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DEEP SKY SOUTH : Remote Astronomy at Observatorio del Pangue
We still offer a service of hosting telescopes or private observatories for those stargazers who enjoy accessing to the Southern sky in optimal conditions. Don't worry for technical support or high speed internet, we provide it all.
For more information and availabilities, feel free to visit us at www.deepskysouth.org

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Click here to link to the original site "Astronomy Picture of the Day".

Cliquer ici pour accéder à la version française "Image Astronomique du Jour".


The Northeast Astronomy Forum 2023 (NEAF) : we've been there !

Dubbed the largest astronomy fair in the world, the Northeast Astronomy Forum held in the surrounds of New York City is indeed a nice place to be. This year we decided to attend, mainly to promote our telescope hosting service "Deep Sky South", but also because one should never miss an opportunity to visit the fascinating city of New York.

Yes, our booth is somewhere among the many exhibitors who attended the 2023 edition of the NEAF...

Whatever the circumstance, we never forget to connect with the heavens : the view below, taken from Brooklyn, shows lower Manhattan behind the Brooklyn Bridge but, can you glimpse the tiny white dot up in the sky ?...
This is planet Venus ! (click to enlarge)

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - April 2023

Lately, at the Observatorio del Pangue...

First, you arrive at Santiago de Chile...

...then you want to travel North and meet our clear skies !

Photos: (1)Eric Escalera (2)Jean Pichon / Observatorio del Pangue

In this column we display some of the most relevant news, pictures, or feelings happening around the observatory.

For a complete information on the place and the proposed programmes, you can visit our "facts" pages, listed at the top of the blog.

...and lastly, as to check if we really are as famous as the below picture suggests, don't hesitate to visit us, we'd be delighted to welcome you...

March 26th, a rare cosmic encounter...

Ceres is the first asteroid discovered, and still the largest body in the asteroid belt of the Solar System. Now dubbed "dwarf planet" (together with Pluto), its average distance from the Sun is slightly over 400 million kilometers.
M100 is a magnificent face-on spiral galaxy in Coma Berenices, distant of roughly 60 million light-years, that is some 1,5 billion of billion times farther ! And even so, they succeded to meet... at least from our perspective : on the evening of last March 26th, Ceres crossed in front of M100 in our sky, in a rare event not to be missed.

The picture below was taken at the beginning of the pass, with Ceres just "touching" the most external spiral arm of the galaxy. It is visible as a very bright spot at the upper left of the galactic nucleus.

Photo: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - March 26th, 2023
Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade LX200 16" reduced at f/6, total exposure 10 minutes. North is up

Astrophotography at Pangue : season 2023 begins...

The complex of nebulae around the Eta Carinae star field, referred as NGC3372, is fascinating when viewed in good conditions. The picture below was taken in one of those perfect summer nights : it reveals the many details available in the extended area. The separate bright patch at the upper right corner is labelled NGC3324, and the tradition in Chile says that it mimics the profile of the Nobel prize winner poetess Gabriela Mistral... Look also for the intense, curiously still unnamed, dark nebula toward the bottom of the field.
Photo: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - March, 2023
Canon 60D at prime focus of 71mm refractor, total exposure 25 minutes.
North is up

ZTF, the "Green Comet"

By the end of 2022 it was scheduled to be spectacular, with a potential of being visible to the naked eye in February, but it didn't... Nevertheless, comet ZTF (C/2022-E3), named after its "discoverer" (Zwicky Transient Facility), is an interesting object, since it is returning supposedly for the first time in some 50,000 years ! Indeed it must have witnessed some great changes in our civilisation...

We could observe it wandering from Gemini to Taurus, still shining at a magnitude of 6.4, that is just under the limit of visibility for human eye.
The picture below shows the bright, extended coma (left side) followed by the flared, irregularly shaped dust tail (right side). The green color of the coma, rather common on comets, is due to the presence of diatomic carbon (C2), while the brownish (reddish?) tint of the tail is produced by the usual interaction of sunshine with dust.

Photo: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - February, 2023
Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade LX200 16" reduced at f/6, ISO 3200, total exposure 10 minutes.

A pair of distant stellar explosions, both bright enough for visual telescopes...

Supernovae are quite rare in a given galaxy, but astronomers use to detect hundreds of them every year, by surveying a large sample of galaxies. Below are two of them, detected almost simultaneously.

The first one, labelled SN2023axu, is located not far in the sky from Sirius, the brightest star. We captured it when shining at a reasonable magnitude of 14.6, within the outskirts of the tiny galaxy NGC2283 (CMa), distant of some 33 million light-years.
To identify the supernova among the stars, you may need some help from the bottom picture, where it is marked by the two lines...

