The Canary Islands are well known as a popular summer holiday destination, but they have a lot more to offer than just sun and sand. Read on to learn how you can discover the wonders of the universe at Teide Observatory. |
Top Tip: There’s no need to worry about getting around Tenerife. Transfers are available to take you all over the island.
Stargazing in the Canaries
The Canaries have long been recognised as one of the very best spots in the world to look up at the night sky. Their relative isolation and the lack of clouds keep the skies clear most of the year. The islands are generally considered to be one of the top three astronomy spots, alongside Hawaii and Chile.
Inaugurated in 1964, Teide Observatory is one of the world’s largest solar observatories, covering 50ha and peaking at 2,390m above sea-level. It’s managed by the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics, which averages one new scientific publication every day.
As a solar observatory, Teide focuses on understanding the sun. It was here that scientists discovered that it has its own sound frequency and even beats like a human heart, pulsing once every five minutes.
Telescopes and Equipment
Teide has brought a huge amount of scientific interest to Tenerife. Transfers of equipment by personnel over the years have seen 60 institutions from 19 countries place telescopes here, making this a truly international venture.
Many of its telescopes are well known to astronomers in their own right. The 1AC-80 discovered the first known brown dwarf star in 1995, named Teide-1. 1972’s TCS Telescope is still one of the most high-performing scopes in the world, and with its 1.5m aperture the GREGOR solar scope is the largest of its kind in Europe.
Astronomy nuts will be wowed by all this, but the centre’s achievements are remarkable to any and all. With around 40 observation campaigns running from mid-April to mid-December yearly, there’s always more to be discovered.
How can you experience this incredible observatory on your holiday to Tenerife? Transfers are available all across the island, and many operators offer trips to Teide.
Visitors can take tours around any of the centre’s three areas, housing nocturnal, microwave and solar telescopes respectively. On these trips, you will learn about the workings of the different scopes and how they’re used. Guests even get a chance to observe the sun up close. What’s more, the science dome houses a talk on the electromagnetic spectrum, including an amazing time-lapse video captured at two observatories.
These tours are available in a variety of languages, with Spanish, English, German and French each scheduled for a different weekday. Make sure you book in advance to get your dates (and the language) right.
How to Get There
The Canaries’ popularity as a holiday destination means they’re well-served with regular and affordable flights from the UK. Various operators run the route, and journeys take around four hours from London. The island is blessed with two airports, one in the north and one in the south, and Tenerife transfer operators are available to get you wherever you need to go from either.
Whether you’re an avid astronomer or just someone who thinks the night sky is pretty, a trip to the Teide Observatory is sure to show you something amazing.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for affordable Tenerife transfers Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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