Atacama Desert

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a desert in northern Chile rich in nitrate and copper deposits

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Such conditions are ideal for astronomical observation and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), a technical and research federation made up of representatives from ten European countries, currently operates two observatories in the Atacama plateau. Las Sillas was established in 1962, and nearly thirty years later, in 1991, a second base was set up at Cerro Paranal, just inland from the Pacific coast and about 130km south of the town of Antofagasta.
The nearly 30-story-high dome of the E-ELT would rear heavenward on Cerro Armazones, a peak on the high Atacama plateau of northern Chile at elevation 10,020 feet (3,050 meters).