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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. Below is an example posted by Evasope, our most recent customer. For more information and availabilities, just ask us.



Contact us at : astronomicasur@gmail.com



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ALERTA EN TURISMO ASTRONÓMICO:
SEPAN DE LOS OBSERVATORIOS QUE NO LO SON !... (click aqui)


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IMAGEN ASTRONÓMICA DEL DÍA


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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".

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The Great Conjunction Jupiter - Saturn : well done !...

We missed the last two events : in 1226, the telescope had not yet been invented, and in 1623, the event was not well visible from Europe, so despite his brand new telescope, Galileo missed it too... But on December 21st, 2020, the entire world was allowed to watch the phenomenon : Jupiter and Saturn approached each other in the celestial sphere, standing at a mere 6 arcminutes apart. For comparison, the apparent diameter of the Moon disk is 30 arcminutes.
Visually, it was great to watch both planets so closed together (although not merging as some stated...), but the spectacle was much more impressive through the eyepiece of a telescope, watching those two giant globes gently "floating" together, while remembering that Saturn is actually twice as distant as Jupiter...
Here are some of the pictures we took (click on them to enlarge)

December, 20th (the day before) : main view already showing the two planets very close together. The tiny dome on the top of the mountain is the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO) :

Deep zoom of the above view, even showing some Jupiter moons : that is almost the impression we could get through powerful binoculars :

Telescopic view of the scene, with the globes of Jupiter and Saturn standing close each other, at some 8 arcmin. apart :

Same view as above but overexposed, hence showing the many moons involved. Left of Jupiter is Europa and Io, and right of Jupiter is Ganymedes, then Callisto in the far (highest dot). Note also a tiny dot very close to Ganymedes and slightly fainter, this is a field star (HIP91334), by coincidence in conjunction with that jovian moon (yes, we got a conjunction within a conjunction !...) Then, below Saturn is Titan, and above the planet (slightly to the right) is Rhéa. It's interesting to notice that Callisto appears closer to Saturn than to Jupiter !

December 21st, that's the great day, with Jupiter and Saturn at their closest approach (6 arcmin.) : can you still distinguish them ? If you don't, well you're just enjoying the phenomenon...

Telescopic view, just as the previous day but ...closer !

For whose who missed the phenomenon, don't worry : you'll not have to wait 400 years for the next event, as another conjunction will occur as soon as in ...december 2080 !

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue

Total Eclipse of the Sun, December 14th, 2020 : a strange, very strange success !...

Every Sun eclipse is unique, but this one turned out more unique than any other... Yes, we observed well the complete totality, with the white, complex, extended Sun corona, with several bright proeminences emerging from the Moon disk, and with all the expected sensations of sudden darkness, etc, but all that happened under the rain !...

The scene took place in Pucón, a pleasant small city by the lake Villarica, in Southern Chile. The weather prospect were mixed (that means, not so good) and so the day was rainy, and remained rainy even after the start of the partial phase of the eclipse. We haven't given up though, and, by one of those miracles (coincidences?) that seem to be common in Chile, the clouds around the Sun completely broke a few minutes before totality, and the sky cleared enough to let us all enjoy the full show. However, the clouds "right above us" haven't break up, and kept raining on us almost all the time. And this is how we successfully observed a total eclipse of the Sun under the rain : believe us, this is quite an experience !

Unfortunately, we later knew that only a few people have been granted with a clear sky : for most of the area along the path of the eclipse it remained completely overcast, quite the opposite of what happened last year in northern Chile... Also, the sky conditions did not allow us to prepare any photographic equipment so, for once, we are not posting pictures of the eclipse...

By the way, the top view is just an effect from raindrops falling on a stream of water near our observing spot...

The Volcano Villarica, as seen from the city streets of Pucón, the day after the eclipse...

When Deep Sky comes Deeper...

Here we display a picture of the galaxy NGC253 (Sculptor) that we took some 5 years ago, as to present a detail that is frequently overlooked : near the southern edge of the galaxy is a diminute faint compact spot of light, that looks like a star but actually is something quite different, namely, an extremely distant cluster of galaxies !
Below is the main view of the galaxy (west is up):
Same as above, with the selected area framed :
Enlargement of the selected area, where the faint compact dot can be easily spotted in the centre:
Same as above, with the cluster of galaxy framed:
Below, the final enlargement, showing the cluster of galaxy as an agglomeration of diffuse spots. It is identified as [PBP84] 004457.5-253747 and, according to the measured redshift for this object (1), we can estimate its distance to be around 5,5 billion of light years !... So the photons of light that entered our camera that night were coming from times well before the creation of the Solar System...

