The total length of the program will be 10 days. Students will be enrolling in the 2-credit hour course PHY 4905 (Independent Study: Observational Astronomy).USF. The group will spend 5-6 days at a telescope park in Atacama, Chile to study the southern sky. The transparency of the sky at 5000m elevation during a new moon in December will allow students to contemplate the magnificence of the southern sky which offers unique views of the Milky Way galaxy and of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (the closest external galaxies), and much more. With the 3- credit courses taken at USF, the students will have acquired the knowledge required to conduct astronomical observations while at Atacama, Chile.
Known as the astronomy capital of the world, Northern Chile provides an amazing opportunity for students to observe the heavens like no place else on Earth. Even with the naked eye, what can be seen in the high mountains near the Atacama Desert has captured the imagination of star-gazers from all over the world and rocketed scientific advancement and innovation. Students on this program will have the chance to view these magnificent sights firsthand as they travel to San Pedro. In addition to the celestial bodies themselves, students will also tour the Paranal Observatory and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. While not able to use this sensitive equipment directly, they will learn the ins and outs of how current research is being conducted. Students will also have a chance to participate in lectures with experts from the National University of Chile in Santiago, home to the National Observatory.
Upload your completed form to the Course Approval Form Questionnaire.
Academic Program and Course Information
PHY4905 Observational Astronomy (2 credit hours)
Dr. Sarath Witanachchi, Associate Chair and Professor of Physics
Professor Witanachchi has been a Professor of Physics at USF since 1990. During this period he has taught variety of undergraduate and graduate courses and has been involved in energy related research. In October 2011 he visited several universities in Vietnam, including universities in Hanoi, Vinh, and Ho Chin Min, to establish education and research collaborations between USF and these Universities. As a result, he along with Prof. Frank Biafora initiated the Study Abroad in Vietnam program. He and Dr. Biafora traveled with 8 students in the summer of 2012, and with 8 students in the summer of 2013, to Vietnam. This 3-week program has been a great success as students were exposed to a unique cultural and educational experience.
Dr. Kevin Mackay: He has been an Instructor of Physics and Astronomy at USF since 2008. During his tenure he has developed and taught astronomy and astrophysics courses toward the astronomy minor as well as introductory physics courses. He has over 20 years experience of teaching astronomy and conducting observational classes. He is the faculty representative for the Society of Physics Students (SPS); lecturing numerous times throughout the semester for both SPS, the department, as well as in public outreach beyond USF.
Winter 2017 Total Program Cost: $2,640 + tuition
* Entrances where indicated in itinerary
* Internal transportation in Chile
* All lodging
* International Airfare (Tampa > Chile> Tampa)
* Most meals except for those indicated in itinerary
* Any visas required.
* Additional transportation (metros, taxis, etc.)
* Passport fees
* Luggage fees or other incidentals
* Graduate Tuition Differential
**This price is based upon an enrollment of 12 students, the minimum needed in order to conduct the program.
A $500 program deposit is due at the time of program acceptance by the Program Directors in order to confirm a space in the program and to be registered for USF course credit.
Financial Aid and Scholarship Funding
Many funding opportunities are available to USF students who are planning to study abroad. Please see our funding page for further details.
How and When to Pay
Please click here for further details regarding payment.
"Most foreigners visit Chile without incident. Nevertheless, street crime is a problem, especially in Santiago and Valparaiso. As in any large city, be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Be alert for pick-pocketing, purse and camera snatching, and thefts from backpacks and rental cars. Petty crime is common in major tourist destinations, in hotel lobbies and restaurants, internet cafes, at bus and subway stations, and in cruise ship ports. Exercise caution when touring Cerro Santa Lucia, Cerro San Cristobal and Mercado Central as pick-pocketing and muggings occur frequently in these areas. Criminals usually work in groups and employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting visitors. A few taxi drivers engage in currency switching and overcharge with altered taxi meters. Incidents of individuals smashing car windows of occupied vehicles stopped in traffic and taking items of value on seats have occurred. Drivers should keep car doors locked at all times and valuables out of sight while driving and while the vehicle is parked. Your passport is a valuable document. Report the loss or theft of a U.S. passport to the police and to the U.S. Embassy immediately. Secure your passport and other valuables in a hotel safe, and carry a photocopy of your passport for identification purposes. Leave copies of your passport and important documents with family members in case of emergency. For information about measures you can take to protect yourself overseas, see our pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad."
As in any city, students in should be particularly aware of their surroundings and their belongings, and should not draw particular attention to themselves -- tourists in any area are easy targets. Excessive drinking is the leading cause of life-threatening instances and emergencies abroad. As the US State Department site warns, a large number of crimes take place in and around drinking establishments in Brazil.
Additional information will be provided to registered participants, but we encourage you to consult the following website as soon as possible.
To gain a different perspective on safety, you may want to visit other countries Foreign Travel Websites. As a point of comparison, we encourage you to see what these sites say about safety in U.S. cities:
A common scam is to spray mustard or a similar substance on the tourist from a distance. A pickpocket will then approach the tourist offering to help clean the stain, and while doing so, he or an accomplice robs the victim. Another scam is to entice tourists into a bar known as a "wiskeria" with a flyer for a shopping discount or free show. Once inside, the victim is not allowed to leave until he or she pays an exorbitant amount for a drink. Thieves regularly nab unattended purses, backpacks, laptops, and luggage, and criminals will often distract visitors for a few seconds to steal valuables. While most American victims are not physically injured when robbed, criminals are known to use force when they encounter resistance. Visitors are advised to immediately hand over all cash and valuables if confronted. Thieves may target visitors wearing expensive watches or jewelry, or carrying laptop computer cases.
Health and Fitness Requirements
The majority of USF's study abroad programs involve a great deal of walking, and in some cases hiking and trekking. Students will be required to climb stairs, and walk a great deal, even if taking public transportation. If you have any concerns regarding your health (mental or physical), please consult your doctor and the staff of Education Abroad prior to the program!
USF provides program participants with sickness/accident and emergency medical evacuation insurance valid for the dates of the program. Those who will travel independently, either in advance of the program or after the program ends, must ensure that they have insurance coverage valid outside the U.S.