Blog Post

The science behind the desk.

Maciej Zapiór visiting Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. The Earth shadow during Sunset seen from the plane.
      The Earth shadow during Sunset seen from the plane.


"This time I was not observing. I did not visited the Izana Observatory in the National Park of Teide, where the solar telescopes are located at the altitude of 2400 meter above the sea level near the volcano."

"So, what did you do?" someone could ask.

Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias is well known of having one the biggest and the most modern telescopes. Izana observatory on Tenerife and Observatory of Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma are the places where several dozen of different instruments are located. Canarian sky on the high altitude gives unique opportunity to perform observations with high resolution and forget about fog, limited transparency of the atmosphere or cloudiness. But there should be time to work in the office sometimes. My trip in December 2019 in the frame of ERASMUS+ programme was such a trip. I took data collected in Ondrejov Observatory by Horizontal Solar Spectrograph and I visited IAC headquarters, which is located in the town of San Cristóbal de La Laguna. I receive a desk with a computer and I spent 3 weeks working on the data reduction and analysis.

"Oh, yeah. Very interesting... (sarcasm)." again someone could say. On Las Teresitas beach.
On Las Teresitas beach.

But apart of setting the biggest telescopes in the top of the mountain, the real science is that. Sitting in the front of computer screen and trying to understand what is on the screen.

"So why you travel so far? You can do it in your home institution."

Yes, that is true, but I have no opportunity to communicate, with people directly. And that is the point. I traveled to meet with the people. In the IAC I collaborated with Manolo Collados and Elena Khomenko. They have experience that can be exchanged and the effect of synergy may occur. The word synergy becomes from Greek συνεργία meaning working together. The other meaning is that creation of whole is greater that simple sum of its parts. The work provided by me and Manolo with Elena, when we work together in the same place is greater that when separately. The exchange of ideas is faster during a conversation than email or Facebook. And even Skype session do not provide full information flow. Other aspect is the surroundings and good environment. During weekends I had walks in the mountains and beaches and I discover interesting places to rest and relax.

Maciej Zapiór, Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic


 In the Chinamada village.


 Place for BBQ in the Anaga National Park.

 The statues of the Guanches' kings in the waterfront in Candelaria.

 View from hotel window in Santa Cruz.


 Santa Cruz harbor.

 During concert in Auditorio de Tenerife.

 Dinner with friends from the IAC.