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Astronomical events in San Pedro de Atacama - Tierra hotels
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Astronomical events in San Pedro de Atacama

Diego Salas

If you are planning to visit the Atacama Desert, surely you must know that not only is it a place with impressive geography and landscapes to be viewed during the day, but it also has an ideal night sky for stargazing.

So perfect are its conditions that astronomers from all over the world have chosen it for the planet’s largest observatories. This wondrous place brings together the best conditions for the study of the universe. Such observation has been done for thousands of years by the original peoples who inhabit the desert.

So that you can better organize your trip and take advantage of the astronomical events occurring throughout the year, we have prepared this short list to guide you in your observation of the stars. Mobile applications such as SkyViewStellarium or Star Walk are still highly recommended.

  • April 2: Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.

The planets Jupiter and Saturn will be in conjunction in the night sky. This means that they will appear to be very close to each other, almost as if they were one object. This is an excellent opportunity to observe these two gas giants together in the same field of view. You must direct your gaze towards the western horizon.

  • April 11: Pink full moon.

The April full moon is known as the pink full moon. However, despite this name, the moon will not look pink. It was named by a North American tribe for the northern hemisphere spring’s first flowers (of the wild plant “phlox subalata”).

  • April 22-23: Lyrid meteor shower.

This meteor shower, produced by trails left by Comet Thatcher, peaks on the nights of April 22-23. To find this event in the sky, you must look for the constellation of Lyra, where the star Vega is one of the brightest in the sky.

  • May 6-7: Conjunction of the Moon with Jupiter.

This event occurs on May 6 and 7 when the Moon and Jupiter approach each other in the night sky. The Moon will be in its crescent phase and will be a few degrees above Jupiter.

  • May 11-12: Eta Aquarids meteor shower.

This meteor shower is generated by the debris left by Halley’s Comet and will be visible throughout the month of May. It is believed to peak between the 11th and 12th of this month, although the date may vary. To guide your search in the sky, use the constellation of Aquarius, which is located near the eastern horizon in the early hours of the night.

  • June 21: Winter Solstice.

In the southern hemisphere, the winter solstice will occur, meaning it will be the shortest day of the year and the longest night. This event marks the beginning of the astronomical winter and many ancestral celebrations of the original peoples.

  • August 12-13: Perseid meteor shower.

This meteor shower is one of the most popular and spectacular of the year. It is expected to peak during the nights of August 12 and 13. While the Perseid meteor shower appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus, meteors can appear anywhere in the sky.

  • October 14: Annular Eclipse of the Sun

This event will be partially visible in San Pedro de Atacama. In this type of eclipse, the moon does not completely cover the solar disk and a ring of light is visible around the edge of the moon.

  • October 21-22: Orionid meteor shower.

As the name suggests, this astronomical event appears to originate from the constellation Orion. The truth is that this meteor shower is also a product of the traces left by Halley’s Comet. To guide your observation, you should look to the left of the Orion constellation.

  • November 3: Venus-Jupiter Conjunction

This event occurs on November 3, when Venus and Jupiter approach each other in the night sky, offering an opportunity to see two bright planets in the same vicinity. They will be visible in the southeastern sky before dawn.

  • November 17: Leonid meteor shower.

This meteor shower occurs when Earth crosses the orbit of comet Tempel-Tuttle. This shower is known for producing bright, fast meteors with contrails that linger for a few seconds in the night sky. It is best observed after midnight, when the constellation of Leo comes into sight.

  • December 13-14: Geminid meteor shower.

This meteor shower is another one of the most popular and spectacular of the year, with up to 120 meteors per hour at its peak, which is expected during the nights of December 13-14. Look to the northeast and the constellation Gemini to see the meteors.

If you want your time in the Atacama Desert to be unforgettable, your best bet is to book your vacation at Tierra Atacama. And if one of your goals is to enjoy and learn astronomy, observing the universe in the place with the clearest night sky in the world, you can write directly to info@tierrahotels.com and indicate to our reservation executives what your interests are so they can personalize a perfect vacation. We look forward to hearing from you!