Observatory is backdrop for Bond

Action is bound to be breathless in the new James Bond movie – it is currently filming at the driest location on Earth, recognized by astronomers as an ideal observing site.

The Paranal ResidenciaFilm bosses picked Cerro Paranal, home of a powerful European observatory in Chile, for scenes in Quantum Of Solace, starring Daniel Craig.

The futuristic complex sits 8,500 ft high in the Atacama Desert – a landscape so alien that is is more like Mars.

The harsh sand is red, no vegetation grows and visitors often find it difficult to breathe the thin air at such an altitude.

Bombarded by dangerous ultraviolet radiation froom the Sun, it is said to be the driest place on our planet, with less than ten per cent humidity.

Astronomers using the giant telescopes seek shelter in a futuristic domed “hotel” that protects them from the radiation and provides moist air to breathe. Its luxury facilities include a tropical garden and pool.

Craig is currently shooting at the alien location with Ukrainian beauty Olga Kurylenko and French star Mathieu Amalric who plays evil tycoon Dominic Greene.

Action centres in and around the space-age complex and its nearby airstrip.

Quantum Of Solace producer Mike Wilson said: “It is a true oasis and the perfect hide-out for Dominic Greene, our villain, whom 007 is tracking in our new James Bond film.”

Picture: The Paranal Residencia. Credit: ESO.

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Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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