Chile is a fantastic holiday destination. From the Atacama desert to Patagonia – you won’t be bored for a minute! Have you ever explored the universe through a telescope? Near Santiago, we found a private Observatory hidden in the Andes Mountains where an Astronomer can take you into the wonders of stargazing!
Chilean Skies – stargazing at an Observatory
There are a number of observatories in Chile due to the fact that the country sits under some of the clearest skies in the world. These observatories are mainly used for research but we are now seeing an increasing number of observatories that have opened their doors for tourism. The dark Chilean skies provide the best opportunities for astronomy on our planet. Pictures of twinkling stars in glowing gas or spiral galaxies that will leave you mesmerized.
The world’s largest optical telescopes can be found dotted around the Chilean Atacama desert. Considered the world’s driest desert, the extremely low humidity is a key ingredient to secure challenging astronomical observations. Not only is the Chilean Atacama desert known for its natural beauty, but it is acknowledged as the place for world-leading astronomical research of the Universe. As a result, astronomical institutes from both Europe and the USA have performed their research of the Universe’s Southern hemisphere from Chile since the 1960s.
European Southern Observatory
The observatory with currently the largest telescopes in Chile is the one managed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). It is located at 1.5 hours drive south of the port-town of Antofagasta. About ten kilometers from the Pacific coast and on the desolate “Paranal” mountain at a height of 2700m, ESO built and now manages the world’s most advanced observatory: the VLT. Today, the Paranal observatory comprises, amongst others, the 4 telescopes with mirrors of 8.2m diameter.
Astronomical Research in Chile
The future of astronomical research in Chile looks bright. Astronomers around the world partake in the construction of ever bigger and better telescopes each year in Chile. Not only does Chile provide the best conditions for observations of large mirror telescopes like the VLT, the meteorological conditions are also beneficent for observations of radio waves from space. The next chapter in the astronomy story of Chile constitutes the construction of the largest radio wave observatory, built by the global ALMA collaboration. This construction is currently happening in the Atacama Altiplano at 5000m height outside the well-known town of San Pedro de Atacama. The ALMA observatory is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
Where to see the stars?
Tours at Observatories close to Santiago
The best spot to see the starts is clearly in the Atacama Desert. However, there are plenty of excellent places throughout the country where you can get an amazing view of the skies above it. Tourism to Chile is growing and so is the international interest in visiting one of its famous Observatories.
Close to Santiago, we offer an eye-opening tour at a private observatory! Located in the Andes Mountains just 40 minutes away from Santiago. Upon arrival, an Astronomer will greet us with a glass of Chilean wine and shows us a brief video to understand the complexity of the universe, the stars, moon, and the sun. Then, the Astronomer points us to the stars with his super laser light and we can follow him using binoculars. Finally, we get to see it all through the telescopes, which we can manage on our own. We end the tour with an observation with the super tech telescope. Here we take pictures of the galaxies and star formations we witness and we can take home as a souvenir!
For any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out, we are happy to answer any questions you might have!