La Palma – the place where the Earth meets the universe

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La Palma – the place where the Earth meets the universe

Grzegorz Gwoździański

 

I will never forget how during my first visit to La Palma, walking on the streets of Tazacorte in the beautiful summer evening, suddenly my younger son asked me «Daddy, why do these lanterns shine so weakly?»

‘Because right now such nice gentlemen and ladies living on the top of this beautiful island are watching on our beautiful universe’ – I replied.

And they have been doing it continuously since June 29, 1985.

It is here, almost at the top of the island’s highest elevation 2,396 meters of altitude, is situated the Astronomical Observatory of El Roque de Los Muchachos (ORM): a worldwide prestigious scientific research center, housing an advanced set of telescopes, among which the Gran Telescopio Canarias is the main highlight, currently the largest optical- infrared telescope in the world.

Factors such as remoteness from large agglomerations and the lack of other civilization pollution but, above all, an extremely favorable combination of geographical, topographic and meteorological factors have determined the choice of La Palma by the Canary Queen of observing the night sky.

The fact that the object is above the clouds for most of the year, which retains dust and humidity, makes even the faintest shining stars and galaxies visible from here exceptionally well.

All those elements are very important because as we know thanks to artificial light sources scattered around the world, man is depriving ‘night’ of its natural charm in more and more places. Pollution of this type works very adversely not only on himself, but also hinders the astronomical observation of the sky and has a negative impact on flora and fauna naturally adapted to life in the dark at night.

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As a small substitute for what I am writing about here is the following list of two photos taken in the same place where you can see exactly what qualitative difference in viewing options will get observers interested in the beauty of the night sky when their field of view will be cleared from all artificial, distracting light sources.

Three years since the launch of the Observatory, La Isla Bonita heard the whole world again thanks to the Sky Law resolution adopted in 1988.

This unique law was passed designed to protect the quality of the night sky for the purpose of astrophysical observation.

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For Neil Armstrong landing on the moon was – «One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.»

The next step belonged to La Palma and was a giant step forward in defense of the sky on a world-wide scale.

This law protected and still protects La Palma from light, atmospheric and radioelectrical pollution, as well as preventing interference from aviation routes.

In 2007, La Palma became the venue of the first International Sky Defense Conference and the right to watch the stars.

Representatives of 26 countries took part in the meeting. 109 participants of this unique meeting were directly or indirectly involved in the conference process.

The central result, of this meeting, considered an international success, was the Starlight Declaration of La Palma, in Defense of the Sky and the Right to see the Stars, a declaration of principles and objectives.

This Declaration states that “an unpolluted night sky that allows the enjoyment and contemplation of the firmament should be considered an inalienable right equivalent to all other socio-cultural and environmental rights”.

The sky, our common and universal heritage, is an integral part of the environment perceived by humanity.

The current inhabitants of La Palma know this, bearing in themselves the unique heritage of previous generations, whose respect for the natural beauty of the island and especially its observational values of the night sky can also be seen today.

The native inhabitants of La Palma worshipped the earth and the sky. Special landmarks like the Roque Idafe in the Caldera de Taburiente were their iconic sites and sanctuaries.

The sky with its striking luminaries was the kingdom of the goddess “Abora”, the sun, and its counterpart «Iruene», the moon.

The current inhabitants of La Palma know this, bearing in themselves the unique heritage of previous generations, whose respect for the natural beauty of the island and especially its observational values of the night sky can also be seen today.

I remember seeing her for the first time from the window of a landing plane – she was beautiful, majestic, mysterious and she remained so to this day

La Isla Bonita

forever free

always will be

in me …….

Grigorio Grzegorz Gwoździański

17th of January 2020

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«Siete islas como siete maravillas»

 

 

Grzegorz Gwoździański – nacido en 1977.

Pensador con raíces filosóficas fuertemente académicas. Periodista, escritor y amante de la música.

Apertura de entusiastas de los viajes para aprender sobre otras culturas enriqueciendo su propia cosmovisión. Proponente de un enfoque sostenible y responsable en el uso de nuestros recursos ambientales, lleno de respeto a la naturaleza circundante. Fuertemente asociado con la cultura y la sensibilidad de los habitantes de las Islas Canarias, llegó hace muchos años y querrá quedarse para siempre.

Algunas veces nacemos en un lugar en nuestro hermoso mundo y sentimos casi toda la vida una especie de escasez de existencia que solo conocemos intuitivamente, hasta el momento en que nuestra buena fortuna nos arroja al punto en el que nuestro yin y yang internos encuentran a cada uno. otro en un lugar compeletly pacífico.

Lo mismo sucedió conmigo cuando visité España y especialmente las Islas Canarias por primera vez hace muchos años.

Y como fue después de mi primer viaje de regreso a mi actual patria, lo mismo ocurrió después de mi última visita cuando regresé a mi viejo continente europeo y me desconcertó. Entonces me di cuenta de que mi lugar está allí, que solo allí puedo sentirme complacido, puedo respirar profundamente.

Decidí que quiero darle mucho más a los habitantes de las Islas Canarias y verter mis sentimientos en papel escribiendo algunos poemas.

Algunos de ellos los preparé también en versión en español, pero la mayoría los publiqué como una colección que llamé «Siete islas como siete maravillas»:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07K82VZ1H/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Mi editor que leyó mis poemas antes de lanzarlos resumió mi proyecto con las siguientes palabras: Eres como el mejor Ambasador Cultural de Canarias.

Espero que el efecto y la calidad de mis publicaciones sean la mejor medida de ello.

Las palabras son como bocetos de la realidad.

La poesía es como el aire fresco que filtra nuestras emociones.

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