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A paradise astro hotel?

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#1 richard7

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 02:33 PM

In Chili.
Maybe the best I've seen.
Gorgeous James Florio photography also.

#2 Gary Riley

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 02:59 PM

Beautiful! Wish I were there. :)

#3 drbyyz

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 09:14 AM

Are you kidding me???

I want to go to there!

#4 GeneT

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 03:18 PM

Nice--really nice!

#5 JimMo

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 06:37 PM

Nice, but I hope the pics don't represent their normal night time lighting. :p

#6 djpontone

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:51 AM

Looks great except the choice of equipment? [telescopes] is lacking imho.

#7 tigerroach

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:16 AM

Oh boy oh boy.

BOOKMARKED

#8 Cotts

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:42 PM

ChilE has more than that...

http://www.spaceobs.com/en/lodge.php

350 clear nights a year.....

Dave

#9 Tom Polakis

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:04 AM

ChilE has more than that...

http://www.spaceobs.com/en/lodge.php

350 clear nights a year.....

Dave



Much better telescopes to choose from as well.

It's the driest place on the planet, but the owner himself will tell you the number of photometric nights is closer to 250 - about halfway between the number at Paranal and La Silla. Again, best astro climate on the planet by a wide margin.



Tom

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#10 Cotts

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:44 PM

Tom, is a 'photometric' night a higher standard than the 'clear - I'm going to get my scope out' level that we amateurs use? What are the specified parameters of 'photometric'?

Just curious, y'know....

Dave

#11 Tom Polakis

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:52 PM

Tom, is a 'photometric' night a higher standard than the 'clear - I'm going to get my scope out' level that we amateurs use? What are the specified parameters of 'photometric'?

Just curious, y'know....

Dave



Dave,

"Photometric" is zero clouds from dusk to dawn, so it's quite a higher standard. Since I have fixated on Chilean observatory climate records for an unhealthy amount of time, my estimate for number of "I'm going to get my scope out" nights at Atacama Lodge is 300 nights per year. During my 8 nights at the lodge, three of them were bad enough that I wouldn't have got the scope out, and another one was only a half night of clear sky.

Tom

#12 Cotts

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 10:16 PM

Tom, I had better luck in March 2010 at Atacama Lodge where we had 8 for 8 nights of, as you say, dusk to dawn clarity. During the entire trip, day and night there were absolutely no clouds....

thanks for the clarification...

Dave

#13 finderman2

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 09:47 PM

Funny this should come up as a topic, I'm actually in Chile right now on vacation, and went to both Elqui Domos and SPACE, and after comparing the two, I would go for SPACE all the way. Not only is Alain really nice and knowledgeable, but he has better selection of scopes to rent(I lugged my own though) when I went to the lodge some other guys were renting the big manual dobs, the biggest of which is 24".

Fun story, on my first night there were I was using one of his on site piers, me and Alain, ended up have to do some "in the dark" electrical engineering, replacing the extension cord socket due to some corrosion from rain about a month before, but we handled it in stride and before long I was quizzing around to some Southern Hemisphere gems in no time, after he gave me a few suggestions, and a peek though his binoculars, overall a great stay.

My verdict was, SPACE is for the serious astronomer wanting some real time under dark sky's, with some stunning vistas and ALMA off in the distance (only a few miles away, and visible clearly in a telescope)

While Elqui Domos is a great romantic place to take the Mrs. but the weather when I was there was less then ideal, cloudy the first night, clear the second, and patchy the next, the other consideration is the you are nestled deep in the Valley with mountains jutting up all around, so extreme horizons are not great, (compared with SPACE where Alain and I managed to catch a peek at PANSTARRS two nights in a row as well as Lemmon) mainly since space is in the middle of the Atacama desert, so flat plains most of the way around.

My first time under southern sky's and hopefully not the last, you haven't lived until you have seen the milky way rise up and overhead bulging like a full treasure chest, the large Magellanic Clouds rotating below the horizon, stunning stuff.

I should also mention that I visited both La Silla and the VLT both well worth the visit, you do have to send a email before hand but you can generally get in without a problem not a huge amount of people on the tour when I went.

#14 Tom Polakis

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 05:44 PM

Funny this should come up as a topic, I'm actually in Chile right now on vacation, and went to both Elqui Domos and SPACE, and after comparing the two, I would go for SPACE all the way. Not only is Alain really nice and knowledgeable, but he has better selection of scopes to rent(I lugged my own though) when I went to the lodge some other guys were renting the big manual dobs, the biggest of which is 24".


I'm envious. SPACE is awesome.


Don't call it a "Dob" around Alain, though!


My verdict was, SPACE is for the serious astronomer wanting some real time under dark sky's, with some stunning vistas and ALMA off in the distance (only a few miles away, and visible clearly in a telescope)


That ALMA facility is only their Operations Support facility, at the low, low elevation of 10,000 feet. The real site is out of view over the mountain pass, at 16,500 feet. I was able to tour APEX, the prototype telescope across the street from ALMA, but not ALMA. Overall, I held up well at the high elevation.


While Elqui Domos is a great romantic place to take the Mrs. but the weather when I was there was less then ideal, cloudy the first night, clear the second, and patchy the next, the other consideration is the you are nestled deep in the Valley with mountains jutting up all around, so extreme horizons are not great...


It would be nice to hear more about Elqui Domos. I've always wanted to visit the Elqui Valley for its scenery, but less so for the astronomy.


I should also mention that I visited both La Silla and the VLT both well worth the visit, you do have to send a email before hand but you can generally get in without a problem not a huge amount of people on the tour when I went.



Sounds like you really did the trip the right way. I visited Las Campanas way back in 1993, and saw La Silla across the way, but never visited. The visit we made to Paranal two years back was one of the highlights of our trip. Now that's an observing site!

Tom

#15 finderman2

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 04:42 PM

I'm envious. SPACE is awesome.



I was you only a few months ago,

I just got back from vacation, I was there for about a month, though I didn't get the whole month as scope time, but I can hardly complain. I'm already longingly looking out my window up at the typical New England cloud deck :( hopefully its clear tomorrow :question:

As for ALMA, I looked through my scope and saw some antennas, and took some photos too, but now looking back, it must have been where they assemble them and do testing, sadly I didn't get to visit them, mainly because unknown to me until later :foreheadslap: they were actually doing the official opening ceremony, with the president of Chile, along with a raft of other dignitaries. But just seeing the thing only 30miles up the road was spectacular.

Elqui Domos, was very nice scenic wise, lush green valleys and tall mountains that seemed inches from your face, but from an astronomy point of view, it was a slightly better version of New England, overall almost just as cloudy and mountainous. But a great place to go and enjoy the scenery, the wine, the crickets chirping at night, sitting by the fire looking at the sky naked eye, they do have two large Celestron telescopes along with CGEMs, but sadly they only get used for the tours, which cost $70 and seemed more touristic.

While the accommodations were nice and modern they were a bit rough around the edges, the internet was very lacking, below dialup speeds and not available in the rooms and the owner was a bit stand offish, though the ladies who worked there were very nice and did their best to make the stay as nice as possible, and the food was delicious. Overall if it had some small fixes it would be perfect, mainly what it needs is someone with attention to detail, which this owner clearly did not have.

I have lots of photos which I am now just going through, I'll edit this post later with them, I have both Elqui Domos, and La Silla.

The visit we made to Paranal two years back was one of the highlights of our trip. Now that's an observing site!



dam right! I kept watching this TWAN video endlessly drooling, sadly I couldn't be there at night, what I would give to though.






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