The linear polarization produced by scattering processes in the spectral lines of the IR triplet of Ca II can be observed near the edge of the solar disk. The cause of this polarization was considered a true enigma until the year 2003, in which IAC researchers could carry out sophisticated calculations based on the quantum theory of the spectral line polarization. In this way, they could demonstrate that the physical origin of the enigmatic polarization is the presence of "atomic polarization" in the lower levels of such spectral lines, which produces dichroism (i.e., selective absorption of the polarization components of the radiation beam that propagates towards the observer) without the need of a magnetic field. This result is important because it provides a way to detect extremely weak magnetic fields in Astrophysics, both in the solar atmosphere and in other astrophysical plasmas (e.g., in the atmospheres of supernovae).
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We present COSMIC BIRTH (COSMological Initial Conditions from Bayesian Inference Reconstructions with THeoretical models): an algorithm to reconstruct the primordial and evolved cosmic density fields from galaxy surveys on the light-cone. The displacement and peculiar velocity fields are obtained from forward modelling at different redshift snapshots given some initial cosmic density field within a Gibbs-sampling scheme. This allows us to map galaxies, observed in a light-cone, to a single high redshift and hereby provide tracers and the corresponding survey completeness in Lagrangian spaceAdvertised on
Astronomers have discovered thousands of planets outside the Solar System, most of which orbit stars that will eventually evolve into red giants and then into white dwarfs. During the red giant phase, any close-orbiting planets will be engulfed by the star, but more distant planets can survive this phase and remain in orbit around the white dwarf. Some white dwarfs show evidence for rocky material floating in their atmospheres, in warm debris disks or orbiting very closely, which has been interpreted as the debris of rocky planets that were scattered inwards and tidally disrupted. RecentlyAdvertised on
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 filamentsAdvertised on