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Observatory Roque de los Muchachos

Roque de los Muchachos Observatory

The Observatory of the Roque de los Muchachos (ORM) is a settlement of observatories at the peak of the Roque de los Muchachos on the Canary Island La Palma. Together with the Teide Observatory on Tenerife the ORM forms the European northern observatory.

The astrophysical observatories were opened in 1985 and are under the direction of the 'Instituto Astrofísico de Canarias' (IAC). Several European countries are involved in the system.

Decisive for the location of the project were the climatic conditions on the highest peak of La Palma: At the Roque de los Muchachos are many cloud free nights and the air is extremely clear.

The countries Spain, Sweden, Denmark and England signed in 1979 in Santa Cruz de La Palma an agreement that allowed them astrophysical research at the Roque de los Muchachos. Other countries joined the astronomical composite (the Federal Republic of Germany in 1983). Finally on 29th of June 1985 in the presence of many scientists, the heads of states of the involved countries and the Spanish royal couple the Observatorio Roque de los Muchachos was inaugurated.

The largest reflecting telescope in the world - the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GRANTECAN or as well GTC) was taken into operation and inaugurated by the Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia.

In 2015 the Cherenkov Telescope Array Consortium (CTA) has decided to build on La Palma the prototype of Large Size Cherenkov telescopes (LST). Laying of the foundation stone: 9th of October 2015 - construction about two years. Under the direction of the CTA-project 100 LST-Teles in three different sizes will be constructed worldwide - 20 of them in the northern hemisphere. The four largest have a primary mirror with a diameter of 23 meters - the first of them on La Palma will detect high-energy gamma rays from the space. According to the IAC, this new generation of Cherenkov telescopes increases the viewing opportunities by a factor of ten.

Current articles about the Roque observatories on La Palma can be read in our La Palma24 Journal - click here.

All information about the telescopes on the highest peak of La Palma are provided on the website of the IAC in English l - click here.