Sunday Photos: Turn off the lights and turn on the stars

Gallegos square

Last night was the Apagón – the big turning off. At a whole bunch of locations around La Palma the street lights were turned off for an hour so we could all enjoy a night sky as dark as the observatory’s. We do this every year, but usually on the anniversary of the Starlight declaration in April. I was in Gallegos with Angelo, one of the new starlight guides and my telescope, and so was the rain. Luckily I’d seen the weather forecast so I’d also taken my scale model solar system and I’d hastily prepared a PowerPoint to go with it.

So we set up the presentation in the Casa Cultura and had a practice, then went for a surprisingly good hamburger downstairs and listened to the live music. The rain gradually stopeed but the clouds stayed. We were able to put up the decorations. As it got close to 10 pm when the lights were due to go off, we looked at the tiny clear patches and we got my telescope set up in on the flat roof case it cleared.

10 pm arrived and there wre enough clear patches for Angelo to talk about constellations down in the square. We were just arguing whether I should do the talk or try telescope obervation of whatever peeped out from between the clouds when my friends Helen and Theresa arrived. That solved it – they went to line up the telescope while I gave my talk to half the crowd. It went well, though I say so myself. At any rate, they applauded. Then Helen said the telescope was ready so we tried to see planets in between clouds until it clouded over again, and I gave my talk for a second time.

And then I packed it all up and said goodbye to everyone which took a while and went to sleep at my friends’ house in Franceses. It was so very nice not to drive for an hour to get home. As it was, I collapsed at 1 am.

In other news, Chai Latte is still slowly recovering. Every day she looks a little brighter, but it’s going to take time.

Editing the novel is up to chapter 89.

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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