Sand and Snow
As seen on the National Geographic News ice formations known locally as penitents glow by moonlight in Chile’s high-altitude Atacama Desert. The formations are thought to form when snowpack heats unevenly and sublimates—converting directly from solid ice to gas—in patches, leaving behind blades. In the night sky the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds appear at the upper left and bright star Canopus is at the image corner. Down at horizon the red-pink patch of the Carina Nebula is visible. The image is made from near ALMA radio telescopes located at altitude of over 5000 meters.