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.

  • Artistic composition of a supermassive black hole regulating the evolution of its environment. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC) and Dylan Nelson (Illustris-TNG).

    At the heart of almost every sufficiently massive galaxy there is a black hole whose gravitational field, although very intense, affects only a small region around the centre of the galaxy. Even though these objects are thousands of millions of times smaller than their host galaxies our current view is that the Universe can be understood only if the evolution of galaxies is regulated by the activity of these black holes, because without them the observed properties of the galaxies cannot be explained.

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  • Image of the placement of the four legs of the test cryostat in the AIV room of the IAC. Credit: Inés Bonet (IAC).

    The pre-optics for HARMONI, the optical and infrared spectrograph to be installed on the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) at Cerro Armazones (Chile), has passed successfully the test of the optomechanical design produced by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). The instrument will now proceed to the Final Design Phase, prior to the start of the building of the instrument for this telescope of 39 metres in diameter, the largest project in optical and infrared astronomy of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

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  • An example of a nearby spiral galaxy, M81, where the bulge is easily identified as the central redder part, and the disc, dotted with zones where stars are currently forming and appear as blue regions forming spiral arms. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA.

    An international team of scientists led from the Centre for Astrobiology (CAB, CSIC-INTA), with participation from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), has used the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) to study a representative sample of galaxies, both disc and spheroidal, in a deep sky zone in the constellation of the Great Bear to characterize the properties of the stellar populations of galactic bulges. The researchers have been able to determine the mode of formation and development of these galactic structures. The results of this study were recently published in The Astrophysical

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  • View of the cluster if the contamination of stars and dust that hides it could be removed. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).

    An international team of astrophysicists led by the Stellar Astrophysics Group of the University of Alicante (UA), the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), and the University of Valparaíso (Chile) has discovered a massive cluster of stars of intermediate age in the direction of the Scutum constellation. This object, which has been named Valparaíso 1, lies some seven thousand light years away from the Sun, and contains at least fifteen thousand stars. To detect it, observations have been combined from ESA’s Gaia satellite, and various ground-based telescopes, including the Isaac Newton

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  • Supermassive black holes in active galaxies show accretion states similar to those seen in stellar-mass black holes in our galaxy. Credit: Teo Muñoz Darias/Juan A. Fernández Ontiveros

    The researchers Juan A. Fernández-Ontiveros, of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Rome and Teo Muñoz-Darias, of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), have written an article in which they describe the different states of activity of a large sample of supermassive black holes in the centres of galaxies. They have classified them using the behaviour of their closest “relations”, the stellar mass black holes in X-ray binaries. The article has just been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).

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  • Graphic representation of the precessing warp of the Milky Way disc. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).

    An investigation carried out by the astrophysicists of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) Žofia Chrobáková, a doctoral student at the IAC and the University of La Laguna (ULL), and Martín López Corredoira, questions one of the most interesting findings about the dynamics of the Milky Way in recent years: the precession, or the wobble in the axis of rotation of the disc warp is incorrect. The results have just been published in The Astrophysical Journal.

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