The stars of the southern sky

We took a trip to Northern Chile especially for a visit to Alpha Aldea Amateur Observatory site to see these stars. A completely different sky than the one I’ve seen all my life.

It was thrilling to see the mysterious constellations of the southern hemisphere, Scorpion with bright Antares at the head, Aquarius, the Magellanic Clouds, and the famed Alpha and Beta Centauri, which glitter near the horizon.

We saw the rings of Saturn, nebulae, groups of stars invisible to our naked eye, and the twin stars of Alpha Centauri rotating around each other in blue and red and gold. It may not have been the Cassini, but it was pretty amazing.

The woman leading this event is a graduate student at the University of La Serena, and she told us there would be a meteor shower later, about four in the morning, but as we would be back in La Serena by then, we wouldn’t really see it. She went on to explain that shooting stars are bits of rock burning up in the atmosphere and are completely random. Just as she said the word “random,” a shooting star streamed through the sky behind her. Pure magic.



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