This project was completed through an agreement between the Academy of the United States Air Force, the Department of Physics of the University of La Serena and the Mamalluca Observatory of the Municipality of Vicuña.
A new telescope is now available at the Cerro Mamalluca Observatory that will give new impetus to this municipal space oriented to astronomical tourism, as it is a scientific telescope that is linked to a worldwide network to study space debris and the various aspects of astronomy
This project was finalized through an agreement between the United States Air Force Academy - through the Latin American Aerospace Research and Development Office (SOARD) - the Department of Physics of the University of La Serena and the Mamalluca Observatory of the Illustrious Municipality of Vicuña.
The purpose of this agreement is to work together with the Falcon Telescope Network (FTN), which is a global network of small aperture telescopes, mainly used for the collection of satellite observations and characterization, and also for astronomical research in the that collaborators around the world partner with educational institutions.
The inauguration of this new telescope was attended by Mayor Rafael Vera; the director of Human Resources of the University of La Serena, Héctor Bugueño, on behalf of the Rector, Dr. Nibaldo Avilés; the academic and astronomer of the Department of Physics of the ULS, Dr. Amelia Ramírez; the physics professor of the United States Air Force Academy, Frances Chun; the representative of the United States Embassy, Katty Maldonado; the Doctor of the United States Air Force, Roger Tippetts; and the Mamalluca coordinator, Luís Hernán Vigorena.
Dr. Amelia Ramírez explained that this project `` extends the horizon of this Observatory towards scientific observation. Not only supporting this network of USAFA Falcon robotic telescopes, which will soon cover from Hawaii to Australia, but also allow us to access our own scientific observation projects, which will be part of those services that this Observatory can offer to the community of amateurs and students of academies or astronomy clubs. Not only for simple tourist observation, but for true technological transfer and approach to science and its research methods. ''
The astronomer added that the inauguration of this telescope `` corresponds to another stage of this beautiful process of growth of the observatory, and is not the beginning or end of an event. It is a change in attitude that can define the difference between those who look at the sky with curious eyes and those who make heaven their inspiration for life. ''
The scientist Frances Chun, meanwhile, highlighted the work done to achieve this project, emphasizing that it is the first one built in this part of the world, the one that joins Australia, South Africa and Hawaii. '' The Mamalluca-Falcón Observatory will provide research opportunities never before seen in research on satellite characteristics, astronomy research, science, technology, engineering and in mathematics studies. The Falcon Telescope Network, in its entirety of telescopes worldwide, will be available at the Mamalluca Observatory and at the University of La Serena for astronomy research. We hope that the network will be of great added value for the local community and for schools for both Vicuña and La Serena. For example, students from Vicuña, La Serena and throughout Chile can take astronomical photographs using a telescope in Australia or in South Africa during their school hours, '' he said.
For the mayor of Vicuña, Rafael Vera, it is a sustained work that was done with various levels, which resulted in this millionaire project that will result in the contribution of Mamalluca to the study of space. "The dream that was born in the early nineties, has now advanced a lot, to become the pioneer observatory in astronomical tourism, now to be part of a worldwide network for research is a great development," he said.
It is important to note that the Falcon Network supports undergraduate or graduate students in their research in astronomy. The initiative allows students to carry out research related to astronomical observation around variable stars, exoplanet transits, asteroid detection and monitoring, and that collaborators can carry out astronomy activities with students of basic and secondary education to motivate them in the Study of this discipline.