Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

The most famous astronomical center of all Chile, located, in the Aymara language, at the “edge of abyss.” When you see the vast landscape that opens up from an elevation of 2.200 meters, revealing the valley and its most hidden corners, you will see how the name gains meaning. The view is priceless.

This is, according to the experts, one of the best places in the world for astronomical observations, but not tourist use. The Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory allows tourists to visit the facilities without the use of instruments and only during day time. This, however, has never diminished the spirit of the fans of the stars, who get surprised when they see the size of these great monuments of astronomy and learn about the way lenses and mechanisms operate inside the domes.

The center has telescopes, instruments and other specialized facilities for advanced astronomical research that are possible from the ground. The instruments and facilities are operated and shared by astronomers in both hemispheres. Every year more than 100 visiting scientists and students from more than 50 institutions travel to Cerro Tololo to conduct research programs. It is a center for global elite.

The construction of this telescope was initiated by Chilean representatives together with the president of the United States during the Conference of Punta del Este in April 1967, starting  the work the same month.  The funds for the construction were provided by the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation of the United States.

The observatory’s largest telescope is a 4 meters telescope and has a twin brother in the Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. These two 4-meter telescopes. , One in each hemisphere, provide astronomers the most advanced tools for research.

We invite you to visit the facilities, always accompanied by a guide from the observatory, who will show the telescopes and domes, as well as give you a talk  about the nature of the universe and admire the spectacular scenery of the valley.

Location: Elqui Valley, 88 km southeast from La Serena at an altitude of 2.200 meters above the sea level.

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