Astrophysics Observatory (Los Cancajos, Santa Cruz de Tenerife) — the Astrophysical Observatory of Roque de Los Muchachos (ORM), located just south of Santa Cruz de la Palma (at an altitude of 2,420 meters in the municipality of Garafía), is one of the most complete array of telescopes in the world. Thanks to its dark, clear skies almost all year round, La Palma has become one of the most privileged locations on the planet for astronomical observation.
Opened in 1985 and managed by the Canary Islands Astrophysical Institute (IAC), the atmosphere at the Observatory is remarkably stable due to its position on the very edge of the Caldera de Taburiente, facing the prevailing north wind. Both aspects enable the telescope facilities to take sharp, stable images of the night sky. In summer, the sky remains clear 90% of the nights, which, combined with remoteness from inhabited areas, and the island’s limited urban development, guarantees a diaphanous, pollution-free atmosphere.
Important note: The observatory opens for only a few days in the year its gates for visitors. During guided tours, scientists provide you with insights in their research work. In the summer months July and August, sometimes even into the month of September, it is possible on 3-4 days after application and registration to visit the observatory. The dates are annually announced at the IAC (Instituto de Astrofisicas de Canarias) from May – in English and Spanish. The application can be undertaken by telephone, fax or e-mail. For those granted a tour, admission is free.
A further possibility is to inquire at the administration of the ORM (Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos) in Santa Cruz de La Palma. This inquiry is then referred to the corresponding telescope. Since the observatory is no planetarium, but an institution for basic research, generally only groups of visitors are admitted (students, school classes, hobbyist astronomers, groups from politics, economics, television, etc.). Individual visits are not possible.