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The desert , Chile
The desert
© Tiago Fernandez / 123RF
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The desert Chile
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Discover The desert

First choice location for NASA, the Atacama Desert boasts some of the clearest views in the world of the night sky. Despite the size of this desert, tourists and scientists alike are often attracted to one particular area - San Pedro de Atacama. The town itself is a hub of activity - meaning travellers on a one-night stargazing tour can easily spend an extra few days here without getting bored. San Pedro de Atacama's popularity stems from its quaint character (population of only 7109) and its location amidst some of Chile's greatest scenery including the Salar de Atacama salt flat and Licancabur volcano.

The original stargazing tour is one led by SPACE (tickets - £23) and is run by a friendly couple very passionate about stargazing. If you choose to do a tour with SPACE, the bus will pick you up from San Pedro de Atacama and will drive for around 20 minutes to Atacama Lodge. Here your guide will explain the basics of astronomy and will even take orders for a hot drink to be served upon your return. The tour then takes you outside for the real stargazing which lasts around two hours.

The sky is clearest when there is a new moon; so if possible, try to coincide your trip with this. To check weather forecasts and moon cycles, visit AccuWeather. You should also take plenty of warm clothes as the lack of cloud cover in the desert at night makes it extremely cold.

The desert

The desert , Chile
The desert © Longtaildog / 123RF
The desert , Chile
The desert © GRAPHICOBSESSION
The desert , Chile
The desert © Ksenia Ragozina / 123RF
The desert , Chile
The desert © Natursports / 123RF
The desert , Chile
The desert © GRAPHICOBSESSION
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