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Chile Dilly!

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#1 astrodoc71

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 10:15 AM

I would highly recommend this site for anyone who wants to image targets that can only be seen or optimally seen in the Southern Hemisphere. The cost is not prohibitive and the fast optical system makes it possible to obtain enough quality data in a reasonable time frame. The seeing at this site in Chile is excellent, and the resolution and image quality obtained make it well worth the expense, not to mention the excitement of seeing these amazing objects which we cannot see from Northern lattitudes! The user interface is very simple and customer service is superb. While you will have to throw out some subs like we all do at times, these will not come at additional cost. Best of all…they add 20% to your initial deposit if you are a CN member!

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#2 JohnAkai

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 04:26 PM

Been there, done that! This private site is called  "El Sauce," (The Willow). Besides the Russian telescope site, there are many more privately owned scopes. There is one large & one medium roll-off roof observatory. There are 3 smaller roll tops. There is a huge solar cell bank. One of the techs stated that WIFI/internet service can be spotty due to a sole internet provider. Cost to set up your own scope is 5,000 € plus 5,000€ yearly fee. Your equipment will be heavily taxed upon entry into Chile -- as much as 60 percent! The Russian side is protected by a very tough steel fence with electrified wires and security cameras. I think this has to be a Russian government site to track Western satellites. It is just that imposing and had to have cost at least 4 million Euros. Two scopes are owned by 5 French astronomers. Their site is www.cielaustral.com, only in French, but with great photos of the entire site. Sam Berrada and I were invited by the French to visit their site. Access to the site is via a very rough mountain road. It takes 1.25 hours to travel 30km. See my report of my 3/17 & 3/18 Chile trips under "DIY stargazing trip to Chile."


Edited by JohnAkai, 05 May 2018 - 09:45 PM.


#3 RickV

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Posted 05 May 2018 - 05:42 PM

Thanks for posting this - most interesting.

V/R

Rick



#4 Alain Maury

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 12:37 AM

"The nearest town is Ovalle, Chile which really isn’t that close to the Atacama region. It’s actually a good 700km to the south" Let's say it's about 20 miles away, not 700km... Santiago is even closer than that... See: https://www.google.c...-71.0894871,10z

Then to comment on the first comment (John Akai) where have you seen 60% ? It's about 19% taxes, plus 6% custom taxes, plus if your equipment is declared above 1000 US$ the fee of the custom agent. Plus various other fees (storage, etc...). Then the importation company, if it's a business can recover the custom taxes, in the end you pay in the worst case about 15% of the price (if the importing business is honest and does not charge you the money they recover the following month). Then instead of sending brand new equipment you can send "used equipment" and not declare the "new" value, if your setup has been used before. Then the small and costly stuff (CCD camera, etc...) you can bring in your own suitcase when you install your equipment, etc... I have imported many telescopes to Chile, and there is no way you pay 60% taxes. Then don't "think" chilescope is a russian military equipment, unless you are able to prove it. I am not related to them in any way, just that it's not good to create urban legends without any proof.


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#5 JohnAkai

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 12:27 PM

Alain, About the 60%, I learned that incredible rate from Pedro, an astronomer at Hacienda los Andes. He should know, since he helped the late Daniel Versatche (owner of HLA) set up the equipment. Yes, I too could not believe the rate!...Russian site: Urban legend, probably, my bad. I've only had the same strange feeling on July 2001, while visiting the NYC Twin Towers. I was in the US Air Force and know uber high security when I see it. You have to see it in person to comprehend the enormity of the installation. After getting out of our 4x4, and staring at the site, Sam and I just stared and said "WoW!"



#6 Alain Maury

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 12:41 AM

I can send you privately the bills for some of the telescopes I imported, and I have imported more than 20 in my telescope farm, and it's never 60%. In Argentina and Brazil, yes, they have crazy tax rates.

For the "security", the site is not guarded, and you are in Chile... So even that I am not sure it will not stop burglars. There are countries where you can leave your camera on top of your car, while you go shopping and you still find your camera when you come back 10 minutes later (Japan, Iceland...). In Chile, you come back and your camera and your car are gone :).



#7 bunyon

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 07:12 AM

It's a broader subject than Chile, but that has always been my worry with untended equipment as in many remote observatories. Walls, fences and locks slow people down. But if no one is there, the would be burglars have all the time in the world. You need people, or at least cameras monitored by someone capable of quick response. 

 

Alain, I have to admit, I wondered about this with your scopes. Do you have someone on the property when you travel (reading that, I realize it probably isn't a good question to ask publicly so feel free to disregard; should've asked when I was there.)



