British astronomer Gary Fildes' unbounded passion for all things stellar has led him, as matter of course, to visit Chile's Atacama Desert where he can gaze upon the spectacular night skies, renowned worldwide for their clarity.
High in the mountains outside San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile, an array of five dozen 100 ton antennas turn in unison, scanning the sky for invisible electromagnetic waves that tell the tale of the cosmos.
We've been driving for two hours into the sparse expanse of the Atacama Desert when they rise up over the hills in the distance: the four enormous structures of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope
It's funny but true: the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), once constructed, will be large. So large, in fact, that it's on track to become the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world.