Work starts on the Large Size Telescope

July 29, 2016

The plaque from the first stone ceremony Work has finally started on the Large Size Telescope. The first stone ceremony was held on October 9th. This week the bushes have been cut down ready for the bulldozers to move in. Like the MAGIC, the LST will be a huge Cherenkov telescope (looking for gamma rays from space) with a mirror 23m across. The larger mirror will enable it to see fainter…


Gran Teleascopio Canarias sets a new record

June 9, 2016

Gran Telescopio Canarias on La Palma is the biggest telescope in the world * and it’s just photographed the faintest thing even photographed from the earth’s surface. The photograph above shows a faint halo of stars around Galaxy UGC0180, 500 million light years away. This sort of halo was predicted by theoretical models, but it’s been extremely hard to photograph because the halos are very, very faint. It’s ten times fainter than…


Towers of Flowers

May 11, 2016

Tower of Jewels is one of the common names for Echium wildpretii. Some of the other are red bugloss, Tenerife bugloss or Mount Teide bugloss. The Spanish name is tajinaste grande or tajinaste rojo, although the ones on La Palma can be blue or mauve. The individual flowers are tiny, but the spikes can be anything up to 3 m high. And they’re in flower on the peaks of La…


The Roque in Winter

Most of La Palma has good weather nearly all year. But the observatory is up at 2400 m (almost 8,000 ft) and occasionally in winter dramatic storms come howling in, dump half a metre of snow overnight, and disappear almost as fast as they came. If you’re planning a trip to the observatory between November and March, be sure to check the road conditions before you leave. You can do…

November 28, 2015

First Stone for the Large Size Telescope

The new plaque for the Large Size Telescope, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
October 12, 2015

Friday 9th October was the first stone ceremony for the Large Size Telescope (LST). This will be the prototype for the largest units in the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA): 20 open basket, MAGIC-style telescopes, ranging from 23 m to 6 m in diameter. Lots of VIPs came. We had the Japanese ambasador and lots of politicians: the Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, the President of the Canary…