La Palma Island, is the most northwesterly island of the Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa. In 1988 La Palma passed the Sky Law, protecting the night sky for the purpose of astrophysical observation. La Palma was named the world’s first Starlight Reserve, and in 2012 it was acknowledged as a Starlight Tourist Destination. Roque de los Muchachos Observatory and Caldera de Taburiente National Park are popular spots for stargazing visitors to La Palma. Project Nightflight in Austria wrote: “Stargazing on La Palma Island is one of the finest astronomical experiences possible. The small volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean is part of the European country Spain, has a modern airport, good infrastructure and offers impressively dark skies. Due to a very restrictive lighting policy, outdoor lights on La Palma are well shielded and the nighttime sky still looks how it should: dark and full of stars. First-time visitors to La Palma are often overwhelmed by the pristine skies of the island. Even in the populated areas near the coast, where most accommodations are located, the Milky Way is a magnificent sight. But for the real show you have to leave the coastline and drive up to the mountains. High above the coastal haze you will experience outstanding sky conditions.”
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.