Calar Alto

 by Robert Bovington

The province of Almería is the sunniest driest place in Spain. It also has the cleanest atmosphere in Europe and hardly any cloud making it an ideal location for installing an observatory.

Calar Alto, at an altitude of 2,168 metres (7,113 feet), is the highest mountain in Almería and was, therefore chosen as the location for an astronomical observatory. Called, appropriately enough, the Calar Alto Observatory, it is owned and operated jointly by Max-Planck institute for astronomy and the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalucía.


It was officially opened in July 1975 with the commissioning of its 1.2 metre telescope. The site has developed due to the strong ties between the German and Spanish owners and 4 more telescopes have been installed – the largest being 3.5 metres.


The Calar Alto mountaintop is situated in the Sierra de los Filabres, north of the town of Gérgal. It is a pleasant place to walk on a summer’s day, as the temperature is several degrees cooler than down on the coast.

Calar Alto Observatory site
timepiece at Calar Alto Observatory site
Gérgal (Almería)

more blogs by Robert Bovington…

“Photographs of Spain”
“postcards from Spain”
“you couldn’t make it up!”
“a grumpy old man in Spain”
“bits and bobs”
“Spanish Expressions”
“Spanish Art”
“Books About Spain”
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About Robert Bovington

Robert Bovington is an English writer of travel books. These include “Spanish Matters” and “Spanish Impressions” Robert Bovington was born in Brighton, East Sussex, the son of Leonard and Audrey Bovington. He is the first-born and has eight siblings – six brothers and two sisters. Having worked for many years in both the telecommunications industry and the teaching profession, Robert wanted to take on new challenges. He and Diane decided to relocate to Spain and, in 2003, the couple moved to Roquetas de Mar in sunny Andalucía. However, lazing on the beach was not Robert's idea of fun - he wanted to explore his new homeland. It didn't stop there! He was so impressed with Spain, its countryside, its historic cities and its culture that it inspired him to write about his experiences. Robert Bovington has been married to Diane for over thirty years. They have no children. However, Robert’s short marriage to Helene resulted in twin daughters Carole and Sheila. The author is also a grandfather and great grandfather. Robert met Diane when both belonged to the Crescent Operatic Society. Music is one of the author’s great passions. At primary school he sang in a choir in a concert of Bach and Handel. Another of his interests is football and for many years he supported Brighton & Hove Albion home and away. His favourite premiership team is Arsenal. Other interests include information technology, writing and ten-pin bowling.
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