WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, September 29th, the
American Astronomical Society, the Embassy of Chile and the University of
Chile will host two events under the title "Chile and the United States,
Partners in Astronomy." The purpose of this meeting is to highlight the close
relationship between Chile and the United States in the field of Astronomy for
the last 150 years. This bond between scientists of both countries has allowed
during the last 50 years, and particularly over the last decade, the
installation of large telescopes in Chile, making possible highly relevant
discoveries in the field of astronomy.
Additionally, Chile has unique climatic and geographic qualities which
favor research of the skies. The dry climate up north and the clarity of the
atmosphere were key factors that persuaded North American scientists to
establish a base in Chile and to build the first international observatory in
Cerro Tololo in 1967.
The first event on September 29th at noon, will begin with a lunch
conference in the US House of Representatives (Rayburn House Office Building.
Room 2325. Capitol Hill). The purpose of this first activity is to present to
the scientific experts of the American legislative branch, the relevance of
the research in the astronomy field being conducted in Chilean northern
observatories and the future potential out of cooperation between both
countries in this sphere of knowledge.
Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R) and ranking member Bart Gordon (D) of the
House Science Committee are cosponsors of the event. One of the key-note
speakers will be Dr. Paul Vanden Bout, Director of the North American
Scientific Center of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). Following Dr.
Vanden Bout, Dr. Maria Teresa Ruiz, Director of the Astronomy Department at
the University of Chile, will address the audience. The conference will end
with Congressman Dario Paya's address, member of the Science and Technology
Committee of the Chilean House of Representatives.
As highlighted by the Chairman of the House Science Committee, Congressman
Boehlert: "The U.S.-Chile astronomical partnership is a testament to what can
be accomplished when nations work together for the advancement of science. It
has produced some of the greatest astronomical observatories in the world,
from which have sprung countless discoveries that have greatly enhanced our
knowledge of our universe. As Chairman of the House Science Committee, I will
continue to encourage this valuable partnership as it undertakes to build the
next generation of premier telescopes."
Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee, the Ranking Democratic Member of the House
Committee on Science, made the following comment regarding cooperation
between Chile and the United States in astronomical research:
"Chile and the United States have had a long and successful partnership in
expanding the frontiers of astronomy. The current radio astronomy project,
led by the National Science Foundation, to construct the Large Millimeter
Array is the most recent in a series of astronomical observatories that take
advantage of the unique conditions available for astronomy in Chile. The
scientific collaboration between our two nations has helped forge ties of
mutual understanding and friendship as our scientists work together to
unravel the secrets of the universe."
Starting at 2:30 p.m., at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (1530 P
Street NW), a seminar will take place targeted at the North American
scientific community. At this second event, the work and projects of the
current and future observatories in Chile will be presented. We will hear
from: Dr. Jose Maza, with the Astronomy Department at the University of Chile;
Dr. Monica Rubio, President of the Chilean Society of Astronomy; Dr. Fred Lo,
Director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO); and Dr. Anthony
Redhead, from the California Institute of Technology. Other participants will
be Dr. Nick Suntzeff from Cerro Tololo Observatory; Dr. Scott Fisher, from
Gemini observatory; and Dr. Miguel Roth, Director of Las Campanas Observatory.
Mr. Andres Bianchi, Ambassador of Chile for the United States, describes
as follows the relevance of the Chile-North America collaboration in the
"422 years of Chilean astronomy have passed since a Spanish soldier made
the first notes on a lunar eclipse in the city of Valdivia. A leap in
knowledge in this area and also a first 'partnership' between the United
States and Chile came with the arrival in 1849 of US scientists from the
Washington Naval Observatory, to look at Venus and Mars.
The importance of Chilean skies was highlighted by the building of the
international North American as well as European observatories since the
1960's in Cerro Tololo, La Silla and Las Campanas.
Successive generational leaps took place in 1990 with the construction of
a very large telescope in Cerro Paranal, with Gemini Sur, with the Magellan
project and, more recently, with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA)
that by 2010 will install 64 parabolic antennas in the Llano of Chajnantor.
But the exploration of Chilean skies is not over yet. As we speak, new mega-
observatories projects -- even larger than the ones operating today -- with
the capability of exploring remote stars and galaxies are being assessed. This
is only possible with international collaboration. Chile aspires to
participate in this scientific and technologic effort deploying our most
valuable assets: our skies, our universities, our technical and scientific
researchers, and our economic and institutional stability."
SOURCE American Astronomical Society