The MAGIC telescope

This is the MAGIC telescope (Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov Telescope). It’s perhaps the most exotic telescope at the observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos. It’s not an optical telescope. Instead of observing visible light, it’s looking for gamma rays. Visible light is made up of different wavelengths, which give the different colours from red to violet. Wavelengths which are just a bit too short to see form ultra-violet…

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Los Sauces Sardine Postponed

Los Sauces always hold their Sardine’s Funeral a week or two after Santa Cruz. It was supposed to happen on Saturday, but we had an orange weather alert. The rain poured and the wind gusted, and it was obvious that nobody was going out if they could help it. In one way it’s a good thing – the reservoirs were very low after such a dry winter. It’s finally stopped…

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Giant Lizards

Photo EFE Yesterday I clean forgot that in December last year they found out that the giant Canarian lizard, Gallotia auaritae, isn’t extinct after all. José Antonio Mateo, a reptile expert, only found the one, but he believes there must be a colony within a kilometre of the one he found. In this case, “giant” means 30 cm (one foot) long. Extinct specimens are larger. Twenty-five years ago, they thought…

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Lizards

We have two kinds of lizards here, both of which grow to about 15 cm long. The top shot is the blue-throated lizard, and the lower one the brown lizard. Like lizards everywhere, they’re cold-blooded, so they like to sun themselves first thing in the morning. After that, they move really fast, particularly when you point a camera at them. Even so, they’re a favourite snack for cats.

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The Barranco de las Angustias

This is the Barranco de las Angustias the Ravine of Anguish. The name comes from the conquest of the island, back at the end of the fifteenth century. Most of the tribes on the island took one look at the heavily-armed Spanish, and gave up without a fight. Four tribes fought briefly, but soon surrendered. After all, the original inhabitants, the Benhoaristas, had only stick and stones to fight against…

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The Caldera

The heart of the island is the Caldera de Taburiente. Caldera is a technical geological term for the crater at the top of a volcano. In fact the term comes from La Palma: all the volcanic calderas in the world were named after ours. So it’s really a pity that, since then, the scientists have found out that the Caldera de Taburiete isn’t a caldera. It was actually formed by…

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