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Astronomical observatory at Puig des Molins now open

Ibiza goes cosmic with star-gazing, planet spotting and super-telescopes that look deep into the solar system

From next month, January 2015, lovers of astronomy will finally be able to visit the new, remodelled observatory at Puig des Molins, Ibiza Town for a peek into the hidden secrets of the cosmos. The building in fact, is already open but the new, super powerful telescopes brought over specially from Australia, need a few weeks more to be properly calibrated.

The official inauguration was last Thursday, December 4th and was part of the celebrations for the 14th anniversary of UNESCO's declaration of the area as a World heritage site. The observatory will be open for educational visits from schools, community groups and other scholars at least 2 or 3 times per week.

The original observatory was built in 1956 and renovations began way back in 2011, so far at a cost of €240,000, a much higher amount than was originally anticipated. Apparently, the first company to be awarded the contract disappeared, which plunged the organisers into a lengthy legal process to cancel the defunct company's contract and find new contractors for the job.

Finally, after over 3 years, the problems are resolved, the work is done and Ibiza has its shiny new observatory complete with state-of-the-art equipment. As some may be aware, there is another observatory close to Es Vedra, but that one is to collect scientific data, whilst the Puig des Molins site is more for informative and educational purposes.

Children will be encouraged to visit the observatory, where they will be able to watch the sunset through the smaller telescope with a special filtered lens, whilst nocturnal viewings will be available to groups who organise such visits in advance. It will be possible to see stars, planets and stellar nebula through the main telescope, which has a 380mm diameter reflector and a focal distance of 4 metres.

A spokesperson from Ibiza council's Department of Culture said that the objective of the new renovated observatory was provide modern and ‘appropriate' facilities for all aficionados of the sciences in general and astronomy in particular, here in Ibiza. Lovers of astronomy will be able to not just peep into the secrets of the cosmos, but participate in a range of workshops and informative sessions to increase your knowledge of astronomy and improve practical stargazing skills. Activities are organised via the AAE (Agrupacion de Astronomia de Eivissa) and you can visit their website, currently only in Spanish and Catalan right here.

WORDS | Jane Charilaou PHOTOS | Ibiza Astronomy Group

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