MAGIC Prime Focus

The MAGIC Telescope
August 28, 2015

The MAGIC telescope has the biggest telescope mirrors in the world. I’ve always wanted to get up the green tower to prime focus, where the light is focused onto the camera. I finally got up there in July 2014. Even better, my friend Carolin Liefke (from the Max Plank Institute) had a camera with a fisheye lens and the skill to make good use of it. You can read more…

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New enormous Cherenkov telescopes

July 18, 2015

  It’s not quite a done deal, but it looks as though La Palma will be getting another 20 Chrenkov telescopes. The board of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) met on the 15th and 16th of July, and decided that their two preferred sitres are La Palma and Chile (near the Paranal observatory). Negotiations will now start with the site owners, and are expected to take 6 months. Meanwhile, they’ll…

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Transvulcania runners visit the Observatory

May 7, 2015

  Today 11 of the Transvulcania runners visited the observatory, together with about 20 journalists. Lucky me, I got the job of being their guide. So I showed them around GTC and the MAGIC. It felt a bit odd, because the runners were interested in the telescopes, but the photographers were largely interested in the runners. Well, it’s their job, obviously: they weren’t there for me or the telescopes. But at the end,…

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New Cherenkov Telescopes

April 27, 2015

  The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is negotiating with the IAC to site more Cherenkov telescopes on La Palma. It’s not guarenteed that they’ll come here, but it’s highly likely. What is certain is that they’re going to build a prototype here. So what’s a Cherenkov telescope? The oversimplification is that it’s a telescope to look at gamma rays instead of visible light. For more detail, see this article on…

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Visiting the Observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos, 2010

La Palma is home to one of the three most important astronomical observatories in the world. (The other two are Hawaii and the Atacama desert in Chile.) The observatory sits at the top of the island, at the Roque de los Muchachos. It’s a fascinating place to visit, but it’s not normally open to tourists – they’re too busy doing science. However, the IAC who run the site are organising…

June 17, 2010
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