Experts in astronomy say the three best places in the world for observing the galaxy are as follows: Hawaii, the Canary Islands and Chile. It is no coincidence that the world’s most prestigious observatories have bases in San Pedro de Atacama, a part of the world that sits under some of the world’s clearest skies.
So, the Awasi Atacama team has been working hard to come up with the best star gazing experience for our guests, in fitting with our luxury, tailor made concept.
Just 9 kilometers (a 15-minute drive) from our hotel, the only Relais & Châteaux in Northern Chile, in the Coyo Ayllu - an “ayllu” is the ancient form of community for the Quechua people who are native to the Andes – is the Awasi Atacama observatory.
Please note that for optimum star gazing, it is important to omit light pollution, therefore our observatory is outside the small town of San Pedro.
The Awasi star gazing experience starts with a general explanation of the universe, giving details of the size, distances, the evolution of stars, and also touching on Andean Cosmology. Then we begin observing the sky with the naked eye, with the guide pointing out different stars and constellations, as well as the Milky Way, using a powerful laser torch.
Lastly, we enter the small dome, fitted with an automatic 11-inch telescope which allows us to observe many stars and constellations that cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Here is a summary of the activity which finishes with a warm infusion before heading back to Awasi Atacama:
Duration: 1 to 2 hours
Meet / Depart: Awasi Hotel
Level of activities: Easy
Activities included: Observation
Please note that star gazing is not offered 6 days before, and 2 days after, each full moon due to the amount of lunar light in the sky severely limiting the experience. Here are the full moon dates for the year:
12 January 2017
11 February 2017
12 March 2017
11 April 2017
10 May 2017
9 June 2017
9 July 2017
7 August 2017
6 September 2017
5 October 2017
4 November 2017
3 December 2017