A crystal clear place to study the skies

In the last few decades, Argentina and Chile have proven themselves prime spots for astronomical observation—a status that has been a boon in many ways for both countries.

In 2000 Ingo Allekotte sat behind a table in Malargüe, a city with a population of fewer than 18,000 in the foothills of the Andes mountains in Argentina, listening to an informal lecture about particles from space. It would have been an unremarkable occasion for Allekotte, a scientist—except that the venue was not a university; it was a restaurant, and the speaker was not a scientist, but a waiter. He just happened to have learned about astrophysics because of where he lives and the people who come to visit.

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