Research news

Astronomers find a galaxy unchanged since the early universe

There is a calculation suggesting that only one in a thousand massive galaxies is a relic of the early universe, conserving intact the properties it had when it was formed thousands of millions of years ago. For that reason when the researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL), Michael Beasley  (advanced SO fellow) and Ignacio Trujillo located this rarity they wrote a proposal for time on the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the globular clusters surrounding it, and so confirm what had been suggested by the observations they had made with ground-based telescopes. The results of the research published today in Nature showed that the galaxy NGC 1277 has only red globular cluster which formed along with it, while practically lacks blue clusters that are a consequence of having absorbed other smaller galaxies, which confirms that this galaxy has remained unchanged since its formation. >> Read more


The first images associated with a source of gravitational waves

The IAC has participated in the detection of the visible, infrared and X-rays counterparts of the source of gravitational waves GW170817. This source, which corresponds to a collision of two neutron stars, is the first for which an electromagnetic counterpart has been detected. The results have been published today in the journals Nature and Astrophysical Journal and involve more than a thousand scientists, including the IAC Severo Ochoa postdoctoral researcher Josefa Becerra, the Scientific Director of the Severo Ochoa Program at IAC, Rafael Rebolo, and the IAC researcher Miquel Serra-Ricart. >> Read more

First scientific results with CARMENES

CARMENES, a visible and infrared spectrograph developed by a consortium of eleven German and Spanish institutions and involving up to eight researchers and engineers from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), was designed to search for terrestrial-type planets in the habitability zone, the region around a star where the conditions allow the existence of liquid water. This instrument, installed in the 3.5-meters telescope of the Observatory of Calar Alto (Almeria), has studied a sample of 300 stars searching for planets similar to the Earth. The study, published today in Astronomy & Astrophysics, analyzes seven known planetary systems and test the excellent performance of this spectrograph. >> Read more

Discovery of a super-Earth near to the habitable zone of a cool star

An international team led by researchers from the IAC, including the IAC Director Rafael Rebolo, using the radial velocity method, have discovered a possibly rocky planet at the edge of the habitable zone of a red dwarf star. Only a few dozen planets of this kind are known and its detection was made possible with the HARPS-N spectrograph on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma. >> Read more

The IAC researcher Javier Trujillo Bueno has managed to win an ERC Advanced Grant

The scientific research carried out at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) have again achieved the recognition of the European Research Council (ERC).This organization has just made an ERC Advanced Grant, in a programme to fund the development of excellent and highly innovative projects, to the CSIC Research Professor at the IAC Javier Trujillo Bueno, who is also part of the Coordination Committee of the SO programme at the IAC. The project, titled "Polarized Radiation Diagnostics for Exploring the Magnetism of the Outer Solar Atmosphere" (POLMAG), is aimed at the development of new methods for investigating the magnetism in the outer layers of the solar atmosphere (chromosphere and corona) based on the measurement and the theoretical interpretation of the polarization of the radiation in the solar spectrum. >> Read more

New data about two distant asteroids give a clue to the possible “Planet Nine”

A team of researchers, led by the Severo Ochoa advance postdoctoral fellow of the IAC Julia de León and in collaboration with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, has taken a step further to physically characterize two distant asteroids (trans Neptunian objects) and to confirm or refute the "Planet Nine" hypothesis. The study, which includes the first spectroscopic observations of 2004 VN112 and 2013 RF98 with the GTC, proposes that this pair of objects was a binary asteroid that shut down after approaching a planet beyond Pluto. The study has recently been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. >> Read more

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