Landing on a Comet

Philae heading for the comet
November 12, 2014

  The Philae lander is SAFELY down on the comet, half a billion miles 28 light minutes from Earth. ( See Rosetta and the Comet) Yay for the European Space Agency – nobody’s ever done this before.

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Planet Birth

Planets forming around a star
November 7, 2014

  The Alma radio telescope took this amazing picture of planets forming around the sun-like star, HL Tau. This is a baby star, less than a million years old, which is 450 light years from Earth in the constellation Taurus. And the disc of dust and gas around the star is already forming planets and asteroids – that’s what makes the dark rings in the brighter dust. It’s the first…

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Star birth

Stars being born inside the Sharpless 2-106 Nebula (S106)
October 10, 2014

  This amazing picture of stars being born inside a nebula was taken by Daniel Lopez using Grantecan. Near the centre of the picture is a dark red spot – that’s the new star which shines mostly in the infrared. The butterfly shape is a large disk of dust and gas orbiting the star. The gas near the star shines because it is ionized (like the inside of a flourescent…

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The sun at different wavelenths

September 23, 2014

  Light is made of electromagnetic waves, and our eyes see different wavelengths as different colours. But our eyes can’t see most wavelengths at all, which is a pity – think how different the human body looks when you see it in x-rays. This is the sun at 13 different wavelengths.

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Shooting stars on Tuesday night

La Polvacera basketball court, full of telescopes. Breña Baja
August 11, 2014

  Tuesday night is the best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids. Of course it should be visible all over the planet, but La Palma’s astronomical viewpoints will probably be a particularly good place to see shooting stars. Unfortunately the full moon will spoil the show quite a bit. Cielos La Palma will be in La Polvacera basketball court from 9 pm – midnight with telescopes. Toño will also…

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The GTC shutter

GTC Shutter
July 30, 2014

  GTC has been open for five years, and the massive dome shutter has been getting some maintenance. This photo give an idea of the sheer size of the dome shutter.

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