Late in May, I’ll have the privilege of touring some of the world’s greatest observatories with a select group of Astronomy
readers. As you know, the southern Milky Way brims with rich star fields, glowing gas clouds, and splashy star clusters. We will have ample opportunities to view this inky black sky from the best location on Earth — at 23° south latitude in the Atacama Desert of Chile.
Our Chile’s Great Telescopes expedition, in partnership with MWT Associates, includes archaeological sites, hot springs and geysers in the Atacama Desert, the beautiful cities/towns of Santiago, San Pedro, and La Serena, and visits to the Very Large Telescope and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory.
The trip is May 21–30, 2014, and there will be a post-tour offering to see Cuzco and Machu Picchu in Peru.
I will be acting as a guide to the heavens and delivering lectures on the trip.
We’ll explore Santiago before flying to Antofagasta, where we will visit the Paranal Observatory on Cerro Paranal, with its Very Large Telescope, consisting of four 8.2-meter telescopes, operated by the European Southern Observatory. We’ll also see the VISTA Survey Telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope.
From Paranal, we’ll trek to Calama and spend three nights observing under an amazingly black sky filled with southern sky wonders. We’ll explore the village of San Pedro, salt flats, lagoons, and wildlife including numerous birds.
The next day’s trip to San Pedro, with the Valley of the Moon nearby, will include explorations of geysers and thermal hot pools.
We’ll then move to La Serena and check out the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, operated by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and home of the 4.1-meter SOAR telescope, the 4.0-meter Blanco Telescope, and a battery of smaller instruments.
We will do more viewing underneath the dark southern skies before heading home.
Here’s more information
on the tour.
See you in the Southern Hemisphere!