Stargazing on La Palma

The top of the mountain on La Palma is one of the best astronomical sites in the world, both for stellar astronomy and for solar observations, as the installation of telescopes from 10+ European countries shows. The new Swedish Solar telescope (a 40" vacuum refractor) has given some really fascinating images of solar structures. A “Dark sky law” helps keeping the light pollution low.

Weather

Please do not believe that La Palma is an astronomers paradise in the sens that the nights are always clear. This is simply not true. The statistics that you might find on the web are from the observatory, above the local cloud layer - and there is no accommodation or place to leave your telescope permanent mounted at this height.

La Palma lies in the Trade Winds region. This region frequently has a inversion layer at around 1000 meters. Near the islands a cloud layer is formed here. The clouds are mainly concentrated on the east side of the island but we on the west side do get a fair part of them.

top of la palma
A typical day here will be clear and sunny at sunup. Then near midday clouds build up and at sundown the sun will, as the clouds are concentrated around the island, peek in below the clouds. By nightfall the clouds often, but not always, clear away. During the night you might expect some cloudy periods that come and go, the changes are rapid. This timelapse video from September 2012, taken by Dirk Panczyk, one of our guests, can give you an idea of what to expect.
Casa Rosabel's Telescopes

Our guests at Casa Rosabel has the use of a Meade 10" Schmidt-Newton, the guests in the Apartment a 10" Newton Both telescopes are mounted on permanent piers with NEQ6Pro heads and SynScan GOTO controllers.

The EQ6 have a ST4 compatible input for guiding and they can also be computer controlled through the EQMOD system. We have one Lacerta MGEN autoguider but as it can be used with several different telescopes you should reserve it in case that you want to use the autoguider during your stay on La Palma.

The 16" Dobson is used by both parties. If the guests don't make a different agreement Casa Rosabel will use the telescope on odd dates, the Apartment on even dates. The same is valid for the 10x25 telescopes, you will have either the Dobson or the telescopes each night.

The guests can also use the rest of the equipment on the "rent a telescope" page if they are available. If they want to assure themselfs of the availability they must reserve them at 50% of the standard price.

The observation site lies 200 meters away from the house, at a place, where you are protected from local lights. There is a small hut, which can be heated, near the telescope piers, where the optics are stored and which you can use to set up your computer. 220V is available in the hut and on the telescope piers.

telescopes
TS-newton
Teleskopservice 10" Carbon tube Newton

Guests at the apartment have the use of the 10 inch TS Carbon tube Newton . It has a Baader Steel track 3 inch focuser, a TS-Optics 2 inch Coma Corrector and weights only about 11 kg. M48 and T2 threads are available for camera mounting.

Eyepieces
TS WA26 ERFLE 26 mm with 70˚ Field
TS EXP13 Expanse 13 mm with 70˚ Field
TS EXP5 Expanse 5 mm with 70˚ Field

2 inch UHC filter

Aperture: 254 mm
Focal length: 1000 mm