In June of 2017 I was privileged to join a team of 9 educators, amateur astronomers and planetarium personnel to travel to Chile. The photo below shows our entire traveling team, including our leadership from the US and Chile and one additional member from the 2016 team. The photo was taken toward the end of our trip in the Atacama Desert. 2017 was the third year of a program, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, called “Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador Program” (ACEAP). We were given the opportunity to visit 3 major astronomical observatories in Chile and, in return, to come back to the U.S. and share our experience with the U.S. public. Each of the observatories we visited are funded by a consortium of countries, with the U.S. providing significant amounts of resources to each one.
As you will see in other parts of my website, I am deeply connected to Chile and its people. As a young adult I was first there living as a Peace Corps volunteer during the years 1965-1967. I was there with my wife, and we were teachers at the Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria in the port city of Valparaiso. Many years later, between 2010 and 2013, I made 4 separate trips to several cities in Chile to train Chilean teachers in astronomy education. But during those 4 years I never had the opportunity to visit any of the major astronomical observatories that are located throughout Chile. So this trip was a "bucket list" type of experience for me!
The 3 observatories our team visited are the following: Gemini South; Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO); Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Gemini South and CTIO are located near each other in the Andes Mountains above the coastal city of La Serena. ALMA is located farther north, high in the Andes above the Atacama Desert, near the city of San Pedro de Atacama.
I have dedicated a page to each observatory, and you can access them via the following links: Gemini South, Cerro Tololo, ALMA. I also have a short page explaining the different types of telescopes. You may choose to skip that or come back to it later. All pages are sprinkled with photos, but I have included additional photos of our team under Team Photos.