People have always watched the skies, seeking to bring meaning and order to the universe around them. Although the movement of constellations, patterns printed in the night sky, was the easiest to track, other celestial events, such as eclipses and the movement of planets, were also mapped and predicted. The astronomy , as well as the related field of astrophysics, covers the science of stargazing and the physics that explains how stars and galaxies work.
It is the study of the sun, moon, stars, planets, comets, galaxies, gas, dust and other non-terrestrial bodies and phenomena. Historically, astronomy has included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy, calendar making, and even astrology. But professional astronomy is nowadays often considered identical to astrophysics.
Astronomy is divided into several subfields, allowing scientists to specialize in specific objects and phenomena. Planetary astronomers focus on the growth, evolution and death of planets. While most study worlds within the solar system, some use the growing body of evidence about planets around other stars to hypothesize what they might look like.
Star astronomers observe and analyze stars, including black holes, nebulae, white dwarfs and supernovae. And galactic astronomers study the Milky Way, while extragalactic astronomers peek outside of it to determine how these collections of stars form, change, and die.
The slopes can be many, but one thing is certain, all astronomers see Chile as a special place. That’s because the country owns one of the most extreme geographies in South America.
The country is slender squeezed between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. Besides having landscapes that go from Patagonia to the arid north of the country, passing through fjords, volcanoes and glaciers. And looking at the sky, you can see that Chile goes far beyond that.
The Chile is known as “the eyes of the universe,” and is under one of the clearest skies in the southern hemisphere. That’s why it is considered the astronomy capital of the world. Due to the conditions of observation of the sky and various astronomical phenomena.
The country has more than 300 nights of open skies annually. And for its climate and position in the world, the Andean country is world famous for its sharpness and excellent stargazing condition.
So much so that it is no coincidence that Chile is home to 40 international observatories. It has the highest concentration in the Coquimbo region and 27 of them are open to the public.
It is in this region that the oldest observatory in South America is located, the so-called Centro Tololo, which is 87 kilometers from La Serena. The site is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy Incorporation (AURA), in collaboration with the National Optical Astroomy Observatories (NOAO), the Universidad de Chile and the National Science Foundation.
Due to its unique weather conditions, such as transparency for astronomical observation, Chile is certified with the “Starlight Destination” seal in three places.
One of them is the Mano del Desierto sculpture region, located 75 kilometers south of Antofagasta, a region that is usually sought after because of the quality of the sky for observation with the naked eye.
One of the top astrotourism destinations in Chile is the Chug Chug Archaeological Park. It has one of the largest geoglyph concentrations in the world.