News

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.

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  • Optical image of the Perseus molecular cloud, a widely-known region of intense stellar formation. The interstellar dust, which generates the AME, is clearly visible, as it reflects light from nearby stars. Image credit: APOD 2017 January 14, Lóránd Fényes.
    Cosmic amorphous dust in the interstellar medium as a possible explanation for the Anomalous Microwave Emission

    The main emission mechanisms of the interstellar medium (ISM) in the spectral range between the radio and the far infrared are very well characterised and understood, both observationally and theoretically, for decades. However, in the late 90s a new mechanism was discovered in the microwaves, that has been coined “anomalous microwave emission” (AME). A basic feature of this emission is its tight spatial correlation with the thermal emission from ISM dust grains. This means that the AME observed intensity is stronger in regions with a higher abundance of ISM grains. This led to the proposal

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  • dark sky
    World experts prepare the first report for the United Nations on regulation of light pollution and mitigating the impact of satellite constellations

    After a week of intense work, with the participation of almost a thousand researchers from all over the world, the online workshop “Dark and quiet skies for science and society” has finished. For five days work has proceded on the preparation of a document which can offer governments, city councils, and companies the legal and technical basis for avoiding the possible negative impact of the newest technology on the observation of the night sky, and on biodiversity.

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  • false-color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image of Bennu
    Nailing Bennu's colors to the mast: new findings on the origin of this primitive body

    Science magazine, in a special collection on asteroid Bennu, has published the results of the analysis of photometric-spectrum color variations on the surface of this extremely interesting asteroid, captured by the NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Thanks to these results, researchers proposed a model to explain the effects of “space weather” on materials similar to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. They concluded that some of the heterogeneity observed on the surface of Bennu is due to space weathering and some is inherited from Bennu’s parent asteroid. Juan Luis Rizos, Eri Tatsumi, Javier

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  • Artistic representation of the Sun, the Earth and the Moon (not to scale) with the space-time curvature of Einstein's General Relativity over the spectrum of sunlight reflected from the Moon (in colors from blue to red). The spectrum is taken with the HARPS instrument and calibrated with the LFC. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).
    New measurements of the solar spectrum verify Einstein’s theory of General Relativity

    An international team of researchers led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has measured, with unprecedented accuracy, the gravitational redshift of the Sun, a change in frequency of the lines in the solar spectrum which is produced when the light escapes from the gravitational field of the Sun on its way to Earth. This work, which verifies one of the predictions of Einstein’s General Relativity, is to be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

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  • GTC (panel a) and Spitzer (panel b) transit observation of the planet candidate WD 1856b.  The lack of difference in the transit depth in the optical and infrared helps to put constraints in the mass of the transiting object.
    A giant planet candidate transiting a white dwarf

    Astronomers have discovered thousands of planets outside the Solar System, most of which orbit stars that will eventually evolve into red giants and then into white dwarfs. During the red giant phase, any close-orbiting planets will be engulfed by the star, but more distant planets can survive this phase and remain in orbit around the white dwarf. Some white dwarfs show evidence for rocky material floating in their atmospheres, in warm debris disks or orbiting very closely, which has been interpreted as the debris of rocky planets that were scattered inwards and tidally disrupted. Recently

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  • Milky way on the Gran Telescopio Canarias
    In defence of Optical Astronomy

    “Astronomical observations have to be protected against light pollution. Only in this way will we be able to see the Universe at at the very beginning”. This was the start of the talk by Casiana Muñoz-Tuñón, Deputy Director of the IAC and one of the organizers of the workshop “Dark and quiet skies for science and society” which is being celebrated on line from October 5th to 9th. Muñoz-Tuñón reminded us that the further back in time we want to reach, the further away we need to look. “For that reason the light which reaches us is very faint. We need dark skies to be able to detect and study

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