Comet ISON is visible to the naked eye

As comets approach the sun, they warm up and the head and tail grow bigger and brighter. ISON is now visible, in the constellation Virgo, near the bright star Spica. That’s in the east before dawn. There’s a finder chart at and more informationa at Phil Plait’s blog. Please excuse the rush. I’m trying to finish a book of children’s stories about La Palma’s amazing night sky. Cuando los…

November 19, 2013

The Rum Factory

Rum Distilling Equipment La Palma has a small rum factory, at Puerto Espí,ndola, in the borough of San Andres y Sauces. Unlike most rum factories, they start with sugar cane rather than molasses. After all, La Palma had commercial sugar cane plantations in the 15th century, before the West Indies had them. At harvesting season, the factory’s south building smells of sugar cane being crushed and fermented. Distillation happens in…

November 16, 2013

A lovely calendar

Vanessa Sancho is originally from Barcelona, but she’s been living in La Palma for the last 18 months. The island’s amazing skies inspired her to produce very good pastel paintings of nebulae. She’s crowdfunding a calendar of her paintings, and I’ve already signed up for one. The calendar is A4 (opens to A3) and each month includes a colour painting, an explanation of what it is an where you can…

November 15, 2013

The end of a long day.

Yesterday I had my first private customers. I got an email: “Our friend went on a cruise, and you were the guide for her excursion on La Palma. She says you’re great. We’re coming on Nov 10th, please can you tell us which excursion you’ll be doing because we want to be on it.” Obviously this did my ego no harm at all, but I can’t control which bus I…

November 12, 2013


I went back to the dentist yesterday. Much better! I now have a temporary filling that hopefully won’t need to come out. If all goes well, the dentist will put a permanent cover on it in three weeks. Meanwhile, it’s sensitive to hot and cold, but doesn’t hurt otherwise. The children’s anthology is coming on nicely, too. I’ve started writing the last story in English, nine of the stories have…

November 8, 2013

Monday’s eclipse seen from a plane

Solar eclipse seen from a plane
November 7, 2013

  This was photographed from a plane flying at 13,300 m going 800 km/h, 960 km southeast of Bermuda. In order to get the eclipse to one side of the plane, they flew across the path of totality, rather than along it. This required split-second timing, since the shadow on the moon moves across the Earth’s surface at 12,800 km/h. The photographer, Ben Cooper, isn’t sure whether this is totality…