Atmospheric refraction plays with the light of any object near the horizon in Atacama desert, Chile

Image credit Babak Tafreshi (TWAN), AURA

Here stars, startrails and the sun, filmed in timelapse photography from two major observatories in Chile, display immense distortion above inversion layers in the outskirts of the Atacama desert, Chile.

Setting stars left the wandering trails in the sky. The serene view toward the mountainous horizon was captured in a telephoto timelapse image and video taken from nearby Cerro Pachon, home to Gemini South. Afforded by the mountaintop vantage point, the clear, long sight-line passes through layers of atmosphere. The changing atmospheric refraction shifts and distorts the otherwise steady apparent paths of the stars as they set. That effect also causes the distorted appearance of Sun and Moon as they rise or set near a distant horizon.

via APOD