Space- and ground-based observations reveal a planetary trio around a nearby star


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).

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25th anniversary of SL9 comet impact on Jupiter

Portada EN

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.

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Massive stars prefer high-order multiplicity over binarity


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.

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CARMENES finds two temperate terrestrial planets around Teegarden´s star, a small nearby 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.

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