Astronomy - Tenerife
  • Astronomy

Astronomy

Its geographical location, the clarity of its skies, its pure, clean air and unbeatable conditions make Tenerife one of the world's leading destinations for star gazing.

With its clear skies, pure air and strategic geographical location close to the Tropic of Cancer, Tenerife is one of the best places in the world for astronomical observation. This is agreed on by both amateur star-gazers and expert scientists, who have found Tenerife's peaks to be a wonderful place from which to admire heaven's vault. It is not by chance that Teide National Park houses the Canary Islands Observatory and the Institute of Astrophysics, which receives support from 19 countries and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for studying the skies. The observatory stands at an altitude of 2,400 m (7,875 ft) above sea level where the unique blanket of clouds below forms a natural layer concealing the light pollution from the coast, keeping the air clean and calm, and affording long observation hours.

For those wishing to experience the beauty of Tenerife's night skies, there are a variety of astronomical outings available, on which visitors get a close look at some of the telescopes that are positioned on the highest points of the Island and can admire the wonder of the immense starry sky. The chance to take stunning pictures using star photography and the advantage of nocturnal time lapse makes Tenerife's peaks especially appealing to both professional photographers and those for whom it is a hobby. In the month of December, the Geminid meteor shower creates one of the most eagerly awaited spectacles for astronomy lovers on Tenerife, as the mountain range of Las Cañadas d is one of the best places in the world to see it from. Some of the most important observation points in Teide National Park are Chipeque, El Portillo, Ucanca and Izaña.

Tenerife has a Law on the Protection of the Astronomical Quality of Observatories, also known as “The Canarian Sky Act”, which regulates the level of light, atmospheric and radio-electric pollution, as well as flight paths. As it happens, Teide National Park and its peaks have been awarded the "Starlight" certificate as a Tourist Destination and as a Reserve. This initiative is backed by international organisations such as UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union. This makes Mount Teide the first location to have been declared both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a "Starlight Tourist Destination".