The Governing Council of Junta de Andalucía authorizes its Administration to endorse the Hispano-German Astronomical Center (CAHA)

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April 10th 2019

On April 9th, 2019, the Governing Council of the regional government of Andalusia (Junta de Andalucía) authorized its Administration, through the Ministry of Economy, Knowledge, Companies and University, to enter the Economic Interest Group of the Calar Alto Observatory (CAHA) in Almería. This decision finishes the adhesion procedure and authorizes the consequent acquisition by the Junta of 50% of the A.I.E. company's shareholdings in substitution of the German Max-Planck-Gesellschaft  (MPG) which transfers them free of charge.

Junta de Andalucía is substituting the former MPG co-partner, along with the Spanish Superior Research Council (CSIC), guaranteeing the continuity of this first class scientific complex, whose science and technology strategy are co-managed by the CSIC through the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia located in Granada.

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A nearby green pea galaxy, analog to the first galaxies, shows how the young Universe became illuminated

portadaMarch 25th 2019

A team of astronomers have used PMAS on the 3.5-m telescope to study a nearby star-forming galaxy, emitting energetic photons in a similar way to the first generation of galaxies

These first galaxies turned the Universe transparent, less than one billion years after the Big Bang

The young Universe was a dark place. A few hundred million years after the Big Bang, the first stars formed, and their ultraviolet radiation ionized the hydrogen atoms that populated the Universe and absorbed the radiation. This is called the Era of Reionization, and marks the time when the Universe became transparent to light (and, hence, observable). Now, a team of astronomers have used the PMAS instrument at Calar Alto Observatory to study a green pea, a local analog to the first galaxies, to better understand how ultraviolet light escapes and ionizes distant areas, in a process similar to that of Reionization.

 

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Galaxies co-rotate with their moving neighbors

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February 21st 2019

Astronomers used CALIFA data to study the rotation of galaxies and found that the direction in which a galaxy rotates is influenced by its moving companions, even distant ones.

Most galaxies rotate: their billions of stars orbit around a center, or nucleus of the galaxy, like a spinning wheel. In the case of spiral galaxies, the rotation and its direction are obvious, thanks to well-visible spiral arms. But even irregular-shaped galaxies like the Large Magellanic Cloud, or “smooth”, apparently featureless elliptical and lenticular galaxies show signs of rotation when observed with integral field spectrographs, like the PMAS instrument mounted on the Calar Alto 3.5-m telescope.

Also, galaxies are rarely isolated in the Universe, being usually surrounded by various companions. These may be satellites, small galaxies orbiting close by (like the Magellanic Clouds around our Milky Way), or large ones. These neighbor galaxies can interact strongly, or even merge, with the central galaxy, affecting its shape and kinematics.

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A more accurate and efficient CAFE instrument

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December 19th 2018

The last update of the CAFE instrument on the 2.2-m telescope will provide a higher accuracy for the studies of stars and exoplanets

The Calar Alto observatory has enhanced the accuracy of the CAFE (Calar Alto Fiber-fed Échelle spectrograph) instrument, installed since 2011 on the 2.2-m telescope. The improvement is based on a new temperature control system and the renewal of a key element of the instrument. 

CAFE is a high-resolution spectrograph, an instrument that spreads the light coming from an astronomical object into many colors so as to analyze it. With CAFE, various international teams of astronomers have performed studies mainly focused on stellar physics and on exoplanets that is, planets around stars different from the Sun.

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