Izaña part 2: stargazing

The sun in H-alpha, photographed by me.
The sun in H-alpha, photographed by me.

Since I got there early, I got a chance to try to photograph the nearest star – our Sun, through a small telescope with a filter which lets through a wavelength called H? (pronounced H alpha). It was tricky. I’m pretty short sighted, and I can’t see well with my glasses squdged up against the viewfinder. For normal stargazing, I take my glasses off and refocus the telescope, but that doesn’t work with a camera. So I took a bunch of photos at different focal settings, and tried to see which came out best on the camera. But the viewfinder was too small. Amazingly, one of them turned out to be not too bad at all, once I’d tweaked the exposure a bit.

Then everyone else arrived. I got a photo of sunset with Teide, one of the telescopes, Venus (the bright star) and Jupiter (to the right and a bit below Venus).

Mt Teide, a telescope at the Teide observatory, Tenerife, Venus and Jupiter
Mt Teide, a telescope, Venus and Jupiter

And then we ate out potluck dinner and started stargazing.

Two telescopes plus people enjoying them
Two telescopes plus people enjoying them

We looked at the crescent Venus, and the moons of Jupiter. That was looking over towards La Palma, where there’s less light pollution.

Venus and Jupiter and a different telescope, Izaña, Tenerife
Venus and Jupiter and a different telescope

But looking towards Guimar, the light pollution is worse (that’s the red glow). OK, I live on La Palma and I’m spoiled rotten. I think most UK amateurs would be delighted to see scorpio this well.

Scorpio seen from Izaña, Tenerife
Scorpio seen from Izaña

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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