During the afternoon of Sunday 20th June, as part of the outreach activities of the Energy Efficiency Laboratories (EELabs) project, coordinated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) the sky-live.tv channel will broadcast the sunset of the summer solstice from the municipality of Tejeda, with the collaboration of the Town Council of the municipality and of World Heritage (Patrimonio Mundial) and Biosphere Reserve Institute of Grand Canary.
“The summer solstice was one of the key dates in the astronomy of the aboriginal people of the Island of Grand Canary. We know this thanks to historical chronicles” explains Dr. Juan Antonio Belmonte, Principal Investigator of the Archaeoastronomy group of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). Three decades of research show how this is reflected in the archaeological reality of the island.
Cuatro Puertas, los Llanos de Gamona, the almogaren of Montaña Santidad, are just some of the sites which have been studied during the past thirty years. But among the phenomena which occurs in the Risco Caído is perhaps the most notable. “Risco Caído is a very important reference for these studies, so much so that it was a determining factor in the declaration of Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Grand Canary as a Cultural Landscape World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2019” says Belmonte.
Sunlight shines into the cave from the spring equinox until the autumn equinox, but reaches its maximum at the summer solstice. At that time a curious phenomenon occurs, “A beam of sunlight, which enters through a small hole, shines onto a large panel covered with pubic triangles, in the form of a phallus or a shield. This image moves down the wall with astronomical symbols possibly associated with fertility, which we are not sure about today” describes Belmonte. The cave is so special that during the other half of the year the light which shines into the interior of the cave and describes similar phenomena is that of the full moon.
The zone of the Sacred Mountains of Grand Canary and the valley of Tejeda are also special as having the darkest areas of the island. The project EELabs, whose aim is to measure the impact of light pollution on the natural ecosystems of Macaronesia has one of its networks of photometers in this valley, to evaluate how this kind of pollution propagates and to suggest possible solutions to avoid effects on the astronomical quality of the sky and on the biodiversity of the zone.
The broadcast of the solstice can be followed on Sunday 20th June from 20:45 h on https://sky-live.tv/retransmisiones/solstitium-2021
EELabs (eelabs.eu) is a project funded by the Programme INTERREG V-A MAC 2014-2020 and co-financed by FEDER (European Fund for Regional Development of the European Union, under contract number MAC2/4.6d/238. 5 centres in Macaronesia (IAC, UPGC, SPEA-Azores, SPEA-Madeira) work in EELabs. Its objective is to create laboratories to measure the energy efficiency of the artificial night-time illumination in the natural protected areas of Macaronesia (the Canaries, Madeira, and the Azores).
Fig 1. The Tejeda valley, bathed by the Geminids 2020 meteor shower. In the sky, in addition to the luminous traces of the Geminids, the constellation Orion on the left, the Pleiades in the centre and, crossing the right-hand corner, a fragment of the Milky Way. The terrestrial landscape reveals, from left to right, the rock formations of El Fraile, El Roque Nublo, the landscape of the sacred mountains of Gran Canaria, Roque Bentayga and the Tejeda Valley. In the background, in the centre of the image, the island of Tenerife can also be seen, crowned by Mount Teide. Credit: Juan Carlos Casado.
EELabs (eelabs.eu) is a project financed by the INTERREG V-A MAC 2014-2020 Programme, co-financed by the FEDER (European Regional Development Fund) of the European Union, under contract number MAC2/4.6d/238. Five centres in Macaronesia work in EELabs (IAC, ITER, UPGC, SPEA-Azores, SPEA-Madeira).
On May 5th the Earth will pass through the cloud of dust and small fragments of rock which comet 1P/Halley left behind during one of its approaches to the Sun, giving rise to the meteors known as the Eta Aquariids. The sky-liv.tv channel, in collaboration with the Energy Efficiency Laboratories (EELabs) project coordinated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), will broadcast this meteor shower as part of its activities in “Sounds of the Sky, a Citizen Science project of the FECYT to involve the whole family in classifying meteors, and also to make this task easier for visually
This astronomical event will be broadcast live in the early hours of January 3rd from the Canary Observatories, via the sky-live.tv channel, with the collaboration of the European Project Interreg EELabs and the Innovation Service of the Cabildo of the Island of La Palma. After the impressive data of the activity of the 2020 Geminids (the last major meteor shower of the year) the expectations for the Quadrantids are very high, even though this time the Moon will make it hard to see the fainter meteors. Usually the Geminids and the Quadrantids show activity approaching 100 meteors per hour
During the nights of 12th and 13th of December we will enjoy the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. This will be broadcast live from the Teide Observatory (Tenerife) and from the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory ( La Palma) via the sky-live.tv channel, with the collaboration with the Energy Efficiency Labs (EELabs project of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the Programme of Astronomical Outreach of SODEPAL and the Innovation Service of the Cabildo Insular of La Palma. During the past decade the Geminids have always bid farewell to the year by producing over 100 meteors
Next Tuesday, September 22nd, at 13:30 UT the Earth will be at a specific point in its orbit round the Sun: the September equinox. The September and March equinoxes are the only days in the year when the Sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west, across the whole planet.
A recent study analyses data collected at 44 of the darkest places in the world, including the Canary Island Observatories, to develop the first complete reference method to measure the natural brightness of the night sky using low-cost photometers. Of the 44 photometers in the survey, the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma, Canary Islands) stands out at the darkest of all the skies analysed. The night sky is not completely dark; even in the remotest places there is a glow in the sky produced by natural components, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial, and by artificial
After several months of waiting, this summer the EELabs project, led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, has started to deploy its first network of photometers.