La Palma Sky at Night filming November 2013

In late November 2013 the BBC’s The Sky at Night team travelled to La Palma in the Canary Islands to observe and study a handful of bright comets — including C/2012 S1 (ISON) and C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) — with the professional telescopes located at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory. Below are some of Will’s personal photos from the trip, including some shots of ISON and Lovejoy taken with amateur equipment.

moon_wingtipThe Moon over the wing as seen on approach to La Palma. Credit: Will Gater
Shadow of the mountainThe shadow of the volcano projects out into the atmosphere and the pink Belt of Venus. Credit: Will Gater
ISON_221113Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) imaged with an 8-inch telescope and a Canon 550D DSLR on 22 November. Credit: Will Gater
GTC interiorThe 10.4m diameter Gran Telescopio Canarias, one of the world’s largest telescopes. Credit: Will Gater
MagicThe MAGIC telescope. Credit: Will Gater
MilkyWayVenusVenus, the Zodiacal Light and the Milky Way over the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory. Credit: Will Gater
HDR looking towards ORM domesThe domes of the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory catch the first rays of the sunrise. Credit: Will Gater
LTHDR2The Liverpool Telescope in the afternoon sun. Credit: Will Gater
Morning sunrise of domesBlue skies over the William Herschel Telescope (right), the Dutch Open Telescope (centre) & the Swedish Solar Telescope (left). Credit: Will Gater
SeaofcloudsLa Palma’s famous ‘Sea of Clouds’ below the observatory. Credit: Will Gater
WHTsunsetHDRThe William Herschel Telescope prepares for a night of observing. Credit: Will Gater
HDR_WHTThe Liverpool Telescope (right), Dutch Open Telescope (right of centre) & WHT (left) as seen from the Roque de Los Muchachos. Credit: Will Gater
LaRoquedeLosMuchachosThe volcanic outcrop known as the Roque de Los Muchachos (‘The Rock of the Boys’) which gives the observatory its name. Credit: Will Gater
LTmilkywayThe Milky Way over the Liverpool Telescope dome. Credit: Will Gater
PipitA Berthelot’s Pipit enjoying the sunrise at the Roque de Los Muchachos. Credit: Will Gater
TeideTenerife’s Mount Teide looms above the clouds in the distance. Credit: Will Gater
INTtwilightThe Isaac Newton Telescope dome open at twilight. Credit: Will Gater
LTmoonlightThe Liverpool Telescope observing, illuminated by the light of the Moon. Credit: Will Gater
LTinteriorThe Liverpool Telescope. Note the ‘finder scope’. Credit: Will Gater
GTCdomeThe enormous dome of the Gran Telescopio Canarias. Credit: Will Gater
Magic observingThe MAGIC telescopes observing. The sky is illuminated by the orange glow of the rising Moon. Credit: Will Gater
BOV_WHTThe William Herschel Telescope dome, the Belt of Venus and the Earth’s shadow. Credit: Will Gater
ISONwide21112013Comet C/2012 S1 ISON rising on the morning of 21 November. Credit: Will Gater
Caldera_lightThe caldera at the heart of the island in the early morning sunlight. Credit: Will Gater
La Palma from planeThe S@N team’s first view of La Palma. You can just make out the dome of the Isaac Newton Telescope on the summit. Credit: Will Gater
La Palma BOVThe Belt of Venus and the Earth’s shadow over the calm waters around La Palma. Credit: Will Gater
La Palma BOV_panThe Earth’s shadow stretching across the horizon with the Belt of Venus above it. Credit: Will Gater
Moonlit rain showers JupiterJupiter peeks through the clouds as passing rain showers off La Palma’s coast are illuminated by shafts of moonlight. Credit: Will Gater
First ISON sighting MercuryComet ISON (top right) with Mercury (bottom left) on the morning of 20 November. Credit: Will Gater
MoonriseINTGolden light from the rising Moon floods through the cloud tops beyond the Isaac Newton Telescope. Credit: Will Gater
INT moonlightThe Isaac Newton Telescope illuminated by moonlight. Credit: Will Gater
HDR looking towards ORM domes2The telescopes of the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory from the highest point on the island. Credit: Will Gater
ISON_Mercury_SaturnMercury, Saturn and Comet ISON on the morning of the 23 November. Credit: Will Gater
Caldera walls HDRThe walls of the caldera as seen from the Roque de Los Muchachos. Credit: Will Gater
Caldera walls HDR 2The morning sun begins to illuminate the vast interior of the caldera. Credit: Will Gater
Lovejoy_21112013Comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) on the night of the 21 November. Credit: Will Gater
LT sunsetThe Liverpool Telescope at sunset. Credit: Will Gater
SunsetINT_LT_lapalmashadowSunset skies over the Liverpool Telescope (open dome) and the Isaac Newton Telescope (right). Credit: Will Gater
Anticrepuscular raysAnti-crepuscular rays at sunset extending right across the sky. Credit: Will Gater
caldera structuresThe jagged volcanic landscape appears out of the clouds within the caldera. Credit: Will Gater
Caldera viewCloud fills the caldera almost to the brim. Credit: Will Gater
Moon_23112013Superb seeing conditions resulted in breathtaking telescopic views of the Moon during the trip. Credit: Will Gater