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M4lcs67

Thinking of going on holiday to La Palma soon. Anyone else been?????

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My wife and I are thinking of taking a break and while going away to relax it may be a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the dark skies in La Palma.

I have always know about the Teide observatory on Tenerife, but since reading the large article in this months S@N about La Palma we are leaning more towards that. It seems to be quieter and not as touristy which we both like to sound of. The dark skies there can also rival those in Hawaii and Chile. For that reason alone I would be very, very keen to go there. The cherry on top of the cake is the fact that it is only a 4 hour flight from the UK.

The wife could load her Kindle up with books and I could go off and take in the beautifully dark skies.

I have looked on the First Choice website and there is a 5 star hotel in the south of the island called La Palma Princess Spa and Hotel. On the face of it that looks just the ticket. It is maybe an hours drive from the airport. Has anybody else been there or perhaps somewhere different? I know it is a small island and there are not that many hotels.

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My parents go there around 6-7 times a year (they'r there now) and they are astounded by the quality of the seeing there, I cant recommend any dark sites, altho most of the island is a dark sky sight :shocked: It's also the least touristy of the islands. They go at all times of the year and almost always have clear skies. Which ever part u travel to your in for a treat & i'm very jealous :Envy::grin:

Steve

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Hey Steve,

Thanks alot for that. The missus and I are hunting for a holiday pretty soon. Currently having a shed load of work done to the house, so we want a nice relax when it is done. Have you got the latest edition of the S@N? There is a large piece about La Palma. There are lots of observatories built high up on the volcano. Blimey. Hope it doesn't decide to blow while we are there. lol. There are also 3 pictures of La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria taken from space and it really shows you how dark it is. The night sky is supposed to be utterly jawdropping. Hopefully the temperature should be starting to get better as well. To be fair though, I don't suppose it will ever get snow or frost cold. Mid April should see things getting a bit warmer.

Edited by M4lcs67

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Hi Malc

There are some stunning timelapse movies on Vimeo you should check out if you've not already. Awesome.

La Palma is on our radar to visit very soon.

Cheers :glasses9:

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Malc,

My wife and I are also looking at La Palma - probably self catering. Came across these two websites with a view to a countryside based location:-

http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/la-palma/

http://www.homeaway.co.uk/search/keywords:La+Palma%2C+Canary+Islands

Hope you find somewhere suitable - out of interest which scope package are you likely to take or is a "special purchase" in the offing?!!!!

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Thanks alot fellas,

Mike I'll check out those video's. In this months S@N magazine there is some stuff on the supplied disc about La Palma.

Nibor. The hotel we were looking at was in the south of the island. Maybe an hours transfer. It is a 5 star all inclusive thing. It does look good and the reviews it has had are favourable. Blimey. Even Tripadvisor say it is good. Not going to take any gear. Maybe i'll buy a set of bins, but with all of that naked sky to look at haven't really considered taking a scope. In any case the past few months have been pretty expensive on the astro gear front. Just last week bought a Skysurfer V rdf for my C9.25 and just today ordered a new saddle for my CG5. Blimey. FLO are making a fortune out of me. Just got to break it to the missus gently.

Just noticed you are in West Yorks. Where???

I am in Halifax.

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stayed in the la palma princess lovely hotel they also do a astro viewing night in the hotel { once a week } with an 8"sct

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Hey Graham,

That is brilliant. As I said we were looking at the La Palma Princess hotel anyway. What night do they do the observing night? Did you go off and do anymore observing anywhere else???

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I'll be in Tenerife at the end of the month, if anyone else is going to be there, pop in. I've got some good solar equipment and a Celestron 8SE based there. :smiley:

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Hey Steve,

Thanks alot for that. The missus and I are hunting for a holiday pretty soon. Currently having a shed load of work done to the house, so we want a nice relax when it is done. Have you got the latest edition of the S@N? There is a large piece about La Palma. There are lots of observatories built high up on the volcano. Blimey. Hope it doesn't decide to blow while we are there. lol. There are also 3 pictures of La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria taken from space and it really shows you how dark it is. The night sky is supposed to be utterly jawdropping. Hopefully the temperature should be starting to get better as well. To be fair though, I don't suppose it will ever get snow or frost cold. Mid April should see things getting a bit warmer.

