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Light Touch
Photograph by Mark Thiessen

A technician works at the base of the 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile. The telescope feeds starlight into fiber-optic cables that carry it to an instrument called HARPS, housed in a locked room one floor below. HARPS (for High Accuracy Radial-velocity Planet Searcher) analyzes the light for tiny color shifts that can reveal the influence of a planet tugging the star toward Earth and away again.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds
Film Type: Digital, ISO 100
Lens: 16-35mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/6 @ f/5
Weather Conditions: Clear
Time of Day: 10 a.m.
Lighting Techniques: Ambient light coming through open dome at daylight, small strobe firing inside instrument cage.


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