Photo: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue
(1) Pocock, Blades, Penston, Pettini, M.N.R.A.S. (1984) 210, 373

November, 2nd, 2020 : once more...

The pace of human activities may have slowed down this year, but the Heavens continue, quite indifferent to our worries... Every year, on late afternoon of November, 2nd, the Sun sets exactly behind the main dome of the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO), as seen from our own telescope room, and every year, quite indifferent to the rest of the world, we are here to take the picture...

Compare the above view with the one posted here in 2016, and you'll only see one major difference: this time the shutter of the Tololo dome was more widely opened !...

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - November, 2020
Canon 60D at prime focus of William Optics 71mm Apo refractor f/5.9

Bright Supernovae in Bright Galaxies...

Certainly it is not common to be granted with two bright supernovae in two distinct nearby galaxies, both available at the same time...

The picture below shows SN2020nlv, a type Ia supernova visible in the galaxy M85 (CBr), appearing close to the nucleus, but even closer to a magnitude 13 foreground star: at an estimated magnitude of 12.2, the supernovae is definitely brighter than the star. Note that the field displays also some more galaxies: NGC4394, IC3292, and the remote PGC40512, shining at a magnitude of 16 ! (click to enlarge)

Below, main view with the galaxies labelled and the supernova marked.

The picture below shows SN2020nvb, also a type Ia supernova, appearing in the galaxy NGC4457 (Vir), located extremely close to the galactic nucleus, and even brighter than it, at an estimated visual magnitude of 11.8

Below, zoomed view, with the supernova marked...

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - July, 2020
Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.4, total exposures 10 minutes for each picture.

Astrophotography at Pangue - part VI

The planetary nebula "Helix" (NGC7293) in Aquarius

The "Ring Nebula" (M57), in Lyra, the archetype of planetary nebulae...

The diffuse nebula "Trifid" (M20), in Sagittarius

The globular cluster NGC6101, in Apus

The globular cluster NGC6397, in Ara

The globular cluster "Omega" (NGC5139), in Centaurus: the above clusters are stunning by themselves but usually get overlooked, because of this one...

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - May, 2020
Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.4, total exposures: each globular cluster, 18 minutes; Trifid nebula, 40 minutes; Ring nebula, 25 minutes; Helix nebula, 30 minutes;

May, 24th : one phase for two...

Some celestial coincidences have huge consequences, such as the similar apparent size of the Sun and the Moon as seen from Earth. But such coincidences do happen quite often, and even if not so spectacular, they are always fun to watch. A good example occurred in the evening of May, 24th, when the Moon and the planet Venus, visible together around Sunset, had the same exact phase, that is 4% disk illuminated, with the same orientation, hence harboring the same aspect at the very same time !

The Moon, distance to Earth: 390000 km ; Diameter: 3480 km ; Angular size: 31 arcmin.

Planet Venus, distance to Earth: 45 million km ; Diameter: 12100 km ; Angular size: 55 arcsec.

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - Smartphone fixed at prime focus of telescope...

Astrophotography at Pangue - part V

We just keep taking advantage of the local sky conditions that remain perfect, indifferent to the current world situation...

Main view of the central part of the complex nebula NGC3372, in Carina...

Centaurus A (NGC5128), a collision of galaxies that we can witness (almost) in live...

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - May, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.4, total exposure 45 minutes

May, 10th : two supernovae at once !...

Comet SWAN is gone, at least for southern observers, but we have been granted as soon with the spectacle of two supernovae visible at the same time, a bright one in a faint galaxy, and a fainter one in a bright galaxy !

The first one is SN2020hvf, a type Ia supernova happening in the remote galaxy NGC3643, in Leo. At a magnitude of 12.4, this is the brightest supernova visible in over a year, outshining the galaxy itself !

Full view, with the supernova marked on the right one. The host galaxy is barely visible to its upper right. The bright spot at the upper left corner is the much brighter galaxy NGC3640.
Closer view, showing the host galaxy NGC3643 (centre), with the supernova to its lower left.

The next one is SN2020jfo, a type II supernova at an estimated magnitude of 14.5, happening in the magnificent galaxy M61 in Virgo: strange enough, supernovae in beautiful galaxies are quite rare, so this one is highly appreciated by observers...

Full view, with the supernova marked on the bottom one.
The closer view below shows the details of the complex structure of the host galaxy, with the supernova to its inmediate right.

All photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - May, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.1, total exposure 16 minutes

Astrophotography at Pangue - part IV

The Milky Way, with the galactic centre... at the centre.

Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - May, 2020 - Canon 60D with 16mm lens f/2.8, single exposure 10 minutes

Astrophotography at Pangue - part III

Detail of the Eagle Nebula (IC4703), in Serpens. Note the dark nebulas near the centre, wellknown as the "Pillars of Creation", a famous feature revealed in 1995 by the Hubble Space telescope.

Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - May, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.1, total exposure 32 minutes

The magnificent galaxy M83, in Hydra...

Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - April, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.1, total exposure 20 minutes

More due soon...

Astrophotography at Pangue - part II

Below: Swan nebula (M17), in Sagittarius. West is up
Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - April, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.1, total exposure 22 minutes

Below: Barnard dark nebula B86 and open cluster NGC6520, in Sagittarius. North is up
Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - April, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.1, total exposure 15 minutes

Below: detail in the Eta Carinae nebula (NGC3372), the view is centered at roughly 40' south to the proper Eta Carinae star. North is up
Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - April, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.1, total exposure 22 minutes

Below: detail in the central area of the Running Chicken nebula (IC2944), in Centaurus. The field is approximately 15' wide. North is up
Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - April, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.1, total exposure 22 minutes

More due soon...

Finally a bright comet !...

It has been a long time since we got a spectacular comet in our sky (yes, we said it before...) and SWAN (c/2020 F8) might be the next one.

Although being still a little bit more distant than the Sun, it already shines at magnitude 7.5, very promising indeed, with a peak in brightness expected at 3 or even 2.5 by late May, so it's well worth to keep an eye on it.

On the last nights the comet could be observed in the southern constellation of Sculptor, not far from Fomalhault, just one hour before the beginning of dawn, and we've been there !

Below, comet Swan on April, 20th, single exposure 9 minutes

On the closer view below, can you glimpse the subtle reddish tail (upward) emerging from the green coma?

Below, comet Swan on April, 22nd, total exposure 18 minutes

On the morning of May, 2nd, the comet reached a magnitude of 5.0, and offered stunning views at the eyepiece. The picture below has been overexposed on purpose as to capture the subtle structure of the straight tail (the coma is kept out of field). Note also a diminute faint fuzzy toward the upper end of the tail, this is not a fragment of the nucleus, instead it is a distant galaxy (PGC293, estimated at some 380 millions light-years away...) The position in sky of the comet at that particular moment was approximately R.A. 00h05m12sec, dec. -14°24'19'' (J2000.0)

Now that the long time awaited comet ATLAS (c/2029 Y4) is breaking badly, the sole expectation for a naked-eye spectacle comes on SWAN only, although it is running too far North to be appreciated from our southern skies, so we'll just keep very attentive to the news from northern observers...

Photos: Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.4

The Day the Earth Stood Still...

From early March we are living difficult times worldwide, but the stars are always here, waiting for us to look at them again...

Until further notice, the observatory no longer receives visitors, but astrophotography doesn't need to stop, and so we even take advantage of this extra time to capture some of the local wonders, as presented below...

NGC6188 nebula (far bottom) and rich starry fields in Ara
Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - March, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of 80mm Refractor f/4.9, 18 exposures totalling 4.5 minutes

NGC2024, the complex Flame nebula
Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - March, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of SCT Meade 403mm reduced at f/6.1, 10 minutes exposures

NGC3532 star cluster (left) and NGC3372 nebula (right)
Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - March, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of 80mm Refractor f/4.9, 48 exposures totalling 12 minutes

IC2944, the Running Chicken nebula (right). The field is approximately 1°15' wide and 2°15' height. West is up
Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - March, 2020 - Canon 60D at prime focus of 80mm Refractor f/4.9, 60 exposures totalling 15 minutes

Milky Way with Large Magellanic Cloud (upper left corner)
Cristian Valenzuela / Observatorio del Pangue - March, 2020 - Canon 60D with 100mm lens, single exposure 2 minutes

More due soon...

The Observatory and the Moon...

On the evening of January, 26th, the Moon decided to set exactly behind the domes of the Cerro Tololo International Observatory (CTIO), as seen from our own observatory... not quite a cosmic alignement, but definitely an opportunity to get nice pictures of a somehow rare event.

Photos below: Cristian Valenzuela/Observatorio del Pangue - January, 26th, 2020

Photo below: Fernando Arancibia, visitor to the Observatorio del Pangue - January, 26th, 2020