Southern Night Sky Revealed: Chile's Atacama Desert (Photos)

Atacama Dusk

Clara Moskowitz/SPACE.com

SPACE.com reporter Clara Moskowitz traveled to Chile's Atacama Desert in March 2013 on a trip sponsored by the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory. This view shows the desert stretching out behind a radio antenna at the site of the new ALMA observatory (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array).

Southern Stars

Clara Moskowitz/SPACE.com

The stars shine bright and clear above the small desert oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile's northern desert region.

Large Magellanic Cloud

Clara Moskowitz/SPACE.com

One of the most arresting sights in the Southern Hemisphere sky is the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way that appears as a bright cloudy smudge on the sky.

The Southern Cross

Clara Moskowitz/SPACE.com

The Southern Cross, officially known as Crux, is the Southern Hemisphere's most famous constellation.

Milky Way over Chile

Clara Moskowitz/SPACE.com

The bright ribbon of the Milky Way shines clearly over Chile's San Pedro de Atacama, with the Large Magellanic Cloud glowing in the lower right corner.

Orion in the South

Clara Moskowitz/SPACE.com

Some familiar constellations seen from the Northern Hemisphere, such as Orion the Hunter, are also visible from the Southern Hemisphere. In the north, Orion is a winter constellation, but it was summer in Chile when this photo was taken.

Lights of San Pedro

Clara Moskowitz/SPACE.com

Lights from the small town of San Pedro de Atacama brighten the horizon in this photo taken outside the outpost in Chile's Atacama Desert.

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.