Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Colca Sky

Being at almost 4,000 m of altitude means there are 4 km of atmosphere less above one's head. obviously, this phenomenon is important for the observation of the firmament. if to this we add an atmosphere totally free of pollution, and without reflections from electric lights shining from cities and towns, we find that here one can enjoy excellent conditions for astronomic observation, especially from April to November when the skies are completely clear.
Ancient tradition tells us of the existence of a diaphonous belt of atmosphere between Tiahuanacu and Nazca. We attribute the knowledge and interest in astronomy which the cultures of this area share to the especially propitious conditions of the zone. Curiously enough, the mid-point between Tiahuanacu and Nazca is the Colca Canyon.
The view of the heavens from this point could not be better. For this reason it attracts devotees to astronomy who wish to know the southern hemisphere. They come to see the magallanic clouds, the Southern Cross, Carina and the biggest and most brilliant stars which can be seen from our planet, Sirius and Canopus, among other spectacular sights.
If the presence of Halley's Comet in March and April of 1986 was a somewhat disappointing spectacle, it was easily seen from the Colca. Visitors were satisfied simply by the impressive spectacle of the sky as seen from the Colca Valley.

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