Cooperative Projects in Chile – 2010

The achievements of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have partly been made possible thanks to the constant support of the Government of Chile and the collaborative and constructive relationship that ESO has with Chilean society and the local communities near to the observatories.

ESO has established four collaboration programmes to promote astronomy, science and education, and these are described below.

In 2010, the ESO–Government of Chile Joint Committee selected the following education and public outreach projects, to be undertaken during 2011:

Renovation of the historic Observatory Manuel Foster

This project aims to renovate the historic Observatory Manuel Foster and create an important centre for astronomy education and outreach. This centre will offer themed programmes for students, educators and the general public. This observatory, located atop Cerro San Cristóbal, in central Santiago de Chile, was built early in the 20th century and was donated to the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile by one of its former students, Manuel Foster, in 1928. The observatory, which produced the first catalogues of stellar radial velocities of the southern sky, was recently declared a Historic National Monument in Chile.

Responsible Institution: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), Santiago, Metropolitan Region.
Contact: David Orellana

Manuel Foster Observatory

Outreach in Astronomy in the Valparaíso Region

This project includes a programme of talks, workshops and astronomical observations for school children and for the general public in the Valparaíso Region. It also plans to produce educational material to be distributed to teachers, as well as to design and produce a travelling exhibition. Finally, the project will maintain the astronomical blog AstroNosotros and keep it updated regularly. Responsible Institution: Universidad de Valparaíso (UV), Valparaíso, V Region of Chile.



Logo Valparaiso

Responsible Institution: Universidad de Valparaíso (UV), Valparaíso, V Region of Chile.

Contact: Nikolaus Vogt
Blog AstroNosotros:

Website: More info on ongoing outreach activities at the Universidad de Valparaíso (Spanish):
More info on executed outreach projects (Spanish):

Ojos al Universo

Astronomy Park at the USACH Planetarium

The aim of this project is to establish an Astronomy Park in the green area surrounding the Planetarium in the campus of the Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH). The project includes the design, production and installation of a structure inspired by the work of the Chilean artist Roberto Matta. This piece will be part of  “Matta’s itinerary in Chile”, a commemorative activity that will take place during 2011 for the centenary of Matta’s birth.

Logo USACHResponsible Institution: Fundación para el Funcionamiento, Desarrollo y Promoción del Planetario de la USACH, Santiago, Metropolitan Region.
Contact: Carolina Díaz Soler

UMCE Astronomy School for Teachers

The information on the education and public outreach projects selected by the ESO–Government of Chile Joint Committee 2009, and executed during 2010 is available here.

Cooperation Agreement between ESO and the Universidad Católica del Norte

In 1998 ESO and the Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN) signed an agreement to create the Astronomy Outreach Centre Paranal–UCN to increase the awareness of astronomy in Region II of Chile,. The centre, which is administered by the Institute of Astronomy at UCN, offers a variety of activities such as talks, star parties and field trips for night observations to the students and the general public. The regular public tours of the Sirius Observatory, inaugurated in 2009 at the UCN Campus in Antofagasta, are also part of the programme.

Responsible Institution: Instituto de Astronomía UCN
Contact: Eduardo Unda-Sanzana

More information on the Astronomy Outreach Centre Paranal-UCN:
Flyer of the Astronomy Outreach Centre Paranal-UCN is available at:


The ESO Scholarship Programme for Taltal Students

Logo Municipalidad de TaltalTaltal is the closest town to the Paranal Observatory. In order to support local education programmes and encourage students to continue in education, outstanding undergraduate students from Taltal can apply for an ESO Scholarship to fully cover their annual education fees. This benefit is renewed annually, after an evaluation of the academic performance of each student. In 2011, six students were awarded this scholarship.

A separate amount is assigned directly by ESO to the Municipality of Taltal, to partially fund more than 40 underprivileged undergraduates.


The APEX — Sequitor Fund

The area of San Pedro de Atacama has a unique natural richness, as well as a significant historical and cultural heritage, whose preservation is important for ESO. Funds are assigned annually to miscellaneous cultural, sporting and educational projects led by groups in the Sequitor Community, where APEX has its operations centre. The main objective is to improve the quality of life of the community through economic support to their projects.