The other one, labelled SN2023bee, shown up in a more distant galaxy, NGC2708 (Hya), located some 85 million light-years away. Even so, at a magnitude of 13.4, it looks much brighter than "axu", hence evidencing a much more powerful stellar explosion... Hereafter we display a picture that we took near its maximum magnitude, followed by the marked view to identify the supernova :
Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - February 24th, 2023
Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade LX200 16" reduced at f/6, ISO 4000, total exposure 14 minutes. North is up.

A private event at the observatory / edition 2023

After a hiatus due to the pandemic, we get back to the tradition of taking a picture of the sunset right behind the domes of the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO), allowed by a very precise alignment between the Sun, the CTIO, and our own observatory.

This "private event", visible exclusively from our observing room, happens twice a year (on November and February) : here are some views of the last February 8th event which, for the first time in years, displays some nice sunspots on the solar surface...

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - February 8th, 2023
Canon 60D at prime focus of 71mm refractor f/5.3

Winter came, finally

Snowing is not common in our area, but when it happens, it does it well ! This year the winter was notably wet and cold, and we even got snow all around.

Here are some views of the observatory, the day after the snowy night...

Below, aerial view of the whole region surrounding the observatory.

Indeed, this is a good time for taking holidays, but we'll be back in September!

April 30th and May 16th : a doublet of solar and lunar eclipses...

Each eclipse of the Sun is unique, and every one is worth to watch, and this one didn't fail :despite being "only" a partial eclipse (24% deep at our location), it was fun to observe it on a sunny autumn day at the observatory...
The view below shows the aspect near the maximum, with the limb of the Moon simultaneously adjacent to the only two major sunspots visible on that moment.

The sun set with the eclipse still in progress, so we could appreciate the curious contrast between the curved border of the Moon, and the flat (!) silhouette of the Earth landscape.

Indeed, such a circumstance is a unique opportunity to witness the "New Moon set" : the view below captures the exact moment of the contact between Moon and Earth. Once again,it was worth to watch...

Keeping the alignement, we've been granted 2 weekd later by a total eclipse of the Moon, conveniently located high in the sky, in the first half of the night (May 15th to 16th), hence visible completely, in optimal conditions.

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - 2022
Canon 60D at prime focus of 71mm refractor f/5.3

The Open Cluster Messier 7

This is not really a popular target, but the young star cluster Messier 7 (M7), in the constellation of Scorpius, offers stunning view of the central areas of our galaxy, with countless stars and complex dark nebulae all together... The cluster itself is the group of a few tens of brighter stars spread all over an extended area around the centre of this view. The picture has been taken in the Full Moon night... but in the middle of the total phase of a lunar eclipse, hence in a conveniently dark sky !

Photo: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - May, 15th, 2022
North is up

Every year has its bright supernova...

Indeed, supernovae in distant galaxies are rather common, but bright supernovae involved with a Messier galaxy are quite rare. A few weeks ago we've been granted with SN2022hrs, a type 1a supernova appeared on the border of NGC4647, a small galaxy adjacent to the large and bright M60, both galaxies lying some 60 million light-years away, in the constellation of Virgo.

The picture below shows this pair (M60 is the larger one), with the supernova appearing just in between as a tiny white dot very close to the nucleus of NGC4647. We captured it precisely when it peaked in brightness, reaching the remarquable magnitude of 12.4.

Incidentally, we can note that the spiral galaxy NGC4647 shows much more structures than the elliptical M60... Furthermore, the small elongated smudge at the lower right corner of the field is the galaxy NGC4638.

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - April 28th, 2022
Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade LX200 16" reduced at f/6, ISO 4000, total exposure 25 minutes. North is up.

A very personal astronomical alignement

We know that the sunset shifts a little from day to day. On February, when viewed from our place, it happens behind the domes of the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO), one day exactly behind the main dome, the next day behind the smaller domes. On the following view we combined both, hence showing the dayly shift of the Sun in its annual path.

Sunsets over the CTIO seen from El Pangue, Feb. 7th. (left) and 8th. (right)
Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - February, 2022
Canon 60D at prime focus of 71mm refractor f/5.3

Comet Leonard !

It has been a long time since we had a nice comet visiting our skies, but on the last days of the year, comet Leonard (2020-A1) fulfills all expectations: it is visible to the naked eyes, it displays a complex tail on photographs, and through large telescopes it shows two bright colored jets from the nucleus...

On this picture, taken on the the evening of December, 23rd, we can appreciate the long and somehow complex tail developped by the comet.

The view below, taken earlier (December 21st), shows more precisely a curious detail in the head of the comet : note the irregular shape of the front of the coma, with a dark recessed triangular area instead of the usual parabolic design. This is due to the mentionned jets expelling gases from the nucleus, disposed symmetrically in a perpendicular configuration regarding the main comet axis. (click to enlarge)

Indeed, it is not so commom to be able to capture any detail of what's happening right around the proper nucleus of a comet, and this is maybe what makes C/ Leonard trully exceptional !


