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Complete the adventure: star-gazing

Land, sea and air, settings that invite us into an adventure, La Gomera welcomes us with all that it offers so that we can enjoy our holiday to the maximum. But…what if we went even further? And what if we dared to look even further and travel the sky with our eyes? The stars give us another way of completing our adventure, don’t they?

The Canary Islands enjoy skies that are considered among the best in the world for star-gazing, this is why two of the widest range observatories in the world are located there and, of course, La Gomera does not lack this desirable characteristic.

Do you dare to discover them?

Stars, planets, constellations, galaxies or shooting stars put within reach of any traveller that wants to see them. With a little attention, you will learn to see them easily. We will help you.

To observe this fascinating show, in addition to the instructions we will give you below, you can get yourself help from mobile apps that enable you to discover the night sky. Some options are Star Walk 2, Sky Map or Sky View. You will get lots of information just by facing your smartphone in the direction of what you want to discover.

When the sun sets in La Gomera, night starts to dance, the clean and infinite skies are dressed in black and become the perfect setting for the first lights that timidly begin to appear.

We begin our journey at the César Manrique viewpoint on the road that brings us to Valle Gran Rey, the municipality located in the west of the island. There is no better setting for viewing one of the most recognisable groups of stars, the Orion constellation. With its special tea pot form, after the sun sets, in February and March, this mythological giant appears majestic in the winter sky. The contrast in the colours at the edges of the stars can be seen, the reddish Betelgeuse in the shoulder of the giant and the blue Rigel, in his foot. And within the teapot it is easy to sea Orion’s Belt, three stars placed symmetrically in front of our eyes. Just below, as if they are hanging, we can see three more small stars that form part of the Great Orion Nebula, a star formation which is very close to us.

We continue our journey at the Mirador de Santo viewpoint in the picturesque town of Arure. The complete absence of light on nights with no moon or when it has not yet appeared, turn this viewpoint into the ideal place to view The Milky Way, a chalky strip that crosses the sky which is formed of many stars which are too faint individually to be seen with the naked eye. It is in this galaxy that our solar system is found.

If we view the sky with binoculars we will see concentrations of recently formed stars that are tied together in space by the force of gravity. Also, in the early evening in February and March, if we looks towards the north, we can see the Gemini constellation. It is easy to see because of its two main stars, the twins of the Castor and Pollux mythology.

Let’s continue our star discovering adventure, this time from the Mirador de Alojera viewpoint. This is accessed by a small dirt track after going through the town of Arure. There, we find some of the other mythical and easily recognisable constellations: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. The former with its characteristic dipper form and its seven stars that shine very similarly and which help us to find another important star; Polaris, the Polar star that indicates the axis of the North Pole. All you have to do is extend by five times the distance between the stars that form the part opposite the handle of the dipper towards the weaker Ursa Minor and there it is, it is the most prominent star of the latter.

And then we arrive in the heart of the island, the peak of Garajonay, situated 1487 metres high, it is one of the best places for a panoramic view of the sky.

In August, in the early evening, and if we look towards the south, in the most dense area of our Milky Way, the Sagittarius and Scorpius constellations can be seen. In the latter, we find Antares, the red star which is 700 times bigger than the sun!!

As we have discovered, the natural treasures of La Gomera go beyond the earth and sea. The night sky allows us to travel billions of years and thus complete the adventure that we began on our trip.