CARMENES, the instrument that will search for Earth-like planets, starts its assembly at Calar Alto

feCARMENES front-end, the part which connects the instrument to the telescope, collects the light and injects it into the fibers, is being integrated.

This is the first big subsystem arriving at the observatory, where the tests will be carried out during this week. 

Almería, April 30th, 2015Before the end of this year, CARMENES instrument will open its eyes which to observe the sky in both the visible and the infrared, searching for Earth-like planets, one of the actual challenges of present astrophysics. During 2015 will happen a series of milestones starting this week with the integration of the instrument front-end, the part that connects the instrument with the telescope, collects the light and injects it into the fibers.

 

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Goodbye to a good friend

jgJavier Gorosabel has been, and still is, part of the Calar Alto Observatory, and with his departure, we lose something of what this place is. He was always between the most enthusiastic and productive users of any of Calar Alto telescopes, in both instrumentation and scientific projects. But, most of all, here, at this mountain, we learned and laugh with him. Although it will take some time, as we have our hearts shrunk and feel like the stars are less bright, we are sure that we will continue learning his science and laughing with him.

On behalf of the Calar Alto Observatory, we share the grief to his family and with all who knew him.

 

IZw18: the galaxy that reveals the universe’s history

IZw18

  • IZw18 stands out for its extreme scarcity of heavy elements, a characteristic typical of primeval galaxies
  • A map of ionized helium in the galaxy has just been published which indicates the presence of peculiar stars similar to the first that ever shone in the universe

The first galaxies were formed some 13.3 billion years ago, mainly composed of hydrogen and helium, the primary elements that emerged from the Big Bang. Their study to date has been technically very challenging due to their great distance from us, but the observation of analogous galaxies in our vicinity has turned out to be an excellent shortcut.

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Prize to a divulgation article with Calar Alto Observatory data

56145 2_DBarrado-JLilloMadrid Comunity, through the “Fundación para el Conocimiento madri+d”, has published the result of the madri+d award, which went to the article entitled “La epopeya exoplanetaria: planetas gigantes, planetas rocosos”, of David Barrado (left) and Jorge Lillo (right), both researchers of the Astrobiology Centre (CAB, CSIC-INTA).

 The text, which the jury highlighted the originality, quality of writing and its disclosure level, put in context Kepler 37-B finding, an extrasolar planet with a similar size of the Moon, and which is the smallest one detected up to date. The discovery was possible thanks to the Calar Alto Observatory (CAHA) instrumental capacity, in particular AstraLux instrument, placed at the 2.2m telescope, which is able to get images with a similar quality as the Hubble space telescope.

“This prize highlights Calar Alto Observatory importance as a knowledge creator tool in all areas: science, technology and culture”, CAHA Deputy Director Jesús Aceituno said.

 

Das Universum durchkämmen (Eine Lichterkette fürs Weltall)

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Optischer-Frequenz Kamm erlaubt präzisere astronomische Beobachtungen.

 

Wissenschaftler des Leibniz-Instituts für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP) und des Zentrums für Innovationskompetenz innoFSPEC haben einen neuartigen optischen Frequenz-Kamm an einem astronomischen Instrument getestet. Mithilfe dieser Lichtquelle soll die Eichung von Spektrographen und damit die der wissenschaftlichen Messergebnisse verbessert werden.

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On computer names and M dwarf discoverers

logo carmenesWe start a series of short pieces of news related to the imminent arrival to Calar Alto of CARMENES, the new Observatory’s exoplanet hunter. In plain English, it is a “machine to discover planets like our Earth around the most abundant (and, also, the closest, smallest and coolest) stars”.  

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Observers find two stars so close together that they will end up by merging into 1 very massive star

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A study of the binary system “MY Camelopardalis” published in the journalAstronomy & Astrophysics, shows that the most massive stars are formed by the merging of other smaller stars, as theoretical models predicted. 

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