The comet arrived with a periodic orbit of around 80,000 years, but apparently it leaves with an hyperbolic orbit, that means an open, no-return path, so we've been lucky to be allowed to fully enjoy this short and one-time visit...

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - December, 2021
Canon 60D at prime focus of 71mm refractor f/5.3, ISO 4000, total exposure 22 minutes

Astrophotography at Pangue

The Galaxy M31 (Andromeda) doesn't need to be introduced, but it's always worth to capture and display its magnificence...
The little smudge to its lower right is the galaxy NGC205, while the bright fuzzy dot left of centre is the galaxy M32, both being satellites to M31.

Photo: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - December, 6th, 2021
Canon 60D at prime focus of 71mm refractor f/5.3, ISO 4000, total exposure 20 minutes
West is up

A deep partial eclipse of the Moon,
a stellar explosion in a distant galaxy,
the return of an historical comet,
and a farewell to planet Pluto...

Just a regular, quiet November month at the observatory...

Planet Pluto is not really a popular target among amateur astronomers, since it shows only as a tiny white dot, undistinguishable from the many surrounding stars. However we wanted to take a look at it, remembering that this is a fascinating planetary system of its own... Also, while standing in Sagittarius, Pluto is about to disappear behind the Sun, so it cannot be watched again in good conditions until July, 2022.

The two pictures below, taken at an interval of 24 hours, show the star field around Pluto : hence the planet is the only dot that moved in the meantime... Can you spot it by yourself, above the centre of the field? If you do, you are repeating the procedure that led to its discovery in 1930...

November 24th. :

November 25th. :

Just in case, here is the same field, with the planet marked... (click to enlarge)
Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - November, 2021
Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm, exposure 100 seconds, ISO 3200 ;
West is up

Comet 6P/ d'Arrest, discovered in 1851, is a short period body (some 6.5 years), so it can be witnessed several times in a lifetime, although some of the approaches are not favourable to observations. On November, 24th, we succeeded to capture it, in Piscis Austrinus, at a respectable magnitude of 10.2, an easy target under clear skies.

The view below shows the brighter nucleus, slightly shifted (it moved some 15 arcsec. during the exposure time), all embedded in a subtle greenish coma.
Photo: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - November, 2021
Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6, exposure 10 minutes, ISO 4000; East is up

A few days ago, the Type Ia supernova SN2021aefx has been discovered in the galaxy NGC1566 (Dor): both the galaxy and the supernova are bright, so the resulting view is quite spectacular...
We took the above picture on November 24th, when the supernova was shining at a visual magnitude of 12.5, that is quite bright for such a distant event (estimated over 60 million light-years).
On this view we can appreciate the two main spiral arms of the galaxy, with the supernova standing to the right of the upper arm (see the marks on the small icon at left).

Photo: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - November, 2021
Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6, total exposure 15 minutes, ISO 3200 ; East is up

On November, 19th, at dawn, there was a partial eclipse of the Moon visible in almost all Americas, reaching up to 97% of the lunar disk covered, hence giving a nice display of contrasted colours.

Eclipse begins, the eastern limb already appears darkened :
Eclipse progress, now displaying the neat and curved border of the earth shadow :
Eclipse close to its maximum, with the usual orange coloured shadow of Earth :
Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - November, 2021

Astrophotography at Pangue

A quick look at the Large Magellanic Cloud...
Photo: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - November 3rd, 2021
Canon 60D, lens 135mm, ISO 3500, total exposure 14 minutes;

We are back !...

The chilean frontiers are open, the pandemia restrictions are slowing down, and the winter is over, so we're just ready to get back under the stars...

The T400 telescope proudly facing the starry sky... The two proeminent bright spots to its right are the Moon (bottom) and planet Venus (top). Above is the magnificent Milky Way, with the galactic centre standing at the upper right corner.
On that same night, the thin crescent Moon was setting close to the dome of the Cerro Tololo observatory, as seen from our own observing room :
Photos: Cristian Valenzuela - Observatorio del Pangue - October 9th, 2021.

One small step for a man...

Few people know that the space odyssey began in Paris (France) : in the morning of November, 21st, 1783, took place the first manned flight, using the then recently invented montgolfiere (hot air balloon), so making its pilot Jean François Pilatre de Rozier the first person to see the world from an airship.

The place was the gardens of a castle (Chateau de La Muette). Today, the castle disappeared, but the exact location of the take-off is still marked by a modest and rather neglected stele : I was recently able to find it, in an abandoned field stuck between a series of highways…

By coincidence, at this particular moment, the crescent Moon was standing right over it, as if to bring out the symbolism : actually the flight from Pilatre de Rozier was the very first step of a long human journey that eventually ended up with the landing on the Moon, in July 1969…
Photos: Eric Escalera - August 13th, 2021.