La Palma

Updated 5 December 2003
Updated 2 October 2003

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Arriving / Santa Cruz

Flying in to La Palma, one first takes a jet from London or mainland Spain a few hours over the ocean (and sometimes over Morocco) to Tenerife or Gran Canaria, and then connects via a small Binter Canarias flight to La Palma. The views around these volcanic islands protruding steeply from the ocean are spectacular. La Palma is also known as "La Isla Bonita" and is the steepest island in the world -- so steep that it's thought part of it may someday fall into the ocean and send catastrophic waves to North America.

The island's capital city of Santa Cruz de la Palma, perennial favourite (target) of pirates.

Hotel Playa Taburiente in Los Cancajos, a four-star seaside resort. If only observing were like this every night...

The Coast

Steep coastlines, banana plantations, and black sand beaches...

Views over Puerto de Tazacorte, from Mirador del Time.

The Caldera

Scenes near Mirador de las Chozas, and Ermita de la Virgen del Pino.

El Roque de los Muchachos

On top of the world at Roque de los Muchachos, looking out over Caldera de Taburiente. This formation is the original namesake for the geological term caldera, although it's not actually volcanic in origin, but erosional.

The Caldera fills with clouds, leaving various peaks stranded as islands in a sea of clouds.

Sunrise and sunset. In the first photo, the shadow of the island (the world's steepest) can be seen in the air and on the cloudtops.

The Observatories

The 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope and 1.0-m Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope.

Various telescopes: 3.6-m Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias, 2.5-m Nordic Optical Telescope, Dutch Open Telescope, 1-m Swedish Solar Telescope, 2.0-m Liverpool Telescope, 1.2-m Mercator Telescope, HEGRA, 17-m MAGIC Telescope, unknown.

The 4.2-meter William Herschel Telescope (altitude 2300 meters = 7700 ft), including one photo with the planet Mars(?) shining in the sky.

See also photos from observing runs with the Planetary Nebula Spectrograph: July 2001, September 2001, March 2002, October 2002, March 2003, October 2003.

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