Here is a time-lapse video of the Universe as seen from La Palma, sent to me by Dr Israelian. This beautiful island in the Canaries is very close to my heart, and is the home of the largest telescope in the world – the GTC. This video comes close to the way I see it in my mind, and makes me feel somehow homesick, although it is really Tenerife where I spent most of my observation time. The Canary Islands to me are somehow close to Heaven.
About 40 seconds in, you can see the lovely cone-shaped white glow of the Zodiacal Light – the subject of my PhD thesis … sunlight reflected from Dust in the Solar System. You might well see this if you ever visit La Palma and go up to my favourite car park at the very top of the Caldera rim – ‘Los Muchachos’, where the observatory is.
Here’s a still from the video. Look! You can see Orion at left, rotated a long way clockwise, more than we ever see him – for La Palma is much closer to the Equator than we are in the UK. Just right of centre is the little cluster of the Pleiades, and the ‘V’ shaped bigger cluster of the Hyades to its left. In the centre, that bright object must be Venus, I guess, though I don’t know for sure, since I don’t see a date on the video. Surrounding all these is a glow. That’s not just the glow of the sunset – it’s too long after the disappearance of the Sun for that – it’s the Zodiacal Light.
Island in the Sky from Christoph Malin on Vimeo