A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

May 19, 2019

Table of Contents for the Second Edition of “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: a guide to the observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos”. Any words in bold are explained in the glossary. The second edition of “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe” is now on sale, price 17€ from shops or 15€ + P&P from this site. To continue reading, click here to buy the book.

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Robert’s Wall (la pared de Roberto)

May 16, 2019

This photo was taken from the viewpoint at Los Andennes, where you get a spectacular view into the Caldera. From here you can see a dyke called La Pared de Roberto (Robert’s Wall). It’s about four metres high (13ft). [Volcanic dykes are formed when moulten lava fills a crack in the rock and solidifies slowly into very hard rock called basalt. Later on the softer, surrounding rock is eroded away,…

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What to Feed Lizards on La Palma

Male Canary wall lizard
May 13, 2019

Yesterday I discovered that the local lizards (Gallotia galloti palmae) are fond on watermelon on a hot day. Figures. Unlike most lizards, they eat quite a lot of plants, especially ripe fruit, to the point where they can become a nuisance in vinyards. I recently discovered that we only have one species of small lizard here. What I thought were two species is one, with different colours for males and…

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Transvulcania 2019

May 10, 2019

This Saturday will be Transvulcania day. Runners will race 74 km around La Palma. They start at Fuencaliente lighthouse at the southern tip of the island at 6am. They run up the central spine of the island to El Pilar (a mere 24 km) then around the rim of the Caldera. The course climbs a total of 4,415 m and As they pass the Roque de Los Muchachos at 2426…

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Wild Peas

Purple pea flowers
May 8, 2019

These are wild Tangier peas, Pisum sativum. They grow all over the island, and very pretty they are too. The flowers are edible, and the original inhabitant used to make gofio out of the tiny peas.

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Where did the benahorita come from?

May 5, 2019

  The people who lived on La Palma before the Spanish arrived in 1493 called the island Benahoare, and themselves Benahorita. (Or according to some people Benawara and Benawaritas. They insist their spelling is correct. I find this odd, because to me the correct spelling would be the one the people themselves used, only they didn’t write.) The Benahorita probably arrived on La Palma somewhere between 1000 BC and 100…

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