Starlit Skies

Galaxy M51 taken with the Isaac Newton Telescope and Wide Field Camera by Simon Driver
September 24, 2016

  There’s a really simple reason why the Royal Greenwich Observatory moved their telescopes here. It’s one of the three best places in the world for astronomy. The observatory was founded in 1675 by Charles II of England – hence the “royal” for £520 (£20 over budget!). It was the first purpose-built scientific research facility in Britain. At the time, Greenwich was a great place to build it – away…

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Equinox sunrise behind the Roque

Sunrise behind the Roque de Los Muchachos at the equinox
September 21, 2016

  A remarkable number of the archeological sites on La Palma line up with astronomical calendar events: particularly sunrise or sunset at the solstice or equinox, and the rising and setting of the star Canopus. In 2013 I went with a group of friends to one of these sites to see the sun rise behind the highest point of the island, the Roque de Los Muchachos. It meant an early start,…

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Astrofest and the 1st Nightscape Conference

Speakers, attedees and organisers of the 1st Nightscape Conference, La Palma
October 6, 2015

Astrofest has been a great success. On Friday 25th – Saturday 26th an impressive line up of speakers took to the stage in the Teatro Circo de Marte to discuss astrotourism – what a region needs, how to reduce light pollution and improve the night sky, what activities you can offer tourists etc. On Sunday 27th attendees went to the south and west of the island to see a few…

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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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