Star Gazing In Galera
Galera, and the surrounding local area, are a star gazers paradise, and as star gazers know that to enjoy astronomy, you've got to get away from city lights. Situated high in the Altiplano (the high plato) at about 3000 feet the air is very clear and dry, there is no light pollution from large cities, and has endless clear nights which is just ideal for observing the night sky. The weather is generally considered to be the biggest hindrance to astronomy.
The issue is the ‘seeing’. In astronomy, this doesn’t mean how you look at something, but is a term that describes how much the view you see through your binoculars or telescope is disturbed by what’s going on in the atmosphere above you.
In the atmosphere, air at different temperatures is always moving around and mixing together. Light travels through hot and cold air at different speeds so it is continually bent this way and before it finally arrives at your binoculars or telescope it is all shaken and stirred, and because of this effect sometimes there are very few moments of clarity.
Galera being situated where it is has a very dry, pollutant free, stable atmosphere, and a transparency of the sky that is so good that we get sharp, steady views of the night sky, and with its endless clear nights it makes an ideal location for both professional research astronomy, amateur astronomers and casual star gazers alike.
This area of Andalucia is quickly becoming a haven for amateur astronomers and astrophotographers because of its very dark sky and the ideal conditions that it offers. One amateur astronomer is Dave Watson who moved to Galera in 2003. Dave's main interest is photographing and capturing the wonders of the night sky and in particular deep-sky objects.
You can visit Dave's website at http://www.qdigital-astro.com where you can see more of his images, examples of which are shown below.
|Horsehead Nebula||Great Orion Nebula|
|Andromeda Galaxy||Elephant's Trunk Nebula|
The site is equipped with everything necessary to host robotic telescopes to be used remotely via Internet by amateur astronomers and is located on high peaks in Nerpio and is surrounded by the mountain ranges in Granada and Murcia and the famous Cazorla National Park, largest in Spain and second in Europe. Visit their website at http://www.astrocamp.es.
The German-Spanish Astronomical Center at Calar Alto is located in the Sierra de Los Filabres just south of Baza. It is operated jointly by the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, Germany, and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia in Granada. Calar Alto provides three telescopes with apertures of 1.23m, 2.2m and 3.5m to the general community, and a 1.5m telescope that is operated remotely under the control of the Observatory of Madrid. Visit their website at http://www.caha.es.
So whether you are a avid astronomer or just a casual star gazer don't forget to bring your binoculars or portable telescope whenever you visit Galera or the surrounding area.
|Looking at the Sun will cause immediate and irreversible damage to your eyes. Eye damage is often painless, so there is no warning to the observer that damage has occurred until it is too late. Do not look through binoculars, a telescope or its viewfinder, or even point binoculars, a telescope or its viewfinder at or near the Sun. |