Chile is a country with very clear skies that allow astronomical observation, science that studies the celestial bodies in the universe, throughout the territory. The north of the country presents major advantages for the practice of this activity by having the most pure and clear skies on the planet.

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Here's a list of the best tours with Astronomy in their activities. To see the full list, visit our Tours in Astronomy

Man has been observing and studying the sky from time immemorial, and though this was once only a subject for priests, astrologers or scholars, nowadays this activity is within everyone's reach. Here in Chile you can take advantage of our particularly clear skies, technology, and landscape to take part in this fascinating activity.

Astronomical Observation in Chile

While throughout Chile the skies are good for observation, the northern skies are far superior than those in the south. The sky of the "Small North" region of Chile is recognized worldwide as the clearest and most transparent of the southern hemisphere.

This region, the IV region of Coquimbo, boasts 345 clear nights a year, and large astronomical observatories have been built here equipped with sophisticated and powerful instruments. El Tololo, La Silla and the European Southern Observatory at Cerro Paranal are some of the most famous observatories.

For expert or amateur astronomers, there are many places in this area to enjoy our skies, one popular place is the Elqui Valley. In these latitudes there are several important celestial phenomena to observe such as the Southern Cross, Alpha and Beta Centauri, and the Magellan clouds.

These are some of the better places in Chile to practice astronomical observation:

Norte Chico
Observation Sites:

  • La Serena District: Region IV of Coquimbo. Quebrada de Tralca
  • Vicuña District: Region IV of Coquimbo.
    • Vicuña-Hurtado River Road: El Churque and El Algarrobo-Araya sectors
    • Casablanca
    • Uchumi Ravine.
  • Paihuano District: Region IV of Coquimbo
    • La Viga Ravine
    • Paihuano Ravine.
  • Andacollo District: Region IV of Coquimbo
    • Cruz Verde Hill
    • El Yahuin Hill
    • Cabritos.
  • La Higuera District: Region IV of Coquimbo
    • Cuesta Colorada.

Astronomical Observatories:

  • Paranal Hill (ESO): Region II of Antofagasta. 123 km (76.8 mi) south of Antofagasta, by the gravel road that leads to the Paposo National Park.
  • Tololo Hill: Region IV of Coquimbo. Located 87 km (54.3 MI) east of La Serena: 55 km (34 MI) through the Elqui valley road and then another 34 (21.25 MI) to the observatory. Guided visits.
  • La Silla (ESO): Region IV of Coquimbo. Located 156 km (97.5 MI) north of La Serena. Guided visits.
  • Las Campanas: Region IV of Coquimbo. Located 156 km north La Serena. Guided Visits.
  • Municipal Cerro Mamalluca: Region IV of Coquimbo. Located 6 km (3.75 MI) northeast of Vicuña. This observatory is open to the public.

For suggestions of sites, visit our Chile Destination section.


For a successful observation, we recommend the following:

  • Before watching, adapt your eyes to the darkness.
  • While in the dark, never expose your eyes to direct white light.
  • Use a red light, as they do not harm the eye and do not interfere with its adaptation to darkness.


The essential equipment for observation consists of:

  • Binoculars
  • Telescope
  • Stellar maps


Asociación Chilena de Astronomía y Astronáutica (ACHAYA) 
Marcoleta 485, Piso 2, Oficina H
Phone: (56-2) 632 75 56


Astrónómica Chile
Travel Agencies Network of the Fourth Region
Círculo Astronómico
Information about Astronomy in Chile
Turismo Astronómico 
Astronomic Information and Tours


Telescopios Chile
Monjitas 708, Santiago
Fono: +56 (2) 2664 04 21


NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
Author: Terence Dickinson
Guía a los cielos australes
Author: Jorge Ianiszewski


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