Rocks on the Road

Rocks on the road to the Roque de Los Muchachos
November 25, 2018

La Palma is the steepest inhabited island in the wold, so it’s in a losing battle with gravity. Sometimes rocks fall on the road, particularly after heavy rain, a freeze or a thaw. (Of course the last two only happen at high altitude.) Normally the roads get cleared pretty quickly, but the road to the observatory takes a little longer, maybe a day and a half. Then you get to…

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A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

October 27, 2018

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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The observatory in bloom

Roque de Los Muchachos
June 30, 2017

The whole hillside at the Roque de Los Muchachos is in bloom. But where heather moors go purple, The peaks of La Palma go yellow with sticky broom (Adenocarpus viscosus, or codeso in Spanish) and French broom (Genista benehoavensis or retamón palmero in Spanish)

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Archaeology at the Roque de los Muchachos

A spiral rock carving, Roque de los Muchachos, Garafia, La Palma
April 17, 2017

For centuries, goatherds have brought their flocks to the Roque de los Muchachos, the highest point on the island of La Palma. As the lower pastures dried out in summer, they moved to fresh pastures on higher ground. These days, farmers can drive home for the night, but of course that wasn’t the case 50 years ago, much less 500 years ago. They came up some time in June, and…

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Ice at the Roque

February 22, 2017

Yesterday I went to work as a tour guide at the observatory. At 9a .m. it was 6 ºC, but the ice from overnight was still there, glistening inthe sunlight. Fortunately the road was almost completely clear.

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