9 September, 2016
In a place near Santiago, around fifty people enjoyed observing the daytime and nighttime skies at the Chilean Skies Observatory in Colina. The activity was organized for the followers of the ALMA Observatory’s social networks and supported by astronomer Laura Gómez.
Three solar and seven night telescopes were made available by Dámaso Garcia, an amateur astronomer and owner of the Chilean Skies Observatory, to gaze nearby celestial bodies such as Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Sun, the Moon, and Antares, a red supergiant star. Some of them were bright enough that they could even be seen during the day.
“I didn’t know we could see planets and stars during the day, nor did I know there was a place like this so close to Santiago,” said Fernando Cereceda, one of the observers, surprised to see solar flares and eruptions. “It was an enriching and very powerful experience,” he added after looking through a telescope equipped with filters to safely observe the Sun.
The participants arrived thanks to their registration or by entering a contest being held for the followers of ALMA’s social networks. Camila Ascencio, one of the big winners of the contest and lover of astronomy, thanked the organizers for the opportunity they provided.
The observation took place between 5:30 and 10pm and it is expected be repeated soon.
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.