What a fabulous night! Apart from welcoming back guests Stuart and Marie for their second experience, Tenerife offered up another special night. A stunning drive through Las Canadas during the “golden hour” before sunset showed off the lava formations and colours to their absolute best and every turn of the road brought another breathtaking sight into view. Stuart and Marie know the borders and highlands of Scotland well and we’re from Northumberland which also has some very beautiful and unspoiled landscapes but we all agreed that Las Canadas is something quite special. It’s just so different, so obviously volcanic and rugged and savage looking, yet it displays beautiful colours and majestic rock formations and the scale of it is breathtaking. When you look a little more closely though, there is vegetation thriving almost everywhere and soon the bee keepers will be moving the hives from lower altitudes into the crater to take advantage of the spring flowers that will soon colour the crater floor. Another of Tenerife’s surprises.
Then the sunset was excellent, with Teide dominating the skyline and the Sun sinking into a very busy sea of clouds with the two humps of the island of La Palma in the background looking on and then there were the oddly shaped clouds that amassed alongside Teide, looking like a weird flying pack of alien jellyfish. Plenty to talk about during the cava and a delicious picnic before we drove to a spot that overlooked the east coast and with the lights of the island of Gran Canaria visible in the dusk way below us, the most incredible Moon began to rise. At the beginning it was the colour of a blood orange as just a sliver was visible between the sea and a thin line of cloud but soon it was fully up and so big, bright and orange it looked more like the sunset we’d just witnessed on the other side of the island than the Moon rising. It was breathtakingly impressive and a definite “wow” moment. This was the last so called “super moon” of the year, when the Moon is closer in its orbit to Earth than normal, so it appears a bit larger and a bit brighter. This one certainly did that. As it appears so close the Spring Equinox (and the first to do this for thirty years), it gets the nickname of the “worm Moon” supposedly as earthworms can only start to surface from the ground once winter is over and the ground has thawed. No doubt an ancient name given when people were more connected to nature. As the Moon rose, it began to take shape, albeit malformed due to the clouds and thermals of the atmosphere low to the horizon and the features of the Moon were apparent in sharp contrast.
Whilst we also gazed at the constellations, the fabulous Orion Nebula and The Pleiades through binoculars and telescope, saw a meteor and some satellites, the star of the show was undoubtedly the Moon. Once fully risen and steady in the sky, we zoomed in on it with the telescope (using a very strong polarising filter to avoid risk of eye damage) and saw craters close up and in high relief but nothing surpassed those minutes watching the Moon rise up from the sea. I’ve seen the Moon rise many times and if I never see it again, I don’t care because I’m happy to have seen this one and won’t ever forget it.
I spent an enjoyable day yesterday on the mountain hunting out new spots for stargazing with our guests. Found three absolute crackers with wonderful scenery and best of all they are well away from the main roads, headlights and places where the other tour companies go. Off-road locations aren’t sign posted and are generally only accessible with a 4×4 with good ground clearance. They’re often not for the faint hearted but the reward when you find one is usually spectacular. Super-thrilled to have found these and can’t wait to take some guests there. Check out this amazing backdrop to one of the spots.
March 2019 – had a fantastic tour experience with Dark Skies Tenerife. From word go they were professional and responsive to my pre-holiday emails. I wanted to find a private tour that would be flexible with my timings as we have young children. Simon and Margaret were so helpful in accommodating my requests. The trip itself was amazing. We stopped at a lovely viewpoint with Teide and other volcanos to enjoy a wonderfully prepared tapas picnic with cava whilst watching the sunset. When ready we continued on up the mountain to a high remote spot for our stargazing experience. Here we were treated to some knowledgeable insight into the sky above us. Simon used his laser pointer to describe the various constellations and nebulas and we also benefited from being able to get close up views with an incredibly powerful telescope. The commentary and insight provided us with a really good understanding of the night sky and was exteremely enjoyable. Simon was knowledgable and entertaining and the hours zipped by. I would highly recommend this tour. Particularly good if you don’t want to be bothered with driving round lots of hotels for pick ups and want a tour that is both informative and entertaining. Thank you Simon and Margaret. Liz
The Dark Skies Tenerife Photography experience – take the opportunity to image the Milky Way under some of the best skies in the world! We will pick you up at your hotel, take you to the El Teide National Park for 2 hours of nightscape photography in several locations and then bring you back to your hotel. Overall duration will be around 4 hours. We provide a full frame DSLR with several lens options, remote trigger, a couple of tripods and a star tracking mount. You can of course bring your own equipment. Full instruction is available to ensure you get those wow shots and we can even post-process them for you.
Cost is £100pp. Max group size will be 4. Hot and cold drinks included.
Discounts are available for groups and repeat bookings, please enquire.
We’re really looking forward to these trips where we will watch while the sun sets and the full Moon rises at almost the same time! It promises to be spectacular and an opportunity for some great photos. We’ll study the Moon up close in our telescope and check out where Apollo 11 landed 50 years ago! Dates in March and June have already gone. Happy stargazing!
It’s funny the things you come across when gazing out into the Universe. This nebula in the constellation of Orion is aptly called the Monkey’s Head. I took this in 2018 and will be hoping to have another go at it next month. Happy stargazing!
According to a recent Government study into tourism on Tenerife, fewer than 2.6% of holidaymakers experience a stargazing excursion. So many people are missing out on a truly remarkable experience and the Government are committed to do more to promote stargazing. They also plan to improve the facilities in the National Park and to better regulate excursion operators, something we would certainly welcome. However, part of the attraction of stargazing in the National Park is the opportunity to go somewhere very dark and secluded where you can see the night sky at its best, so any strategy to increase visitor numbers needs to include the need to control light pollution and prevent damage to this unique environment.
The Orion constellation is prominent in our winter skies and an area of the sky that is chock full of colourful nebulae, galaxies, clusters and stars. Nebulae with such colourful names as The Cosmic Bat, Horsehead, The Running Man, Casper the Friendly Ghost and the Witchhead. This picture we took earlier this week with a standard DSLR camera shows what’s hiding from the naked eye but which can be seen on one of our excursions through our telescope or by using a camera. Happy stargazing!
Everyone loves a good sunset and Tenerife has some of the very best, especially when you’re on the mountain above the Mar de Nubes (sea of clouds). Here’s some of our favourite sunset shots from previous excursions:
I came across this picture today from March 2018. It shows the ethereal Zodiacal Light stretching up towards the beautiful star cluster The Pleiades (or Seven Sisters). This is caused by sunlight illuminating interplanetary dust in the solar system and is only seen in Spring and Autumn. Althought faint, it can be seen with the naked eye from a dark place, the amazing thing about this photo is that it can be seen despite the very obvious light pollution from Puerto de la Cruz below. A testament to Tenerife’s very clear skies once you get above the clouds. Happy stargazing and I hope you get to see it!
Winter in the UK offers crisp, dark and cold skies – perfect for stargazing but there’s just too much cloud this year. I can’t wait to get back to Tenerife’s clear skies – we’ve still got six weeks to go until our 2019 season starts but our booking list is filling up rapidly and we’re really looking forward to welcoming new guests to the beauty of the unique Tenerife astroscape. We’ve also got some guests from last year coming back again and that’s really going to be fun.
New for this year we have some better equipment and a unique offering to watch the sun set into the sea and the full moon rise out of the sea at the same time. There aren’t many places in the world where you can do this and the photos will be awesome!
Clear skies everyone and remember to keep looking up!
We’ve recently had a number of bookings for the October school holidays and only have a few dates left. If you are hoping to book with us then please get in touch straight away. (Please note we do not increase our prices during school holidays). Happy stargazing!
Whilst we have been closed we have received many enquiries from people trying to find someone that does what we do and asking if we can recommend another stargazing guide. Unfortunately we can’t because there really isn’t anyone else who does what we consider to be proper stargazing tours.
Come with us and you won’t have to settle for “stargazing in a layby” beside a busy main road or having to queue for a quick look through a telescope while trying not to be blinded by headlights, our trips will take you to the really dark spots where you will have as much time as you like with our powerful telescope. Enjoy a leisurely, delicious tapas buffet and complimentary drinks while we watch the sunset, instead of wasting time in a cheap restaurant eating cheap food. Don’t queue at a bus stop for a tour coach or Transit Van mini-bus, enjoy comfortable transport directly from your accommodation at times to suit you in our roomy SUV that will whisk you up the mountain in half the time.
We only operate small group, bespoke trips so we can fully concentrate on what you want to do. You will have more time under the stars, see more, learn more and have a more immersive experience with us than with any other excursion company and don’t forget that we are approved by the Tenerife Tourist Board so you can be sure you are booking with a legitimate excursion operator, not one of the rogue traders out there.
I’m back in the UK at the moment and hoping the weather will remain clear until the main eclipse starts in a couple of hours. I have my gear ready and I’m hoping to be able to catch a sequence of pictures during the eclipse showing the change of brightness and colour of the Moon as it passes through the Earth’s shadow like this one from 2015. Fingers crossed!
A unique stargazing opportunity to see the famous Tenerife sunset above the sea of clouds followed by the rise of a full Moon while the shadow of the Earth passes over it in a partial eclipse. 16th July, don’t miss it! Happy stargazing!
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