Chile is known as the World Capital of Astronomy because it concentrates more than half of the planet’s astronomical capacity. Thanks to the incredible telescopes located in the north of Chile, it is said that our country is the eyes of the world to the Universe with which the great researchers are observing and answering the questions of the future. Here are 10 telescopes in Chile that will surprise you:
In October 2011, the ALMA observatory opened its doors to astronomers from all over the world. That same month, the first image captured with the complex’s telescopes was revealed, even when it was still under construction. And the fact is that ALMA is not just any telescope, but the largest astronomical project in the world.
With 66 antennas designed to observe millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, SOUL It has greater precision in observations compared to other observatories in the world. The images from each antenna are combined with those from the other devices, which provides greater resolution and therefore unique possibilities for observing astronomical phenomena hundreds of light years away. Its name is actually the acronym for Atacama Large Milimiter/submilimiter Array and its name in Spanish would be the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. Located in the middle of the Atacama desert, specifically on the Chajnantor plain at more than five thousand meters above sea level, it is actually a project carried out thanks to the collaboration of Europe, North America, East Asia and the Republic of Chile.
EXTREMELY LARGE TELESCOPE
The Extremely Large Telescope or ELT of the European Southern Observatory or European Austral Observatory (ESO) will be the world’s largest visible and infrared telescope: the world’s largest eye to look at the sky. It is built in the Antofagasta Region, on the top of Mount Armazones. It should start operating at the end of 2027 and will allow observing what has never been explored before by humanity in space research. The works of the so-called heavy civil works of the ELT already have 40% progress. It is a huge telescope in the optical-infrared window whose main 40-meter mirror will be made up of 798 segments in a hexagonal shape -like a honeycomb-, and will allow direct observations of planets like ours orbiting distant stars, among other wonders yet to imagine. In addition to its unprecedented size, the ELT will be equipped with a line of state-of-the-art instruments designed to cover a wide range of scientific possibilities. The leap forward with the ELT may lead to a paradigm shift in our perception of the Universe, as Galileo’s telescope did 400 years ago.
The Paranal Observatory is an optical astronomical observatory operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) located in the commune of Taltal, on Cerro Paranal, in the Atacama desert. It is made up of 4 telescopes that are combined together using interferometry, it has been gravitational among other things in the investigation of the super massive black hole in the center of our galaxy, which awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics to Reinhard Genzel. Today it houses the most precise ground-based instrument for the search and study of extrasolar planets.
The The Bells Observatory it is part of the Carnegie Observatories and its astronomers wanted, for a long time, to install an observing station in the Southern Hemisphere that would give them access to the Magellanic Clouds and the center of the Milky Way. This is how this observatory, located high in the mountains of the Atacama desert, was established in 1969. It became home to the 1 and 2.5 meter reflecting telescopes, which came into operation in 1971 and 1977, respectively. The most recent additions were the twin Magellan telescopes, 6.5-meter reflectors, and leading members of what was the last generation of giant telescopes. The Magellan twins are part of the experiment with the greatest impact on modern astronomy, since its fifth stage, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has laid the foundations for big data in this science and has been the forerunner of instruments such as the Vera Rubin Observatory, soon to be be inaugurated in the Coquimbo Region.
GIANT MAGELLAN TELESCOPE
The Giant Magellan Telescope or GMT it is the most advanced ground-based telescope that engineering has managed to create. It has 19 million times the light-gathering power of the human eye. It will produce images sharp enough to make out the details of a coin located nearly 100 miles away.
It is under construction in the mountains of Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the best places on the planet to explore space, and is the work of an international consortium of world-leading universities and research institutions. It was designed to expand the limits of human knowledge and discover the unknown. With unparalleled image quality and seven of the world’s largest mirrors, it will allow us to explore the universe like never before; find Earth-like planets; study their atmospheres and look for signs of life. With it we will be able to investigate the cosmic origins of chemical elements, discover the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy. As well as going back in cosmic time to explore the formation of the first stars, galaxies and black holes.
The La Silla Observatory continues to be at the forefront of astronomy with nearly 300 annual citations attributable to his work. La Silla has provided an enormous number of scientific discoveries, including several firsts: the HARPS spectrograph is the leading discoverer of low-mass extrasolar planets. It detected the system around Gliese 581, which contains what may be the first known rocky planet in a habitable zone outside the Solar System Many telescopes at La Silla played a crucial role in linking gamma-ray bursts – the most energetic explosions in the Universe since the Big Bang – with the explosions of massive stars. It is located in the southern part of the Atacama desert and at an altitude of 2,400 meters and is made up of a network of 18 telescopes and instruments such as an extrasolar planet finder, and it also housed the first ESO telescope in Chile.
The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory It is one of the telescope complexes that has been operating the longest in Chile, and for decades it was recognized as one of the most important in the southern hemisphere. Located 2,200 meters above the hill that bears its name, this observatory that crowns the Elqui Valley was the first to integrate the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), thus being the first international astronomical scientific project developed in the country. It currently has the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), a high-performance, wide-field CCD camera built to carry out the Dark Energy Survey (DES), a scientific project led by the Office of the Department of US Energy The instruments and facilities of this Observatory are operated and shared by astronomers from both hemispheres. Every year more than 100 visiting scientists and students from 50 or more institutions travel to Cerro Tololo to carry out research programs.
The Gemini International Observatory it is actually two twin 8.1-meter optical and infrared telescopes located in two of the best places on the planet for astronomical observation. With its brother located on Maunakea Island (Hawai’i), Gemini Sur is located at 2,700 meters above sea level, taking advantage of the privileged conditions that the Coquimbo Region possesses to observe the sky of the southern hemisphere. From its complete automation, to its optimization for observation through infrared images and an adaptive optics system, this observatory has characteristics that make it unique among its kind, it constitutes the first global astronomical mega-project, opening in the nineties a new stage of global astronomy. Incorporating technologies such as laser guide star adaptive optics and multi-object spectroscopy, astronomers in the Gemini partnership explore the Universe in unprecedented depth and detail.
VERA C. RUBIN
100 km from the city of La Serena, on Cerro Pachón, is the Vera C. Rubin Mega Telescope, a modern observatory that captures complete images of the sky every three nights, thus carrying out a pioneering synoptic survey that could contribute to the exploration of the universe. It will have the largest camera in the world, a 3,200-megapixel digital device that will allow the collection of unprecedented volumes of information in the study of the skies, capturing the entire visible sky. Every night about 10 million objects will be observed, which are reflected in the more than 20 terabytes of content that will be generated. Also, those pictures you take will be in 3D, allowing a unique view of the universe. The initial idea is that from its inauguration, this observatory will carry out an optical survey for 10 years, which will have four main axes: energy and dark matter survey, make an inventory of the Solar System, explore the transient optical sky and mapping of the Milky Way. It has the particularity of having committed to making public all the information it obtains.
With more than 150 years of operation, the National Astronomical Observatory or Cerro Calán Observatory, It is one of the oldest astronomical observation centers in our country. Managed by the Department of Astronomy of the University of Chile, it is located only 867 meters above sea level, and is used for teaching activities, as well as research, and weekly cycles of night visits aimed at the public. in general, in order to spread astronomy and science to the population.
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