Nightscape photography: preparation. In recent years it seems to be fashionable to be able and to know how to photograph the Milky Way. No wonder it is in fashion and certainly a good trend.... After all, dark, starry skies are exceptionally beautiful and due to light pollution they have become scarce. On the island of La Palma, it is still possible to find dark skies easily and, in fact, it is considered one of the best places in the world to stargaze. It has also become a mecca for astrotourism, observe stars and night photography as the whole island has exceptional landscapes for this practice. If you are planning a trip to La Palma or anywhere else with dark skies and want to do nightscape photography, you need to be prepared. Here are the basics you need to know. Recommended equipment for nightscape photography: preparation. There is no room for improvisation when it comes to equipment for night photography. You must be well prepared, as night sessions usually take place in inaccessible or distant locations to avoid light pollution. This is the equipment I recommend for night photography. Camera. The type of camera will depend on your budget as it is usually an expensive equipment. However, you will need a bright (fast) lens and a camera that allows at least 3200 ISO and long exposure. In general terms make sure the camera has: manual settings, RAW format, bulb mode, if possible full frame, noise reduction option and Live View mode (for manual focus). A wide-angle lens: 24mm, 14mm are ideal. A telephoto lens (if you want to photograph the moon). An Intervalometer. Warm, comfortable clothing and footwear. Spare batteries. A sturdy tripod. Memory cards. Camera backpack with different compartments (ideally waterproof). Headlamp, preferably red or white/red. Mobile phone
Nightscape photography: preparation. In recent years it seems to be fashionable to be able and to know how to photograph the Milky Way. No wonder it is in fashion and certainly a good trend…. After
La Palma is a Starlight Reserve. This certification awarded in 2012 by the UNESCO's Starlight Initiative, has made La Palma the first place in the world with this honour. The fact that La Palma is a Starlight Reserve confirms that the island is committed to defending the quality of the night sky and providing access to the light of the stars for everyone. For this reason, La Palma promotes values associated with the quality and enjoyment of the sky, such as cultural (archaeoastronomical sites), scientific (astronomical research), astronomical (observatories and amateur observation), landscape or natural (astronomical viewpoints, etc), tourist activities such as our stargazing activities and other businesses ranging from restaurants, themed accommodation and the organisation of astronomical events. Currently, La Palma has exclusion zones where the natural lighting conditions and clarity of the night sky remain intact, and it also has a participative action plan and a set of recommendations aimed at preserving or recovering the quality of the night sky as far as possible. You can enjoy the sky of La Palma in one of our astronomical viewpoints or sites of astronomical interest: viewpoints or book one of our astronomy tours to enjoy the stars with a guide and telescopes. More information about the Starlight Reserve at: Starlight Iniciative y Proyecto Starisland La Palma.
La Palma is a Starlight Reserve. This certification awarded in 2012 by the UNESCO’s Starlight Initiative, has made La Palma the first place in the world with this honour. The fact that La Palma is
The island of La Palma, "the beautiful island" of the Canary Islands is one of the best places in the world for stargazing. It is not necessary to be an expert if you wish to learn about constellations and to enjoy a starry night. In La Palma it can be very easy and entertaining and you could do it, for example, in one of our astronomy tours. Did you know about them? But why is the sky of La Palma so beautiful and transparent? There are many factors that allow this: humidity, altitude, climate, low air pollution... La Palma is a pioneer protecting dark skies. From 1988 has a law that protects against light pollution (Low of the Sky). It is aimed to minimize light pollution and for this even flora helps! In fact, it was the world's first Starlight Reserve, a UNESCO certification that certifies the ideal conditions for observing the sky for everyone, not just professionals, and it guarantees its protection. In any case ... why look for even more reasons to come to La Palma? The most important thing is that the sky and landscapes are beautiful that are worth seeing any thime! Nothing equals how you can feel almost touching the stars or walking along a volcanic sand beach on this island. In a single day you can be in a volcanic desert in the south and see the only active salt flats of the Canary Islands (Salinas de Fuencaliente), walk through a tropical rainforest in the north (Los Tilos or the Forest of La Galga), walking at the National Park (Taburiente National Park), go swimming or climb above the clouds to see stars .... Only a few places in the world offer so many contrasts and beautiful landscapes in such a small area. La Palma
The island of La Palma, “the beautiful island” of the Canary Islands is one of the best places in the world for stargazing. It is not necessary to be an expert if you wish to
Last week, we participated again at the Interreg Night Light program (link here), sharing experiences in the fight against light pollution and the development of Astroturism with the European partners of the program. This is our third participation on the program and this time, it was aSeminar Policy Learning meeting that was held in the Italian region of Matera Basilicata. We thank the Cabildo de La Palma for asking our colleague Ana García working for lapalmastars.com and AstroLaPalma SL, and a member of the Astroturism, Astrophysics and Astropreneurship Board, to participate on the meetings as an expert. This work is an opportunity to learn, to share experiences and to develop common interests, creating links between territories that are already developing astrotourism activities. Photo: Group photo participants Interreg program nightlight in Matera Italy.
