Visits to the observatory

April 24, 2018

The regular morning visits to the observatory are on hiatus due to an administrative problem. I keep hoping they’ll be reorganised soon, and but meanwhile there are some groups available through either elena.nordio@adastralapalma.com. She does night time excursions too, and they get excellent feedback. I can organise groups, but unfortunately it’s only worth my while for groups of at least 10 people.

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A Visitor Centre for the Observatory, and Starmus 2016

The Sarmus debate, 2016 in the GTC dome
July 1, 2016

After 30 years, the Observatory at the Roque de Los Muchachos is finally going to have a visitor centre. I believe that the plans were finalised in 2008, and then put on hold because of the banking crisis. On Thursday, the first stone was laid, and it should be open in two years. Thursday was also the day of the Starmus round table debate inside the dome of Gran Telescopio…

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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…

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Filming in the GTC

August 10, 2015

    Jaguar have been filming an advert inside the GTC. They’re going to digitally add Stephen Hawking into it later. Most of the filming was done on the telescope’s Nasmyth platform. It’s higher up than you’d think. I’m looking foraward to seeing the final result.

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A new instrument for GTC

May 31, 2015

  Gran Telescopio Canarias has a (sort of) new spectrograph. The HORS spectrograph is very high resolution, and of course GTC’s huge mirror collects a lot of light from even the most distant object. Put them together and you can measure the abundances of the chemical elements in stars, determine the masses of black holes in binary systems, and the composition of the atmospheres of exoplanets. I say it’s a…

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Transvulcania runners visit the Observatory

May 7, 2015

  Today 11 of the Transvulcania runners visited the observatory, together with about 20 journalists. Lucky me, I got the job of being their guide. So I showed them around GTC and the MAGIC. It felt a bit odd, because the runners were interested in the telescopes, but the photographers were largely interested in the runners. Well, it’s their job, obviously: they weren’t there for me or the telescopes. But at the end,…

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