The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) is an international research centre in Spain which comprises:
- The Instituto de Astrofísica, the headquarters, which is in La Laguna (Tenerife).
- The Centro de Astrofísica en La Palma (CALP)
- The Observatorio del Teide (OT), in Izaña (Tenerife).
- The Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), in Garafía (La Palma).
The IAC is constituted administratively as a Public Consortium, created by statute in 1982, with involvement from the Spanish Government, the Government of the Canary Islands, the University of La Laguna and Spain's Science Research Council (CSIC).
The International Scientific Committee (CCI) manages participation in the observatories by institutions from other countries. A Time Allocation Committee (CAT) allocates the observing time reserved for Spain at the telescopes in the IAC's observatories.
The exceptional quality of the sky over the Canaries for astronomical observations is protected by law. The IAC's Sky Quality Protection Office (OTPC) regulates the application of the law and its Sky Quality Groupcontinuously monitors the parameters that define observing quality at the IAC Observatories.
The IAC's research programme includes astrophysical research and technological development projects.
The IAC has devoted much energy to developming technology for the design and construction of a large 10.4 metre diameter telescope, the ( Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, GTC), which is sited at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.
The IAC's Office for the Publication of Research Results(OTRI), created under the provisions of the National Research and Development Plan (Plan Nacional de I+D), was a pioneer of the National Network of OTRI offices.
However, the History of the IAC begins much earlier...
History of the IAC
The observatories of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias - the Observatorio del Teide, in Tenerife, and the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, in La Palma - are located at two of the most favourable sites for astronomical observation. The contemporary history of astronomy in the Canaries began with astronomy expeditions in the 19th century. A collection of writings about these campaigns, by Prof. F. Sánchez, can be found in Vistas in Astronomy (1985).