This month Teide National Park has been officially declared a Starlight Tourist Destination and a Starlight Reserve by the Starlight Foundation, the UNESCO supported body set up to protect the world’s ‘Right to Starlight’. So now the rest of the world knows what we who regularly visit or live on Tenerife have known for years – this is a brilliant place to see the stars.
Starlight Reserve Certificates are awarded to those places that demonstrate a commitment to, and achievement of, low light pollution and clean skies which optimise our ability to observe the night sky. The Starlight Tourist Destination award brings together the worlds of science and tourism by recognising places that have good facilities for stargazing and its related cultural and scenic values. In other words, places where you can go and see brilliant scenery, try local cuisine, learn about local customs and watch the skies.
Naturally, Teide National Park qualifies on all those fronts and much of the stargazing happens at The Parador which has a small observatory and offers stargazing experiences. But there are other tours which also offer an opportunity to see the night sky from the surreal landscape of Las Cañadas. Disfrutare will take you up in the cable car in time for a champagne sunset followed by a typical Canarian dinner at the cable car station and then a guided stargazing session. Tours in English are conducted on Fridays and before you book, try to ensure it will be a moonless night to get the best of the starry features.
On October 22nd the Teide Observatory helped make history by receiving the fastest data ever transmitted between the Moon and Earth. The data was sent by Nasa’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which was launched into orbit around the Moon in October, and was transmitted over 400,000km at a speed of 622 mbps, which is a whole lot faster then most people’s broadband connections on the island which struggle to reach 1mbps. The data was received thanks to an upgraded Advanced Laser Terminal at the European Space Agency’s Optical Ground Station in the observatory.
In 2011 Tenerife celebrated 50 years in space with the hugely successful Starmus Festival which featured exhibitions, conferences and concerts. Next year the island will hold its second Starmus Festival and we eagerly await details of dates and planned activities.
If you want to experience Tenerife’s truly spectacular night sky but don’t want to pay out much money for the privilege, you can drive yourself up to Teide National Park to watch the sunset and the emergence of the stars. But remember to wrap up warm, at this time of year temperatures in the crater plummet after dark.
Category : about tenerife
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