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.

  • Photometer SG-WAS. Credit: Miguel Rodríguez Alarcón (IAC).

    Completely autonomous, not invasive, and low cost. This is the new SG-WAS (SkyGlow Wireless Autonomous Sensor) which will help to measure the impact of artificial night lighting on the natural protected areas of Macaronesia.

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  • Casiana Muñoz Tuñón, deputy director of the IAC

    Between 3rd and 8th October the Conference “Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society” will be held in La Palma. It will convene a small group of specialists from throughout the world to suggest solutions to the problems facing Astronomy and citizens in general due to the increase of artificial lighting, the increase in radio signals produced by technological development, and the impact of the recent satellite constellations. Question: What is the objective of this Conference? Reply: In October 2020 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) together with the United Nations’ Office for

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  • The  image shows the process of nuclear feeding of a black hole in the galaxy NGC 1566, and how the dust filaments - seen in white-blue colors- are trapped and rotating  in a spiral around the black hole  until the black hole  swallows them. Credit: ESO.

    The black holes at the centres of galaxies are the most mysterious objects in the Universe, not only because of the huge quantities of material within them, millions of times the mass of the Sun, but because of the incredibly dense concentration of matter in a volume no bigger than that of our Solar System. When they capture matter from their surroundings they become active, eventually giving rise to the ejection of huge amounts of energy. It is however difficult to detect the black hole during these capture episodes because the event is rare. We detected long and narrow dust filaments

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  • View of HH204, a Herbig-Haro object in the Orion Nebula. The left panel shows the Orion Nebula observed with the Hubble Space Telescope, picking out the area around HH204. In the right panel, we can see in detail the structure of HH204 and of its apparent companion, HH203. In this panel, the images by the Hubble Space Telescope taken during 20 years and artificially highlighted with different colours show the advance of the jets of gas through the Orion Nebula. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).

    An international team led by researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has uncovered, with an new high degree of detail, the physical and chemical effects of the impact of a protostellar jet in the interior of the Orion Nebula. The study was made using observations with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and 20 years of images with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The observations show evidence of compression and heating produced by the shock front, and the destruction of dust grains, which cause a dramatic increase in the gas phase abundance of the atoms of iron, nickel

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  • Logo IAC

    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has received and will appeal the sentence, which is not firm, related to the cancelling of the concession for the land which should house the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) in La Palma. In 2019 the Cabildo of La Palma, following approval by a full session of the Town Council of Puntagorda, and a detailed environmental study, conceded to the IAC the land on which the TMT could be built. This concession was made conditional on the decision within a few years, which have not yet expired, that the International TMT Observatory would decide to build it

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  • Image of the solar atmosphere showing a coronal mass ejection. Credit: NASA/SDO

    In 1998, the journal Nature published a seminal letter concluding that the mysterious polarization signal that had been recently discovered in the light emitted by the sodium atoms of the solar atmosphere implies that the solar chromosphere (a very important layer of the solar atmosphere) is practically unmagnetized, in sharp contradiction with common wisdom. This paradox motivated laboratory experiments and theoretical investigations, which instead of providing a solution, raised new issues and even led some scientists to question the quantum theory of radiation-matter interaction. In an

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