Is it indispensable to book and pay in advance?
If you visit us without a confirmed reservation, we cannot guarantee your access to the Observatory. That would only be possible if we have vacancies on that session, and always under our guide’s acceptance. On those cases, payment should be done in cash (exact change required).
Can I cancel or change the date of my booking?
Of course. You will get a full refund or a free date change if requested earlier than 24 hours before the session, according to our cancellation policy.
How can I pay?
- Individual bookings: online payment with credit or debit card, or Paypal.
- Organized groups (4 or more people): online payment or bank transfer (see bank data). Important: it is not possible to pay with credit or debit card at the Observatory, and exact change is generally requested for cash payments.
Why are Spanish sessions cheaper?
Spanish groups do not have access to free transportation, and are much larger (15-30 people) in comparison with English ones (5-15 people). Moreover, Spanish sessions are subsidized. The Foundation receives public funding for science education of the local society, especially children. This is not applicable to foreign visitors, which also require additional services: bilingual staff, specific contents, advertising… Even then, our Spanish sessions are open to anyone, and our English services are basically priced at cost.
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 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. Night sessions continue 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. Finally, group visits can enjoy specific contents, tailored to their interests.
What happens in case of bad weather?
In the unlikely case of bad weather for observation, we will offer an alternative programme inside the building. 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.
What’s the group size?
English groups are normally between 5 and 15 people. Our maximum capacity 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.
How does the free bus service work?
- Service days for regular sessions (winter 2018/2019): Friday, Saturday and Sunday, when any English session has been programmed on those dates. The booking page will tell you the available dates.
- Service days for exclusive sessions: we can offer this at any night, but at an extra cost.
- Pick-up and drop-off place: any hotel in the whole Southern tourist area (Playa del Águila, Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas, Puerto Rico, Mogán, etc), Vecindario or Agüimes.
- Pick-up time: 45 to 60 minutes before the session. Exact timing will be confirmed on the same day by e-mail, normally around 3-4 PM when bookings are closed.
- Vehicle: we will regularly send a comfortable large passenger van or a mini-bus. We could exceptionally send a private car just for your group in certain cases.
- Passenger identification: jut give your name to the driver, please.
What should I wear?
Comfortable closed shoes (please avoid heels and sandals) and, if you booked a night session, warm clothing and a flashlight if possible (or a mobile phone with such a feature).
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.