Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

La Palma, Canary Islands

Each year up to 10 Physics and Astronomy students have the opportunity to join a subsidised field trip to the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes in La Palma, Canary Islands, to use our pt5m telescope. At 2,400m above sea level, these telescopes are in an almost ideal environment for astronomy. They can also visit the 4m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) and the 10m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC).

Employment Experience at ING

Students on the MPhys Physics and Astrophysics course have the option to spend a year of their degree working at at the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes through the University of Sheffield's Degree with Employment Experience scheme.

Cropped version of David M's photo

After a period of training on operating the telescope and observing with imaging and spectroscopy, I was assigned service and support nights.

Being able to carry out observations of countless types of astronomical sources over a year was extremely enjoyable.

David Modiano, MPhys Physics and Astrophysics with Employment Experience  READ MORE


The next generation of astronomy tools

Researchers at the launch of the Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer

Our Professor of Astrophysics, Vik Dhillon, led the team that built HiPERCAM, a high-speed camera that has been installed on La Palma's Gran Telescopio Canarias – the world's largest optical telescope.

This revolutionary instrument can can take more than 1,000 images per second and will help scientists study the remnants of dead stars such as white dwarfs, neutron stars and black hole in unprecedented detail.

More on HiPERCAM

He was also part of the international research team that built the new Gravitational-wave Optical Transient Observer telescope (GOTO, pictured) on the island, to detect optical signatures of gravitational waves.

More on GOTO


Extrasolar transit

Our student Liam Hardy, featured in this video, was based at the ING and used the facilities to study planets orbiting nearby stars, known as exoplanets.

By observing the slight decrease in light from these stars as a planet passes in front of the star it is possible to both detect and study the properties of these planets.

Studies of exoplanets provide information on the formation of planetary systems and in the future will allow direct signs of life to be observed.

Field trip photo gallery

These photos were taken during one of our annual student field trips to the telescopes on La Palma.

Students at La Palma

Students at La Palma

Students at La Palma

Students at La Palma

Credit: Alexander Brown

Isabelle Gessey

It was really interesting being able to use a professional telescope. Once all groups had finished their work we got to use the eye piece and look at Saturn.


Gillian Finnerty

This trip is one of the highlights of my time at university and I'm so grateful to the department that I was able to go.

Gillian Finnerty, MPhys Physics and Astrophysics  READ MORE