Possible satellite detected around the Trans-Neptunian object Varuna


December 11th 2019

Astronomers have detected hints of a satellite orbiting Varuna, an object located beyond Neptune, after observing it for nearly 15 years, in particular from Calar Alto.

Beyond Neptune, the eighth and last planet in the Solar System, orbit many Trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). Lying at large distances (more than 30 times the one of the Earth to the Sun), TNOs preserve
fossil records of the nebula that gave birth to the Solar System. To date, about 2,500 TNOs have been discovered; among them, Varuna, a large TNO of nearly 1000 km in its longest (elongated) shape.

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Public Surveys and new instrumentation for Calar Alto Observatory

imagenNovember 20th 2019

The Calar Alto observatory (CAHA) is a key institution for the international astronomical community, for its highly competitive astronomical facilities (telescopes and instrumentation). From 2019 on, the current administration of CAHA includes the Junta de Andalucía as a new partner - replacing the Max Planck Gesellschaft -, and together with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) these two institutions manage the operation of the observatory.

The recent success of long-term observational projects already finished (CALIFA) or close to finalization (CARMENES), together with the innovative tradition in available instrumentation of CAHA, point to the necessity of a new call to the international astronomical community for scientific and technological proposals that will contribute to keep the level of excellence of the observatory.

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Saturn in 2018: a stormy year


October 24th 2019

Astronomers from Bilbao (Basque Country) have coordinated the global follow-up of a series of storms, which developed in 2018 on the disk of the ‘lord of the rings’, using space- and ground-based observations, including data from Calar Alto.

With its enormous rings, Saturn is the most appealing of the giant gaseous planets. Like other planets with an atmosphere, it is a natural laboratory to study meteorological events happening in our planet and to test, under extreme conditions, models used to explain and predict them.

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The mirror of the SUNRISE mission, which will study the Sun from a stratospheric balloon, gets ready at Calar Alto


October 7th 2019

The SUNRISE mirror, with a diameter of one meter, undergoes the aluminizing process as part of the preparations for the next mission flight.

SUNRISE, a mission designed to study the Sun’s magnetic field from a stratospheric balloon, faces its third flight after its successful trips flying over the Arctic in 2009 and 2013. The instrumentation was recovered in both occasions, and now the mission team focuses on the preparation of the next phase, which will take place in 2021. In late September, the aluminizing of the SUNRISE telescope mirror took place at Calar Alto, a service offered by the observatory that permits to preserve the optimal conditions for observations.

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