13 December, 2016
With a renewed program, a new version of the traditional Great night of stars was held in the Santiago Metropolitan Park last Saturday, December 10. Close to 700 people came out to the Pablo Neruda Amphitheater to learn about astronomy and enjoy a series of artistic performances in an innovative evening of art and astronomy.
“We are very pleased to have been organizing the Great night of stars in conjunction with ALMA since 2013.” says Mauricio Fabry, director of the park. “This event allows us to connect people with nature and learn about the Universe and the important role that our country plays in its observation.”
While the sun was still high in the sky, the focus of the stage was on the children in the audience, with storyteller Lana Lanuda (María Teresa Bello) and her story Moon Tears (Lágrimas de Luna). This was followed by astronomic songs by the group Lyra and their hit, 8 brothers (8 hermanos), reminding us that the Earth is not alone, but in the company of 7 other planets around the Sun. As day turned to dusk, folklore artist Luis Castro González, dazzled both young and old with his cuecas and explanations of the cosmic origins of traditional Chilean song and dance.
Once the stars were visible in the sky, ALMA astronomer José Gallardo presented the largest radio astronomy observatory in the world and discussed some of its discoveries. The crowd was in luck because the clouds soon left the sky, facilitating the installation of telescopes in the Pablo Neruda lookout, 100 meters from the amphitheater, for viewing the Moon, Venus and 47 Tucan, a cluster of over 2 million stars located 16 thousand light years from Earth.
And once night had fallen, the ALMA Sounds project took over the hill: Valeria Foncea from ALMA and Enrique Rivera from the Chilean Corporation of Video (Corporación Chilena del Video, CChV) shared the experience of this project, a mixture of art and science, which has already been invited to prestigious festivals in Chile and abroad.
For Rivera, “at first glance, art and astronomy seem unrelated; however, if you look further and compare aesthetics and techniques, you will begin to find powerful connections. From research to outreach. The activities held in the Pablo Neruda Amphitheater are a clear example of this powerful union.”
Three visual concerts were held at the end of the session, which left the crowd dancing until midnight. The first concert was by Crips_Andres Terrise and José Aldunce, followed by DJ Raff, and DJ Andrea Paz closed out the evening. They all used clips from ALMA Sounds in their mixes, creating a magical environment with a 360° panoramic view of Santiago under the stars.
The next version of the Great night of starts in the Santiago Metropolitan Park will be held on Saturday, January 7, 2017. Be on the lookout for sign ups in our social networks in Twitter and in Facebook.
ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of South Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ.