News

We are now taking bookings for 2019!

After such a successful year we are now taking a break until March 2019. Thank you to everyone who came on one of trips for making it so enjoyable.

We are now taking bookings for 2019 so why not treat someone this Christmas?

Galaxy central

Smartphone Saturn

Sometimes a smartphone is all you need!

 

Patterns in the sky

The apparent motion of the stars captured in this image taken over three hours near the observatory at Izaña.

Fabulous sunsets

Tenerife´s sunsets above the sea of clouds rarely disappoint but recently we were treated to something spectacular.

Serious stuff!

Checking where the core of the Milky Way will be with guest Pierre before setting up for an evening of astrophotography.  A really enjoyable night with good company. Such a great picture by Pierre’s girlfriend of us both deep in concentration.

Perseids 2018

I don’t think I’ve seen so many cars on the mountain as there were for last night’s peak of the Perseids and there were probably as many again that couldn’t find anywhere to park and were driving down off the mountain as we were driving up. Even our favourite and secluded off-road spot, which we normally have to ourselves had several visitors but we were able to find our own space, the advantage of off-road capability and knowledge of the tracks the beekeepers and hunters use paying off. The weather has not been kind with a storm hanging over the island with rain and lightning threatened and indeed we did get a short shower at one point but this soon cleared. Luckily though the part of the sky with the least clouds tended to be around Cassiopea which was ideal for seeing Perseids and we saw quite a few although nothing like the shower a fully clear sky might have given us. Half a dozen or so were of the “wow” variety; relatively long and bright but the majority were short and extremely fast. The green colour of these meteors was very prominent although there was also a handful of white ones and some that weren’t Perseids at all. It was certainly worth sticking with it, bad weather and all. Photo opportunities were difficult with the constantly changing clouds but we did manage a few successful captures.

The Perseid and The Pleiades
Perseid on the Milky Way
Perseid shoots past Andromeda

Las Canadas

A very nice night last night with a guest who wanted to capture long exposures of the Milky Way so Las Canadas was where we went. An incredible 360 degree vista of an ancient volcanic crater with a quite stunning Milky Way overhead never disappoints. Being a Saturday night and close to the peak of the Perseids the mountain was extremely busy but with a lovely party atmosphere about it. There was excellent visibility and the sky was steady, the ISS put in an appearance and we were treated to a handful of very impressive shooting stars.

The Lunar eclipse

Eclipse totality plus Mars to the lower right, taken shortly after the Moon had risen.

 

Smartphone Moon

Modern smartphones have very good cameras in them that are capable of taking some decent pictures through a telescope eyepiece. We captured this shot of the Moon last night through our 200mm reflector with a Samsung Galaxy S7.

Moon July 2018 smartphone

Saturn and Mars

A few nights ago we were in one of our favourite places on the mountain for imaging planets. There was a slight calima so the air was dusty but we still enjoyed our time. There is a global dust storm covering Mars at the moment so not much detail is apparent, hopefully this will change soon as Mars is at its closest since 2003 and is very bright in the sky making it ideal for imaging and observing.

 

Mars July 2018
Saturn July 2018

Planets galore!!!

For the next 7 days see all 7 other planets in our solar system through our large telescope in a single night!

Clear skies

After the recent Calima the night sky has returned in all of its glory and we’ve had two very good nights on the mountain imaging the Mily Way with guests. The sky quality, particularly last night was exceptional. Up there again tonight for more of the same. Clear skies!

We’re published!

Thank you Astronomy Now magazine for featuring our recent Moon shot! Chuffed!

Full moon

 

We are supporting World Asteroid Day

The possibility of a devastating asteroid strike is now recognised to be a real danger to us all. In 2013 a near earth asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia, damaging buildings and injuring thousands of people. The asteroid was only 20 metres in diameter but exploded with a force 26 to 33 times as much as that released from the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima. Most of this energy was absorbed by the atmosphere and had the asteroid reached the ground before it exploded, the damage and injuries would have been significantly greater. This asteroid arrived without warning.

Scientists, astronauts and celebrities are coming together to raise the profile of the danger of a future asteroid strike and to call on world governments to take action now to prepare a defence. The first part of this defence pan is to identify and measure the positions and orbits of all near Earth objects so that future threats can be identified.

Dark Skies Tenerife supports this and we will be answering the call by contributing our time and equipment freely to the search for these near earth objects. This is an area where amateur astronomers can make an important contribution to protecting our planet and Tenerife’s clear skies makes it an ideal place to do this work. If you’re interested in getting involved, sign up to asteroid day or get in touch.

 

 

 

Space rocks!

Available to see and hold on all of our trips, check out our meteorites, relics from the formation of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago! We’ll explain how they formed and what they tell us about the creation of our solar system. Go on, touch an alien!

A special summer solstice on Tenerife

Next week on June 21st is the summer solstice and this is especially special on Tenerife at the pyramids of guimar. It’s a very popular event so book early if you want to experience this. More details here:

http://www.tenerifenews.com/2016/06/see-the-summer-solstice-at-guimar-pyramids/

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A date for your diary

27th July will see a full lunar eclipse which will be visible from Tenerife. See here for full details: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/@9845527

Keeping you safe

We are committed to giving our guests the very best experience and that includes their health and safety. Although it is not a formal requirement to have this we have decided to be specifically trained in outdoor first aid recognising that should medical help on the mountain be required, it may take some time to arrive. We carry a full first aid kit at all times and our activities are risk assessed. We are also registered with the Canary Islands Emergency Services using a system that allows us to call for help even in areas with no mobile phone reception. For those guests looking to travel deep into Las Canadas to watch the stars, Simon is also trained in outdoor navigation and a volunteer ranger with the Northumberland National Park. Safe skies!

Perseids – best meteor shower of the year

The Perseid meteor shower, one of the brighter meteor showers of the year, occurs every year between July 17 and August 24. The shower tends to peak around August 9-13 with 50-60 meteors per hour and bright fireballs are common. The Moon is new this year so the shower will be an extra special one. We are already taking bookings for this popular time so book early to avoid being disappointed!

Perseid meteor over Los Roques de Garcia

Best of both

We’re now moving into the time of the year when we can combine both sunset and the best of the Milky Way in a single trip. Temperatures on the mountain are slowly creeping up; the beekeepers have been moving their hives up from the lower elevations to take advantage of the flowering plants in Las Canadas and have been a regular sight during our last week of stargazing.

The sky is a real treat at the moment with four prominent planets on view and the summer constellations appearing. The Milky Way was again clear and bright enough this morning to cast a shadow which I still haven’t got used to and even when the first quarter Moon was up it was still clearly visible in the sky; I doubt there are many other places where that could be said! One of the benefits of Tenerife’s skies that is often overlooked is the sheer quantity of meteors that you see regardless of whether there is a recognised meteor shower happening or not. It seemed like every minute or so this morning one of us said “that was a bright one”.  Most are small and of short duration but Tenerife’s skies are so good they show up well and it’s now becoming an oddity if we don’t see a good number of meteors, the complete opposite of skies back in the UK! We really must get our all-sky camera set up for a night and capture them I’m sure it would make a nice time lapse.

August’s Perseid meteor shower, known locally as the “Tears of San Lorenzo” should be a stunner coinciding with a new moon as it does. The mountain will be overrun with excursions as normal but we have a nice, dark spot where no one other than the beekeepers go! Looking forward to that very much.

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