The sky of Teide
Viewed from the heart of Tenerife, the sky of the Teide National Park has a unique purity and clarity.
Therefore, at the beginning of 2014, the Starlight Foundation granted the sky of Teide the Starlight certificate in the category of Tourist Destination, which turned the Teide National Park into the first World Heritage Site to be designated as a “Starlight Destination”.
This is why the sky of Teide meets the requirements and procedures for the protection of the sky and its natural and associated cultural values, as it complies with the Sky Act.
Isaac Newton suggested that the telescopes were installed on the highest mountain peaks.
Because the atmosphere on them is more serene, stable and transparent. Therefore today, the world’s largest solar observatory: the Teide Observatory, is located in the area of Izaña at an altitude of 2,390 m.
You might imagine the Teide National Park by day, but the truth is that at night, the sky of Teide becomes the undisputed protagonist due to its starry mantle of an indescribable purity and clarity, its silence, distance from the main and most brightly illuminated areas and to its astronomical observation activities to enjoy the stars, constellations and planets with the wise explanations of Starlight-certified astronomical guides.
The starry sky of Teide
Did you know that from Teide, it is possible to see 83 of the 88 constellations that the starry sky presents us?
Find out why is the sky of Teide the best for stargazing. You will learn some interesting facts about stars and different celestial phenomena that you will not want to miss if some of them coincide with your visit to Tenerife.
Great part of the Teide National Park is located at an altitude of over 2,000 m, above the inversion of the trade winds, which guarantees that the astronomical observations are not hampered by the “sea of clouds”.
And what is the “sea of clouds”?
The “sea of clouds” is an amazing natural phenomenon caused by the trade winds that gently push the clouds against the summits and condense the humidity in the areas of the midlands in the north and northeast of the island, between 600 and 1,800 metres above sea level, an altitude above which, high winds in the Teide National Park, more hot and dry, prevent the clouds from rising. Seen from above, the spectacular seas of clouds created by these weather conditions shape the image of an island within an island.
To the Moon from Mount Teide: Montes Teneriffe, Mons Pico and the crater Piazzi Smyth
On the Moon there are: Mons Pico, named after the peak of Mount Teide, Montes Teneriffe and the crater Piazzi Smyth, named in honour of the astronomer Charles Piazzi Smyth.
But what are the Montes Teneriffe and where does their name come from?
The Montes Teneriffe on the Moon, located at approximately 47º North latitude and about 13º West longitude, is a group of isolated mountains that emerge in the northern part of Mare Imbrium—also known as the Sea of Showers—and extend over an area of approximately 110 km.
Did you know that some of the peaks of the Montes Teneriffe on the Moon reach 2,400 metres?
The Montes Teneriffe on the Moon owe their name to the British astronomer William Radcliffe Birt, who named them in honour of the astronomer Charles Piazzi Smyth for his 1856 scientific expedition to Tenerife.
Whereas Johann Hieronymus Schroeter, a German astronomer, named Mons Pico after the peak of Mount Teide.
The sky of Teide owes its importance to Charles Piazzi Smyth
In 1856, following Isaac Newton's suggestions in his work Opticks of 1704 on the installation of telescopes on the highest peaks in order to position them above the clouds to better observe the sky, Charles Piazzi Smyth, Astronomer Royal for Scotland, organised an expedition to conduct an experiment and carry out astronomical observations on Mount Guajara, although he would later move to the Altavista Mountain Refuge, located at an altitude of 3,260 m.
Mount Guajara was chosen by Piazzi Smyth for a reason. Did you know that Mount Guajara is the third highest peak of Tenerife, after Teide and Pico Viejo?
The work of the astronomer in Tenerife was so important that he was honoured with the crater Piazzi Smyth on the Moon.
The astronomical observations that Charles Piazzi Smyth conducted from the Teide National Park in 1856 demonstrated that astronomical observatories should be installed, as suggested by Isaac Newton, on high mountains and not in big cities as it had been done so far.
During his astronomical observations of the sky of Teide, Charles Piazzi Smyth observed the Moon and planets, identified Saturn and its rings, observed double stars as it had never been done before, studied the zodiacal light, the ultraviolet radiation of the Sun and the infrared radiation of the Moon, among other astronomical observations of great importance for modern astronomy.
Charles Piazzi Smyth, the first person who enjoyed the pleasure of observing the sky from Las Cañadas del Teide in the summer of 1856, marked the beginning of modern astronomy in the Canary Islands.