Blood red moon over La Palma

Total eclipse of the moon from Llano de la Venta viewpoint
A Blood red eclipse of the moon from Llano de la Venta viewpoint

Last night, La Palma saw a total eclipse of the moon. Well, a large part of planet Earth saw it, of course, but since La Palma has beautiful dark skies, we saw it better than most places.

In fact La Palma has a set of viewpoints upgraded for astronomy. In practice, this means parking space, level ground suitable for tripods, a signpost pointing to the pole star, and an information panel.

Signpost to the Pole Star, Breña Alta, La Palma.
How far to the Pole Star?

I went up to Llano de la Venta viewpoint, where Astrotour was offering free stargazing, courtesy of the island government. These viewpoints can be pretty cold in winter – this one is at 1,300 m – but last night it was quite balmy.  We got a splendid view of the moon, followed by a splendid view of the International Space Station zooming overhead.  (Every time they add more solar panels, the ISS gets brighter and brighter).  And to round things off nicely, Astrotour pointed their 10″ telescope at Saturn, so we could all see the rings.

You could say it was a heavenly evening.

The International Space Station passing over La Palma, seen from Breña Alta
The International Space Station passing over La Palma

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>