Observatorio Astronomico Andino – a beautiful tourist observatory 40 mins outside Santiago
The ACEAP Team clockwise starting from far left: Ryan Hannahoe, Peter Detterline, Jim O’Leary, Michael Prokosch, Sergio Cabezon, Brian Koberlein, Renae Kerrigan, Vivian White, Charles Blue, Sarah Komperud, and Shannon Schmoll. Photo by Tim Spuck
AstroTourism is a huge part of Chile’s economy and usually includes wine!
These were tours being offered in San Pedro de Atacama
Star Trails on CTIO by Pete Detterline
Zodiacal light captured by Peter Detterline
Moai with Venus and Jupiter photo credit Pete Detterline
Milky Way over the Blanco telescope on Cerro Pachon. photo credit Ryan Hanahoe
With the 8 meter Gemini South mirror. photo credit Tim Spuck
Sarah Komperud and I on top of the world. photo credit Tim Spuck
Bundled up against the UV at CTIO, photo credit Tim Spuck
The ACEAP team Photo crefit Tim Spuck
Flying high at 16,400 ft with the ALMA antennas, photo credit Tim Spuck
My brave traveling companions Ryan and Pete at breakfast on CTIO, photo credit Jim O’Leary
Can you believe they let us anywhere near the controls? Here I am about to push a button on a 4 meter telescope… Photo credit Jim O’Leary
The pollution in Santiago was at record highs. Strict driving restrictions were in effect. Photo credit Jim O’Leary
Incan constellations were seen as the dark patches, not as connect-the-dots between stars. Photo credit Pete Detterline
Can you see the llama in the Milky Way? Photo credit Pete Detterline
The tres amigos in Rapa Nui! Photo credit Pete Detterline and some unsuspecting stranger
Magellanic clouds captured by Pete Detterline with an iridium flare for good measure
Eta Carinae Photo credit Pete Detterline
Cerro Mayu, a tourist observatory outside of La Serena, created by Father Juan B. Picetti for his students and the community.
Observatorio Astronomico Andino
Cerro Pachón, with (l-r) the Moon, SOAR, and Gemini South – all in the same phase…
Me runnin’ the show at Gemini…
They’re not messing around with UV radiation up there. They Spinal tap it up to 11!
Observing with Juan Seguel and local amateurs at Cerro Tololo
The complex with dozens of telescopes on Cerro Pachón
The view from Cerro Tololo. I want to make pots with glazes like this.
Sunset from Cerro Tololo. This was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip
The Moon above Gemini South
Dancing at Toña’s house with her lovely family
Me, Kadur, Renae, and Sarah enjoying the view from Cerro Tololo
Up to 16,000 feet, we were above a full half of the atmosphere. I got light-headed and they hooked me up to the oxygen for good measure.
We were in San Pedro for the rededication of the 200+ year old organ in the church in the center of town. It was a beautiful ceremony.
At ALMA’s “low” site of 2 miles up. This big machine on the left moves those huge dishes.
At the high site, with over 60 antennas probing the universe for cold molecules. You’re not all there up that high.
We were also in San Pedro for the festival de San Pedro and San Pablo, where the community dressed in many fancy costumes and held parades and sang at the church.
Bird men at the church for the festival of San Pedro
A sun halo in the Valley of the Moon, outside of San Pedro de Atacama
The Valley of the Moon had such haunting landscapes
Back in Santiago, I stayed in the Barrio Bellavista, which is covered in beautiful murals.
In fact, the whole city is filled with art! Much of it dedicated to astronomy, as the culture is filled with astronomical references
One of Pablo Neruda’s houses in Santiago was a magical tour but we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside.
Chilean Universities have been on strike for more than a month, fighting for better pay and better education.
And then I flew 6 hours to the navel of the world – Rapa Nui or Easter Island
There were wild horses everywhere on the island!
The moai statues of the Rapa Nui ancestors were everywhere! I expected a few. There are over 600!
I fell in love with the local cemetery, where christianity mixed with the older customs and created a fantasy world for the dead.
The colors of the island markets were rich and the coffee was Nescafe
This is just outside the quarry where most of the moai were roughly carved before transport to different places on the island. These were finished, so were supposed to be here.
Here is one that was abandoned while being carved
The lava crumbles easily over time. Here is one close up with a row of them in the background by the sea
Each site had a name and a small sign telling about the clan. Often there were native Rapa Nui islanders there to explain what we were seeing.
Originally, many moai had these topknots, “pulao” carved out of a lighter red lava. Few remained after decades of war and natural disasters.
They were everywhere! Here is “downtown” Hanga Roa, the only town on the island, and where most of the 5,000 residents live.
There were many beautiful Petroglyphs too!
Here was Rano Kau, the caldera of a volcano and its own ecosystem, where native plants were making a shaky recovery
petroglyphs at near Rano Kau in the ancient village of Orongo, where the Birdman contest took place
It wasn’t just my final pisco sour that made the evening spectacular!