Is it indispensable to book and pay in advance?
Yes, it’s essential to pay in advance unless we offer to pay in cash at booking time. This only happens in very specific cases (exact change only). If we have not confirmed your booking or offered payment in cash, we cannot guarantee you will be able to access.
Can I cancel or change the date of my booking?
Of course. We can guarantee a full refund or a free date change if requested earlier than 24 hours before the session, according to our cancellation policy. Cancelling a booking is just a matter of clicking on a link.
How can I pay?
- Regular bookings: online payment with credit or debit card, or Paypal.
- Exclusive tours: online payment or bank transfer (see bank data).
- Payment in cash: we might offer payment in cash in specific cases. If this method is available, it will be clearly specified on the booking form (exact change will be mandadoty). In any other cases, payment in cash will not be available.
Why are Spanish sessions cheaper?
Spanish sessions are subsidized, so we can offer them with a 80% discount (and many times even for free). This public funding mainly comes from Agüimes town hall, Fundación La Caixa and private donations, and it is intended for the science education of the local society, especially children. Alas, this is not applicable to foreign visitors, which also require additional quality services: reduced groups (half the visitors than a Spanish session), bilingual staff, specific contents, advertising… Please note we are a certified non-profit organization mainly run by volunteers, and our English sessions are basically priced at cost, with any possible profit being reinvested in education and research. Even then, we will welcome you at any Spanish session or doors open night no matter your nationality.
Where will my money go to?
The Foundation is a non-profit organization. All your money will be reinvested on educational and research activities that you can track at this website and its Facebook account.
What is the usual timing?
Regular night sessions usually start 30 minutes after sunset (which can range between 19:00 in Winter and 22:00 in Summer). They last for 90-120 minutes, though this is not strict, as this can depend on the the size and curiosity of the group. To check the exact timing of a specific session, please enter your desired date at our booking page. We will offer the available time slots.
What am I going to see?
The usual programme starts with an introductory talk on Astronomy, from the basics to the latest discoveries, including a live presentation with projections on a giant screen. The session continues with a laser-guided stargazing experience. This includes a detailed observation of the Southern constellations and the Milky Way, not unlike an open-sky planetarium. Next, you will enjoy actual observation of celestial bodies from our telescope dome. Day time sessions generally include the observation of the Sun with special solar telescopes.
What happens in case of bad weather?
We enjoy clear skies in Temisas most of the time. However, if telescope observation is essential for you and weather looks too cloudy, please browse the weather forecast for Agüimes or Temisas the day before. If the forecast is “mostly cloudy” or worse, you may prefer a full refund or a free reschedule if needed, provided you request this at least 24 hours before the session. Please note that the sky can be cloudy in Maspalomas and completely clear in Temisas, due to our higher altitude.
Even then, we also offer an alternative programme inside the building even on unlikely rainy days. This may include a guided visit to our exhibition and work areas, usage of both antique instruments and modern telescopes, an extended talk on topics of your interest, demonstrations of free mobile apps and astronomy desktops programs, and other resources. More info on cancellations.
What’s the group size?
English groups are sized between 5 and 15 people. Our maximum capacity for bigger events and exclusive tours is:
- Projection hall: 45 seated people
- Esplanade: 45-70 seated people (under request). Maximum 200 standing and seated people.
- Dome: 15 people (20 if they are kids).
Is this adequate for children?
It’s especially adequate for children, as we always try to encourage an interest for science among younger kids. We are, above all, an educational institution. Depending on the number of children, we will put more emphasis on games and images to better grab their attention. Actually, we offer a specific programme for schools (more information).
If your kids cannot speak English, we strongly recommend that you book an exclusive session (book here) just for your family, with simpler, tailored contents for kids, that the parents can easily translate to their native language. Usual price for this service is 145 € for a group up to 5 people.
Is this adequate for people with reduced mobility?
If you are coming by car, please drive up to the doors of the Observatory. If you are coming by bus, it will leave you 400 meters from our building. You will have to walk a short but unpaved track with a moderate slope (29 m) to reach the Observatory. 4 and 5-year old kids coming every week on school buses find no problems. Wheelchair users and other persons with severe mobility reduction can visit our projection hall and work areas, but will find difficult or just impossible to visit our telescope dome.
I can’t drive. How can I get there?
There is sadly no public bus working at session time, and we currently don’t offer any transportation service. So a car is essential to get to the Observatory. If you cannot rent one, you can always hire a taxi or a private transfer (chauffered car). Cost must be arranged with the taxi company or with your hotel, but it’s usually around 120 € from/to Maspalomas.
If you organize a group for an exclusive session, we can help with getting a private bus, usually for less than 150 euros.
What should I wear?
Comfortable closed shoes (please avoid heels and sandals) and, if you booked for a night session, warm clothing is recommended (even on Summer), and a flashlight or a mobile phone with such a feature if possible.
Is there light pollution?
Not really. Gran Canaria’s sky, and Temisas’ in particular, is ideal for visual astronomy and stargazing. However, it’s not as dark as the night sky of La Palma or Teide National Park in Tenerife, where Europe’s biggest research centres are located.
The darkness of our horizon to the North, South and West is rather good. However, being so close to you (only 35 mins from Maspalomas) means our East horizon can suffer from certain light pollution. Weaker objects a low angle over the East horizon will be hard to see with the naked eye. However, the rest of objects and constellations, including the Milky Way, look spectacular almost all year round.