We were excited about stargazing in San Pedro de Atacama as we’d been told great things about it. So after booking our tour through Backpackers San Pedro hostel, we caught the minibus from the edge of town for an early evening viewing of our galaxy.
Disappointment hit pretty quick though, as the SPACE stargazing centre is only about 20 minutes from town and not far off the main road. I thought we’d be going deep into the desert away from any light pollution and distraction. As I looked into the sky many of the stars were washed out by the half moon, or not as clear because it wasn’t dark enough. I have seen the Milky Way and many constellations with incredible clarity in the desert near Sharm El Sheikh and from my parent house just outside Normandy in France.
However, we still had a great evening with our Canadian guide, who was hilarious and knowledgeable. Using a laser he pointed out the constellations and specific stars and planets and spoke about the history of the solar system.
Now for the really cool part: looking through all of the super-duper telescopes, each pointing to an incredible spectacle. We got close and personal to Eta Carinae, Sirius, star clusters, Crab Nebula, Saturn, Mars and other stunning star systems. I never tire of gazing up at the moon, so I was made-up when we were all able to take a photo through the telescope (picture above).
After filling our eyes with the galaxy and resisting the ever falling temperature, it was time to go inside for a Q&A and a hot bevvy. The hot chocolate was spot-on and was drunk with gusto. Not to detract from the stargazing tour, but the toilet is an experience in itself. I’d definitely recommend checking it out, haha!