Calar Alto Observatory starts a program of academic collaboration, student integration and scientific outreach

The Centro Astronómico Hispano-Alemán of Calar Alto (CAHA, MPG/CSIC), starts a program of academic and outreach activities together with the University of Almería and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC).

Calar Alto Observatory (CAHA) has signed a collaboration agreement with the Insituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) and the University of Almería in order to develop a combined plan of academic and outreach activities, in both the universitary world and the social scope in the province of Almería.

“This agreement initiates a beneficial way of work for all. On this occasion, the Observatory will open its doors to the students, but from a different perspective to the ones achieved up to date, collaborating with the training of future scientists and engineers within a unique laboratory in Europe – points Jesús Aceituno, Director of Calar Alto Observatory -. We are convinced that this collaboration will prepare new talents in the future, a key element for development “.

The activities are framed in three groups, which contemplate different objectives and publics. On the one hand, the University of Almería student integration program will allow the students to participate into the advanced instrumentation development for Calar Alto, as well as into the space projects that are being achieved in the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC). Both CAHA and IAA will propose particular projects that serve a basis for student curricular practices, for the development of end-of-grade or master’s degree projects, in diverse disciplines such as electronic engineering or computers, among others. These projects will be supervised jointly by the staff of the observatory, the Instituto Astrofísico de Andalucía and the University of Almería.


The second aspect of the program looks forward to create academic links between the three institutions with the participation of the IAA and CAHA into the summer courses of the university, and the joint organization of complementary studies courses. In this way, a course of astronomy will be organized and integrated into the organizational structure of the University’s summer courses and will be lead by IAA and CAHA personnel.

The third leg of the agreement reflects the need of building bridges with the society, and raises the creation of an astronomy classroom, leaded by staff of Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía and Calar Alto, organizing outreach activities such as guided visits to the Calar Alto Observatory, periodical social gatherings concerning astronomy news which offer a broader vision about what can be found on media, or night observation outings lead by groups of amateur astronomers. This classroom will also develop practical courses for astronomy amateurs (astronomy photography, choosing telescopes and accessories, binocular astronomy…).

The German-Spanish Calar Alto Observatory is located at Sierra de los Filabres, north of Almería (Andalucía, Spain). It is jointly operated by the Instituto Max Planck de Astronomía in Heidelberg, Germany, and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC) in Granada, Spain. Calar Alto has three telescopes with apertures of 1.23m, 2.2m and 3.5m. A 1.5m aperture telescope, also located at the mountain, is operated under control of the Observatorio de Madrid. 


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