The new GOTO telescope

The first GOTO dome at Roque de Los Muchachos observatory on La Palma.
July 3, 2017

Today the GOTO telescope was inaugurated on La Palma. It’s a smallish telescope to try to find the where gravitational waves come from. That is, there are three gravitational wave detectors called LIGO Hanson (in Washington State, USA), LIGO Livingston (in Louisiana, USA) and VIRGO (in Italy) which are about 3,000 km apart, and a third one nearing completion elsewhere. Between them, they can detect gravitational waves and get a…

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A video of the “Apagon”

April 30, 2017

Here’s the video of the star parties and concerts to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Starlight Declaration. The star party I ran in Puerto Naos is in it. I’m on screen at 1:57. Blink and you’ll miss me.

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Star Parties

Sheila Crosby setting up a telescope at Puerto Naos,
April 22, 2017

Last night there were star parties all over La Palma to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Starlight Declaration, and each municipality turned off the streetlights near the star party from 10 pm to 11 pm. I took my new telescope to Puerto Naos and showed people Jupiter and its big moons, how to find the Pole Star, and which constellation is Orion. When the lights came back on at…

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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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10th Anniversary of the Starlight Declaration

April 14, 2017

Next week will be the 10th anniversary of the Starlight Declaration. Among other things, it says, An unpolluted night sky that allows the enjoyment and contemplation of the firmament should be considered an inalienable right of humankind equivalent to all other environmental, social, and cultural rights, due to its impact on the development of all peoples and on the conservation of biodiversity. Since the declaration was made on La Palma…

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Happy Birthday Copernicus

  Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland on February 19, 1473. From the ancient Greeks, everyone in Europe believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe. The great work of Copernicus De revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), published in 1543, showed that the sun was at the center. You can see evidence of this yourself with binoculars or a small telescope. Both…

February 19, 2017
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