Astrophysical research


The research activity at the IAC is structured around individual astrophysical research projects. These projects are grouped into six global research lines that cover most fields of theoretical, observational or instrumental astrophysics. The individual research projects are led and managed by a Principal Investigator (PI) and can include scientists at pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, tenured and senior levels. The links and collaborations with researchers from other centers are recognized and encouraged. 

Formation and Evolution of Galaxies

Galaxies are formed progressively through a complex combination of gas accretion, star formation and merger processes with other galaxies. The aim of the Galaxy Formation & Evolution research line is to unveil the physical mechanisms responsible for the most significant transformations in these objects. The research team that makes up the research line is strongly involved in the development of forefront instrumentation (EMIR, FRIDA, GTCAO, HARMONI, OSIRIS, WEAVE) and has an important role in the scientific exploitation and  development of international projects (SDSS, EUCLID, LSST) for the study of the formation and evolution of galaxies.
The line stands out for studies on the three-dimensional structure of the Milky Way (including its system of globular clusters and satellite galaxies), the characterisation of stellar populations and dynamics of nearby galaxies, the cycle of activity of supermassive black holes at the centres of  galaxies, the conditions of the interstellar medium in the first galaxies, and the role of dark matter in their evolution. Besides, thanks to the recently created simulations group, we also aim to relate observations with theory by means of numerical models over cosmological volumes and thus obtain predictions for future observations.
  • Project Image
    Variability in Active Galactic Nuclei: Multifrecuency Studies

    Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are characterized by a strong emission coming from a very compact region (only few pcs) at the galaxy center. Blazars form a class of AGN, characterized by high luminosity in a broad frequency range, from radiofrequencies to high energies (X-rays and γ-rays), as well as extreme variability and high polarization at

    José Antonio
    Acosta Pulido
  • Galaxy proto-cluster
    Molecular Gas and Dust in Galaxies Across Cosmic Time

    Two of the most fundamental questions in astrophysics are the conversion of molecular gas into stars and how this physical process is a function of environments on all scales, ranging from planetary systems, stellar clusters, galaxies to galaxy clusters. The main goal of this internal project is to get insight into the formation and evolution of

  • Project Image
    Numerical Astrophysics: Galaxy Formation and Evolution

    How galaxies formed and evolved through cosmic time is one of the key questions of modern astronomy and astrophysics. Cosmological time- and length-scales are so large that the evolution of individual galaxies cannot be directly observed. Only through numerical simulations can one follow the emergence of cosmic structures within the current

    Dalla Vecchia
  • Combined ALMA and VLT/MUSE data of the Seyfert galaxy NGC 5643.
    Nuclear Activity in Galaxies: a 3D Perspective from the Nucleus to the Outskirts

    This project has two lines of fundamental development. First, the scientific exploitation of GTC infrared and optical observations of galaxies with active nuclei (AGN) obtained with the instruments CanariCam, EMIR and MEGARA, and with ALMA in the sub-mm regime. The data is being used to study quasar winds in luminous obscured AGN (AGN feedback) as

    Cristina Diosco
    Ramos Almeida
  • Project Image
    Evolution of Galaxies

    Galaxy evolution is a crucial topic in modern extragalactic astrophysics, linking cosmology to the Local Universe. Their study requires collecting statistically significant samples of galaxies of different luminosities at different distances. It implies the ability to observe faint objects using different techniques, and at different wavelengths

    Cepa Nogue
  • Project Image
    Spiral Galaxies: Evolution and Consequences

    Our small group is well known and respected internationally for our innovative and important work on various aspects of the structure and evolution of nearby spiral galaxies. We primarily use observations at various wavelengths, exploiting synergies that allow us to answer the most pertinent questions relating to what the main properties of

    Johan Hendrik
    Knapen Koelstra