Under a clear night sky in the Atacama Desert, peer into outer space on this 2.5-hour stargazing tour. Departing from San Pedro de Atacama, visit South America’s largest public observatory and learn from an astronomer-guide how to read the sky. Then hop from telescope to telescope and ogle at stars, clouds of dust and gas, and planets otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Say hello to Saturn, snap shots of the moon’s surface and end the night with a cup of hot cocoa. You’ll leave wanting to become an astronomer yourself.
Meet your group at the astronomy agency in downtown San Pedro de Atacama, or enjoy hotel pickup (if round-trip option selected), and head to Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world. Little rainfall, clear skies and the high altitude make this place an ideal choice for stargazing. You'll arrive at a park of telescopes, the largest public observatory in South America. Your astronomer-guide opens your 2.5-hour tour by explaining how to understand what you see in the sky with the naked eye. Learn about the zodiac, what makes a constellation and how to read a map of the sky. Your astronomer points out specific stars using a green laser. Then, get acquainted with the 10 telescopes on-site, ranging in diameter from 8 to 24 inches (20 to 60 cm), each one aligned to provide different views of the sky.As you move from telescope to telescope, capture mind-blowing views of stars and nebulae in vivid colors, close-ups of the moon and a glimpse into another galaxy altogether. Look for the rings of Saturn. When the moon is visible, you’ll be able to take pictures of it through the telescope using your digital camera. Your astronomer will be on-hand to readjust the telescopes as necessary and answer any questions about the sights you see. Cap off your night of stargazing with a cup of hot chocolate before traveling back to San Pedro de Atacama.Please note: The tour does not operate on full-moon nights.