Concerts, stargazing, documentaries about the universe, informative talks, workshops and a variety of other initiatives are part of the activities to be held in Chile in celebration of National Astronomy Day in March. The objective of this day is to highlight the natural heritage of the Chilean skies, to share research findings and to spark interest in the community.
On March 17th, we invite you to fall in love with the universe through the Chilean skies, turning off the lights, looking up and gazing at the sky to learn about planets, stars, comets, asteroids and galaxies, from some of the best skies in the world.
Chile is truly a privileged country for universe observation, since it has some of the clearest skies on the planet, with more than 300 sunny days a year and excellent climactic conditions. Its southern skies also allow visitors to view the center of the Milky Way, for many hours and several months a year, as well as the Magellanic Clouds, the two galaxies closest to ours, which can only be seen from the Southern Hemisphere.
For this reason, it is no coincidence that the majority of the top observatories in the world are found in Chile, making it an astronomy world power and an astrotourism destination.
Not only does it have the best skies for observing the universe, but Chile also stands apart from other astrotourism destinations due to its large number of observatories: The country currently has 13 scientific and 35 tourist observatories (48 total) that are open to the general public. It also has astrotourism products such as themed lodging and tour operators that invite you to enjoy the sky and its charm throughout the entire country, from Antofagasta in the north to Los Lagos in the south, with the greatest concentration of astrotourism services in the Region of Coquimbo.
For example, in the Region of Antofagasta you can visit the Paranal Observatory during the day, which offers free tours on Saturdays with reservations. It is also home to ALMA, the largest astronomical project to date, which is open for reservations on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Another prominent astrotourism destination in Chile is Coquimbo, which has 15 tourist observatories and a wide range of activities from day and night observation to quartz baths under the night sky.
As astrotourism gains popularity in Chile, by 2025 the country hopes that its Astrotourism Route will help it become the world’s top destination in this area, with high-quality, attractive, varied and sustainable experiences.
Because the Chilean skies leave no one indifferent, various photographers, astronomy aficionados and even astronomers have dedicated themselves to capturing these wonders, especially in the north of Chile, through astrophotography, allowing the general public to appreciate, learn about and enjoy the universe through their images.
Photo: ESO/ B. Tafreshi