This section includes scientific and technological news from the IAC and its Observatories, as well as press releases on scientific and technological results, astronomical events, educational projects, outreach activities and institutional events.

  • Diana Morant en el CALP

    Spanish Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, visited last Wednesday the Centre for Astrophysics’ facilities in La Palma (CALP) to know the impact of the volcanic eruption on the personnel and on the operation of the facilities at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma). During her visit, she held a meeting with IAC Director Rafael Rebolo, which was also attended by the Director of the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), Romano Corradi, and the ORM Site Manager, Juan Carlos Pérez Arencibia. Accompanying the Minister were the General Secretary of Research, Raquel

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  • Image of the galaxy cluster Abell 370, one of the regions of the sky observed in the SHARDS Frontier Fields project. This is the deepest image ever taken to detect galaxies with emission lines, which are actively forming stars. The centre of the cluster is in the upper right of the image. In the same area, you can see gravitationally amplified galaxies, some of them showing highly deformed and lengthened morphologies, known as arcs. Credit: GRANTECAN

    One of the most interesting questions for astrophysicists for the past few decades is how and when did the first galaxies form. One of the possible answers to “how” is that star formation in the first galaxies took place at a steady rate, building up a system with increasing mass. Another possibility is that the formation was more violent and discontinuous, with intense bursts of star formation, on short timescales, triggered by events such as galaxy mergers and strong concentrations of gas.

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  • Illustration of the formation of a planet round a star similar to the Sun, with rocks and iron molecules, the basic components of planets, in the foreground. Credit: Tania Cunha (Planetário do Porto - Centro Ciência Viva & Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço).

    Newly formed stars have protoplanetary discs around them. A fraction of the material in the disc condenses into planet-forming chunks, and the rest finally falls into the star. Because of their common origin, researchers have assumed that the composition of these chunks and that of the rocky planets with low masses should be similar to that of their host stars. However, until now the Solar System was the only available reference for the astronomers.

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  • WEAVE's fibre positioner after being unpacked at the William Herschel Telescope (WHT). Credit: Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING), La Palma.

    All the main components of the new multiobject spectrograph WEAVE on the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) in the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma) have arrived on the island. The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has played an outstanding role in the design and production of the parts of this instrument, the work of an international collaboration, which will start its commissioning after immediate integration on the telescope.

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  • An example of a nearby spiral galaxy, M81, where the bulge is easily identified as the central redder part, and the disc, dotted with zones where stars are currently forming and appear as blue regions forming spiral arms. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA.

    An international team of scientists led from the Centre for Astrobiology (CAB, CSIC-INTA), with participation from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), has used the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) to study a representative sample of galaxies, both disc and spheroidal, in a deep sky zone in the constellation of the Great Bear to characterize the properties of the stellar populations of galactic bulges. The researchers have been able to determine the mode of formation and development of these galactic structures. The results of this study were recently published in The Astrophysical

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  • View of the cluster if the contamination of stars and dust that hides it could be removed. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).

    An international team of astrophysicists led by the Stellar Astrophysics Group of the University of Alicante (UA), the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), and the University of Valparaíso (Chile) has discovered a massive cluster of stars of intermediate age in the direction of the Scutum constellation. This object, which has been named Valparaíso 1, lies some seven thousand light years away from the Sun, and contains at least fifteen thousand stars. To detect it, observations have been combined from ESA’s Gaia satellite, and various ground-based telescopes, including the Isaac Newton

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