Night Panorama of La Palma

By: Babak A. Tafreshi


Region: Europe

Site: La Palma - Spain

Date: 2011 August 31

When the evening twilight was fading to darkness above La Palma in Canary Islands, this 300-degree panoramic image captured the sky above some of the world's major telescopes in Roque de los Muchachos observatory, located at the top of the island about 2400 meters above sea level. On the left (south) the bright central bulge of the Milky Way in the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius is captured above the lower clouds which are lit by the nearby town Los Llanos de Adriane. Continue to the right and you find the setting crescent moon in the fading twilight over the west. The moon is accompanied by planet Saturn (upper right of the moon) and bright star Spica in Virgo. Below the moon sits the 3.6 meter TNG (Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, belongs to Italy). To its right is one of the world's largest telescopes, the 10.4 m GTC (Gran Telescopio Canarias) which belongs to Spain. The Ursa Major (Big Bear) with its seven brighter stars which forms the famous asterism Big Dipper is notable in the middle toward the north. There are about a dozen major telescopes on this excellent observing site. More of them are visible on the right below the autumn Milky Way. They are located at the edge of cloud-covered giant volcanic caldera of the island. Telescopes in this part from the left to right includes: the 2.5m NOT or Nordic Optical Telescope, the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope, the two solar towers (Dutch Open Telescope and the Swedish Solar Telescope), the 2,5m Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) and at last the 1-meter Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope. The panorama ends at right (south east) in the light from the larger island of Tenerife. Babak Tafreshi/

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