Snow at the Roque

The Isaac Newton Telescope in the snow, Roque de Los Muchachos, Garafía, La Palma
The Isaac Newton Telescope in the snow
 

La Palma has a lovely sub-tropical climate. It’s called the land of eternal spring. But today the top of the mountain is covered with snow.

Of course, we only ever get snow at high altitude, and these days, we don’t get snow every winter. But when it snows, it can dump several feet in one night.

The Roque is one of the three best sites in the world for astronomy, so there’s a major international observatory up there. Of course, they expect occasional snow, so they’re geared up for it. They have 4×4 vehicles, and in winter they carry snow chains and shovels, just in case. Unless it’s cloudy, they carry right on observing. The snow plough was busy this morning, getting the road open again.

The photo at the top is the Isaac Newton Telescope, looking Christmassy, taken last year.

And this is the the MAGIC telescope this evening, taken with their webcam at http://www.magic.iac.es/webcams/index.html
MAGIC telescope in the snow

Posted by sheila

Sheila came to La Palma with a six month contract and has stayed 24 years so far. She used to work as a software engineer at the observatory, but now she's a writer and Starlight guide.

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