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Published on : Friday, October 13, 2017
Both amateur and professional astronomers flock to Mount Teide – the island’s highest point and Spain’s tallest peak – because its lack of light pollution provides the perfect environment to see the stars with either high-quality equipment or the naked eye.
Indeed, Tenerife is rated one of the three best places on Earth for stargazing, along with Hawaii and Chile. And no fewer than 19 countries have telescopes and other astronomical equipment installed in the Teide Observatory and the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory, on the island of La Palma.
Such is the esteem in which the island’s night sky is held that the likes of the world-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking and astrophysicist and rock star Dr Brian May are regular visitors. But you don’t need to ascend Mt Teide to enjoy stargazing; a beach may be suitable, while there are many other viewpoints from which to observe the beautiful clear skies.
The Teide Observatory’s visitor centre, at 2,390 m above sea level, was created from an empty dome. It has been equipped to teach visitors about astrophysics and has capacity for around 40 people.
Mt Teide’s association with science dates back to 1856, when Scottish astronomer Charles Piazzi Smyth broke off from his honeymoon to hike up the slopes to establish an observation post. History doesn’t record if he played golf during daylight hours, but he would have struggled given the first course on the island, Real Club de Golf de Tenerife, did not open until 1932.
Now there are nine different and varied layouts: Buenavista in the west, Real Club de Golf de Tenerife in the north, and Golf Costa Adeje, Abama, Las Americas, Golf del Sur, Amarilla, and Los Palos in the south. Tecina Golf is a 40-minute ferry ride from Tenerife on the beautiful island of La Gomera.
Average temperatures of 23°c provide the ideal climate to enjoy a relaxing golf break any time of year thanks to the cooling trade winds. In summer, golf and hotel rates are generally 20 per cent cheaper than in winter, making Tenerife the perfect place to combine one’s passions for golf and the night sky.
The island also offers 70km of beaches, an array of outdoor pursuits plus a wide range of cultural highlights and water-based fun, so Tenerife is the ideal location for a golf break with stargazing and a variety of other activities.
Tenerife is served by two airports – Tenerife North and Tenerife South – with flight times of around four-and-a-half hours from the UK.