The Milky Way panoramic image -  (c) M. Stiel

lapalma 01 The top of the mountain on La Palma is one of the best astronomical sites in the world, both for stellar astronomy and for solar observations, as the installation of telescopes from 10+ European countries shows, . The new Swedish Solar telescope (a 40" vacuum refractor) has given some really fascinating images of solar structures. A “Dark sky law” helps keeping the light pollution low.

Please do not believe that La Palma is an astronomers paradise in the sens that the nights are always clear. This is simply not true. The statistics that you might find on the web are from the observatory, above the local cloud layer - and there is no accommodation or place to leave your telescope permanent mounted at this height.

La Palma lies in the Trade Winds region. This region frequently has a inversion layer at around 1000 meters. Near the islands a cloud layer is formed here. The clouds are mainly concentrated on the east side of the island but we on the west side do get a fair part of them.

A typical day here will be clear and sunny at sunup. Then near midday clouds build up and at sundown the sun will, as the clouds are concentrated around the island, peek in below the clouds. By nightfall the clouds often, but not always, clear away. During the night you might expect some cloudy periods that come and go, the changes are rapid. This timelapse video from September 2012, taken by Dirk Panczyk, one of our guests, can give you an idea of what to expect. Rightclick for full size :


Our guests at Casa Rosabel has the use of a Meade 10" Schmidt-Newton, the guests in the Apartment a 10" Newton  Both telescopes are mounted on permanent piers with NEQ6Pro heads and SynScan  GOTO controllers.

The EQ6 have a ST4 compatible input for guiding and they can also be computer controlled through the EQMOD system. We have one Lacerta MGEN autoguider but as it can be used with several different telescopes you should reserve it in case that you want to use the autoguider during your stay on La Palma.

The 16" Dobson is used by both parties. If the guests don't make a different agreement Casa Rosabel will use the telescope on odd dates, the Apartment on even nigts. The same is valid for the 10x25 binoculares, you will have either the Dobson or the binoculares each night.

The guests can also use the rest of the equipment on the "rent a telescope" page if they are available.  If they want to assure them self of the availability they must  reserve them at 50% of the standard price.

The observation site lies 200 meters away from the house, at a place, where you are protected from local lights. There is a small hut, which can be heated, near the telescope piers, where the optics are stored and which you can use to set up your computer. 220V is available in the hut and on the telescope piers.

Coordinates: 17h 56' 37.7" W, 28° 41' 20.3" N.

Meade LXD55 10" Schmidt-Newton:

The telescope for Casa Rosabel is the Mead 10 inch Schmidt-Newton. It is equipped it with the 2”/1.25” Moonlight motor focuser and with a dew-heater for the Schmidt window. To stiffen the OTA, and to reduce stray light, two MDF baffles have been added and the inside of the tube has been covered with flocking paper. A T2 adapter can be used for camera mounting.

Aperture: 254 mm
Focal length: 1016 mm

Meade series 4000 Plössel 1.25” eyepieces:
32 mm 26 mm 20 mm 15 mm 12.4 mm 9.7 mm 6.4 mm
Meade  9 mm EP with cross-hairs and x/y control
TeleVue 2.5x Powermate Barlow


Meade series 4000 color filters:  #11    #25A    #47    #82A
Astronomik narrow band UHC filter
Meade crossed Polaroids filter for moon observations

Teleskopservice 10" Carbon tube Newton:

Guests at the apartment have the use of the 10 inch TS Carbon tube Newton . It has a Baader Steel track  3 inch focuser, a TS-Optics 2 inch Coma Corrector and weights only about 11 kg. M48 and T2 threads are available for camera mounting.

TS WA26 ERFLE 26 mm with 70
˚ Field
TS EXP13 Expanse 13 mm
with 70˚ Field
TS EXP5 Expanse 5 mm
with 70˚ Field

2 inch UHC filter

Aperture: 254 mm
Focal length: 1000 mm

Meade 16" Lightbridge Dobson:
The 16 inch f/4.5 Meade Lightbridge Dobson lives in it's own roll off shed and can be put to use very quickly

The telescope is equipped with the JMI Train-n-Track drive, a 8x50 right angle non reversing finder and a green laser pointer. An absolute Elevation readout combined with an Azimuth scale makes PUSH TO possible.

2" 26 mm 70º Meade QX  EP
Baader Planetarium Hyperion 13 mm 68º EP
Baader Planetarium Hyperion 8 mm 68º EP
Baader Planetarium Hyperion Fine tuning rings 14 and 28 mm
Crossed polariodes moon filter
2" Astronic UHC filter.

For moon and planetary observations we have an optical very good 3" f/13 Polarex refractor on a motor driven mount.

Aperture: 75 mm
Focal length: 1200 mm
Star diagonal
0.95” eyepieces: 40 mm, 25 mm, 18 mm, 12.5 mm,9 mm and 6 mm
Projection screen for the sun


A pair of 25x100 Binoculars from Teleskope-Service in Germany, on a parallelogram mount provides relaxed viewing of Deep Space Objects. Some coma in one tube makes planetary observations less enjoyable. This is an ideal instrument for showing children the wonders of the sky as the parallelogram mount allows the changing the height of the binocular without loosing the object in the field of view.

The 10” Meade telescope can also be used in the Dobson rocker box that is used for the 8” rent-a-telescope Newton. A green laser pointer is then used as finder
astro 07

Winter nights can be cold, down to 6 degree Celecius, 43 deg Farenheit, and the dew can be very heavy. We have a couple of down jackets and one pair of down trousers for your use, but we suggest you to bring some warm clothes, especially if you are planning to observe on the mountain

A selection of the available literature:
lW. Tirion: Sky Atlas 2000
Crossen & Tirion: Binocular Astronomy
C. b. Luginibuhl: Observing Handbook and Catalogue of Deep-sky Objects
H. Pennington: The year-round Messier Marathon field Guide
G. R.Kepple, G. W. Sanner: The Night Sky Observers Guide vol 1, Autumn & Winter
G. R.Kepple, G. W. Sanner: The Night Sky Observers Guide vol 2, Spring & Summer
C. A. Wood: The Modern Moon, a personal view
E. Karkoschka: Atlas für Himmelsbeobachter, 4. Auflage mit Fotos
R. Stoyan: Deep Sky Reiseführer, 3. Auflage

Some ATM and other astronomical literature for a rainy night:
J. Texereau: How to Make a Telescope
D. Kriege, R. Berry: The Dobsonian Telescope
H. R. Suiter: Star Testing Astronomical Telescopes
The best of Amateur Telescope Making Journal volume 1
The best of Amateur Telescope Making Journal volume 2
R. H. Allen: Star Names their Lore and Meaning
R. Reeves:  Introduction to Digital Astrophotography

Photos from our guests:             Mouse over for credits

astro08 astro09
 Alva looking at the stars Sunset at Casa  Rosabel Observing Mars Opposition
Looking north
Milkyway At the southterrace Cygnus
Looking north Milkyway At the south terrace Cygnus
M8 M20 Centaurus A M83
M8 - 66 mm refractor M20 66 m refractor Centaurs A Meade 10" M83 - Meade 10"
Horsehead nebula
M42 M42 Area Rosetta Nebula
The Horshead Nebula  M42 M42s region Rosetta Nebula
astropic16 astropic17

M27 M27

Links to Websites with reports from visit to Casa Rosabel: