Almeria (Spain), July 14th, 2023
CARMENES studies the puffiest known exoplanet atmosphere.
An international team of researchers has used the CARMENES spectrograph to study the atmosphere of HAT-P-67b, the largest but least dense transiting gas giant known to date. From the Calar Alto data, the puffy atmosphere of the exoplanet appears highly ionized and could be escaping at a rate of 10 million tons per second.
Planets in our solar system have vastly different atmospheres. The atmospheres of planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets, show an even richer diversity, and one of the goals of modern astronomy is to characterize this diversity.
Almeria (Spain), June 28th, 2023
In the framework of the CAVITY project, an ongoing legacy program at Calar Alto, researchers from the University of Granada show, for the first time, that galaxies located in cosmic voids assemble theirs stars more slowly than galaxies in filaments, walls and clusters.
Galaxies are mass concentrations in which the gas from the Universe condenses under the action of gravity forming thousands of millions of stars. As the bricks of a house, the galaxies are the fundamental building blocks that conform the large-scale structure of the Universe. These galaxies are distributed in a sponge-like web characterized by the different large scale structure environments: dense clusters, elongated filaments, sheet-like walls and low density regions called ‘cosmic voids’.
April 26th 2023
The cameras that monitor permanently the Calar Alto sky have been able to record an aurora borealis on the night of Sunday, April 23, 2023, an exceptional sighting in Andalusia. The visibility of the phenomenon at the latitude of the observatory confirms the power of the solar eruption that took place a couple of days before and the exquisite transparency of the skies over Calar Alto.
During an aurora borealis (and australis), the night sky gets illuminated from red to blue and green colors. This is due to the solar wind, a variable stream of charged particles (protons and electrons) emitted by our star, which interacts with the upper atmosphere following Earth's magnetic field lines that pass through the poles.
February 22nd 2023
Twenty thousand observations made with the CARMENES instrument are published today. CARMENES is the "planet hunter" spectrograph of the 3.5-meter telescope at Calar Alto. CARMENES was co-developed by the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), and it has already discovered 59 planets, some of them lying in the habitable zone around red dwarf stars in the vicinity of the Sun.
The consortium of the CARMENES project has just published the data for about twenty thousand observations of a sample of 362 nearby, cool dwarf stars, taken between 2016 and 2020. The instrument, which operates at the 3.5-meter telescope of the Calar Alto Observatory, focuses on the search for Earth-like exoplanets (rocky and temperate), with the possibility of having liquid water on the surface if they are in the habitable zone around their star. Among the many data released now are those that have lead to the discovery of 59 exoplanets, a dozen being potentially habitable. The results are being published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
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