Activity Phenomena in Galaxies: a 3D Perspective from the Nucleus to the Outskirts


This project has two lines of fundamental development. First, the application of 3D techniques, in particular of integral field spectroscopy, to the study of extended objects (nuclear activity in galaxies, star formation regions, etc), as well as the participation in the development of new instruments and data analysis procedures related to 3D techniques. In particular, we participate in the development of HARMONI, the first-light high-spatial resolution integral field spectrograph for the ESO Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). Second, the scientific exploitation of the GTC observations of galaxies with active nuclei (AGN) obtained with the infrared instruments CanariCam and EMIR and with ALMA in the sub-mm regime. The data is being used to characterize the dusty torus that obscures local AGN and to study quasar winds in luminous obscured AGN (AGN feedback). Moreover, this project is devoted to get observing time with the JWST as part of the GATOS consortium (Galactic Activity, Torus and Outflow Survey), as well as to exploit on-going ALMA observations of nearby AGN.

Principal investigator
Project staff
  1. Publication of a letter in A&A in which we find kpc-scale dynamical differences between almost identical pairs of active and non-active disc galaxies in terms of structural properties (del Moral Castro, García-Lorenzo, Ramos Almeida et al. 2020).

  2. The VASCO project, led by Beatriz Villarroel (Nordita & IAC), received a scholarship for "A citizen science effort to scan for vanishing and appearing sources in historical sky surveys" that is done in collaboration with different institutes, including the Spanish Virtual Observatory, University of Constantine (Algeria), Center for Basic Space Science (Nigeria) and Uppsala University."
  3. Publication of the first work entirely based on data from the infrared spectrograph EMIR on the GTC (Ramos Almeida, Acosta-Pulido, Tadhunter, et al. 2019). Using the infrared spectrum of the nearby obscured quasar J1509+0434 we characterize its ionized and warm molecular outflows.

  4. Ana Monreal-Ibero participed in the identification of the first system of three nuclear black holes with separations of a few hundred parsecs (Kollatschny et al. 2020).

  5. Cristina Ramos Almeida participated in a detailed study of the cold molecular gas in the torus of NGC 1068 using ALMA data (García-Burillo, Combes, Ramos Almeida, et al. 2019). 
  6. The European Network H2020-ITN-2019 "Big Data Applications for Black Hole Evolution Studies" (BID4BEST) started on March, 1st 2020. The new PhD student Giovanna Speranza will be starting her contract at the IAC in September 2020.

  7. Begoña García Lorenzo and Cristina Ramos Almeida enjoyed one-month stays during the Summer of 2019 at the Department of Physics of the University of Oxford and at the Institute of Astronomy of the University of Cambridge respectively. Both stays were funded by the Severo Ochoa mobility program.

Publications related

  • Clear evidence for the early triggering of a luminous quasar-like active galactic nuclei in a major, gas-rich merger

    We present deep, intermediate resolution, long-slit Gemini GMOS-S optical spectra of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) type II quasar J002531-104022, which is a highly disturbed system currently undergoing a major merger event. We use these data to model the ages and reddenings of the stellar populations in three distinct spatial regions and find

    Villar Martín, M. et al.

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  • Kinematic alignment of non-interacting CALIFA galaxies. Quantifying the impact of bars on stellar and ionised gas velocity field orientations

    We present 80 stellar and ionised gas velocity maps from the Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area (CALIFA) survey in order to characterise the kinematic orientation of non-interacting galaxies. The study of galaxies in isolation is a key step towards understanding how fast-external processes, such as major mergers, affect kinematic properties in

    Barrera-Ballesteros, J. K. et al.

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  • The dust masses of powerful radio galaxies: clues to the triggering of their activity

    We use deep Herschel Space Observatory observations of a 90 per cent complete sample of 32 intermediate-redshift 2Jy radio galaxies (0.05

    Tadhunter, C. et al.

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