Around this time of year the temperature can drop quite a bit in the evening (good for observing though) but during the day its like a warm spring here in the UK. As for the volcano, theres actually a 'super' volacano underneath it, that is well overdue & when it does eventually go 'BOOM' the tidal wave causd by the island litterally falling into the sea will result in the destruction of half of the USA :eek: ( you should be ok for now tho :grin: ) havnt got my copy of s@n yet but will be sure to check it out, thanks.

Steve

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Hey Peter,

We had considered Tenerife (although nothing is set in stone yet) La Palma is darker and less touristy and that is why we were leaning towards that. And there is only one direct flight there from Manchester a week. Where will you be based in Tenerife? At the Teide observatory???

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hi malc they do the astro viewing night on mondays 15 euro they also do a tour to the summit (roque de los muchachos observatory) went during the full moon bad idea just took bins with me

heading to tenerife on friday just for a winter break , if you like a quiet holiday plus astronomy great.

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Yeah Steve. I have heard that half of the volcano is overdue collapsing into the sea and causing a cataclysmic tidal wave that will hit the eastern seaboard of the States. The geologists out there are constantly monitoring things but the gaps in the ground keep on getting wider. I certainly don't want to be anywhere near when it goes.

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Graham. Thanks loads for the info. Really helpful. I think you have pretty much sold it to us. :smiley:

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Can't help with the hotels as we always go self catering but La Palma is a wonderful place to visit - if you are adventurous, you'll love the narrow winding roads and a visit to see the observatories on the top of the Roque de los Muchachos is a must! It can be windy on the eastern side so I'd recommend the western/northwestern regions of the island.

I always take my friends from SGL with me!

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Gran Telescopio Canarias

Gran_telescopio.jpg

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I've been there specifically for astro, and spent several nights at the top of the mountain. It's astonishing. We hired an 8-in dob, but to be honest the views through a 92mm compact frac and a Nag 31 were better than anything I've seen over here - even in darkest Wales or Galloway with a 22" monster. I never expected Zodiacal light to seem like light pollution - it was just so clear. The thing that amazed me was how clearly dark nebulae stood out, they gave the rest of the star field such a sense of depth. Fabulous.

It's also a very beautiful island, and comparatively unspoilt. The walking is great. Highly recommended.

Colin

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Colin,

Thanks for that additional insight. Really helpful. We are basically going to recharge out batteries, but it would be a shocking waste if we travelled all that way and didn't take advantage of the dark skies. As others have said it is more unspoilt when compared to the other Canary islands. Might buy a pair of bins to take as well.

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Still looking at going to La Palma and have narrowed it down to mid April all being well. Really need a chance to relax in warmer climes and also get out and see what trully dark skies look like (i anticipate to be blown away). Waiting on a response from the astro companies i e-mailed to see what they can offer.

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I've just got back from a week on La Palma. Probably like a lot of people I didn't know much about it apart from being the home of one of the world's great observatories, so here's an Astro-Trip Advisor style review. I haven't seen the S@N article about La Palma,so apologies if I'm repeating stuff you already know.

I've been to the other Canary Islands a few times, but La Palma is a bit different - very green apart from the volcanic spine and south, relatively undeveloped, just a few hotels, restaurants and bars in the small resorts, and a bit cheaper than the other Canaries. If you want night life it's not exactly jumpin' but it's great if you want a laid back holiday. You really need a car to get about though.

The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM) is built on the northern edge of a 6 mile wide 5000ft deep caldera. At nearly 8000ft up it's above the clouds most of the time - 300 clear nights a year I think (stop crying at the back there!). The day we went it was cloudy on the coast but we drove up through the clouds to a beautiful clear day. The drive from the capital Santa Cruz on the east coast takes about 1hr15min - you'll get sick of the hairpin bends but the road is quite safe. There are a dozen or more major scopes there, The William Herschel, Isaac Newton, MAGIC gamma ray scopes and the new big one, the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) - 410in (eat your heart out Palomar!). You can see them all from the roads or visitor's car park (no cafe or toilets up there),but not up close unless you book a (free) tour well in advance HERE http://www.iac.es/en...op2=420〈=en I booked but it got cancelled for technical reasons the week before :huh: . Visits are just on Saturdays through the winter but I think they do twice a week in summer.

Sky quality is something else. In the late 90s the local government introduced the Sky Law, with strict rules on exterior lighting and aviation routes (i.e. no flashing lights or contrails on your astro images!).

