From outer space to Earth's inner core, explore the universe from Morrison Planetarium's 75-foot digital dome.
Home to one of the world’s largest all-digital planetarium domes, the Academy is an incredible place to see stars on the big screen. For the real thing, however, few places compare to Chile.
In Big Astronomy: People, Places, Discoveries, journey to three world-class observatories in Chile’s rugged Andes Mountains and arid Atacama Desert—remote, extreme regions that happen to have the perfect conditions for astronomical research. Along the way, you’ll meet an inspiring cast of astronomers, engineers, technicians, and support staff who keep these mega-machines running.
While Morrison Planetarium is temporarily closed, we're taking the show online! Join us on YouTube for weekly 360˚-livestreams of Big Astronomy:
The astronomy capital of the world
There’s a reason Chile is home to about 70% of the world’s astronomy infrastructure: Dry, stable air and clear, dark night skies. These ideal atmospheric and meteorological conditions—plus the virtual absence of light pollution—enable Chilean observatories to view celestial bodies thousands of light-years away.
The best and the brightest
From keeping 4-meter mirrors spotless to interpreting terabytes of interstellar data, running the world’s largest observatories requires the coordinated efforts of hundreds of passionate, talented people with a constellation of diverse skills.
Scoping things out
Big Astronomy’s observatories look into space in two different ways. Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) and Gemini South Observatory use optical telescopes to collect and magnify visible light with mirrors, while the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a radio telescope comprising 66 networked antennae that collect radio waves emitted by distant astronomical objects.
Learning or teaching from home? Our Educator Guide brings Big Astronomy’s cosmic concepts back down to Earth. Get clear, concise explanations of key astronomy terms, and dig in to hands-on activities, extensions, and enrichment for students of all ages.
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