Stargazing

The overwhelming vastness of the star-studded sky and the nocturnal beauty of the volcanic landscape create a magical setting. As you pick up your star chart and put your eye to the telescope, you begin to recognise constellations, planets and satellites, one after another, like there is no end to the wonders of the sky. The hours tick by but you are so enthralled in your passion that you barely notice... until a shooting star whizzes by. You quickly try and think of a wish, but nothing springs to mind. There is nowhere in the world you would rather be.

Mount Teide National Park is the ideal location for treating your eyes to such breathtaking sights as the rings of Saturn, the Moon's craters and no end of galaxies and nebulae. Mount Teide and the Peaks of Tenerife were recently awarded the Starlight Certification in acknowledgement of their international standing as an ideal location for stargazing.

The best options for successful stargazing are:

Montaña de Guajara:

This is the highest peak in the Las Cañadas del Teide amphitheatre and is a great spot for scanning the sky. Getting there involves following somewhat difficult trails, but the reward is worthwhile.

Spots near the Parador hotel:

If you would rather avoid the bother of long walks, a convenient and comfortable option would be to find a stargazing point near the Parador hotel. Advantages? You can always take refuge there if the weather takes a sudden turn, if it starts to rain, if the temperature drops or if it snows (an unlikely event as it only happens a couple of days a year in winter and the forecasts will usually warn you).

Teide National Park lookout points:

The Park's various lookout points are also a great place to observe the sky thanks to their strategic location in elevated areas with unbeatable visibility. The one at Llano de Ucanca ranks among the best.

A journey through the planets and the stars:

You can choose to take a self-guided tour around the seven observation points in Teide National Park, where you will learn about the link between this World Heritage Site, the stars and the planets.

A series of information boards have been set up at the Park's lookout points in a specific order to form a trail, which you can follow in order to learn more about the fascinating conjunction between the sky and Mount Teide. These are the boards you will find (in order, from El Portillo to Chío):

  • El Teide and the Sun share a vibrant secret.(Location: Minas de San José lookout point).
  • Planetary landscapes close to home.(Location: Minas de San José lookout point).
  • At what time was El Teide formed?(Location: Tabonal Negro lookout point).
  • The Montes Tenerife are on the Moon.(Location: Roques de Garcia lookout point).
  • Test area in the search for signs of life on Mars.(Location: Los Azulejos lookout point).
  • Would El Teide be a giant on Mars?(Location: First lookout point at Llano de Ucanca).
  • A catalogue of eruptions in the Solar System.(Location: Juan Évora Museum car park).

Izaña:

At a height of over 2,400 metres (7,800 feet) above sea level stand the telescopes of the Teide Observatory, operated by the Canary Islands' Institute of Astrophysics, which just goes to show the excellent quality of the Island's skies. The keenest enthusiasts can sign up for a guided tour of the observatory to see how its huge instruments work and what scientists from all over the world get up to there.

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In Tenerife, particularly in the northern part, you will find a number of companies that specialise in stargazing. They can provide you with all the equipment, information and advice you need to make the most of your outings, and they also organise night-time trips and gatherings. If you choose to go on one, they have expert instructors and state-of-the-art technology.

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