Member Event: Live observation from the Atacama Desert in Chile

We are SUPER EXCITED to announce that we have partnered with Daniele Gasparri, well-known astrophysicist, author and experienced astrophotographer, to bring you an exclusive live observation from the Atacama Desert.

Located in the western part of South America, Chile’s Atacama desert is known to be one of the best places on Earth for stargazing. It is high, dry (one of the driest places in the world) and unpolluted. Several enormous observatories have set up home here to observe and study the Universe.

Have you ever observed the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds (dwarf galaxies orbiting our Milky Way), the jaw-dropping Jewel Box cluster (NGC 4755), The Coalsack, Eta Carinae Nebula, Acrux, the Football Cluster (NGC3532), the Southern Pleiades, or globular 47 Tucanae?

These are just some of the most beautiful celestial objects located in the southern hemisphere. We will be live streaming some of these deep space objects from the Atacama desert in Chile for our members. So, don’t miss out this event.

Members will receive a link to the live stream via email.­ Due a lot of technical difficulties in arranging this event, we apologize in advance if at the last minute we may have to delay or postpone.

Post-Event Summary Report

What an amazing event! Thank you Daniele Gasparri for bringing us this unique experience from the Atacama Desert. And also a big thank you to our public relations officer Roberto Piccin for organising this event for us.

The event went off without a hitch! Considering it was being live streamed from the desert, far from the nearest city (Copiapó) where Daniele lives, the internet connection was surprisingly very stable (and some of us have difficulty getting a good signal outdoors or even at home!).

The event started at 8 am Malta time / 4 am Chile time, with Daniele giving us a brief presentation on the issue of extreme light pollution in major cities and explaining why places like the Atacama Desert are ideal for astronomical observations. Many scientists from all over the world come here to work on some of the biggest and most powerful telescopes and observatories (see According to Daniele, there is so little light pollution here that one can read the headlines of a newspaper with just the light of the Milky Way!

Daniele then took us on a spectacular tour of the night sky and some of the most amazing deep-sky objects that one can observe from the southern hemisphere. The equipment used comprised of a computerised SkyWatcher EQ-5 equatorial mount, a SkyWatcher 130 PDS telescope and a dedicated astrophotography camera. All this was connected and controlled from Daniele’s laptop.

Photographing deep-sky objects from places like the Atacama Desert requires just a few seconds of exposure to produce stunning photos that require no further editing. In contrast, photographing the same objects from light-polluted places like Malta requires a couple of minutes or more to produce the same (almost) detailed results.

It was an amazing experience for those present via Google Meet. We are already considering repeating this event sometime in 2022. The event lasted well over an hour with our members asking Daniele questions towards the end.

These are some of the deep sky objects that Daniele showed us live from the Atacama Desert:

  • Carina nebula
  • Small and Large Magellanic clouds
  • Tarantula nebula
  • 47 Tucanae globular cluster
  • Omega Centauri globular cluster
  • Southern Cross constellation
  • Coalsack Nebula
  • Rosette nebula
  • Orion nebula
  • Horsehead nebula