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…


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,…


More on the Large Size Telescope foundations

A digger working on the LST foundations, seen through MAGIC II, Roque de Los Muchachos, Garafia, La Palma island
August 24, 2016

Well now they’ve got 1 digger, 1 bulldozer, and 1 dumper truck levelling out the site. Now that the site is earth rather than cut bushes, it’s clearly visible from higher up. And of course it’s very noticeable from the helipad nearest to the MAGIC.  


Foundations for the Large Sized Telescope

Digging foundations for the Large Size Telescope, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
August 17, 2016

  The digger’s started wotk on the foundations for the Large Size Telescope I gather the plan is to dig down 3 m, which is less than I’d thought for such a big structure. But the the MAGIC telescope is very light for its size, so perhaps the LST will be too. Cross posted to