Robert’s Wall (la pared de Roberto)

Robert's Wall (Pared de Roberto), La Palma
May 28, 2017

This photo was taken from the viewpoint at Los Andennes, where you get a spectacular view into the Caldera. From here you can see a dyke called La Pared de Roberto (Robert’s Wall). It’s about four metres high (13ft). [Volcanic dykes are formed when moulten lava fills a crack in the rock and solidifies slowly into very hard rock called basalt. Later on the softer, surrounding rock is eroded away,…


Where did the benahorita come from?

May 7, 2017

  The people who lived on La Palma before the Spanish arrived in 1493 called the island Benahoare, and themselves Benahorita. (Or according to some people Benawara and Benawaritas. They insist their spelling is correct. I find this odd, because to me the correct spelling would be the one the people themselves used, only they didn’t write.) The Benahorita probably arrived on La Palma somewhere between 1000 BC and 100…


A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

May 2, 2017

I think this is a really good guide book to the observatory on La Palma, but you probably shouldn’t take too much notice of my opinion because I wrote it. On the other hand, the director of the biggest telescope in the world, Pedro Alvarez, likes it too. So do the directors of the William Herschel Telescope and telescopio Nazionale Galileo (the Italian). “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: A…


Strange Caterpillars

April 26, 2017

Yponomenta gigas caterpillars and web. I’d never heard of caterpillars that make cobwebs before, but these do. Like many others caterpilars in the family of ermine moths, they form communal webs. I suppose it discourages birds from sticking their beaks in. My book on Canarian insects doesn’t mention them at all, but then they aren’t easy to find unless you know where to look. They live on the Canarian Willow,…


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…


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…