On January 6, 2024, after an intense year of work, the Navegantes Estelares project was launched, which includes a permanent totem with images and astronomical information inside the Monumental Lighthouse of La Serena, located in the Coquimbo Region (Chile), as well as infographics with content about astronomy in Chile, and occasional projections on the facade of the building. The project, led by Object Designer Saga Jorquera, was financed by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation, through the Public Science Fund for Regional Public Spaces, with the collaboration of the Las Campanas Observatory of the Carnegie Institution for Science (LCO), the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), and the Municipality of La Serena, in addition to the sponsorship of the Ministry of Education and Sernatur.
The premiere also featured the LabMobile “Conciencia Astronomía”, an itinerant laboratory operated by the Las Campanas Observatory in conjunction with GMT and the Ecoscience Foundation. In it, experiments on light and optics were carried out for the general public. In addition, there was a discussion on the importance of the development of astronomy in Chile and the discoveries made using telescopes installed in national territory. The Director of LCO Leopoldo Infante, the Chilean Director of GMT Oscar Contreras, the Executive Director of the Fundación Cielos de Chile Daniela Gonzalez, the Director of the Astronomy Department of the Universidad Central Paulina Troncoso and the LCO Communications and Outreach Officer Carol Rojas participated in the event.
The projection on the façade of El Faro, 20 meters high and 4 meters wide, consists of videos and images that show a journey from our planet to the rest of the Universe. Much of this material was taken at the Las Campanas Observatory.
For Saga Jorquera, the main inspiration of the project is to disseminate the importance of the skies of Chile as a world heritage, along with socializing this knowledge in a way that is close to everyone. “The infinite and grandiose of the cosmos inspires me in its greatness and in this mystery of recognizing ourselves as the stellar beings that we all are,” he comments.
“From Las Campanas Observatory we applaud this initiative, which raises awareness among the general public and children about the importance of the sky without light pollution as a natural resource and astronomical heritage of Chile,” said Leopoldo Infante. In addition, the astronomer invited everyone to be proactive in the battle against excessive lighting in cities through citizen monitoring, available on the GLOWATCH.CL platform.
The next steps are to project “Stellar Navigators” in the summer season 2024 at the Monumental Lighthouse of La Serena and then to opt for more resources to travel, share and disseminate this knowledge and experience in different regions of the country.
The next dates are January 20, February 17 and March 22, 2024. All project information is available on the website www.navegantesestelares.cl.