Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad Gobierno de Canarias Universidad de La Laguna CSIC Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa

Press and Multimedia

First showing of the "GALAXIAS" video

Feb. 15, 2016

This is the third audiovisual production by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias with funding from the Severo Ochoa programme

"Galaxies" is the third chapter of an audiovisual series produced by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in which its principal lines of research are explained. In this video, researchers and engineers tell us about the key points in the study of the formation and evolution of galaxies, which are one of the main constituents of the universe.

Galaxies are structures made up of several thousands of millions of stars, together with interstellar gas and dust, bound together by gravity. But this type of matter which we can observe is not the only constituent of galaxies. There is more matter which we cannot detect directly but which contributes a significant fraction of the gravitational force which governs the rotation of spiral galaxies. This invisible matter is known as “dark matter” and is the major component of the masses of galaxies. However the nature of this component has not been demonstrated, at least until now, and it may be treated as a theoretical tool to explain the observations and to support the dominant cosmological model.

The study of galaxies is fundamental not only for us to understand the unknown constituents of the universe, but also to give us clues to many other questions. Among these, the galaxies can help us to understand the large scale structure of the universe, known as the cosmic web, a network of interconnected filaments, in which the main fraction of the galaxies is distributed. In addition, the galaxies have evolved throughout the lifetime of the universe, so they can be used as “time machines” whose observation allows us to reconstruct cosmic history, virtually since its origin.

The IAC is an important research centre in this field. It participates in many of the international projects dedicated to the study of galaxies, and to the development of specific instrumentation for both ground-based and space-based galaxy observations, covering practically the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum. EMIR, MIRADAS, FRIDA, WEAVE, and HARMONI, are among the projects for future instruments for the study of galaxies in which the IAC plays a leading role. The Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) is one of the outstanding tools available at its Roque de los Muchachos Observatory enabling it to maintain a lead in this field of research. The IAC also collaborates in the main observing campaigns designed to produce surveys at an international level, and to make optimum scientific use of their results. It also has at its disposal the European supercomputing network in order to carry out simulations and numerical modelling.

The researchers Carme Gallart Gallart, Casiana Muñoz Tuñón, Ismael Pérez Fournon, Ignacio Trujillo Cabrera, Cristina Ramos Almeida, José Miguel Rodríguez Espinosa, Jorge Sánchez Almeida, John E. Beckman, Claudio Dalla Vecchia, Inmaculada Martínez Valpuesta, Begoña García Lorenzo and the engineer Mary Barreto Cabrera participate in the video. The technical team which contributed to its production is formed by Iván Jiménez Montalvo (script, editing and direction), Inés Bonet Márquez (camera and postproduction), Daniel López (camera dolly and timelapses) and Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio (production and scientific advisor).

The IAC in five videos

The production of these videos has been coordinated by the Unit of Communication and Scientific Culture (UC3) of the IAC, and has been funded by the Severo Ochoa Programme which is an initiative of the Secretariat of State for Research, Development and Innovation of the Ministry of Economics and Competitivity, whose purpose is to promote research of excellence in Spain in all scientific fields. The videos produced fall within the framework of the specific objectives of the programme aimed at popularizing the results of scientific research among the general public, and encouraging scientific vocation.

The videos explain, in the form of simple summaries, the scientific and technological aspects of each field of study, and pick out that benefits which scientific research can provide to society, as a tool for transfer science and technology, for the creation of a specialized fabric, both human and industrial, and as an inspiration which satisfies our innate curiosity to know and understand.

Each video is a mosaic of voices in which the team of researchers and engineers involved in each of the fields of study act as narrators blending their voices into a single easy to follow narrative. They not only give information but give their opinions and even speculate about the big questions which exist about our universe. In each videos the locations are especially important, because the narrators are situated in places which illustrate their daily working environment, and which form part of the infrastructures and services which make the IAC a prestigious centre of excellence.  

Other videos in the series "IAC Investigates":