3rd Erasmus+ Meeting in Granadilla de Abona, October 2016
The 3rd Erasmus+ Meeting in “Reach the Sky” project took place in IES Magallanes in Granadilla de Abona, Tenerife, Spain. We stayed there between 24rd- 28th October 2016.
Monday, 24th October 2016
In the morning we were welcomed warmly by the headmistress of IES Magallanes, its teachers and students. The host school is large and multinational- 36 nationalities of students! Everybody was friendly and smiling. In the main hall we saw a very interesting thing- a sandcarpet- made from beautiful colourful sand, with the logo of our project. The inside picture was made by Juan, Art teacher and the names of partner countries were finished by the students from partner countries.
Later, Spanish students performed a traditional dance and some music for us.
After that we were shown the school’s premises
Later on, we visited local authorities and we were warmly welcomed by the Mayor of Granadilla de Abona. We were given souvenirs which would remind us of this visit in the future. To top this day, the hosts took us to dinner to a gastronomical school, where we could sample delicious Spanish and Canarian cuisine. Luckily, we were able to burn some of the calories dancing at the school disco later on 😉
Tuesday 25th October 2016
On that day we visited the city of La Laguna, where IAC – Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias is located. We were admitted into the institute, where we listened to information about its structure and its observatories- Izaña Observatory on the mountain of Teide (Tenerife) and Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma island. We learned about the excellent quality of Canarian sky, which is protected by special laws. We found out a lot of interesting information- for example how the observing instruments are made. He told us that more and more parts are being made by 3D printers now instead of by hand. Engineers from all over the world are employed by IAC.
Next, we visited the Museum of Science and Cosmos. This museum presents information on the Earth, The Solar System in a very accessible way. It also presents a lot of laws of physics by doing over 100 experiments. In the planetary we saw a film entitled “We Are Made of Stars” which explains the origins of the Universe and the origins of life on the Earth. Our hosts told us that we were the first group to watch this film!
After visiting the museum it was time to observe the Sun and listen to a short lecture about the spots on the sun and turbulences. Next it was time to walk around the old town- but then it started to rain- La Laguna is the wettest town on Tenerife. It was a pity we could not see beautiful old buildings better. Fortunately, the weather was better when we got to another place- the capital city Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This modern city differs from La Laguna very much. The highlight was the building of the opera which was designed by the same architect who designed the building of the opera in Sydney. The building located by the shore made a great impression on us.
Wednesday 26th October 2016
On this day our hosts befriended us with a very important topic for Tenerife- the volcanoes. David Calvo, PhD researching volcanoes for Volcano Institute told us about how the Canary Islands appeared and why they look like tkat. He used a very straightforward language so the topic was very well- understood by all listeners. We learned that the volcano determines most spheres of the life on Tenerife, and one can never be sure when it will erupt in the future.
After the lecture all students and teachers took part in integration games carried out by Mr Baltasar- an actor. Thanks to them everybody could relax and laugh as well as get to know other people better!
In the afternoon we set off to visit the National Park of el Teide, the third highest volcano on the Earth (3718 meters above the sea level and about 7500 meters starting from the bottom of the sea). It is the highest peak of Spain. The park is large- 190 square kilometers and it was registered as Unesco Heritage Site in 2007. The weather was not good- it was only 6 degrees Celsius, rainy and windy. The top of el Teide was covered with snow. The landscape in the park was moon- like- lava, colourful rocks and rock formations. Luckily for us, the clouds moved away and we were able to see the top of el Teide
Unfortunately, because of bad weather conditions were could not enter the Izana Observatory and observe the sky.
Thursday 27th October 2017
On this day we left the dry and desert- like southern Tenerife and flew to the green island of La Palma. This island is one of the most important centres of space observation. The Astronomical Observatory based on the top of the island- Roque de los Muchachos peak (2426 meters above the sea level). Clouds do not usually reach this height, and they become a natural barrier for light pollution.
But before we reached the observatory, we visit the island. It is raining and the sun is shining so when we move around, rainbows accompany us. We observed bananas plantations, pine woods and laurel woods and the ocean. All these looked lovely and we will remember them for many years. After a long drive we came to National Park of Caldera de Taburiente. We admired the beautiful volcanic caldera, which is 9 kilometers in perimeter. In it and around it the area is dominated by three colours- green (of the pines) black (of the tree trunks) and red (of the soil).
Finally, we went up Roque de los Muchachos, but because of fog, we could not see much of the observatory area. We barely saw the dome of Gran Telescopio Canarias, but when we entered the building we were impressed. The dome of the telescope is 33 meters and the telescope itself has mirrors of 10,4 perimeter. It is the world’s largest single-aperture optical telescope (as of 2015).
We were extremely lucky to enter this building and to be told how it works and what it is used for. From Roque de Los Muchachos one can observe objects as far as 15 million light years!
Friday 28th October 2016
Unfortunately it was the last day of the visit. The teams did final tasks- they compared the results of their astronomical observations whcih they had done in thier schools. Also, we watch presentations and films on great European astronomers. Students had prepared them with a lot of enthusiasm, involvement and good humour- they are real enthusiasts of astronomy!
The meeting finishes with handing out certificates of attendance to the participants and final photos. We were very happy to be there and sad to leave!