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Chile Time-Lapse: 'Hierbas Buenas,' From St&eacutephane Guisard, Brings Atacama Desert Sky To Life (VIDEO)

12/11/2011 03:37 pm ET

We've seen some amazing videos of the starry sky, but what we love about this one is that Guisard not only captures some of the constellations and stars visible in the Southern Hemisphere, but also some of the ancient rock engravings, or petroglyphs, in part of the Atacama Desert.

And, not to mention, it's set to Tchaikovsky's classic "Swan Lake."

Phil Plait, also known as the Bad Astronomer, explains in his Discover Magazine blog some of the constellations and stars seen in the video.

I love how this opens, with the bright star Betelgeuse hanging over the rocks, quickly joined by the Orion Nebula -- seen upside-down to northern hemisphere sensibilities. Look at the bottom right star of Orion's belt once it clears the rock (around 28 seconds in): that fuzziness around it is real, home to the Horsehead Nebula.

(Check out The Bad Astronomer's entire post for more details about what's in the video.)

Staring at the sky isn't just a hobby for Guisard. According to The World At Night, an organization that promotes celestial photography and videography, Guisard works at the Very Large Telescope (VLT), which is also located in the Atacama Desert.

According to NASA, the Atacama Desert, which is extremely dry, "is, in microbial terms, the most Mars-like environment on Earth." Earlier this year, however, a NASA satellite captured images of rare winter snowstorm, the largest in the area in about 50 years.

Take a look at the video at the top and share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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