Happy Astronomy Day!  

Happy Astronomy Day!

No, that"s not a downpour of lightsabers—but it"s no typical night sky either. Stargazing here at Paranal Observatory, on a mountaintop in Chile"s desolate Atacama Desert, you"ll get one of the clearest possible naked-eye views of the southern skies. This "lightsaber" effect comes from the photo"s long exposure: What we"re seeing is these stars" paths as they track across the night sky due to our planet"s rotation. The dazzling colors indicate temperature, from chilly red (5,000-ish degrees Fahrenheit) to balmy blue (temps in the tens of thousands).

© Matteo Omied/Alamy

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