THE SITE OF the Roque de los Muchachos
Observatory is operated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias
(IAC), as is the Teide Observatory on Tenerife. The operation of the
site is overseen by an international scientific committee.
The construction, operation and
development of the ING telescopes is the result of a collaboration between
the UK, The Netherlands, and Spain. The site is provided by Spain, and in return
Spanish astronomers receive 20 per cent of the observing time on the telescopes.
A further 75 per cent of observing time is shared by the UK, The Netherlands and IAC (Spain). The allocation of telescope time is determined by scientific
merit. The remaining 5 per cent is reserved for large scientific projects
to promote international collaborations.
Many of the state-of-the-art telescope
and instrument components are custom-built. New instruments are designed
and built by technology groups in the UK and the Netherlands, with which
the ING maintains close links. Of particular importance is the historical
link with the Royal Greenwich Observatory, now closed down, originally responsible for the
creation of the ING.
The Observatory excites a lot
of local interest, and the ING values its strong links with the community
on La Palma. There are a number of Open
Days every year when the public can visit the telescopes.