A new instrument for studying galaxies in the local universe from Calar Alto

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November 27th 2018

LUCA is proposed as a new generation instrument for the Calar Alto Observatory (CAHA) 3.5-m telescope.

The project, conceived at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), has been selected by the observatory's advisory committee to finance the feasibility study, managed by the University of Almería (UAL).

Calar Alto Observatory remains at the forefront of Astronomy thanks to its firm commitment with technological renovation, which resulted this year in the call for the development of a new instrument for the 3.5-m telescope. The selected project has been LUCA (Local Universe from Calar Alto), which aims to unravel physical processes at small enough scale to study how the star formation and evolution affects the formation and evolution of galaxies in our local universe.

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Super-Earth discovered around the second nearest stellar system

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November 14th 2018

An international team finds an exoplanet with three times the mass of the Earth around the red dwarf Barnard, the closest star to the Sun after the Alpha Centauri system

The team has used observations taken in 18 years combined with the CARMENES planet-hunter spectrograph at Calar Alto Observatory

Just six light-years away, Barnard's star moves in Earth's night sky faster than any other star. This red dwarf, smaller and older than our Sun, is among the least active red dwarfs known, so it represents an ideal target to search for exoplanets. Now, an international team led by researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has found a cold Super-Earth orbiting around the Barnard´s star, the second closest star system to Earth. It is the first time that astronomers have discovered this type of exoplanet using the radial velocity method. The results of the study are published in the journal Nature.

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Ultra-hot gas around remnants of Sun-like stars

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November 7th 2018

Solving a decades-old mystery, an international team of astronomers have discovered an extremely hot magnetosphere around a white dwarf, a remnant of a star like our Sun. The work, making use of Calar Alto data, was led by Dr Nicole Reindl, Research Fellow of the Royal Commission 1851, based at the University of Leicester, and is published today (7 November) in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

White dwarfs are the final stage in the lives of stars like our Sun. At the end of its life, these stars eject their outer atmospheres, leaving behind a hot, compact and dense core that cools over billions of years. The temperature on their surfaces is typically around 100,000 degrees Celsius (in comparison the surface of the Sun is 5800 degrees).

Some white dwarfs though challenge scientists, as they show evidence for highly ionised metals. In astronomy ‘metals’ describe every element heavier than helium, and high ionisation here means that all but one of the outer electrons usually in their atoms have been stripped away. That process needs a temperature of 1 million degrees Celsius, so far higher than the surface of even the hottest white dwarf stars.

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La Junta prevé destinar el próximo año el 50% del presupuesto de funcionamiento del Observatorio Astronómico de Calar Alto

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 8 de Octubre de 2018

La Consejería de Conocimiento se incorporará al 50% al complejo científico en enero de 2019.

La consejera de Conocimiento, Investigación y Universidad, Lina Gálvez, ha anunciado en su visita al Observatorio Astronómico de Calar Alto que la Junta de Andalucía prevé destinar el próximo año el 50% del presupuesto de funcionamiento de este complejo científico, una estimación inicial que tendrá que consignarse finalmente en los presupuestos de 2019.

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