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Astronomy on La Palma

Observatory of the Roque de Los Muchachos

Stars are looking good above La Palma: clear air, no light pollution and cloudless nights have made the island to a paradise for stargazers. Since 1984 an international research Team, located in the Observatorio Astrofísico on the 2.426 meter high Roque de Los Muchachos, looks into the space.

The only drop of bitterness: The super telescope E-ELT will be built in Chile, not in La Palma. No reason, to stick the head in the black island sand. The Roque team has already sent a new application - Optimists hope that Europe's largest solar telescope and the Cherenkov telescope CAT will be built on the highest mountain of La Palma.

Island astronomers have their nose still ahead in the northern hemisphere. Since 2007 the Gran Telescopio Canarias with a dome height of 33 meters and a main mirror diameter of 11 meters projects into the sky. So Europe's largest reflecting telescope discovers stars and galaxies in infinite expanses.

Beside this diamond more astronomical Jewels sparkle on the Roque de los Muchachos. For example the Magic IACT which takes the most energetic processes in space under its microscope. As if by magic hand, it recognizes the really very, very small particles, which are produced by gamma rays in the space. That’s a magic trick from the Max Planck Institute for Physics.

Also not bad is the Solar Telescope SST. Europe's largest "solar telescope" provides images of spots, storms and other chaos in fusion reactor number 1. The exciting thing is under the direction of the Institute for Solar Physics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The star-watching team from England is interested in information about planets, asteroids, black holes and galaxies. With the help of the William-Herschel-Telescope these researchers bring light into the dark of the space.

19 countries and 60 institutions are working in total together at the Roque. The astronomical professionals conduct basic research and bring technical projects forward. Means: The Observatory has absolutely nothing to do with a planetarium.

But scientists don’t let interested persons without a doctorate standing in the rain. They organize tours in July, August and September, but only for groups and by requests.

Just send an email to: adminorm@iac.es

Astro La Palma
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Telephone: (34) 922 410 431
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