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Observatories that I have visited (or almost):
A visit to Fuerteventura, island of Spain
In November, 2021 we visited Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands of Spain. It's famous for its dark places, a perfect place for astronomy observations. We visited the Astronomical Park in South and some other viewpoints, took some photos during daytime to show everyone that feel it's an interesting place for astronomy observations.
Map over Fuerteventura:
It's a very small Island, not much more than 100 km long. The island is placed out in the Atlantic Ocean, on the Western side of Africa. For me who live in Sweden it's a 6 hour flight away.
The road up to the viewpoints:
We stayed only one week and most of the days we took the local buses to visited the different places we wanted to see. On the fifth day we rented a car to take us to the Western side of the island.
After we visited the Southern part of the island, Morro Jable, we drove North and up to the Western side of the island.
Very beautiful landscape to drive through. It's November and the temperature varies from 18 to 27 degrees Celsius. Local people told us that it's colder than normal for this month.
Now we are approaching the Astronomical park, on road FV 605.
Astronomical viewpoint Sicasumbre:
When just a few hundred meters left there is a sign, but couldn't stop there for a photo, this is the other sign at the North end.
At the astronomical viewpoint there are two parking spaces. The other parking space is on the left side which is much bigger.
You can't take the car all the way to the summit. You have to walk, if you have heavier astronomy equipment it will be a problem.
There are three terraces on the way up, this is the first one. You find images with information about the area. We could read,"Between this sacred mountains we find Cardon Mountain but the best known is Tindaya Mountain where exist a large number of rock carvings called podomorfos".
To the left, the summit, the astronomical viewpoint.
On the ground there is a compass rose that tell the orientation. The North arrow points towards me.
At this terrace it's very strong winds. Do you know that the name of the island, Fuerteventura means "strong wind" ?
The last step, we walk up to terrace three.
Up here the wind is so strong that it's a little bit hard to walk, my girlfriend guess its 20 m / sec with a maxima of 25.
On the top of the summit.
Up here it feels like to be inside a sandblasting machine. Not the prefect place for sensitive mechanics and optics.
More information to be find here on the information boards.
The view from here is breathtaking. The vulcanic activity started 17 million years ago.
They have built a model of the topography of the horizon.
This is to the Southwest direction.
A model of our solar system. The pillar represent the Sun and the sphere Mercury, or ?
A sandblasted information sign.
I dreaming to be here at a dark night with my astro equipment. This is a protected area from light pollution. If you study a light pollution map you find places like this on Fuerteventura to be in the Bortle class 3.
Here you find the light pollution map for Fuerteventura:
Left click on the map at a chosen point and you get the Bortle class and other data.
If to setup a telescope here the wall to the right can give some protection against the wind.
There is also a binocular to use here. But the harsh environment here had give it a hard life.
It was not only we who visited this place, some of them came by bicycle, not as lazy as we are who took a car to come here. Now we walked down quickly to where we parked our car. Now we feel that we must leave the place because of the strong wind.
Back to the parking, this the other parking on the left side, here is much better space, maybe the place to have the astro equipment placed. And down here it's not that heavy wind, but in the evening the wind normally get weaker so maybe not a problem.
The Atlantic ocean in the background. I guess we are about 400 meter above the sea level here.
A look back to the summit and the astronomical viewpoint.
On the map we can see that there are more "normal viewpoints", we want to have a look at them too.
Here you can read about Sicasumbre:
The Google map over our route between the view points:
We follow the road in Northern direction. On the right side is a canyon, but totally dry at this part of the season. On the way to the next viewpoint we did a stop at the coast village Ajuy to have something to eat and a look at the caves.
Mirador del Risco de las Penas:
This viewpoint is along the road and placed in the Betancuria area. On the parking there are room for four cars or maybe some more.
Just look for this gate to find it. This place is better protected from the wind but you don't have the 360 degree free horizon.
I'm not sure, but I think this is the mountain del Risco de las Penas. At the terranie outside of the parking there are places to setup the telescope. This place is also more protected from the wind.
On this place there is a small village that can light pollute the night sky, but for me who live in a Bortle class 9 area everything below 5 is totally black.
This is the direction to South where we came from.
Mirrador Corraless de Guise:
The third viewpoint we stopped at, at this place there are parking places on both sides of the road. Somewhat bigger village cause some more light pollution as you see on the light pollution map. This viewpoint is placed a bit higher, 600 meter.
Morro de la Cruz:
Maybe not a viewpoint, but there was a big parking place on top of the hill.
Breath taking views from here.
There is a cafe here and the place is also called Mirador Morro Velosa. This is the highest viewpoint we visited, 700 meter.
One problem, there was a gate at the bottom of the hill and they closed it at 6 pm. Who knows, maybe a bigger group of amateur astronomers can hire this cafe for a night, or ?
You have the full Fuerteventura island travel report here: