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Situation

The observations are conducted at the Tacande Observatory (MPC code J22), outside of the El Paso village (western side of the island). The observatory is situated mainland at 27 Km. from the airport, between the cities of Sta. Cruz de La Palma and Los Llanos de Aridane.

The observatory is a rectangle shape building, provided of a 3.20 meter dome (Ash Dome). The place is in a rural area, without any light pollution. The observatory coordinates are: longitude 17d 52m 04.2s West, latitude 28º 38’ 29.7” North. at 765 meters of altitude.

The sky quality has a seeing of about 2 arcsec. and the limit visual magnitude in a moonless nights attains 7.0 . Along the entire year the night temperatures never going below than 4ºC, nor never above 25ºC.


Observatori Situation.

Light Pollution

In spite of the unsuccessful efforts to control the light pollution in Europe, La Palma has a strict street and ornamental light control regulated by law and watched by the sky quality protect technical office (OTPC in Spanish) who guide citizens of how to carry out the law and control their application, for further information please see http://www.iac.es/eno.php?op1

 

Environmental conditions

La Palma is a high and a small island so large climatic differences between nearby villages are usual. The North-South dorsal makes these differences even bigger.
Predominant winds and the location of the observing site are of big
importance in Astronomy because they determine cloudiness and image quality.

On La Palma winds usually blow in the North-East direction. Trail winds, as they are known, travel long in the Atlantic Ocean before reaching La Palma and carry a high level of humidity. However, the central dorsal prevents these winds from reaching the Western side of La Palma and cloudless skies are very frequent on that part of La Palma.

The Tacande Observatory is situated in the Western side of La Palma, half way between the coast and the highest peaks. This privileged situation makes the observatory enjoys a warm and dry environment even in summer. The average temperature is 18 degrees Celsius.

 


Observatory situation.

 

Meteorological data from the period 1971-2000 are included (La Palma airport source). The data is guaranteed by the Spanish Meteorological Institute (INM in Spanish). Please take in account that the observatory site has even better conditions than the airport for astronomical observations!

Average temperature (ºC)

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
17,6 17,6 18,0 18,4 19,5 21,1 22,6 23,5 23,6 22,4 20,6 18,8

Average rainfall (l/m2)

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
58 40 34 27 5 1 1 1 9 37 53 59

Mean sunshine (hours)

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
140 147 170 174 187 174 218 215 197 172 146 148

Mean cloudiness (days)

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
5 5 5 5 5 5 2 2 2 4 5 5

The major chance of rainy days or bad weather comes from mid November to mid February, anyway it is possible to get excellent observing nights/days during those months.

To get meteorological data in real time for La Palma, please take a look at the following page web: http://www.aemet.es/es/eltiempo/prediccion/municipios/paso-el-id38027
and then a click on the Tenerife province selecting any one of the two meteorological INM stations of La Palma.

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