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Paranal hill observatory

AttractionsMuseums and Art Galleries
Things to do in Chile

Paranal Hill Observatory is the most important astronomic investigation center in the country. It belongs to the Austral European Observatory (ESO) and it has high technology equipment for scientific research. For those who would like to visit the observatory, it´s necessary to ask for authorization from ESO in Antofagasta. The tours, only the 2 last weekends of the month, allow you to see the infrastructure and participate in chats about the astronomic world.

Weather:
Desert weather, with homogeneous temperatures on the shore. The high media temperature is 24,5ºC and the lowest is 17,1ºC. The rain is almost null due to shore cloudiness, with a high media of 3 millimeters.

How to get there:
  • Santiago-Antofagasta: Airway and land route, by Panamericana 5 North.
  • Anywhere-Antofagasta: Airway, Cerro Moreno Airport (LanChile and Sky)
  • Anywhere-Antofagasta: Seaway.
  • Antofagasta-Varillas: Land route.
  • Varillas-Paranal Hill Observatory: Land route

The first access is the Visitor Center: Here there is an explanatory video of the observatory and its history.

Then climb to the top of Cerro Paranal where there are the giant telescopes of the VLT of 8.2 meters in diameter. In this place, you can see the Auxiliary Telescopes of 1.8 meters in diameter, and the rails that allow moving these telescopes along the platform.

After touring the platform, visitors will have the opportunity to enter the giant telescopes of Paranal.

Inside you can see the mirrors 8.2 meters in diameter that allow you to observe the distant universe. Flash photography and video footage are allowed.

Then we visit the Control Room where the Astronomers work during the night. All observations and control of the telescopes are made from this place through computers.
Finally, you enter the Hall of the hotel to have a partial view of the facilities.

Directions

Paranal hill observatory, Antofagasta

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