Chile: Astronomy Capital of the World

Telescopes of Tololo Observatory

Telescopes of Tololo Observatory
Source: Guille Damke

“Astrophysics Center: 10 Years of Astronomy in Chile”, a half hour documentary in High Definition that was released on Monday, September 3 on YouTube and can be seen for free, is a compilation of the main investigations by Chilean astronomers between 2002 and 2010. It can be seen for free because the purpose of the film is to pull in people who do not necessarily know much about astronomy. It was financed by the Fondap program of the National Commission of Scientific and Technological Investigations (Coincyt) in collaboration with various international teams and was released by the Center for Excellence in Astrophysics and Associated Technologies (CATA).

Featured research includes: galaxy coalitions, exploding stars, cosmic phenomenons, and star formations. Some of the featured pictures are previously unreleased images from two of the newest telescopes in the Atacama Desert, Aste and Apex.

Currently, the north of Chile is home to 40 percent of the world’s telescopes. By 2025, that percentage will grow to around 70 percent. Northern Chile is the astronomy capital of the world because the climactic conditions are incomparable to the rest of the world with almost year round clear skies and low humidity (the Atacama is the driest desert in the world). Hawaii is the only other place similar which makes it the best place for astronomy in the northern hemisphere, leaving northern Chile as the best place in the southern hemisphere.

The film can be seen on YouTube. There is no English version yet, however, they plan to have English subtitles by December.

Source: Santiago Times