The "Nuestros Alumnos y el Roque de los Muchachos" programme receives unanimous high opinions from the schools of La Palma

Collages of images from the different editions of the ""Nuestros Alumnos y el ORM"" programme. Credit: Nira Llarena
Advertised on

This educational programme, organised and developed by the scientific institutions of the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), is celebrating its 14th birthday, and it does so with unanmiously high opinions from the schools which have participated in the programme this year. This can be gleaned from the data in the questionnaire circulated by the IAC among the educational centres which participated in this edition of the programme in 2024, which reflect 100% satisfaction.

In 2024 the programme included 14 lectures in educational centres, and 17 group visits, with participation by 700 students. When the lectures and the visits were over, the organization sent the questionnaire to the participating centres in order to receive their evaluations about the programme. 100 % of those questioned said that the visit to the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) had lived up to their expectations,

Emilio García, the administrator of the ORM explains that “This programme is one of the most satisfying outreach activities which the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias organizes. Thanks to this we can reach out to all the students of La Palma, and it promotes the instruction of future generations about the quality of the sky above the Canaries. It helps to explain the high level science and technology which is being carried out on their own island, often by people from the island itself.

The telescopes visited during the programme are the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) which was visited by 81.3% of the visitors, and the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG), which was visited by 18.8%.  The William Herschjel Telescope of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes was visited by one of the groups. Garcia explained that “The programme would not be posible without the participation of the scientific institutions, above all the GTC, which is treasured by La Palma society”.

The evaluations of the visits to the telescopes were good, with 53.1% responding “very  good”, 40,6% responding “good” and 6.3% responding “moderate”. The majority of those questioned would repeat the visit to the telescope (87,5%), while a fraction of those questoned see the long journey from their educational centre to the observatory as a barrier to enjoyment of the visit (12,5%).

Consolidated Project

The Project “Nuestros Alumnos y el Roque de los Muchachos” started during the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009. It is an activity aimed at all the students in the 4º year of ESO in La Palma, and its aim is to show the infrastructures of the ORM to the students and explain the research carried out at the observatory to the school community on the island. The programme was suspended only during 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The IAC and the scientific institutions restored the programme in 2022, and the number of students participating has increased year by year.

The programme includes a lecture at the participating schools, and a visit to the Observatory and to the Visitor Centre of the Roque de los Muchachos. Allthe activities are carried out by research personnel of the scientific institutions working at the ORM. Since the programme began generations of students from 14 centres of secondary education in La Palma have participated.

Gracía stressed that “The satisfaction of the students dn the teachers after each edition is the best proof that it is a successful programme, which has achieved stability, and which strengthens the links between the IAC and the island."

From September the preparation of the new edition of the programme, with the educational centres which request it, will begin. As well as the activities for students in year 4º of ESO, we will keep on developing the programme for students of the Bacalaureate and Professional Training, who are studying courses related to Technoloy and informatics. In that case we will include not only a visit to the installations of the ORM, but also to the Francisco Sánchez Astrophysics Centre in La Palma (CALP) where the Supercomputer “La Palma” is sited. This is one of the nodes of the Spanish Network for Supercomputing (RES for its Spanish initials).

“Nuestros alumnos y el Roque de los Muchachos” is an activity organised by the LPIYA Group that aims to combine the efforts of the scientific institutions present at the ORM in the field of astronomical outreach on the island of La Palma.

The Observatories of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) are part of the Spanish network of Singular Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (ICTS).

Related projects
Nuestros Alumnos y el ORM
Nuestros Alumnos y el ORM
The LPIYA Group gathers communicators and representatives from every institution present at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM), with the objective of organising and coordinating public outreach activities related to the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and Beyond, mainly on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands
Juan Carlos
Pérez Arencibia
Related news
The students from Barlovento, with Gloria Andreuzzi, the first to come back to the Observatory
After a break of two years due to the pandemic, the students of the 4th ESO class in La Palma will again be able to get to know about the astrophysics research carried out at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, in company with volunteer astronomers from the various telescopes. After ten seasons of the educational programme “Our Students and the Roque de los Muchachos” this school course is starting up again live, during this school year, with a new format which for the first time includes a visit to the Visitor Centre of the Roque de los Muchachos, thanks to the collaboration of the
Advertised on