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Star Stories
Tales from the dark skies of Tenerife, brought to you by the guides of the stars!
How can we reach the stars?
By Stargazing Tenerife team, your stargazing guide to the dark skies of Tenerife.

When we talk about reaching other stars and indeed visits from other Alien life forms to our own Planet.   Do we really understand whats involved?  Firstly we need to understand the incomprehensible distances involved.  NASA have discussed sending a probe to Proxima b, a planet that lays within the habitable zone of Earths nearest star Proxima Centauri, part of the Alpha Centauri group.  A group of three stars.  Proxima Centauri is the closets, a red dwarf star that is located around 4 light years away.  So I suppose we need to understand a light year!

A light year is the astronomical unit used to measure the distance light can travel in one year.  The Speed of light is about 186,000 miles per second or about 5.9 trillion miles a year.  In theory nothing travels faster than the speed of light.  In fact even the light of our sun takes around 8.3 minutes to reach us.  So keeping with Proxima Centauri star.  Its around 4 light years away from Earth.  So the distance is 23.6 trillion miles away.  Apollo 11 traveled at a speed of 40,000 kilometers per hour.  At that speed it would take over 100,000 years to reach the star.  Obviously since then space travel has advanced and the Parker Solar probe can travel at up to 700,000 kph but is still only 0.067% the speed of light and would still take over 6,300 years approximately.

Nasa plans a mission to Proxima Centuri, but due to needing new technologies and the massive amount of planning involved, its not due to launch until 2069!  This subject came up when writing about Charles Messier and the Bodes Nebula this week.  In Galaxy terms M81 and M82 are relatively close to our own Milkyway.  They are quite a bit further than Proxima Centauri though, at a distance of some 12 million Light Years.  That means that the light has traveled for 12 million years to reach us!  Traveling here seems almost impossible if at 700,000 KPH would take us 6,300 years to get to proxima Centauri.  It would take a whopping 19 billion years at this speed for us to reach the galaxies!

Stargazing Mount Teide

Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

  • Carl Sagan

People on our stargazing tour are usually having a melt down of the mind at the distances and times it would take to travel the stars.  It is something that we seem to find very difficult to imagine.  But way back when, travelling our own planet seemed insurmountable so maybe one day in the future we wont just be stood stargazing, but will be out exploring the cosmos.   Discovering new planets, maybe one will be inhabited?  Maybe someone is already traveling to us or has sent a probe?  A little know fact about Tenerife, is that, actually it is only second to Arazona for UFO sightings.

Maybe you want to join us for a bit of Alien spotting or a closer look through our telescope at some of the objects we have spoken about on here today.  Join us on a sunset and stars tour for a spot of stargazing and a relaxing of the soul in Tenerifes National Park!

If you have never seen a Dark Sky like the one in Tenerife then join us and I guarantee you will not be dissapointed with what you can see.  Tenerife is officially the 3rd best place in the world to see the stars and described by NASA as a window to the universe.  It’s been suggested that people who regularly stargaze live longer and are less likely to suffer from stress.  I for one can vouch for that fact as even on the toughest of days, a short drive up the mountains and tilting my head back and watching the Universe unfold just takes away any feelings of anxiety or any other feeling for that matter other than the ore and sheer merriment of seeing such an amazing Dark Sky!




Until next time this is Stargazing Tenerife team signing off.

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