Moving Through a Dream

In ACEAP by Brian Koberlein5 Comments

It’s 12:30 am as I write this. The day starting with meetings at AURA, and a tour of some of the facilities. After that long day we went to Cerro Mayu observatory to observe the southern sky. It was the first time I got to see Alpha Centauri and the Southern Cross with my own eyes. While I’m somewhat familiar with the southern constellations from drawings, drawings don’t give you a sense of their actual scale in the night sky. The experience was a combination of familiarity and strangeness.

And therein lies one of the struggles with writing about my trip at the moment. There is a lot to process, and little time to really capture these experiences in words. Certainly not clear and well written words. I’m experiencing so much, so quickly, that it is almost like sipping from a fire hose.

Later today we visit Gemini, which is at about 8,000 feet. Afterwards we’ll go to CTIO and spend the next couple nights up on the mountain. And then onward to more. It’s a lot to take in, and so many experiences combined with a bit of sleep deprivation gives you an almost otherworldly experience. As one of my fellow ambassadors said, it feels like moving through a dream.


  1. Was talking with my wife a week or two ago about how seeing the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere would be a completely different experience – yet similar – and how seeing it, Alpha Centauri, the Southern Cross, and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds was on my bucket list.

    Your experience sounds just like ours from years ago when we went to Egypt. Was very much like moving through a dream.

    I had to shift much more “into the moment” for that and when I did really began to enjoy the ride. The more I shifted, the deeper the experience went.

    It may take a while to process it all into something to write about – I humbly suggest not being concerned about that, just let it happen at its own pace and enjoy yourself! 🙂

  2. I can see the Magellanic Clouds every night if it is clear – which happens here quite often but I haven’t seen the big dipper in over a decade! Sometimes I look at Orion and think .. well it looks almost the same just the Orion nebular is on the other side of the 3 stars 🙂 Feels really weird …

  3. Having worked at CTIO for 13 years, one of the things that surprised me was during my interview when I first arrived and went for a walk in Santiago from the “Guest House”.
    I knew things were “turned around” in the Southern Hemisphere, but nevertheless I was a bit surprised when I was just navigating the streets using the sun. We always are used to the sun generally “coming up to the left and moving to the right”. I’d never thought of it as a “principle” until that first walk in the Southern Hemisphere, where it went from “right to left”.

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