Offered each clear night, apart from a possible small period around the full moon. They allow people without any prior knowledge of the sky to understand how to look at it, and observe as well through powerful telescopes, and discover a new world, our universe ! And maybe from one of the best place on Earth to see the sky, the Atacama desert.
Tour begins with an explanation about the naked eye sky. What do we see when we look at the stars, what is a constellation, how to learn them, how to read a sky map and recognize the main stars. A green laser pointer is used to show you unambiguously the various constellations.
When the moon is visible, it is possible to take images of it through the telescopes, either with digital cameras, or with reflex (adapters for Nikon, Canon, Minolta and Pentax cameras are available).
While you can find a lot of astronomical photographs on the web, there is nothing like the experience of visual observing. Everybody has seen images of Saturn, but the first time you really see the planet with your own eyes becomes a moment to remember.
Enjoy the largest park of telescopes of any public observatory in south America (between 20 and 60cm diameter), correctly aligned to always provide the best possible view, in order to let you discover some of the incredible views the sky has to offer. These telescopes are correctly maintained, and only high quality eyepieces are used to provide clear, sharp wide angle views. The 60cm telescope is for now the largest touristic telescope in Chile, but this record will not hold, since we are currently building two larger telescopes , which should enter operation near the end of 2009. Large diameters give much better views of the sky. What is hard to see in a 30cm telescope becomes quite visible, some stars show very vivid colors, and some nebulae start to be visible in color (normally, at night, we see in black and white). To provide the best possible views, Televue Nagler, Panoptic or Ethos eyepieces are used only.
Tour ends around a warm drink to talk a little bit before returning to San Pedro. The tours last two hours and a half.