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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  • Frame of the video Traveling on a Comet. Credit: Virtualisrealitates
    Activities for Asteroid Day

    To celebrate Asteroid Day, which commemorates the impact of the Tunguska Fireball in 1908, several researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) will participate in on-line chats to talk about the nature of these lesser bodies of the Solar System, and about the risk of impact on the Earth.

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  • Relative stability measurement of two laser frequency combs (LFCs). LFC1 (18 GHz mode spacing) is in channel A and LFC2 (25 GHz mode spacing) in channel B. a, Series of 100 spectrograph calibrations with one exposure every 61 s, 102 min in total. b, Results obtained with binned exposures of increasing size. The filled circles represent the standard deviation in A-B. The error bars quantify the uncertainty of the standard deviation estimated from the size of the statistical sample.
    A crucial test for astronomical spectrograph calibration with frequency combs

    Laser frequency combs (LFCs) are well on their way to becoming the next-generation calibration sources for precision astronomical spectroscopy. This development is considered key in the hunt for low-mass rocky exoplanets around solar-type stars whose discovery with the radial-velocity method requires cm/s Doppler precision. In order to prove such precise calibration with an LFC, it must be compared to another calibrator of at least the same precision. Being the best available spectrograph calibrator, this means comparing it to a second - fully independent - LFC. Here, we report on a test in

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  • LST-1 en el Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (Garafía, La Palma)
    The LST-1 telescope on La Palma detects the Crab Pulsar at very high-energy

    The first prototype of the Large-Size Telescope (LST) of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the LST-1, located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma), has detected an emission of very high-energy gamma rays from the Crab Pulsar, a neutron star at the centre of the nebula of the same name. This observation confirms the successful operation of this telescope, which is being commissioned.

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  • Estrella con manchas magnéticas gigantes
    Hot stars are plagued by giant magnetic spots

    An international team of astronomers, in which the researcher from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and the Universidad de La Laguna David Jones participates, has discovered giant spots on the surface of extremely hot stars hidden in stellar clusters. Not only are these stars plagued by magnetic spots, some also experience superflare events, explosions of energy several million times more energetic than similar eruptions on the Sun. The findings, published in Nature Astronomy, help astronomers better understand these puzzling stars and open doors to resolving other elusive mysteries

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  • Artistic representation of the planet Proxima b orbiting its star, Proxima Centauri. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).
    ESPRESSO confirms the nearest exo-Earth with unprecedented precision

    An international team, in which researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias participated, as well as institutions in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has confirmed the presence of the extrasolar planet Proxima b using measurements of radial velocity with the ESPRESSO spectrograph, on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.

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  • GTC spectrum corresponding to the period when the P-Cyg profiles indicate the highest wind velocity. The insets show a zoom-in of the characteristic P-Cyg blueshifted absorption, indicating a wind velocity above 2000 km/s (Hα; red, dotted-dashed line).
    The changing-look optical wind of the flaring X-ray transient Swift J1858.6-0814

    The large amount of mass and angular momentum carried by disc winds makes them key processes to understand accretion onto compact objects, such as black holes and neutron stars. Here we present the discovery of an optical accretion disc wind in the X-ray transient Swift J1858.6-0814, a new binary system discovered in late 2018. Our 90-spectrum data set, taken with the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), reveals the presence of conspicuous P-Cyg profiles in optical lines of helium and hydrogen. The evolution of these features indicates significant variations in the wind velocity, between a

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