On December 10th, 2019, a group from Jaén University could benefit from a clear (and long) night of observation with the Calar Alto 1.23-m telescope, in the framework of the education program “Calar Alto Academy” offered by the observatory since 2007.
The team, composed of the Superior Polytechnic School professors Josep Martí Ribas and Pedro Luis Luque Escamilla, and the geomatics engineering students Álvaro Palao Martínez and Laís Paulo Lima, could observe various objects with the DLR professional camera mounted at the Cassegrain focus of the 1,23 m: from nearby objects in the Solar System (asteroids and comets) to distant galaxies, like the famous Whirlpool Galaxy, observed in three filters to obtain this original color composition.
The students put into practice the theoretical formation they have received in the Geodesic Astronomy course, including astronomical reference systems, orbit computation, astrometry, as well as absolute and differential photometry. “Having the opportunity to put into play many of the concepts learnt in class using the Calar Alto professional instrumentation is a real boost for Astronomy teaching, making enthusiastic students and professors as well” says Josep Martí, full professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics at Jaén University. “Scientific vocations will likely be encouraged by this kind of activity in direct link with the first class research and engineering environment we benefited” adds Pedro Luque, professor in fluid mechanics.
Jaén University if the first Andalusian university making use of the Calar Alto facilities within the observatory new management framework where the regional government (Junta de Andalucia) plays an important role. Jaén thus joins the main universities in Spain – and abroad, like University College Dublin – that can beneficiate, each year, from the use of Calar Alto telescopes for training their students at all levels (BSc, master and PhD) in Earth and Space sciences and engineering.
For the observatory, supported by the Spanish National Research Council and the General Secretary of Universities from Junta de Andalucía, it is a firm compromise to participate in the formation of new generations of researchers.
Calar Alto Observatory is one of the infrastructures that belong to the national map of Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (Spanish acronym: ICTS), approved on November 6th, 2018, by the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Council
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