• The Dodo Dragon and other stories
  • The Seer’s Stone
  • About Sheila Crosby
  • A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

I think this is a really good guide book to the observatory on La Palma, but you probably shouldn’t take too much notice of my opinion because I wrote it. On the other hand, the director of the biggest telescope in the world, Pedro Alvarez, likes it too. So do the directors of the William Herschel Telescope and telescopio Nazionale Galileo (the Italian). “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: A…

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Los Sauces Bridge

The bridge over the ravine at Los Sauces is huge. It’s 319 metres long and towers 150 metres above the valley floor. It opened in December 2004. To begin with, it was rather controversial because it crosses the same valley as the Los Tilos National Park. But you can’t see the bridge from the park, and it’s really rather elegant for something so big. It also knocks a full five…

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Lifting the dome shutter motor back onto the WHT, Roque de Los Muchachos observatory, La Palma island, Canaries

The Herschell dome motor

Today I was photographing the MAGIC when I saw a big crane beside the William Herschel Telescope. Of course I went up to look, and found the engineers were winching the dome shutter back into position after repairs. Of course it took some time. As you can see in the last photo, the motor is pretty big and heavy. I don’t know what the shutter weighs, but the rotating part…

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Montaña Quemada, El Paso, La Palma, Canary Islands

The Scenic route over the ridge

The main roads on La Palma form a rough figure 8, with the main east-west road being the LP2 from Santa Cruz to Los Llanos, through the tunnel. But whenever I’ve got time, I like to take the scenic route, the LP203. This winds up through the heather and bayberry forest, then pine forest, past the barbecue and picnic areas at Pared Vieja and El Pilar. Just west of the…

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The not-vey-white sand at Salemera beach, Mazo, La Palma Island

White sands beach

La Palma has lots of little beaches tucked away here and there, like Salemera. You take the main road from Santa Cruz or the airport to Fuencaliente, and just south of Mazo, follow the marked turning off. After four twisty kilometres, you wind up at the little village. It’s easy to park. The beach itself is tiny, but very sheltered. You don’t have to worry that a big wave will…

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