So what else is there for astronomers on La Palma? To start with, the government has been busy converting some of their miradors (viewpoints) into astronomical viewpoints. These are located in dark areas up in the hills with car parking, firm ground for tripods etc. and astronomical information boards. They intend to convert 14 and so far they've done at least 4. You can go on your own but there are also astronomical tour companies on the island who will take or meet you there to have a look through their scopes. They cater for serious amateurs as well as beginners and will also hire out equipment by the day or week - here are two of them

Astrotour http://www.astrotour...in/in_index.php

Astro Camp http://www.astrolapalma.com/

La Palma has 14 Starlight Guides, tour guides who are qualified in both astronomy and tourism. One of them is Sheila Crosby who used to work at the ORM and has written a guide to the observatory. I found her website http://www.starisland.co.uk invaluable when I was planning my trip.

We took the easy option and went on a self-catering package with Thomsons to Los Cancajos on the east side of the island near Santa Cruz and the airport. One night at the hotel we had a talk from one of the Starlight Guides, then out on the roof terrace to look at Jupiter and M42 through her CPC800 - a welcome change from 2nd rate Abba tribute acts! One tip - if you're staying on the east and it's cloudy, try driving over the ridge to the west (about an hour) and more often than not the sky will be clear there. There are no budget airlines flying to La Palma. From Manchester the only direct flight was Thomsons, whether as part of a package or not. If we go again we might try one of the Casas Rurales (country houses). You can book them HERE http://www.islabonita.es/ Apparently some of them have astro gear, don't know which ones or what though.

A point in response to something somebody said in this thread. Tourism to La Palma was damaged by an alarmist Horizon programme a few years ago that claimed the west side of the island is due to slip into the sea any time and result in a mega tsunami which will devastate the eastern seaboard of the US. Most geologists think this was bad science and a poor interpretation of facts. La Palma is the most geologically active of the Canaries with 7 eruptions in 500 years, the last being 1971 in the far south of the island, but no one was killed by them and they say you could walk faster than the lava flows. Volcanic activity is being very carefully monitored.

If you go to Tenerife instead, for me the best option is to drive up to the Las Canadas caldera. At about 2000m you're generally above the clouds but you can check the obs webcams before you set off to be sure.

Sorry to have waffled on a bit, but hope you find something to help your visit. Big thanks to Sheila Crosby for helping out with some of the info.

post-22965-0-63388500-1361911236_thumb.j post-22965-0-97879900-1361911299_thumb.j

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Hmmm... some serious investigation needed here :) Whilst I haven't been able to persuade my wife to let me go to Namibia or Chile, La Palma might just work!

Thanks for the info PeteC, great thread Malc!

James

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Hmmm... some serious investigation needed here :) Whilst I haven't been able to persuade my wife to let me go to Namibia or Chile, La Palma might just work!

Thanks for the info PeteC, great thread Malc!

James

Just what I was thinking!

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On ‎26‎/‎02‎/‎2013 at 20:52, PeteC said:

 

La Palma has 14 Starlight Guides, tour guides who are qualified in both astronomy and tourism. One of them is Sheila Crosby who used to work at the ORM and has written a guide to the observatory. I found her website http://www.starisland.co.uk invaluable when I was planning my trip.

 

 

A little bump on this thread and a request for anyone having a recent live link for the http://www.starisland.co.uk/ site as this one appears dead.

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What might you wish to know. We spent a week out there recently with friends for a 50th birthday...

As stargazers we looked into renting telescopes before we went and ensured the villa we rented for our friends party was on the darker and drier Western side of the island...

PM me if I can help with anything. We've several contacts over there that can help with property, telescopes and tours of the observatory...

But you might be after different data. So I'll leave it with you...

Ed

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3 hours ago, spaceboy said:

 

A little bump on this thread and a request for anyone having a recent live link for the http://www.starisland.co.uk/ site as this one appears dead.

Try a search for Sheila Crosby as above, This pops up  I am sure there may be others, I am also sure she is an sgl member, aahh found it   :icon_biggrin:.

We were there a few years ago, west side as McCabe above - amazing the change in altitude from Los Llanos to La Punta, we were just north of La Punta near Tijarafe, nice small town long way from the beach but above most of the cloud, still a long drive to Los Muchachos.

Edited by Mick J
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I have a few friends who have recently come back with awesome images, I can put you in touch if you like

peter

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