#8 JohnAkai

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 08:50 PM

It seems university technicians rotate in-and-out every few weeks. I met Vincent, Universidad Catolica, at Hacienda los Andes. He had worked for several days at the very spartan site, and was taking a couple of days off at HLA prior to returning to Santiago. He told me a second mid-size roll-top is planned. The French astronomers only go once per year. Phillipe told me the French team was not coming back next year. Pepe said maybe in 2020. So, the site is largely unguarded. However, the rough road literally goes right through the driveway of two tiny homesteads. These people would be able to ID any vehicle driving through.



#9 astrodoc71

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 08:00 PM

Thanks all for commenting and correcting my geographical error! Not sure what happened there. I believe I googled the distance from Ovalle to Atacama Desert and the response was 700km. Did not check the actual named observatory locations. My apologies.

Dave



#10 Alain Maury

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 02:10 PM

Just to clarify yes, there is a guard living in the observatory, like I do. I normally work on the telescopes at night, and there are workers during the day. It can happen that the guard takes vacations, but when I take vacations somebody is there to replace me, if only to take care of the lodges. We also have a few cameras at various points of the observatory. In 15 years never had any problems (crossing fingers). Then, burglars are usually interested in what can be resold, and telescopes are not exactly easy to sell in Chile. I assume if they would come to my place they would be more interested in my TV and stereo equipment, than Ritchey Chrétien telescope and CCD cameras ? So no need for high electrified fences. But in a lonely place, I agree, it's better to have (not that it's going to stop somebody coming with the right equipment). Even if you don't work for the empire :).



#11 bunyon

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 02:43 PM

Thanks for the explanation.

 

Just to be clear, I don't think the vulnerability of equipment sitting out by itself is confined to Chile. I heard lots of warnings about theft in Chile and, while I saw some evidence of it, I never fell victim and it wasn't anything like as bad as I had heard stories. Still, I would worry about valuable equipment left alone anywhere in the world. I would think the main target of such an observatory would be the computers and electronics, which a remote observatory must have. 



#12 proximachali

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 12:36 PM

I can send you privately the bills for some of the telescopes I imported, and I have imported more than 20 in my telescope farm, and it's never 60%. In Argentina and Brazil, yes, they have crazy tax rates.

For the "security", the site is not guarded, and you are in Chile... So even that I am not sure it will not stop burglars. There are countries where you can leave your camera on top of your car, while you go shopping and you still find your camera when you come back 10 minutes later (Japan, Iceland...). In Chile, you come back and your camera and your car are gone smile.gif.

Hi, I'm Chilean and I have a remote observatory installed in El Sauce since September of last year. I can tell you from my personal experience that the heavens are world class, with measurements of seeing in situ in the order of 1 arcsec. In parallel  the hosting service is also first level.

 

The equipment installed there consist in OOUK AG12 newtonian astrograph, STL11K camera all mounted on Astro-Physics 1100 GTO GEM, along with all the proper astrophotography equipment (pc, keys, electronics.......etc)

Here you can see the instalation of the ROR :

 

http://www.astro-aus...DSC_5148(1).JPG

 

Regarding security, the support team is for much of the week in the observatory and on the only rural road that leads to the top of the mountain, you will have to pass through the two houses of the guards. These are families of small farmers also hired as permanent guards of the place.

Along with granting security to the site, they make the best goat cheese I've eaten :>)

 

__________________________________

José Joaquín Pérez

www.astro-austral.cl

Rancagua-Chile


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#13 CHILESCOPE

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 03:19 PM

"steel fence with electrified wires and security cameras"))))

Don't forget about 4 rapid-fire machine guns in the corners))

Sergey Pogrebisskiy

KGB major



#14 CHILESCOPE

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 03:34 PM

Alain, nice to meet you here! How are things going in San Pedro? Still remember nice pisco we had together in your place))



#15 Alain Maury

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Posted 11 May 2018 - 01:17 PM

Hola Sergey,

"Don't forget about 4 rapid-fire machine guns in the corners)) "  :)

That's how it has to be done. :)

Life is fine in San Pedro. Your telescope is used by the polish observer for asteroids (they are MPC code W98, discovered a comet just after installation, missed another one last year, and keep producing a lot of measurements).

Alain



#16 JohnAkai

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 12:51 PM

Jose, Sweet website! Thanks for the great photos. With all that great equipment, you can't be married! Are you? =) I miss Coquimbo BIG TIME. Sadly, I won't be back. =( But I have great memories. ;-) This winter I am retiring to Guadalajara, Mexico. I am trading KGB for Narcos & Mega LP -- scary! ÷○ Gotta sell a lot of glass! I am enjoying all the banter.



#17 pbunn

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 07:29 PM

I used the Chilescope  .5 meter scope a few times but I found the quality  of the calibration flats very poor making cropping of the images necessary. The data was good but with severe vignetting that would not calibrate out.




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