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.

  • The image shows the process of nuclear feeding of a black hole in the galaxy NGC 1566, and how the dust filaments, which surround the active nucleus, are trapped and rotate in a spiral around the black hole until it swallows them. Credit: European Southern Observatory (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, and can send out enormous quantities of energy from the capture process, although it is not easy to detect the black hole during these capture episodes, which are not frequent.

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  • Cosmological simulation of the gas density around a massive galaxy. The activity from the black hole carves bubbles in the surrounding of galaxies, which in turns modulates the evolution of neighboring galaxies.

    Every massive galaxy hosts a black hole in its center. Both the size and the mass of these black holes is negligible compared to the host galaxy, millions of times bigger and more massive. Yet, and despite their apparent irrelevance, black holes play a fundamental role in the Universe: without them we don’t understand how galaxies form. Thus, understanding the co-evolution of galaxies and black holes is a central question in modern astrophysics. By analyzing the properties of hundreds of thousands of galaxies we have been able to show that a black hole can affect, not only its own galaxy

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  • Fornax dwarf spheroidal galaxy. Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2.

    An international team of astrophysicists from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), the University of La Laguna (ULL) and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI, USA) has discovered the presence of transverse rotation (in the plane of the sky) in three dwarf spheroidal galaxies, a very faint type of galaxies and difficult to observe, which are orbiting round the Milky Way; this helps to trace their evolutionary history. The finding was made using the most recent data from the GAIA satellite of the European Space Agency. The results of the study have just been published in the

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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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  • Sombrero galaxy (M104). Credit: Manuel Jiménez/Giuseppe Donatiello.

    According to the latest cosmological models, large spiral galaxies such as the Milky Way grew by absorbing smaller galaxies, by a sort of galactic cannibalism. Evidence for this is given by very large structures, the tidal stellar streams, which are observed around them, which are the remains of these satellite galaxies. But the full histories of the majority of these cases are hard to study, because these flows of stars are very faint, and only the remains of the most recent mergers have been detected.

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  • Fotômetro Pico dos Homes

    There are now 10 sensors monitoring the night-time darkness of the island of Corvo to determine the impact of artificial lighting on the sea birds. The installation of the photometers took place this week, thanks to municipal collaboration and that of SPEA Azores, one of the five centers in Macaronesia which are working in the project Interreg EELabs, coordinated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. During the coming years the light pollution laboratory of the EELabs project on Corvo will measure the propagation of the artificial night-time lighting within the natural ecosystems of

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