The mirror of the SUNRISE mission, which will study the Sun from a stratospheric balloon, gets ready at Calar Alto
October 7th 2019
The SUNRISE mirror, with a diameter of one meter, undergoes the aluminizing process as part of the preparations for the next mission flight.
SUNRISE, a mission designed to study the Sun’s magnetic field from a stratospheric balloon, faces its third flight after its successful trips flying over the Arctic in 2009 and 2013. The instrumentation was recovered in both occasions, and now the mission team focuses on the preparation of the next phase, which will take place in 2021. In late September, the aluminizing of the SUNRISE telescope mirror took place at Calar Alto, a service offered by the observatory that permits to preserve the optimal conditions for observations.
September 26th 2019
CARMENES instrument, co-led by the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), has detected a giant planet around a dwarf star from the Observatory of Calar Alto (Almería)
The planet could have been formed by the rupture of the disk around the star, and not by the accumulation of gas around a solid nucleus, as it is believed that gas giants form
CARMENES instrument, which operates from the Calar Alto Observatory (Almería), has found a giant gas planet around the red dwarf star GJ3512, as well as indications of the presence of another. The finding, published in the journal Science, calls into question the most accepted model of formation of the giant planets, which states that they are born from a solid nucleus that accumulates gas, and opens up the possibility of their formation after the rupture into fragments of a protoplanetary disk.
July 18th 2019
A quarter of century ago, from 16 to 22 July 1994, ca. 20 fragments of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 (SL9) comet impacted onto the Jupiter planet. The very first pictures (see this short movie) of this rare event were taken from Calar Alto on July 16th, 1994 with the MAGIC infrared camera mounted on the 3.5-m telescope.
Near-infrared images (Calar Alto was one of the pioneers of ground-based infrared astronomy) were used to infer the energy of the impacts (up to 6 million megatons of TNT!) and thus the size of the fragments of the comet, entering the dense atmosphere of the giant gaseous planet at velocities over 200,000 km/h.
August 15th 2019
PANIC is an infrared, wide-field camera jointly developed by the Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (MPIA) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC)
Designed for the 2.2 m and 3.5 m telescopes at Calar Alto Observatory, it is a highly versatile instrument to study galaxies, stars and even small bodies in the Solar System
Concepción Cárdenas Vázquez has been awarded the III SEA Prize to the best Spanish PhD in Instrumentation, Computing and Technological Development in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017-2018), given by the Spanish Astronomical Society (SEA). Entitled “PANIC, una cámara infrarroja de gran campo para Calar Alto” (PANIC, an infrared wide-field camera for Calar Alto), the thesis focuses on the PANIC wide-field infrared camera, which can operate on the 2.2 m or 3.5 m telescopes at Calar Alto. The work encompasses the theoretical study, the optical design, the assembly and integration, and the verification of PANIC on both telescopes.
July 2nd 2019
MONOS project studies the binary or multiple systems formed by the most massive stars
It uses data from previous surveys and catalogs, as well as observations with Astralux camera, installed in the 2.2-meter telescope of the Calar Alto Observatory
In our galactic environment only one in two million is a O-type star, a kind of objects that have from sixteen to more than a hundred solar masses and a luminosity up to several million times that of the Sun. These stars, which end in supernova explosions, have a decisive influence on the structure and evolution of galaxies. In addition, they are responsible for the existence of, among others, some of the elements that make us up, but their scarcity makes their knowledge difficult. MONOS project has been designed to collect and acquire as much information as possible about a catalog of O-type stars, and in its first phase points out that these stellar giants tend to group in multiple systems rather than in pairs.
July 31st 2019
Combining data from the TESS satellite and from various instruments on the ground, CARMENES among others, has led to the detection of a multiple planetary system around a nearby star
The work, which involves researchers from Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), opens the door to the detailed study of multiple planetary systems
The combination of data from TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, NASA) with observations from ground-based facilities, including the CARMENES spectrograph at Calar Alto observatory (CAHA), has revealed a triple planetary system around a moderately bright star lying only at 31 light-years from us, making it a favourite target for a detailed study.
These new worlds orbit around GJ 357, an M-type dwarf star having approximately a third of the mass and size of the Sun. In February 2019, the TESS cameras observed how the star brightness suffered slight drops every 3.9 days, revealing the presence of a transiting exoplanet (transits are mini eclipses produced when planets pass in front of their star).
June 18th 2019
CARMENES is a visible and infrared spectrograph that operates from the Calar Alto Observatory
CARMENES instrument, designed to search for extrasolar planets from the 3.5-meter telescope of the Calar Alto Observatory, has allowed to find two planets around the Teegarden´s star, one of the closest known. With masses similar to Earth's, their temperatures could be warm enough to support liquid water on the surface, according to the study published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Located at a distance of only 12.5 light years, the Teegarden´s star is the star system number twenty-four closest to ours, and one of the smallest red dwarf stars known. Despite its proximity and due to its low brightness, the Teegarden´s star was not identified until 2003.