The mirror of the SUNRISE mission, which will study the Sun from a stratospheric balloon, gets ready at Calar Alto

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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.

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CARMENES finds an anomalous planetary system that challenges our understanding of how planets form

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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.

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Best Spanish PhD in instrumentation SEA prize awarded to a thesis on the PANIC camera

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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.

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Space- and ground-based observations reveal a planetary trio around a nearby star

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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).

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