Day 1: Chile Welcomes Bevy of Astronomy Educators

So often on business travel friends assume I’m enjoying yourself when in reality I’m just pushing through the day to get everything done, albeit in another location. Traveling to Chile with the ACEAP 2015 team, however, I can honestly say I’m having a great time WHILE I’m working!

After arriving at the hotel with the first batch of ambassadors, we decided to do an impromptu tour of some of the highlights here in Santiago. We started at the famous Mercado Central for some traditional Chilean cuisine in a historic setting. This allowed us to get to know each other a bit better, discuss what we hope to get out of the next 10 days, and talk about what draws people into the field of astronomy.

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After lunch, it was time to work off the meal, so we walked to San Cristobal Hill, which towers about 300 meters over the rest of the city and is home to an impressive statue of the Virgin Mary.

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The view from this location is stunning, and though the city below appeared a bit hazy, it was still breathtaking.

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Getting to the summit, however, was a bit more of an adventure that we anticipated. On my previous trip, there were regular buses that traversed the winding road to the top. This time, however, the road was closed, so the only transportation was a “funicular” — a cable-drawn series of cars that take a direct and rather steep journey up the mountain.

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Thankfully, the team was feeling quite adventurous (though perhaps grateful to come back down again)!

As we start the first full day on our ACEAP adventure — after the final two ambassadors arrive — we’ll begin with some presentations and discussions at AUI headquarters. Following our program orientation, we’ll jump right into astronomy with a trip to the Observatorio Astronomico Andino for a tour and hopefully some amazing viewing of the Southern Sky.

Here’s looking up!

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