The atmosphere of Kelt-9b, the hottest known planet, is being dragged towards its star


July 3rd 2018

Similar to Jupiter, Kelt-9 is hotter than some stars

Thanks to the CARMENES instrument at Calar Alto Observatory, astronomers detected an extensive hydrogen envelope around Kelt-9b that escapes and is being captured by the star

The Kelt-9b conditions are infernal: it rotates extremely close to its host star, Kelt-9, whose temperature doubles that of the Sun. It is the hottest exoplanet discovered, and a recent study with the CARMENES instrument at Calar Alto, has revealed the presence of an hydrogen atmosphere around Kelt-9, which is being dragged and captured by the gravitational force of its star. Led by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, the result has been published in Nature Astronomy.

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Best 2017 PhD in Astronomy uses CALIFA data


June 28th 2018

Laura Sánchez-Menguiano was awarded the best 2017 PhD thesis in Astronomy by the Spanish Astronomical Society. Laura’s thesis uses CALIFA data, taken with the PMAS Integral Field Spectrograph at the 3.5-m Calar Alto telescope, to scrutinize the spiral structure in disk galaxies.

Most galaxies in the local Universe display beautiful spiral arms, concentrations of bright stars in a rotating disk, like a whirl around a bulge made of older stars. Although omnipresent, the formation and persistence of this twisting spiral structure is still not well understood, despite the arms should play a major role in the chemical and dynamical evolution of disk galaxies.

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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.

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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).

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