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DOM: Operating the telescope
TOM: Technical Operations Manual

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MAGIC La Palma Webpages

Introduction to the MAGIC Site

This website is a short summary for those who have never been to the MAGIC site on the Roque de los Muchachos, or whose last visit dates long ago. Before your work on the site, please read carefully the MAGIC safety instructions. If you come as shifter you need to be familiar with the Datataking Operations Manual (DOM), if you come as an expert or technician you need to be familiar with the Technical Operations Manual (TOM) of all subsystems you will be working with. You (and your institute) are responsible for working efficiently and without incidents.

The MAGIC site is part of the Observatorio de Roque de los Muchachos, which is hosted by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, IAC.

Site Manager

For MAGIC members the main contact person at the ORM is the MAGIC Site Manager, Eduardo Colombo. He has to be informed of all professional visits of collaboration members at the MAGIC site and you need to organize a safety tour with him. For more details on arriving and staying in La Palma see the next section.

Assisting the Site Manager (among many other thing) are two Postdocs who are permanently on La Palma. They can also help you with many things concerning your stay on the island and your work at the MAGIC site, so it makes sense to include them in your correspondance with the Site Manager.

The current ORM site manager is Dr. Juan Carlos Perez. His contact information can be found in the contacts list. He has to be contacted in the case of grave problems or incidences concerning the MAGIC site or the ORM in general.

Before Traveling to La Palma

If you plan to take a data taking shift, even if you have not bought the ticket yet, please inform the Travel Committee. This mailing list includes the SOC, the SA and the LPPs. If the shift is technical, also send the information to the Technical Board. Include the following information (bold items are mandatory):
  • Purpose of your travel
  • Expected travel dates
  • If you have a driving license valid in Spain (shifters only)
  • Mobile phone number
  • Skype account
  • Contact at home
Everybody working at the site needs a guided safety tour by the local staff before you start any work. Make sure you organize this tour with the local staff as soon as you know your arrival date. Be aware of this when planning your trip to the site, if you arrive too late you may not be able to receive the tour and are not allowed to work at the site that night. If possible organize a common safety tour for every member of your team or with the other shifters arriving the same day as you.

A few days before your travel to La Palma, please inform the Travel Committee with the exact details of your travel, including:

  • Time of arrival and departure
  • Flight number
  • If you are staying in a hotel before your arrival at the MAGIC site
  • If you have a car or need a ride to the Roque (The local staff might be able to help you geting up and down)

Registration of People Working in La Palma

The Spanish law requires that people from abroad working in Spain for a period longer than 8 working days need to notify the Spanish authorities. In general the following rules apply:
  • Every person coming to work at the MAGIC site for a period longer than 8 days needs to be registered (includes data taking and technical shifts). However, it is recommended to register also for shorter trips.
  • The registration form needs to be filled out by an institute representative and send in advance of the travel via fax.
    Note: This form is only valid for institutes inside the EU.
    Instructions + blank form
    Blank form
    Partially pre-filled form
  • It is only a notification, no feedback will follow from the Spanish authorities.
  • Institutes from Spain do not need this bureaucratic work.
  • Contact the Safety and Operations Coordinator for details.
If you are a non-EU national working for a non-EU organization you have to apply for a special visa allowing you to work during a fixed-term period of time for your organization in Spain. For this purpose, you can ask for an invitation letter signed by the deputy spokesperson and submit it to the Spanish consular authorities in your country. Please, keep in mind that issuing the visa may take several months: it is advisable to ask for the invitation letter and to submit the visa request as early as possible. Penalty payments of several thousand Euro may arise if one does not follow the law.

Staying in La Palma

If you are planning on staying at sea level before your shift, consider booking an apartment in Los Cancajos, located close to the airport and to Santa Cruz de La Palma on the east side of the island. This is an inclomplete list of apartments and hotels in Los Cancajos in no particular order:


To get from the Santa Cruz de la Palma airport (SPC) to the ORM site you will need a car or a taxi. You might also get a lift to the ORM by the local MAGIC members if your flight coincides with their working hours. The road winds up through hundreds of bends, many of them hairpin turns, with a difference in altitude of more than 2000 m. Follow the rules in the driving section of the safety document when driving yourself. The shift crew has a dedicated car, equipped with all mandatory safety items like radio transmitter and snow chains. Shifters should get in contact with their shift leader and arrange for the transport to the ORM. Taxis may be ordered by calling the reception of the Residencia (+34 922 405 500). Cars can be rented at the airport following the rules of the individual institutes.


The ORM site is usually above the clouds. Temperatures vary from a minumum of about −10°C in the winter (December until March) to a maximum of 26°C in July/August during the calima season. If you work during daytime, or if you find the time to relax on one of the beaches of La Palma, don't underestimate the serious effect of the sun. If you have (or want) to expose yourself, protect your skin with sun lotion grade 12 or higher, your head with a suitable cap, your eyes with sunglasses. Read the safety document for more regulations concerning adverse weather conditions. Contact the local MAGIC staff or the Residencia to check the current weather conditions and possible pre-alert/alert sitations.


Along the road, below the MAGIC site (in walking distance), are the buildings of the Residencia where you can sleep and eat. The reception desk is open daily from 9:00 to 19:00. Rooms have to be reserved ahead of your arrival, and if you want lunch or dinner you have to announce this one day in advance at the reception desk. Room bookings have to be done during the working days using the web form. MAGIC has rented one of the appartments equipped with a living room and kitchen. To book a room in the apartment specify your wish in the web form. Shifters must book a room in the Residencia (65.90 Euro per night) or in the MAGIC apartment (53.36 Euro per night). A fax (number +34 922 405 501), copying machine, and computer terminals with internet access are availiable in the main building. During your free time you can also watch television and play games (ask at the reception) there.

Keep in mind that people may sleep at any time of the day or the night. Avoid any noise in and around the Residencia. At night also avoid light pollution. Turn off any unnecessary light, lower blinds and close shutters, and drive with minimal light. Do not park vehicles in front of the apartment during the day, use the parking lot of the annex or the main building.