Severo Ochoa Programme

Research News

  • Background is a Hubble Space Telescope image of the relic galaxy, NGC 1277 (Credits: NASA, ESA, M. Beasley, and P. Kehusmaa).  Bottom shows the H-band spectrum of the relic galaxy, NGC 1277, obtained with the EMIR spectrograph (middle) at Gran Telescopio Canarias (left) (Credits: pictures of GTC and EMIR are from GTC website).

    Puzzling properties of massive early-type galaxies (ETGs) emerge when studying their spectra at near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths. Massive ETGs show strong CO absorption features in their H and K band spectra that cannot be explained by state-of-the-art stellar population models. For many years, the disagreement has been attributed to the presence of intermediate-age (0.1-2 Gyr) stellar populations in these galaxies, as the NIR light of intermediate-age stellar populations is dominated by cool stars (e.g. asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars) that show strong CO absorptions in their spectrum

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  • Strange landscape of a water world

    Research led by the University of Chicago and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has shown the existence of exoplanets with water and rock around type M dwarf stars, which are the most common in the Galaxy. The results are published in the prestigious journal Science. A detailed analysis of the masses and the radii of all 43 known exoplanets around M stars, which make up 80% of the stars in the Milky Way, has led to a surprising discovery, entirely led by the researchers Rafael Luque, of the University of Chicago and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) and Enric

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  • WISE1810 - Metal-poor brown dwarf

    A study, led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), has confirmed the presence of an unusual metal-poor brown dwarf less than 30 light-years away from the Sun. Its proximity could suggest a possible overabundance of brown dwarfs formed in the early stages of the Milky Way. Several telescopes located at the observatories of Roque de Los Muchachos (La Palma) and Calar Alto (Almería) have been used in the investigation. The results are published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. On a cosmic scale, our immediate neighbourhood is composed of just a few hundred stars and brown

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  • The amplitude of metallicity variations (indicated by the height of the colored rectangles) in neutral clouds is much larger and inconsistent with that found in HII regions, B-type stars, classical Cepheids and young open clusters.

    In this work we discuss and confront recent results on metallicity variations in the local interstellar medium, obtained from observations of H II regions by our group and neutral clouds (from literature) of the Galactic thin disk, and compare them with recent high-quality metallicity determinations of other tracers of the chemical composition of the interstellar medium as B-type stars, classical Cepheids, and young clusters. We find that the metallicity variations obtained for these last kinds of objects are consistent with each other and with that obtained for H II regions but

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  • Artist's impression of a system with two super-earths

    An international scientific collaboration, in which the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) participates, has discovered two new super-Earths orbiting a bright red dwarf star only 33 light-years away. Both objects are among the closest-known rocky planets yet found outside our solar system. The results are presented today at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Pasadena (California, USA). Two new exoplanets, HD 260655 b and HD 260655 c, have been detected using NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a space telescope designed to look for planets in orbit

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  • Orion Protoplanetary Disk

    International research led by scientists at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has shown the existence of solid sulphur compounds in HH514, a jet of gas coming from the centre of the Orion Nebula. The concentration of this chemical element could be related to the process of exoplanet formation. The researchers have used three of the most important optical telescopes in the world: the Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC or Grantecan) and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The results are published in the scientific journal Monthly Notices of the Royal

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