Dodging asteroids in the Canaries

Stars shining above you. Night breezes seem to whisper I love you.

Yes, Mamma Cass and before her Ella Fitzgerald. Yes, stars always make us feel all romantic… and I’m feeling all floaty after watching a documentary about The Mammas and the Pappas.

And I’ll be looking up dreamily at the sky too in Tenerife in the Autumn. Probably best that the Scary One was coming with me with CaminoWays rather than the three amigos (travel pals) I will be trekking with but…

I’ll obviously be looking to avoid asteroids too when I’m there.

Thankfully those heroic scientists on the Canarian island of La Palma all be looking out for me as they man NASA’s 2,396m high Grantecan Telescope, the world’s largest optical reflecting telescope, which is ten years old today.

It’s all part of the Planetary Defence Program you understand which is reacting with urgency to the imminent threat of what’s up there in the sky looking to come crashing down on us.

Take, for example, the 2019 DS1 asteroid which was discovered by Grantecan on February 28 in the Catalina Sky Survey search programme when we were sleeping soundly in our beds. It was then 1,000,000km from earth but forewarned is forearmed.

Not much happens in Space without Grantecan which is located in the Roque de los Muchachos region knowing about it… it has spotted the remotest star in the Milky Way, Icaro, as well as the eldest stars (even older than Burt Bacharach) last April.

So where do you and I come in? Only that The Starlight Foundation organises visits to the observatory as well as stargazing tours daily until September 15. During the rest of the year you can visit on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

You want to see some showers… no, not those showers although it is getting hot and sticky and it would be good for the garden (are we never satisfied?) No, these are meteor showers.

Now that’s far away. A meteor shower. Photo by Raman deep on Pexels.com

The Perseid Meteor Shower will peak mid-August and is one of the best times to visit the Observatory. Other meteor showers do occur throughout the year: the Draconics, the Orionids, the Leonides and the Germinids.

There are various different, and easy, ways to get to La Palma. Far easier than those little green men on their asteroids. You can come through London and Manchester, or just a short flight from Gran Canaria or Tenerife, or even get there from the bigger Canadian islands by boat. Visit http://www.visitlapalma.es/en/como-llegar/ and http://www.fundacionstarlight.org.

And in a galaxy far, far and away… or Kissimmee near the Star Wars attractions in Disney in Orlando at least…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/07/23/star-wars-far-far-and-away-the-best-rooms/(opens in a new tab)

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