“From the very center of Artenara you can clearly see the Milky Way”

How did you come up with the idea of ​​collaborating with each other to publish a book about the sky of Artenara?

(José Antonio Luján): It came about in August last year because Aday is a sky connoisseur they call tour companies to show the sky at night. It is something that he has specialized in over time and he has it as a personal passion. It has also been after verifying that there is a lot of upstart who has come to discover now about the sacred mountains and that they have not counted on the chroniclers of the municipalities of those areas even ignoring the book of toponymies that I took out with Gonzalo Ortega in 2008. We have used the oral information of the locals, and that is why we have subtitled Astronomical evidence from the sacred mountains of Gran Canaria. We represent civil society in front of the official one.

What part does each of you take care of?

(JAL): Aday is in charge of the scientific part and I, as a chronicler, talk with the shepherds, who are the people who appear in the book, knowing that they have a deep knowledge about the way in which the stars and meteorological phenomena appear. . About thirteen shepherds and three residents of the municipality leave. They told me that heaven is an open book where current generations, as well as those of grandparents and great-grandparents, who were guided by the signs of the heavenly skies to act, had read.

What peculiarities does the sky of Gran Canaria have?

(Aday Díaz). In the first place, it is not the same to see the sky from a beach than from the top of Gran Canaria where, in addition, it is modeled with the remains of the rocks, the mountains, the pine forests. And, secondly, the sky of Artenara is one of the best skies in Gran Canaria. The more we get into the east-central area of ​​the island, the less light pollution we have because they are sparsely populated areas and are integrated areas within the starlight tourist destination, which is a hallmark that the island achieved, within the area of ​​the reserve of the biosphere in January 2018, and that goes to say something like that Gran Canaria has clean and favorable skies to develop astronomical activities. And within those areas there are parts of several municipalities, but mainly, we have the entire municipalities of La Aldea, Tejeda and Artenara. Star light is part of a foundation that covers the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and is aimed at protecting the skies for astronomical activities taking care of culture and landscapes, biodiversity, etc.

And how would you describe the sky of Artenara?

(AD): The sky of Artenara is one of the darkest on the Island. In fact, for about ten years now, the street lights have been changing, both in the town center and in the neighborhoods, to offer greater protection and quality of dark skies. This means that there is little light pollution and from the core of the municipality we can see the sky quite clearly, which places it in a high step in astronomical observations.

Is it, then, a prime location for the night sky?

(AD): Of course. Even better than the summit. We have the summit as an ideal for stargazing, but the summit, on a scale of ten, we can have an observation of approximately seven, but at Artenara it increases much more. And it is that at the summit we have all the light pollution of the eastern part of the Island: Las Palmas, Telde, San Mateo.

“Heaven is an open book where current generations read as their grandparents read before”


What can be seen in the sky of Artenara that is not seen in other parts of the Island?

(AD): From the center of the town itself, with the new lighting we have, you can see star clusters, nebulae, stars or constellations that you cannot see from the most illuminated areas of the Island. It is even easy to be in the town itself, to look towards the sky, and perfectly see the whitish patch of the Milky Way in the summer, from May until well into October. And that few municipalities can afford it. You see a spine that divides the sky into two halves that have a higher density of objects, star and gas. The stela leaves from the north, from the Gáldar mountain, and goes to Tunte, which is why it is also called the Camino de Santiago.

How do astronomical viewpoints work?

(AD): In Artenara, six astronomical viewpoints have been officially created. One is in Las Cañaditas, which is the official one, and which was created a year and a half ago. And then a network of trails integrated into the town center such as the Los Poetas Viewpoint, the Corazón de Jesús Viewpoint, the La Atalaya Viewpoint and the Unamuno Viewpoint. Even being inside the same helmet you can perfectly see the sky of Artenara. Guided tours are made after the official call at the request of what tourism requests.

How is the structure of the book?

(JAL): There are two great parts written by both of them. Aday did the scientific part to get it out there. It is like an approximation where people can continue to inquire. The people of Artenara, just as they know the ravine, the cattle, etc., they know the sky because Artenara and the sky are a brotherhood. By the height itself, in the town you are looking at the horizon, the sunset and even the stars, in a spontaneous way. It is not a pure and simple astronomical question, but it has to see the behavior of the light of the sky in the landscape. The sun served as a clock for its inhabitants because depending on whether it was biting Tamadaba, the Heather Mountain or the Mountain of Las Sillas, it was one hour or another. My mother was guided by that regardless of whether she had a watch. And there are still people from Artenara who use it to also know if it is going to rain, there is going to be wind, etc. People continue to see the sky as a book to see many signs with which to move around the world.


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