• scenery • education
At an altitude of 2,168 metres, nestling among rocky moss-strewn outcrops and occasional herds of springing Spanish Ibex goats, lies the Calar Alto Observatory, the largest astronomical complex in continental Europe. Opened in 1975, the Observatory boasts the largest telescope on mainland Europe (a 3.5m reflector) among several others, the site also houses an impressive range of state-of-the-art instruments such as the CARMENES Planet Hunter, created to survey our galaxy for second Earths.
It’s an impressively thorough set-up. While the domes dominate the site architecturally, other buildings, some tucked away behind a slope or a cluster of pine trees, serve equally important purposes. From the modest control centre the telescopes can be remotely pointed to the chosen area of sky. On another side of the complex lie storage and maintenance facilities and the modular, functional sleeping quarters for the on-site scientists and technical staff.