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Observatories in Chile

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Observatories in Chile

1. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Alright, I was curious to know if anyone had visited any of the Observatories in Chile (or Bolivia??).

I noticed there was a program on them on the discovery channel the other day but I missed it but it looks like they would be an interesting trip to see. With the sky being so clear and looking out over the ocean it would be ideal I guess.

So, has anyone been?

If so where, was it easily accessible, were there many costs involved and most importantly would you recommend it?

I am going to do a little research on this so, as usual, if I find anything I will post it on here.


2. Posted by tricky (Respected Member 323 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I found 2 small pieces on the topic.
I need to know if ordinary people can visit and have a look through the telescopes.

Any help would be appreciated.

Is this place La Silla easily accessible?

Observatories in Chile
Chile provides one of the best sites for astronomical observatories. The Andes provide a barrier to moisture, driven by the prevailing east winds, and three major facilities are located in the coastal foothills in the vicinity of La Serena, about 150 miles north of Santiago and adjacent to the port of Coquimbo at latitude -33 degrees. These are Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, the southern arm of the National Optical Astronomical Observatories (USA), just south of La Serena; the European Southern Observatory (ESO) at La Silla, about 100 miles north of La Serena; and Las Campanas Observatory, run by the Carnegie Institution , just north of La Silla. ESO is currently developing a new site at Paranal, in the Atacama desert, northern Chile. Higher than La Silla, this in an extremely dry site, promising excellent seeing and clear skies. The 4 8-metre telescopes of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) are coming into operation in late 1999/early 2000 at that site.

La Silla Observatory is an astronomical observatory in Chile with eighteen telescopes. Nine of these telescopes were built by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) organisation, and several of the others are partly maintained by ESO. The observatory is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

La Silla is a 2400 m high mountain, bordering the southern extremity of the Atacama Desert in Chile. It is located about 160 km north of La Serena. Its geographical coordinates are: latitude 29º 15.3' south and longitude 70º 44.3' west.

Originally known as Cinchado, the mountain was renamed La Silla (the saddle) after its shape. It rises quite isolated and remote from any artificial light and dust sources (astronomy's worst enemies). La Silla was the observatory in Chile used by ESO. Its history is full of optimism and disappointments, ups and downs, since its beginnings in the 1950's until the middle of the 1970's when the observatory became a reality.

3. Posted by FeliceS (First Time Poster 1 posts) 13w Star this if you like it!

The north of Chile has plenty observatories, and you can even bring your own telescope if you are camping and enjoy the beautiful starry sky from the dessert.

- snip -

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]