A Breathtaking Window on the Universe

The front cover for 'A Breathtaking Window on the Universe'
August 2, 2015

Yes, it’s my book. “A Breathtaking Window on the Universe: A guide to the observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos SECOND EDITION” By Sheila M. Crosby (Non-Fiction Paperback) 164 pages (16 more than the first edition) Welcome to the Roque de Los Muchachos, where 15 telescopes from 19 nations use the best night sky in Europe to explore the cosmos. Find out what it’s like to work in this strange…


Water Mines on La Palma

Although La Palma has more water than the other Canary Islands, many farmers used to be desperately poor and frequently hungry. The only water for irrigation was rainwater, and obviously they had no control over how much they got. Then somebody suggested digging into the hillside to find water. (If anybody knows who, please tell me.) The idea is that much of the rainwater seeps into the ground, and runs…

January 19, 2015

Where the Heck is La Palma Anyway?

I originally came to La Palma to work at the astronomical observatory here. Almost as soon as I heard I’d got the job, my parents went to a travel agent to find out how much it would cost to visit. The girl at the desk said, “Las Palmas de Gran Canaris? Certainly Sir. I’ll just look it up for you.” “No,” explained my father. “The island of La Palma. My…

January 16, 2015

Tuesday 13th

You know how some Brits and Americans are superstitious about Friday 13th? Well in Spain, some people are superstitious about Tuesday 13th. So this is your chance for slightly cheaper flights.

January 13, 2015

The Bell from La Verdad

January 10, 2015

Today we have a guest post by Thomas Cox from Maine, USA Being a lifelong ocean sailor, some years ago I was intrigued when I found the ships bell from La Verdad for sale in a marine antique store. I bought it. In searching for some history about the Verdad, I came to realize that the vessel was built in La Palma in 1873 and has quite a history. There…



  The fruits of several different cactuses are called pitahayas. The yellow ones in the picture are Hylocereus megalanthus, and the pink ones are Hylocereus undatus. To be honest, I was rather disappointed by the (lack of) flavour of them both. Some time ago I had what I think was a Hylocereus costaricensis, which was deep red all the way through, and much tastier. I wish I had a bigger…

January 7, 2015