Call for letters of intent for the construction of the next generation instrument for CAHA 3.5m telescope


 May 11th 2018

Calar Alto is looking for competitive science cases and associated instrumentation concepts for its flagship telescope, the CAHA 3.5m. It is expected that the current observatory mode of operation will remain in the future, with most of the time devoted to high impact science cases requiring large allocations of time.

Read more ...

Recovering of comet Catalina with the Schmidt telescope


April 27th 2018

In the framework of the Space Situational Awareness program, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), astronomers observing remotely with the Calar Alto Schmidt telescope managed to recover comet P/2011 CR42 Catalina.

Solar System objects like asteroids and comets appear like moving targets in the stellar fields observed with telescopes. Observations spread over various nights allow us to compute accurately their orbits. Comets, in particular, can present elongated (elliptic), periodic orbits, like the famous comet Halley, passing close to the Earth every 76 years or so, and visible to the naked eye (the last time in 1986, but it was probably observed since prehistoric times).

Read more ...

Discovery of an exoplanet which helps us to understand the formation of Mercury

mercurio en

Almería, April 6th, 2018

The planet K2-229b has a similar composition to Mercury, because the vicinity to its sun blows its mantle, forming an atmosphere of evaporated silicates. This finding is partly based on data obtained from Calar Alto.

An international team has found a planetary system around a star (named K2-229) similar to our Sun, which helps us to understand the formation and properties of the planet Mercury. The planet K2-229b, lying in this system, has a composition very similar to that of Mercury. The finding, published in Nature Astronomy, is the result of an international cooperation led by Alexandre Santerne, from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France).

Read more ...

New light on the Trifid Nebula, a star nursery as old as Homo sapiens


Almería, March 26th 2018

The Trifid Nebula is a well-known complex of young stars, some of them still hidden in the cloud of gas and dust from which they were born.

A new study, using data from the Calar Alto Observatory, sheds new light on this intricate stellar nursery of multi-epoch star formation in the last 300,000 years.

The Trifid Nebula, discovered in 1764, is visible with small telescopes as a diffuse patch of light towards the constellation of Sagittarius, in the densest regions of the Milky Way. It includes a group of thousands of very young stars embedded in a nebula, a mixture of gas and dust particles, which constitutes the deposit of material to form future stars.

Its name refers to its most striking visual feature: a nebula divided into three lobes by dark clouds of dense molecular material. New infrared observations, which allow us to see through the dust, reveal a complex area of ongoing star formation in its darkest parts, which began about 300,000 years ago, the age of Homo sapiens.


Read more ...