Is it possible to observe through the large telescopes in the chilean observatories?
We frequently have people who think we organize tours which allow to observe through one the giant telescopes of Chile or who think that the visit of these observatories include the possibility to look through one of the large telescopes.
Unfortunately, this is completely impossible...
This for several reasons :
- The closest profesionnal observatory from San Pedro is at more than 500km.
- This observatory is reserved for profesionnal astronomers, several months in advance, and to get already half a night for a program is quite good, since there are hundreds of astronomers requesting the use of the telescopes. On these telescopes, the pression reaches up to 8 (this means there are 8 times more people asking for observing time, than available time), so while it is impossible to accept all the profesionnals wanting to use the telescope, it is not possible to use it for touristic observations.
- Large observatories cost several euros per second of observing time. Taking the price of the instrument, in the several hundred of millions of euros, plus the annual charges for the 250 people working there, gives such a high price tag.
- Moreover, these telescopes are not equipped for visual observing. And if they could be fitted with an eyepiece, the minimal magnification would already be around 1200 times, showing only a very small part of any celestial object. These are really not telescopes for visual observing.
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