July 17, 2017 #ChileDiverse #Tourism & Sports

The progress of astronomical tourism in Chile

Chile has skies globally recognized as ideal for astronomy, which is why our territory concentrates a large number of observatories worldwide and, therefore, carries out much of the study that is done. Recognizing the natural advantage that our country presents is that in 2015 the Astrotourism Chile project was inaugurated in collaboration with the National Tourism Service (SERNATUR), the Chilean Society of Astronomy (SOCHIAS) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), among other public, tourist and scientific actors.

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The creation of Astrotourism Chile allowed the promotion and efficient use of resources related to astronomical observatories not only for scientific or academic purposes, but also opened the doors for a new industry to feed on this knowledge. The skies of northern Chile have an average of at least 290 clear nights a year, which allows tourists and visitors to take the best advantage of any activity related to the field, whether visiting astronomical sites for educational or recreational purposes, observing the skies through telescopes or without them, conducting tours or learning about research programs that have to do with the universe and galaxies.

According to a study carried out this year by Astroturismo Chile, it has been estimated that in the next decade the number of visitors attracted by astronomical tourism will triple in quantity. This fact is also reinforced by the growth in terms of infrastructure that will also affect the territory in the coming years. Currently, between the regions of Antofagasta and Bío Bío, there are 21 scientific observatories and 24 for tourism, of which 10 are permanently open to the public.

Among the most important observatories at a scientific level we can highlight the Paranal Observatorylocated on the hill of the same name in the region of Antofagasta, considered the largest observatory in the world. Also on the same hill, the ELT (Extremely Large Telescope) is under construction. ELT (Extremely Large Telescope) is also under construction on the same hill. which should become the largest optical astronomical center in the world. On the other hand, we cannot fail to mention ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array). ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array)the largest radio telescope, also located in the second region.

The growth of this new concept related to tourism has led to the promotion of observatories especially dedicated to receiving visitors interested in everything related to the cosmos. The Mamalluca Observatorylocated in the city of Vicuña, was a pioneer in opening its doors to tourism, which has led several other astronomical centers to become interested in exploiting the growth that this tourist area has to offer.

In this way, in the north we can highlight the observatory Paniri Caur observatory in Chiu Chiu and the Ahlarkapin. While near Santiago it is possible to visit the Andean Astronomical Observatoryas long as weather conditions and clear skies allow it. In this way, a culture of diffusion and education regarding the observation and care of our skies has been created.

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