San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations

The complete solution to observe the Atacama sky

Why is there no dome at SPACE?

ome answers :
An observatory is a place where people observe the sky. At the profesionnal level, our observatory is station "I10" of the International Astronomical Union, and several asteroids have already been discovered from here, but with telescopes which are not the ones used during the tours. These telescopes work in an automatic mode during the night, and are protected by a shelter during the day.
Mamalluca is station I04 because some amateurs have at time made some observations from there.
Since it rarely rain in San Pedro and since there is normally no wind at night and it is much better to observe in the open air than from a dome. Large telescopes are normally placed in a dome because it is impossible to move them at the end of the night, or because they are placed in a site which is lit by city lights for example. Because thermal problems, most modern domes are equipped with a refrigerated floor allowing to keep the temperature low during the day, and most of them open as much as possible because the ideal dome is no dome...
The real reason why we don't have domes at SPACE is the following one :
The sky as seen without dome at the upper photo and inside a dome at bottom, make your choice... :

Ciel sans coupole
Ciel avec coupole

We prefer to show you the sky. At Mamalluca, the largest telescopes are outside, not in the dome, but the majority of people prefer to observe in the dome, which is an error. Coming inside and outside of the dome breaks the rythm of the tour, here, you can move from a telescope to another in a matter of seconds. And we really prefer to spend money on good telescopes than on big domes, with a small telescope inside.

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