The Gemini Observatory consists of two optical / infrared telescopes with primary mirrors of 8.1 meters in diameter each, located in two of the best observation sites on the planet, Mount Mauna Kea, in Hilo, Hawaii, and Cerro Pachón , in the Coquimbo Region. From these locations, the Gemini telescopes can collectively access the entire sky of both hemispheres. The Gemini Observatory is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, (AURA) Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation of the United States, on behalf of the Gemini participants. The diversity of instrumentation in demand of Gemini, allows to implement very efficient observation modes, changing for example, from the exploration of the violent nuclei of active galaxies, to the exploration of worlds around other stars, in just minutes. Gemini excels in the search and characterization of extrasolar planets, at the same time that the advanced technology of adaptive optics used by its telescopes eliminates the distortion of the Earth’s atmosphere to develop ultra-high resolution astronomy.
Guided tours are on Fridays, if weather conditions permit. Reservations have no costs, but must be made several weeks in advance. Visiting groups are small and young people under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Admission passes must be withdrawn prior to travel. There is no public transport, it must be done in private vehicles. The transfer time from La Serena is approximately 2 hours.
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