Billions of stars in palm of your hand with Chile’s newest app

Fundación Imagen de Chile releases new Mobile Observatory app, letting you browse and share spectacular images of the universe.

The various mega-telescopes and world-class observatories in Chile have produced some of the most brilliant, awe-inspiring images of our universe. Now you can see these amazing achievements wherever you are.

The Fundación Imagen de Chile has created a new mobile app — the Chile Mobile Observatory — which brings together 100 of the best images ever captured of our universe. These glimpses into other worlds come from the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA), the Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) and the La Silla Observatory, all of which are based in Northern Chile.

Chile is home to over to almost half the world’s telescope infrastructure, and this is set to increase to over two thirds in the next decade. The Atacama’s dry, clear dark skies have transformed it into  is the world’s premier location for astronomy. Now, those extraordinary skies are available to everyone, everywhere.

“This project bears fruit to the decades long international cooperation in which Chile has helped advance the progress of science by opening up its skies and providing human and technological assets,” María Teresa Ruiz, recipient of Chile’s National Science Prize and contributor to the project, said. “Also, it shows that in its territory ancient landscapes and state of the art technology can coexist in harmony.”

Catalogued as “Stars,” “Nebulas,” and “Galaxies,” the images are available for download and can be easily shared by the app’s users and friends. Users can also rank the images from 1 to 5 generating a “top 100” list from input from around the world.

But the Mobile Observatory, which is available for phones and tablets, isn’t just about seeing what has already been captured, it also encourages users to get out there and observe the stars themselves. Thanks to its astronomical calendar feature, anyone can keep track of the upcoming eclipses, meteor showers, comet sightings and other phenomena, as well as find the ideal places to visit to see them.

Mobile apps aside, Chile has been building a reputation as a top-destination for stargazers. Beyond its many international and world-renowned observatories, the Andean nation also recently received the first star-light reservation certificate in the Western Hemisphere. Parque Nacional Fray Jorge in Ovalle, within Chile’s northern Coquimbo region is now the premier destination for tourists looking to stargaze under pristine skies.