The transparency of the sky, the quality of the air and a strategic geographical position close to the Tropic of Cancer make Tenerife one of the most suitable places in the world for astronomical observation. This is the testimony of many tourists who are passionate about astronomy, such as expert scientists, who have found the ideal place to admire the celestial vault on the peaks of Tenerife. There will be a reason why in the Teide National Park there is the Observatory and the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, which boasts the collaboration of 19 countries and is equipped with the latest technologies for the optimal study of the sky. The observatories are located at 2,400 meters above sea level, where the unique sea of clouds creates a natural layer that protects them from the light pollution of the coast and the atmosphere is clean and calm, so that a large number of of hours useful for observation.

The possibility of obtaining impressive images through star photography and night time-lapse are a great attraction of the peaks of Tenerife, both for professional photographers and for those who practice photography as a hobby. The Geminids meteor shower, which occurs in December, is one of the most anticipated moments for astronomy enthusiasts in Tenerife, as Las Cañadas del Teide is one of the best spots in the world to enjoy it from. Some of the most prominent observation points within the National Park are Chipeque, El Portillo, Ucanca and Izaña.

In Tenerife there is a Law on the Protection of the Astronomical Quality of Observers, also known as the “Law of the Canary Sky”, which regulates the levels of light, atmospheric and radioelectric pollution, as well as air routes. The Teide National Park and its peaks have obtained the “Starlight” certification as a Tourist Destination and as a Reserve. This initiative boasts the support of international organizations such as UNESCO or the International Astronomical Union. In this way, the Teide is the first place declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and at the same time called the “Starlight Tourist Destination”.

Astronomical studies have always had a close relationship with Mount Teide. Natural scientists and astronomers of past centuries already knew its advantages as an observation point for the study of the cosmos, as early as the mid 19th century when Piazzi Smyth installed an observatory for a period of three months at 3,300 meters above sea level. altitude, taking advantage of the exceptional possibilities offered by the sky of Las Cañadas.
In recognition of his work, lunar sites were baptized with the names of Teide and Tenerife. The astronomical tradition continued in the early twentieth century, with the studies of comet Halley made by the French astronomer Jean Mascart in 1910 on the peaks of Guajara, at 2,718 meters.

At the same time, the importance of Las Cañadas as an exceptional platform for astronomical studies is consolidated with the construction of the Teide Astrophysical Observatory in Izaña, where a meteorological observatory has also been located since 1916. The Teide Observatory, together with the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, on the island of La Palma, belongs to the INSTITUTE D’ASTROFÍSICA DELLE CANARY (IAC), whose headquarters are located in La Laguna.
Modern astrophysics in the Canary Islands began in this Observatory, in the early sixties, in the Izaña area, at 2,400 m. of altitude, in a place where the municipal limits of La Orotava, Fasnia and Güímar are located. The first telescope to study zodiacal light, the light scattered by interplanetary matter, began operating in 1964.
Surface: 50 hectares
Altitude: 2,400 meters
Longitude: 16º30´35 “West
Latitude: 28º18´00 “North
Telescopic Installations: currently there are telescopes and other astronomical instruments from more than 60 institutions in 19 different countries, located in the Teide Observatory (Tenerife Island) and in the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory (La Palma Island). This observation ensemble, combined with the scientific and technical facilities available in the IAC Institute of Astrophysics in La Laguna (Tenerife) and in the IAC Joint Center for Astrophysics of La Palma (CALP) in Breña Baja (La Palma) , constitute the “European Northern Observatory” (ENO).
SIts geographical situation, between the solar observatories of the east and the west combined with the transparency and excellent astronomical quality of its sky, have contributed to ensuring that the Teide Observatory is mainly dedicated to the study of the Sun, possessing the concentration of best European solar telescopes.
Tower in the Void (VTT) solar telescope, 70 cm.
THEMIS solar telescope, 90 cm.
GREGOR * solar telescope, 1.5 m.
Solar Laboratory:
Spectrophotometers (MARK-I, IRIS-T, ECHO)
High resolution photometer TON
Fourier GONG speedometer
Infrared telescope “Carlos Sánchez” (TCS), 155 cm.
Mons reflector telescope, 50 cm.
IAC-80 telescope, 80 cm.
OGS telescope, 100 cm. (Earth Optical Station)
STARE telescope, 10 cm.
Bradford Robotic Telescope *
STELLA robotic telescopes *
33GHz interferometer
COSMO10 and 15
VSA (Very Small Array) interferometric network

(*) Not yet in operation.

The Vacuum Tower Telescope (VTT) belongs to the Kiepenheuer Institute of Solar Physics in Freiburg (Germany). It has a primary mirror of 70 cm in diameter and a vertical spectrograph of 15 meters in longitude. It was installed in the Teide Observatory in the late eighties.

With this telescope it is possible to study the dynamics, structure and chemical composition of the solar atmosphere, with the possibility of studying how solar granulation evolves. For this type of observations that require high spatial resolution, the telescope has a “Solar Correlator”, a unique instrument of its kind, developed by the Canarias Institute of Astrophysics.

Thanks to Jean Mascart’s visit to the Canary Islands, from the Paris Observatory to observe the passage of comet “Halley” in 1910, French astronomers became interested in the Canary skies. In fact, the first telescope installed in the Teide Observatory belonged to the Bordeaux Observatory.
HEMIS (Heliographic Telescope for the Study of Magnetism and Solar Instabilities) was designed by a group of French astronomers from the Meudon-París Observatory. Today, THEMIS is a collaboration between Italy and France.

With its 90 cm in diameter, THEMIS is the largest solar telescope in the Teide Observatory and was designed to measure the intensity and direction of the solar magnetic field. One of the characteristics of THEMIS is its ability to operate simultaneously in different bands, which is fundamental for these types of studies. In addition, THEMIS instrumentation allows to obtain experimental data on the structure of the solar atmosphere in 3 dimensions.

Visit to the Teide Observatory: among the dissemination tasks carried out by the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics, so that astronomical knowledge reaches everyone, visits by schools and groups to the Observatory are organized. The Teide Observatory has a visitor center, the result of the recovery of an empty dome, which was equipped with elements of scientific dissemination. With a capacity of forty people maximum, it is used to explain to schoolchildren what an observatory consists of, how telescopes work and the importance of astronomy for man.