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.

  • 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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  • European Solar Telescope (EST). Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC)

    The International Scientific Committee (CCI for its initials in Spanish) of the Canary Observatories has given the go-ahead for the siting of the installation of the European Solar Telescope (EST) at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma). The decision, taken at the first of the biannual meetings of the Committee, held virtually, implies the construction of the largest European infrastructure dedicated to solar observations, and the strengthening of the position of the Canaries as the place with the largest concentration of solar telescopes in the world.

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  • Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) on February 27th 2020

    A recent study analyses data collected at 44 of the darkest places in the world, including the Canary Island Observatories, to develop the first complete reference method to measure the natural brightness of the night sky using low-cost photometers. Of the 44 photometers in the survey, the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma, Canary Islands) stands out at the darkest of all the skies analysed. The night sky is not completely dark; even in the remotest places there is a glow in the sky produced by natural components, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial, and by artificial

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