Last week, we participated again at the Interreg Night Light program (link here), sharing experiences in the fight against light pollution and the development of Astroturism with the European partners of the program. This is
The Observatory of El Roque de Los Muchachos from the island of La Palma (altitude 2,420 m) is home to one of the most extensive fleets of telescopes to be found anywhere in the world. The reasons for being in La Palma is its latitute which allows the observation of the sky in both celestial hemispheres but more importantly, due to the excellent quality of its sky. This is: the darkness of the island a stable atmosphere the low air and light pollution the observatory being above the cloud level for more than 300 days on a given year the sky of La Palma is also protected by law from 1989 (Law of the sky), enforcing the control of light pollution by regulating street lighting and air communication routes. Visits to the Observatory can be booked here: Daytime Visits. New telescopes at Observatory Roque Muchachos The newest incorporation to the Observatory facilities in recent years are 23 Cherenkov telescopes which will be part of the International Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). La Palma will be the northern site for this network. The largest Cherenkov telescopes will have 23 m in diameter. In 2016, the fundation has been laid for the 3rd Cherenkov telescope in La Palma. The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is the next generation ground-based observatory for gamma-ray astronomy at very-high energies. With more than 100 telescopes located in the northern and southern hemispheres, CTA will be the world’s largest and most sensitive high-energy gamma-ray observatory. This network will be capable of observing the whole of the sky, inside and outside our galaxy as it will have 120 telescopes between both hemispheres. It will also cover a very wide range of energies ranges from several dozen Gev to 100TeV (1 TeV = 1012 eV) seeking to understand the
The Observatory of El Roque de Los Muchachos from the island of La Palma (altitude 2,420 m) is home to one of the most extensive fleets of telescopes to be found anywhere in the world.
What is light pollution? Light pollution is defined as the introduction of artificial light to an ecosystem (into naturally dark situations), degrading its natural state with the emission of light of different intensities, directions, spectral range and/or unnecessarily varying a light/dark schedule (ie. having lights on a empty office building or streets lights on after certain times). It is obvious that humans need and use artificial light during the night just...well...simply to live. But the use of artificial light should be in equilibrium with the nocturnal life, energy efficiency and health (avoiding the alteration of sleep patterns and the effect of artificial light at night on some cancers). We should try to minimize the impact of light pollution reducing the negative effects by designing better street lighting, scheduling of street lights, etc. Light pollution increases the background brightness of the sky by reflecting and diffusion artificial light into the gases and particles in the air. This results in a reduction of visibility of the stars and other celestial objects. The Sky Law in the Canary Islands (1989) controls gas emissions to the atmosphere on the island, as well as light pollution and air communications routes. The aim of the law is to have transparent and dark sky, with good (if not outstanding) quality for both amateur and professional astronomy. As a result, La Palma is a Dark Reserve (a Starlight Reserve) and thanks to this it has developed a Sustainable Tourism Industry based on the sky. There are many options for astrotourism in La Palma, we recommend you to enjoy the sky in one of our astronomy tours.
What is light pollution? Light pollution is defined as the introduction of artificial light to an ecosystem (into naturally dark situations), degrading its natural state with the emission of light of different intensities, directions, spectral
Who has stolen the stars? Light pollution has stolen most of the stars from our sky. We cannot see them now properly except in some places. In La Palma for example we can still see a very dark sky and the Milky Way easily. This is a shame, but hopefully we can travel to be able to see it with our own eyes. What is the Milky Way? The Milky Way is the galaxy in which Earth and the Solar System lies. It contains more than 200 000 million of stars and its diameter is estimated to be about 100 000 light-years (about 420 000 000 000 000 000 Km). From a dark location on Earth, we can only see a tiny part of our galaxy, only our neighbouring stars really. And only if you are on those dark locations you may be lucky enough to see the disk of the galaxy. About 50 years ago, everybody was able to identify the Milky Way in the sky even if they did not know what it really was. Nowadays, due to light pollution, it is estimated than less of 70 % of Earth population in Europe or United States have ever seen the Milky Way. This is because, the light pollution has stolen the light of the stars. La Palma is still one of those few places on this planet from which the stars and dark sky are visible, even from populated towns. This is thanks to light pollution being controlled by law (Law of the sky, 1989). So, do come to La Palma! You now know that besides the beautiful landscapes and protected areas on the island, visitors can also enjoy the light of the stars. You can even try to reach them with the tips of your fingers!
Who has stolen the stars? Light pollution has stolen most of the stars from our sky. We cannot see them now properly except in some places. In La Palma for example we can still see
The astronomical viewpoints are accessible places with open views to the sky and that serve to interpret the stars in the open air. In La Palma these places have explanatory panels and car parks. There is an astronomical viewpoint by council plus two viewpoints above the 2000 meters height, so there is a total of 16 astronomy viewpoints. In these viewpoints is where most of the activities for general public related to astronomy on the island take place, either organized by companies in the sector or by individuals. Still, they are not the only sites that can used to observe the sky on the island as the very little light pollution in La Palma allows to stargaze nearly everywhere. More information
The astronomical viewpoints are accessible places with open views to the sky and that serve to interpret the stars in the open air. In La Palma these places have explanatory panels and car parks. There
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