Sunset at the Roque de Los Muchachos

Gran Telescopio Canarias at sunset, Roque de Los Muchachos observatory
April 29, 2015

  The Roque de Los Muchachos is a spectacular place to watch the sunset. For one thing, you’re usually above the clouds (which is one reason the observatory is there.) In fact, sometimes the clouds are so much lower than the Roque that the sun sets well below you. This means that your shadow on a wall is taller than you, and the shadows of your legs go on forever….

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Chatting to Carmelo the raven

Sheila holding Carmelo the raven and her book 'The Seer's Stone' at the Roque de Los Muchachos
March 3, 2015

              This morning when I finished work I went up to the Roque itself to relax and admire the view. Helen Loth kindly agreed to take a photo of me with my book and the telescopes.                     While we were doing that, Carmelo the raven came to say “Hello”. Well no, her really cae to…

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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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The William Herschel Telescope

The William Herschel Telescope at sunset. . The William Herschel Telescope was for many years the biggest and best optical telescope in Europe (until GranTeCan opened in 2009).  The main mirror is 4.2 m across (165″, or 13′ 9″) which astronomers call “a good light bucket”. It’s rather old as world-class telescopes go, since it opened in 1987, but it still produced excellent science. In fact data from the WHT…

August 7, 2013
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Merry Christmas

A very Merry Christmas to you all. (The William Herschel Telescope has a laser to measure atmospheric turbulence, in order to correct for it. But really, it’s very low powered and no danger to flying reindeer. Santa is quite safe.)

December 24, 2012
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