Mountains and Astronomy
Zhengli Chen

In San Pedro de Atacama, the intimate connection between land and sky is manifested in the way that daily lives are shaped by shadow and the calendar is, therefore, organized around the movement of the sun. The development of the mining industry infringes on the territory of the indigenous people living in San Pedro de Atacama through the space it occupies and the indirect encroachment via pollution of water. They progressively cause landscape changes, especially through mining activities, which can make the desert more arid. As a result of drying soils, more particulate matter is released into the air. There is no doubt that Atacama's natural environment and the indigenous people living in it are affected by these particulate matters. Firstly, particulate matters may exert an impact on the health of indigenous people. Secondly, due to combination of specific landscapes and climate, certain areas can trap particulate matters more densely and the refraction of bright light will disturb the observation of the mountains and stars. This is not only a challenge for the indigenous people living there, but also threatens Chile's appeal to the international community for astronomical observatories. Chile's unique terrain and climate create the clearest sky in the world, which is one of their most valuable properties.

Festivals and Mountains

Constellation of Starry Sky

Determine the Calendar Relying on the Sun and the Costellations

Determining Sky Conservation and Pollution Area

Sources of Paticulate Matter in Salar de Atacama Mining Site 5