the CMOS sensors), meteor persistent trails, airglow, satellites, airplanes, atmospheric gravity waves... And - yes I get these questions but I don't mind - no UFOs. none that I know of. There is some unavoidable Camera shake in some of the segments, well, after all it can be very windy and stormy in the Atacama, and there is not much you can do about it. Not much shelter in that open Landscape.

Filmed with:
Canon 1DC and 6D
AFS Nikon 14-24/2.8, 24-70/2.8 and Sigma 8/3.5 Circular Fisheye using custom made Novoflex EOS/Nik NT Adapters
Controlled with:
GBTimelapse and mechanical Aperture Stepping - True Holy Grail!
Autonomous Operation at up to 5000 m Altitude... for up to 20 hours
Novoflex Tripods
Intecro Power banks
Peli Cases
Vaude Gear
Emotimo TB3s
Vixen Polarie
MacBook Air and Retina (up to 5050 m Altitude)
Color Grading with LRTimelapse and LR5, rendered with AE CC
Lightning fast data transfers with Angelbird SS2Go's
Fast & smooth rendering with my MacBookPro Retina and iMacs
Cut & Edit with FinalCutPro X using CoreMelt and FlickerFree

Observatories: Cerro Paranal, ALMA, La Silla.

Thanks to Herbert Zodet, Babak Tafreshi, Yuri Beletsky and Lars Lindberg Christensen and my Family and many Friends and Supporters for making this happen.

Many thanks to Dr. Mike Posehn for making the invisible visible and the impossible possible with his software GBTimelapse.

Christoph Malin

PS: Watch the Meteor Persistent Trail at 58:02 above Cerro Paranal

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