Because my roommates were on vacation, too, they were nice enough to take me to la Portada ("the Gateway"), the main tourist attraction in the Antofagasta area. The Portada is a natural rock formation and also a natural monument of Chile.
|Note Venus in the morning sky|
After getting a full tour of all the geysers, and once it warmed up to a steamy 40 or 50 degrees Ferenheit, we were invited to go for a swim in the natural pool. It was either lukewarm or boiling hot, but I'm glad I took a quick dip. Once in a lifetime experience, right?
The tumbles I took and the sand that made it to every part of my body was well worth the adventure.
Through my connections in Antofagasta, I also had the opportunity in San Pedro to meet Alain Maury, a French astronomer who decided to leave his work at ESO with La Silla to move to San Pedro and start his own public observatory from scratch. He's built over a dozen telescopes himself, and created the perfect set up for what has become the most well-known and respected astronomy tourism site in the country.
|Dr. Maury also provides domes for astronomers to observe in the pristine Atacama skies without the hassle of traveling to the site themselves. These telescopes are remotely operated from around the world.|
|Tree, moon, and most of the Scorpio constellation in between. Can you identify the head and body of the Scorpion?|
|My very own moon picture! Visitors on the astro tours loved this part.|
Now that I'm back in Antofagasta and schools are back in session, I'm hoping to get going full-speed with school visits and project related things in my remaining three weeks in Chile... stay tuned! And please leave comments. It's great to hear from people reading and get feedback on what you think about the blog!