Crowdfunding campaign in the astronomical community:
to establish a planetarium in San Pedro de Atacama
This year, ALMA, and its global astronomical community will celebrate its first 10 years of science operation with a scientific conference. Ten years of spectacular results enabling thousands of astronomers to create transformative science, in collaboration with a truly global, multi-wavelength, scientific community. It will also be 10 years since ALMA's memorable inauguration on March 13, 2013.
The proposed crowdfunding campaign, aimed at 100k USD*, to provide a full-dome planetarium. This allows us to include in the celebration the (young) people of San Pedro de Atacama, ALMA’s host community. Here hosting is not just at the level of the local and regional governments. ALMA is located on the lands of the Licanantai communities, on the sacred lands of their ancestors where ownership of territory has a deeper meaning, that extends to a profound spiritual level. This is an opportunity to express appreciation that the ALMA Observatory could be located at their lands, in a way that will open the ALMA universe to their people, leading to a greater understanding and appreciation of ALMA's presence. The planetarium will provide schools and colleges with access to a window into the world of science, technology and engineering, inspiring young people to learn and participate in these STEM fields, with long-lasting benefits for their personal development and the country.
By materializing the proposed gift, in baryonic material, the astronomical community will show its gratitude and high appreciation for allowing the combination of a unique, outstanding facility, with an equally unique, outstanding observing site, to become one of the greatest observatories of all time.
This planetarium will be part of the P100 planetarium project, which has been initiated by the Fundación “Planetarios Educativos para Chile”, whose aim is to build 100 planetariums distributed over all regions of Chile. This P100 Foundation will also be responsible for the operations of all these planetariums, including the one of San Pedro de Atacama.
The planetarium for San Pedro de Atacama will have a diameter of 8 meters and a capacity of 50 people. The feasibility is based on a pilot planetarium, with a diameter of 6 meters, that was designed and built during the pandemic, for a public observatory, located in Ocoa near the "Parque Nacional la Campana", 5th region. A novel combination of techniques used makes the cost a fraction of a classical construction. The design for San Pedro was slightly modified to allow for complete prefabrication, a key characteristic to make the project feasible. Some preliminary work, such as the construction of a mold for the 8-meter dome segments, has already been completed.
A budget estimate for a complete turnkey planetarium, based on the experience of the pilot project, shows that the cost will be about 100,000 US dollars or euros. It is expected that a significant portion of the operating costs will be covered by ticket sales to tourists, allowing free access to schools.
It is intended that the planetarium will be proposed as a first step towards an ALMA Visitor Center, which can become an important component in the local public outreach of one of the world's greatest observatories.
Donate, go to: https://gofund.me/7efdfcf4
Suggestion: A donation of 15-to-20 USD/Euro for each authorship on an “ALMA paper”?
Committee of Recommendation: R. Bachiller, T.Bergin, E. Caux, F. Combes, P. Casselli, I. de Pater, H. Falcke, M. Gerin, M. Hogerheijde, M. Ishiguro, A. Karska, M. Saito, E. van Dishoeck, C. Waelkens,
Thijs de Graauw, March 2023, Ocoa, Hijuelas, Chile
Emeritus ALMA director 2008-2013.