Best 2017 PhD in Astronomy uses CALIFA data


June 28th 2018

Laura Sánchez-Menguiano was awarded the best 2017 PhD thesis in Astronomy by the Spanish Astronomical Society. Laura’s thesis uses CALIFA data, taken with the PMAS Integral Field Spectrograph at the 3.5-m Calar Alto telescope, to scrutinize the spiral structure in disk galaxies.

Most galaxies in the local Universe display beautiful spiral arms, concentrations of bright stars in a rotating disk, like a whirl around a bulge made of older stars. Although omnipresent, the formation and persistence of this twisting spiral structure is still not well understood, despite the arms should play a major role in the chemical and dynamical evolution of disk galaxies.

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Call for letters of intent for the construction of the next generation instrument for CAHA 3.5m telescope


 May 11th 2018

Calar Alto is looking for competitive science cases and associated instrumentation concepts for its flagship telescope, the CAHA 3.5m. It is expected that the current observatory mode of operation will remain in the future, with most of the time devoted to high impact science cases requiring large allocations of time.

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Recovering of comet Catalina with the Schmidt telescope


April 27th 2018

In the framework of the Space Situational Awareness program, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), astronomers observing remotely with the Calar Alto Schmidt telescope managed to recover comet P/2011 CR42 Catalina.

Solar System objects like asteroids and comets appear like moving targets in the stellar fields observed with telescopes. Observations spread over various nights allow us to compute accurately their orbits. Comets, in particular, can present elongated (elliptic), periodic orbits, like the famous comet Halley, passing close to the Earth every 76 years or so, and visible to the naked eye (the last time in 1986, but it was probably observed since prehistoric times).

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Discovery of an exoplanet which helps us to understand the formation of Mercury

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Almería, April 6th, 2018

The planet K2-229b has a similar composition to Mercury, because the vicinity to its sun blows its mantle, forming an atmosphere of evaporated silicates. This finding is partly based on data obtained from Calar Alto.

An international team has found a planetary system around a star (named K2-229) similar to our Sun, which helps us to understand the formation and properties of the planet Mercury. The planet K2-229b, lying in this system, has a composition very similar to that of Mercury. The finding, published in Nature Astronomy, is the result of an international cooperation led by Alexandre Santerne, from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France).

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