Where on Earth is La Palma anyway?

I originally came to La Palma to work at the astronomical observatory here. Almost as soon as I heard I’d got the job, my parents went to a travel agent to find out how much it would cost to visit. The girl at the desk said, “Las Palmas de Gran Canaris? Certainly Sir. I’ll just look it up for you.” “No,” explained my father. “The island of La Palma. My…

February 9, 2014

Happy 2014

I hope you had a good time last night, and I hope 2014 brings you whatever you most hope for. New year is a big thing in Spain. Many people dress up – I mean really dress up, as though they were going to the opera at Covent Garden. Traditionally, lots of people eat out, although I suspect there’ll be less of that this year. At midnight, people traditionally eat…

January 1, 2014

Partial Solar Eclipse on Sunday

On November 3rd 2013 there will be a partial solar eclipse. Well, it’s a total eclipse in some places and an annual eclipse in others, ubt fromteh Canary Islands we get a partial eclipse. 40% of the sun will be covered by the moon at 12:15 pm. From the UK there won’t be anything to see. Do NOT look directly at the sun. You might go blind. There are two…

November 2, 2013

Visiting the Roque

For years, the IAC (Canarian Astrophysics Institute) has paid the cost of visits to the observatory. Now they need to be even more careful with their money, and visitors will have to pay 9€ each (6.75€ for residents of La Palma), which should cover the cost of the guide and administrative overhead. The visits are still daytime only, and last 45-90 minutes. This includes a short talk on why the…

October 23, 2013