Roque de los Muchachos Observatory
Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Spanish: Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, ORM) is an astronomical observatory located in the municipality of Garafía on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands. The observatory site is operated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias which is based on nearby Tenerife, and it is part of European Northern Observatory.
The seeing statistics make it the second best location for optical and infrared astronomy in the Northern Hemisphere, after Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii. The site has some of the premier astronomical facilities in the Northern Hemisphere, including the adaptive optics corrected Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope which provides the highest resolution solar imaging of any telescope, and the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias which is the world's largest single-aperture optical telescope as of July 2009.
The observatory started with the Isaac Newton Telescope, which was moved to La Palma from the Royal Greenwich Observatory site at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, England in 1979. The move was beset with difficulties, and it is widely recognized that it would have been cheaper to have built a new telescope rather than moving an existing one.
The observatory was initiated in Santa Cruz de La Palma by representatives from Spain, Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Other countries became involved later, including Germany, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Iceland, and the United States.
The observatory was officially inaugurated on the 29th of June, 1985, by the Spanish royal family and six European heads of state. Seven helicopter pads were built at the observatory to allow the dignitaries to arrive in comfort.
A fire on the mountainside in 1997 damaged one of the gamma-ray telescopes, but the fire in September 2005 did no serious damage to buildings or telescopes.
Picture of the 10m Gran Telescopio Canarias building under construction in March 2003
See also 
- Roque de los Muchachos
- La Palma
- Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias
- Teide Observatory
- Isaac Newton Group
- Astronomical seeing
- Gran Telescopio Canarias
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