Technology news

EMIR and MEGARA, two instruments with full performance at GTC

The two spectrographs installed in the Gran Telescopio Canarias have reached their maximum level of operation and are consolidated as two of the instruments with the most requests for observation time in this scientific infrastructure that already exceeds 500 scientific publications in refereed journals and accumulates more than 10,000 citations. After their installation in June 2016 and March 2017, respectively, different observation strategies have been tested in the telescope and the data reduction algorithms have reached maturity, so they are currently working at full capacity. The EMIR infrared spectrograph is already being used to carry out a census of galaxies in the early universe, one of the scientific objectives supported by the Severo Ochoa Programme with this instrument. >> Read more

GOYA project meeting in La Laguna

The IAC headquarters in La Laguna hosted last week an international group of scientists with two main objectives. The first was to hold a meeting to prepare the first guaranteed-time observations of the GOYA (Galaxy Origins and Young Assembly) project, which will be carried out using the EMIR multi-object infrared spectrograph, installed in the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), of the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos. EMIR was built by a consortium led by the IAC and is one of the technological projects supported by the SO Programme. The second objective was to conduct a workshop to test the EMIR data reduction pipeline, in its multi-object and image modes, created at the UCM, before offering it to the scientific community. The GOYA survey takes advantage of EMIR's multi-object capability to optimize the use of the GTC. With unique observations, it will obtain data to address different key questions about the evolution of galaxies, such as the star formation history, stellar populations, and the identification and characterization of cosmic reionization sources.

HARMONI pases its design revision

The HARMONI instrument, one of the technological projects supported by the SO Programme of the IAC, has successfully completed its preliminary design review. HARMONI is one of the first light instruments for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) which is being built on the Cerro Armazones, in the Atacama Desert (Chile).  At the end of 2017, the HARMONI consortium evaluated the design of the optics, the mechanics, the software and the electronics of the instrument, as well as its operational concepts, identifying some technical problems which will need additional work. Since then, the HARMONI team has completed all the tasks identified during the Review, and the instrument has formally passed this test. Having passed this essential milestone, the instrument can now advance towards the detailed design phase, with the aim of being ready for front-line observations when the ELT sees its first light. In addition, HARMONI is in the course of designing and preparing a new and powerful system of adaptive optics after the ESO Council has recently given the green light to its development. 

HORuS: the new high-resolution spectrograph for the GTC 

GTC has a new panchromatic instrument -- a high resolution spectrograph. The High Optical Resolution Spectrograph, HORuS,  has finished the commissioning tests and will become available to the astronomical comunity in 2019.  HORuS is mainly a recycled instrument, with most of its components coming from the UES spectrograph, which was in operation on the William Herschel Telescope in the 90's. After some modifications, an upgrade in the cross-dispersion prisms, and a new detector, HORuS is now coupled with optical fibers to the largest optical and infrared telescope in the world, using a robotic aquisition arm inside OSIRIS, the first-generation GTC instrument. In Egyptial mythology Horus was the son of OSIRIS. This video shows the tests at the IAC Headquarters, and the instrument assembly and first results at the telescope.

Four years with SONG

The IAC is organizing a conference in Tenerife about the first four years of Science with the Hertzsprung SONG telescope, the first in an international network, which was inaugurated at the Teide Observatory in October 2014. The Hertzspring SONG telescope, with a primary mirror diameter of 1m, is aimed at studying the stars in our Galactic neighbourbhood, and the exoplanets which orbit them. It is part of the Stellar Observation Networks Group (SONG) which comprises the University of Aarhus (network leader), the University of Copenhagen, the National Astronomical Observatory of China (NAOC) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). For its 4th anniversary an international conference “Science with SONG, 4 more years” has been organized, which will take place from 23rd to 26th October in the Environmental Reserve Hotel Sandos San Blas, in the Tenerife municipality of Abona. At the meeting the scientific results obtained with this telescope will be presented.

ESPRESSO has its first light on the four telescopes of the VLT at the same time

When the set of telescopes which make up the VLT was designed, one of its objectives was to be able ot use the four Unit Telescopes (UT) simultaneously as a single giant telescope with an equivalent diameter of 16m. This exceptional configuration has been used for the first light of the ESPRESSO spectrograph, and instrument designed to discover and characterize planets similar to Earth, and to look for variability in the fundamental constants of physics. The IAC has collaborated in this instrument, which was one of the supported technology projects of the Severo Ochoa 2011-2015 programme. >> Read more

The members of the group which is developing the HARMONI instrument for the EELT meet in Tenerife

The members of the consortium which is developing HARMONI have met in the Las Águilas Hotel, Puerto de la Cruz, to continue with the development and construction of this instrument after presenting its preliminary design. HARMONI is the spectrograph which will observe first light through the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), 39 m in diameter, the largest project in optical and infrared astronomy from the ground, in the European Southern Observatory (ESO) which will be built on the Cerro Armazones in the Chilean Andes. >> Read more

Participantes en 100xCiencia.2

“Without transfer there is no innovation and without innovation there is no future”

This morning Alicante has started the 100xCiencia.2 meeting, which today and tomorrow brings together the vanguard of Spanish research: the Severo Ochoa and María de Maeztu centers of excellence.The meeting was opened by Carmen Vela, Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, and she highlighted the importance of approaching science and business. >> Read more

The European Solar Telescope will see the light in 2027

The Academia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome today hosted the first presentation of the European Solar Telescope (EST) in the framework of the preparatory phase for its construction, which is scheduled to begin in 2021. This infrastructure, which will be located in the Canary Islands, will be the largest European telescope dedicated to the observation of the Sun and its construction is expected to begin in 2021 to be operative in 2027. The project, which is included in the roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) since 2016, is coordinated by the IAC and includes 21 scientific and industrial institutions from 15 different European countries. >> Read more

 XIII Meeting of the QUIJOTE Consortium

The XIII Meeting of the QUIJOTE Consortium was held on 12 and 13 June at the Institute of Physics of Cantabria (IFCA) in Santander, where the scientific review associated with the completion of the CONSOLIDER project "Exploring the Physics of Inflation" (EPI) has been carried out. This project has financed the construction of the Second QUIJOTE Telescope, part of the second TGI instrument (30GHz) and the third FGI instrument (40 GHz).

The EMIR spectrograph is now installed on the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS

On Thursday June 2nd the EMIR spectrograph was successfully linked to the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC). After several days of trials following its arrival at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, on Wednesday it was moved to the base of the telescope and on Thursday morning it was maneuvered by crane up to the level of the side platforms of the GTC, and attached to the rotator where it will be in place to receive the light from the telescope. >> Read more

AOLI sees its first light

On May 22, the first tests of AOLI (Adaptive Optics Lucky Imager) were carried out in the 4.2 meter William Herschel Telescope (ING), located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma. AOLI is a system that compensates for the deformations caused by the Earth's atmosphere on light, obtaining clearer images and making it possible to distinguish astronomical objects very little separated from each other. Its versatile optical design, its adaptive optics system, analysis and control software and the use of the lucky imaging technique make AOLI a unique instrument in the world.

First successful tests of new planet hunter “CARMENES”

After five years of preparation, the highly complex instrument CARMENES was for the first time used in November at the 3.5m telescope of the Observatorio de Calar Alto, near Almería in southern Spain, which is operated jointly by the Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). Scientists and engineers of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) have participated in the design and construction of the new “planet hunter”. The Severo Ochoa program at the IAC has supported the manufacture of its optomechanical mounts.

Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. C/ Via Láctea s/n 38200, La Laguna. Canary Islands. Spain.
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