August 15th 2019
PANIC is an infrared, wide-field camera jointly developed by the Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (MPIA) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC)
Designed for the 2.2 m and 3.5 m telescopes at Calar Alto Observatory, it is a highly versatile instrument to study galaxies, stars and even small bodies in the Solar System
Concepción Cárdenas Vázquez has been awarded the III SEA Prize to the best Spanish PhD in Instrumentation, Computing and Technological Development in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017-2018), given by the Spanish Astronomical Society (SEA). Entitled “PANIC, una cámara infrarroja de gran campo para Calar Alto” (PANIC, an infrared wide-field camera for Calar Alto), the thesis focuses on the PANIC wide-field infrared camera, which can operate on the 2.2 m or 3.5 m telescopes at Calar Alto. The work encompasses the theoretical study, the optical design, the assembly and integration, and the verification of PANIC on both telescopes.
July 31st 2019
Combining data from the TESS satellite and from various instruments on the ground, CARMENES among others, has led to the detection of a multiple planetary system around a nearby star
The work, which involves researchers from Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), opens the door to the detailed study of multiple planetary systems
The combination of data from TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, NASA) with observations from ground-based facilities, including the CARMENES spectrograph at Calar Alto observatory (CAHA), has revealed a triple planetary system around a moderately bright star lying only at 31 light-years from us, making it a favourite target for a detailed study.
These new worlds orbit around GJ 357, an M-type dwarf star having approximately a third of the mass and size of the Sun. In February 2019, the TESS cameras observed how the star brightness suffered slight drops every 3.9 days, revealing the presence of a transiting exoplanet (transits are mini eclipses produced when planets pass in front of their star).
June 18th 2019
CARMENES is a visible and infrared spectrograph that operates from the Calar Alto Observatory
CARMENES instrument, designed to search for extrasolar planets from the 3.5-meter telescope of the Calar Alto Observatory, has allowed to find two planets around the Teegarden´s star, one of the closest known. With masses similar to Earth's, their temperatures could be warm enough to support liquid water on the surface, according to the study published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Located at a distance of only 12.5 light years, the Teegarden´s star is the star system number twenty-four closest to ours, and one of the smallest red dwarf stars known. Despite its proximity and due to its low brightness, the Teegarden´s star was not identified until 2003.
July 18th 2019
A quarter of century ago, from 16 to 22 July 1994, ca. 20 fragments of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 (SL9) comet impacted onto the Jupiter planet. The very first pictures (see this short movie) of this rare event were taken from Calar Alto on July 16th, 1994 with the MAGIC infrared camera mounted on the 3.5-m telescope.
Near-infrared images (Calar Alto was one of the pioneers of ground-based infrared astronomy) were used to infer the energy of the impacts (up to 6 million megatons of TNT!) and thus the size of the fragments of the comet, entering the dense atmosphere of the giant gaseous planet at velocities over 200,000 km/h.
Junta de Andalucía and the Max-Planck Institute make official the transfer of 50% of the Calar Alto Observatory
May 23rd 2019
The regional government of Andalusy is getting involved in the co-management of the observatory, along with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
La The Economy, Knowledge, Companies and University ministry of Junta de Andalucía and the German Max Planck Society (MPG) have already signed, before a notary public, the transfer of 50% of the shares (social parts) that MPG had in the Calar Alto astronomical observatory.
With this signature, the autonomous administration of Andalusy will share its exploitation with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), which depends on the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.
After receiving for free the shares, the Andalusian department head by Rogelio Velasco will bring 1.5 million euros per year to maintain and develop the observatory activities.
July 2nd 2019
MONOS project studies the binary or multiple systems formed by the most massive stars
It uses data from previous surveys and catalogs, as well as observations with Astralux camera, installed in the 2.2-meter telescope of the Calar Alto Observatory
In our galactic environment only one in two million is a O-type star, a kind of objects that have from sixteen to more than a hundred solar masses and a luminosity up to several million times that of the Sun. These stars, which end in supernova explosions, have a decisive influence on the structure and evolution of galaxies. In addition, they are responsible for the existence of, among others, some of the elements that make us up, but their scarcity makes their knowledge difficult. MONOS project has been designed to collect and acquire as much information as possible about a catalog of O-type stars, and in its first phase points out that these stellar giants tend to group in multiple systems rather than in pairs.
The Governing Council of Junta de Andalucía authorizes its Administration to endorse the Hispano-German Astronomical Center (CAHA)
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.