Sun Travel


At last, I’ve seen the Northern Lights. A short break in Tromsø and despite a slightly iffy weather forecast the first night we took a tour out off the city. Weather was forecast to be best over Kvaløya so that was the direction we headed and the clouds started to thin after we’d travelled a few miles. This was probably the brightest but I’ve still got some more pictures to process.




Enroute to La Palma we decided on spending a day in Madrid and totally by chance the hotel was a stones throw away from the Madrid Royal Observatory. What can you do in circumstances like these but organise a tour.

Unfortunately, the tours are conducted in Spanish but the two young ladies who showed us around were very pleasant and would answer questions in English. My thanks to them for making the visit so enjoyable.

The main building was constructed in 1845 although the observatory had been established around 1785 and was home to a Herschel 25ft reflecting telescope of 24″ aperture until it’s destruction by French Napoleonic troops.

The main building has a transit telescope, the slot for which is visible on the right of this picture. Unfortunately, photography wasn’t permitted inside this building but there is a picture in the guidebook. Ask me if you’d like to see it.

Highlight of the visit though was the beautiful reconstruction of the original Herschel telescope, housed in it’s own building.

Tomorrow we meet Dan at the airport for the flight to La Palma. The weather forecast isn’t looking too good so far. Keep your fingers crossed for us.


Kielder Observatory

While on holiday in Northumberland we took advantage of an open evening at the Kielder Observatory. The evening started with a talk by the Director, Gary Fildes about the Universe and our place in it. This was followed by a tour of the facility and views of the Moon and Saturn through the 20? Newtonian and 14? SCT telescopes as the sky didn’t get dark enough to look at anything fainter.