ultramarinus – beyond the sea

DAY 50 (4 OF 4) – STARGAZING, SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA, CHILE

Joining a stargazing tour at San Pedro de Atacama had long been on our wishlist. From online research, we found SPACE (San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations) which offers daily tour for anyone interested in the night sky. A bus picked us up from the town centre at 22:00. As the bus drove past the last street lamp and out of San Pedro, we could immediately appreciate the darkness and clearness of the night sky at Atacama. We arrived at SPACE after approximately 15 minutes. SPACE was founded by a French/ Chilean couple, an astronomy engineer and a tourism technician who got married in 2003 and bought the place outside of San Pedro de Atacama to conduct research of the night sky and provide public tours. The tour consisted of three parts: 1) Tour of the night sky in naked eye, 2) Night sky through the telescopes, and 3) Discussion of the night sky. In the first part, the guide showed us various features of the Southern night sky using a laser pointer. We watched a number of constellations and planets, and discussed the basic concepts of astronomy. In the second part, the guide led us to about 10 fixed telescopes to have a closer look of some planets, star clusters, distant galaxies (such as the Magellan Clouds), etc. After an hour and a half of stargazing in the cold, we were invited into the house for a hot drink and a concluding discussion about astronomy. The combined experience of watching the night sky at Atacama and understanding how humans have been observing and interpreting the night sky for thousands of years was truly remarkable for us. We returned to our hotel at around 01:00. We felt so fortunate that we could appreciate the night sky at a place where light pollution was almost a nonexistence.
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Read more on San Pedro de Atacama, 2013 South America
Day 49 – Arrival, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 50.1 – Geyser del Tatio, Atacama Dessert
Day 50.2 – Altiplano Wetland, near El Tatio
Day 50.3 – Machuca Village, Atacama
Day 50.4 – Stargazing, Atacama Dessert
Day 51.1 – Town, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 51.2 – Valle de la Muerte & Cordillera de la Sal, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 51.3 – Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama
Day 52.1 – Laguna Chaxa, Atacama
Day 52.2 – Lagunas Altiplanicas, Atacama
Day 52.3 – Tropic de Capricorn, Atacama
Day 53.1 – Pacific Ocean, Antofagasta
Day 53.2 – Nan King Restaurant, Antofagasta
Day 54.1 – On the Road, Atacama Desert
Day 54.2 – Paranal Observatory, Atacama Desert

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South America 2013 – Our Destinations
Buenos Aires (Argentina), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Pantanal (Brazil), Brasilia (Brazil), Belo Horizonte & Inhotim (Brazil), Ouro Preto (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Paraty (Brazil), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Samaipata & Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Sucre (Bolivia), Potosi (Bolivia), Southwest Circuit (Bolivia), Tilcara, Purmamarca, Salta (Argentina), Cafayate (Argentina), San Pedro de Atacama (Chile), Antofagasta & Paranal Observatory (Chile), Chiloe (Chile), Puerto Varas (Chile), Torres del Paine (Chile), Ushuaia (Argentina), El Chalten (Argentina), El Calafate (Argentina), Isla Magdalena (Argentina), Santiago (Chile), Valparaiso (Chile), Afterthought

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