May 2019 • Blessed with a sky free of light pollution and shielded from atmospheric haze by nearby mountains, the Elqui Valley has become a hot spot for astronomy enthusiasts from around the world. A quarter-million eclipse chasers will invade this very modestly developed region in July, and even the most casual stargazer has an excellent range of options at any time of the year: Cerro Tololo offers a midday tour of its scientific facilities, where Nobel-worthy advances have been made in measuring the universe; Mamalluca provides a layman-oriented review of basic astronomical concepts as well as squint time with one of its muscular telescopes; and del Pangue serves its porridge in a manner befitting Goldilocks, allowing only a small number of visitors each night at its private mountaintop observatory, where a trio of astronomers patiently trains your eye on lunar craters, nebulae, star clusters, constellations, and colliding galaxies.
School group, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (photo by Francisco Fillols)
Francisco, ALMA Observatory, Atacama
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
Observatorio del Pangue