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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  • Artist's impression of the small fraction of young blue stars in an elliptical galaxy where its bulk of stars is old and red. Created with an image of NASA, ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), with vectorpocket resource (Freepik). Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).
    Young stars found in the oldest and most massive galaxies in the Universe

    Elliptical and lenticular galaxies (collectively called early-type galaxies) are the oldest and most massive galaxies in the Universe. These galaxies were built up rapidly (in less than thousand million years) and therefore, their stars are generally ancient and cool, meaning that they mainly shine in the optical and infrared spectral ranges. However, any hot young stars that might be present are difficult to detect in these spectral ranges. The study, based on 30,000 early-type galaxy spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey BOSS has analysed the UV spectral range to detect the young

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  • A pulsating white dwarf in an eclipsing binary
    Scientists discover the first pulsating white dwarf in an eclipsing binary system

    An international research, led by scientists from the University of Sheffield and with the participation of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, has discovered, using the HiPERCAM instrument of the Gran Telescopio Canarias at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma), an ancient pulsating star in a double star system. The discovery, which is published in the journal Nature Astronomy, provides important information about how stars like our Sun evolve and eventually die.

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  • A Milky Way-like spiral galaxy, a dwarf and a faint ultra-diffuse galaxy shown to the same physical scale using images of similar depth.  On average, the diffuse galaxy is 10 times smaller than the Milky Way analogue. Credit: Adapted from Chamba, Trujillo & Knapen (2020).
    Are ultra-diffuse galaxies Milky Way-sized?

    Now almost 70 years since its introduction, the effective or half-light radius has become a very popular choice for characterising galaxy size. However, the effective radius measures the concentration of light within galaxies and thus does not capture our intuitive definition of size which is related to the edge or boundary of objects. For this reason, we aim to demonstrate the undesirable consequence of using the effective radius to draw conclusions about the nature of faint ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs) when compared to dwarfs and Milky Way-like galaxies. Instead of the effective radius

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  • Comparative Milky Way and ultra-diffuse galaxy
    A step forward to solve the mystery of ultra-diffuse galaxies

    A study by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), led by researchers Nushkia Chamba, Ignacio Trujillo and Johan H. Knapen, reveals that the enigmatic ultra-diffuse galaxies, very low-luminosity and low-density star galaxies, are similar in size to dwarf galaxies. The results, which are published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, provide new clues about the number and type of galaxies in our Universe and about the nature of dark matter.

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  • Composición espectro LFC
    Sucessful test of new technology which should help to discover “other Earths”

    A scientific team, led by the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, with participation from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, confirms the high degree of precision of the new calibration system known as a “laser frequency comb” which could be the key to the detection of planets like the Earth. The study is published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

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  • 1D-LTE oxygen-to-iron abundance ratios [O/Fe] vs. metallicity [Fe/H] of the iron-poor star J0815+4729 (large star symbol) compared with literature measurements from the [O I] forbidden line (diamonds), the near-IR O I triplet (circles), and the near-UV OH lines (squares). The two triangles at [Fe/H] ∼ −3.6 correspond to the oxygen measurement from OH lines in the metal-poor binary stars CS 22876–032 AB (González Hernández et al. 2008).
    The extreme CNO-enhanced composition of a primitive iron-poor dwarf star

    We present an analysis of high-resolution Keck/HIRES spectroscopic observations of J0815+4729, an extremely carbon-enhanced, iron-poor dwarf star. These high-quality data allow us to derive a metallicity of [Fe/H] = −5.49 ± 0.14 from the three strongest Fe I lines and to measure a high [Ca/Fe] = 0.75 ± 0.14. The large carbon abundance of A(C) = 7.43 ± 0.17 (or [C/Fe] ∼ 4.49 ± 0.11) places this star in the upper boundary of the low- carbon band in the A(C)–[Fe/H] diagram, suggesting no contamination from a binary AGB companion. We detect the oxygen triplet at 777 nm for the first time in an

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