Transvulcania runners visit the Observatory

Me and Transvulcania runners outside GTC., Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
May 7, 2015

  Today 11 of the Transvulcania runners visited the observatory, together with about 20 journalists. Lucky me, I got the job of being their guide. So I showed them around GTC and the MAGIC. It felt a bit odd, because the runners were interested in the telescopes, but the photographers were largely interested in the runners. Well, it’s their job, obviously: they weren’t there for me or the telescopes. But at the end,…


Star birth

Stars being born inside the Sharpless 2-106 Nebula (S106)
October 10, 2014

  This amazing picture of stars being born inside a nebula was taken by Daniel Lopez using Grantecan. Near the centre of the picture is a dark red spot – that’s the new star which shines mostly in the infrared. The butterfly shape is a large disk of dust and gas orbiting the star. The gas near the star shines because it is ionized (like the inside of a flourescent…


The GTC shutter

GTC Shutter
July 30, 2014

  GTC has been open for five years, and the massive dome shutter has been getting some maintenance. This photo give an idea of the sheer size of the dome shutter.


Happy Birthday to Gran Telescopio Canarias

GTC at sunset, Roque de Los Muchachos, La Palma
July 25, 2012

Gran Telescopio Canarias (Big Canarian Telescope) also known as GranTeCan or GTC was inaugurated on July 24th 2009. It’s the largest optical an infrared telescope in the world, with a segmented main mirror 10.4 m acros which gathers as much light as four million human eyes. The top of the dome is 41 m above the ground. GTC is owned 5% by the university of Mexico, 5% by the university…


Realuminizing GTC’s tertiary mirror

The light path on a KECK telescope
June 29, 2012

  Modern telescopes have mirrors made of a material called vitro ceramic, which keeps its size and shape in spite of changes in temperature, covered with a very thin layer of aluminium. Domestic mirrors have glass in front of the aluminium, to protect it, but that means that the light passes through the glass twice – coming and going – which degrades the image. So telescope mirrors have the aluminium…