La Palma, Canary Islands

The Canary Islands can be found off the west coast of Africa. Most of the islands are popular holiday destinations, like Tenerife. But the island of La Palma is different. There are no white sandy beaches on La Palma. Like the rest of this chain of islands, it was created by a volcano. This can still be seen rising 2,400 metres (nearly 8,000 feet) above the Atlantic Ocean. It is now extinct and does not pose a treat to the area. But it's height and position makes it one of the best sites in the world to look up at the night sky. 

La Palma Observatory
Wide photo showing the observatory site (left of image) on the top of La Palma's old volcano.
Credit: ING

Wide photo showing the observatory site (left of image) on the top of La Palma's old volcano. 

The photo shows the very top of the volcano. You can see that the cloud layer usually sits below the site. To the left of the picture you can see just a few of the telescopes on the mountain. A group of telescopes like this is called an observatory. The site on La Palma is called the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory. There are around 20 telescopes on La Palma. These are run by many countries from all over the world.