New Chilean Astronomical Observatory Took its First Image

The Ckoirama Observatory, located in Antofagasta region, started its operations on May

Imagen: Universidad de Antofagasta

Although Chile is recognized for the opportunities its skies represent for astronomic observation, most findings so far have been associated to ALMA and ESO observatories; both functioning with international operation and financing.

However, the situation changed a couple of weeks ago when the Ckoirama Observatory started its operations in Antofagasta region. The construction of Ckoirama was announced last year and it is the first observatory that was financed entirely with Chilean funding.

The observatory, directed by Unidad de Astronomía from Universidad de Antofagasta, has already spotted its first light a few days before its launching. The first light milestone marks the first time a telescope generates a professional quality image. The image was taken by Chakana Telescope, the biggest in the observatory, and the object under the lense was the Keyhole Nebula, a detailed part of Eta Carinae Nebula, located 10,000 light years from Earth. This is what Conicyt, one of the institutions that financed the observatory construction together with Gobierno Regional de Antofagasta and Universidad de Antofagasta, reported.

The observatory will be open for both astronomers and investigators from Universidad de Antofagasta and other institutions, and general public from the second semester of this year and once the test run period is over. This also complies with the inclusive logic the observatory was devised with since its announcement, when the region community was in charge of choosing its name and the name for its main telescopes. As a result, the observatory was named Ckoirama, which means ‘twilight’ in Kunza language, while its main telescope was named ‘Chakana’, the word for ‘bridge’ in Quechua language.