La Silla Observatory

La Silla Observatory — La Silla is a 2400-m mountain, bordering the southern extremity of the Atacama desert in Chile.

It is located about 160 Km north of La Serena. Its geographical coordinates are: Latitude 29 15′ south & Longitude 70 44′ west.

Originally known as Cinchado, the mountain was renamed La Silla (the saddle) after its shape. It rises quite isolated and remote from any artificial light and dust sources (astronomy’s worst enemies).

La Silla was the first ESO observatory built in Chile. Its history is full of optimism and disappointments, ups and downs, since its beginnings in the 50’s until the middle of the 70’s when the observatory became a reality.


La Silla Observatory

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