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Largest Telescope in Europe Unveiled In The Canaries

May 22, 01:41 pm

The Canary Islands are now officially home to the largest solar telescope in Europe. As Gregor – a €12.85 million viewing tool – was unveiled at the Astrophysical Institute of the Canary Islands in Tenerife on Monday. Helping to further establish the islands as a real hub for astro-tourism.
Gregor Telescope in Tenerife
This giant scope, which has been named in honour of the 17th Century Scottish mathematician and astrologer James Gregory, boasts a diameter of 1.5 metres and is capable of viewing planets in our solar system such as the sun in unprecedented detail. Whilst also taking pictures in much greater clarity than was ever possible before. It is said to be the third largest and most powerful telescope in the world and has been funded by a German consortium.

If you´re fascinated by the night skies then the Canary Islands are certainly the holiday choice for you. As the archipelago is the best place in Europe to indulge in a spot of star gazing, thanks to the fact that their median position at 28 degrees latitude north means that it’s possible to view the northern hemisphere constellations all year round, as well as parts of the southern hemisphere too.

The Canaries also offer very low levels of light pollution – as the smaller islands especially are not home to large conurbations and the local government pursues a clean skies policy in order to enhance observation of the celestial show.

Tenerife is widely regarded as one of the best locations to view the heavens, as here the spectacle can be yet further enhanced by heading for the summit of Mount Teide, which is where a number of observatories are based and which stands some 3700 metres above sea level, making this the highest peak in the whole of Spain.

This is the place which amateur astronomers should head for as from here it is possible to view annual celestial events such as the Perseides or Leonid meteor showers with just a small telescope or a pair of decent binoculars. Whilst the skies above Tenerife put on an impressive show virtually every night of the year.

The smaller island of La Palma is also home to another observatory, The Roque de los Muchachos in Garafía, which sits at an altitude of 2,420 m above sea level. The skies over La Palma are extremely dark and very cloudless so this is another fantastic spot for gazers. Whilst on Lanzarote it´s also possible to view planets such as Venus and Jupiter as well as constellations such as Andromeda and Perseus.




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