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.

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  • Left: Colour image of the Large Magellanic Cloud, directly obtained from SMASH data. Right: Spatial distribution of the stellar mass fraction of stars younger (top) and older (bottom) than 2 billion years.
    Is the Large Magellanic Cloud spiral arm a stable structure?

    Some galaxies in the Universe display beautiful and appealing features known as "spiral arms". However, not all galaxies show spiral arms in the same manner. Among the variety of cases the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a dwarf galaxy infalling towards the Milky Way, stands out. The LMC is the prototype of an entire family of galaxies, the Magellanic Spirals that are characterised by the presence of a barred stellar structure near their centres and a single spiral arm. Spiral patterns can form after galactic collisions, with subsequent star formation piling up in these arms. Nevertheless, we

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  • The spatial profiles of the observed and expected [O III] 4363 (orange and green, respectively), residuals from subtracting the expected collisional [O III] 4363 profile from the observed one (red), and the O II 4649 profile scaled (blue).
    The impact of strong recombination on temperature determination in planetary nebulae

    The long-standing difference in chemical abundances determined from optical recombination lines and collisionally excited lines raises questions about our understanding of atomic physics, as well as the assumptions made when determining physical conditions and chemical abundances in astrophysical nebulae. Here, we study the recombination contribution of [O III] 4363 and the validity of the line ratio [O III] 4363/4959 as a temperature diagnostic in planetary nebulae with a high abundance discrepancy. We derive a fit for the recombination coefficient of [O III] 4363 that takes into account

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  • Photometers at the Teide Observatory
    Natural darkness to preserve night-time ecosystems

    After several months of waiting, this summer the EELabs project, led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, has started to deploy its first network of photometers.

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  • Luminosity - X-ray colour diagram of the black hole MAXI J1820+070 (black, solid line). The different traces indicate wind detections at different wavelengths throughout the entire outburst.
    Discovery of continuous infrared winds during the outburst of a black hole

    X-ray binaries are stellar systems composed of a compact object (either a stellar-mass black hole or a neutron star) and a donor star that transfers mass to the former. Outflows represent fundamental physical phenomena to understand accretion processes in these systems. Black holes show three types of outflows: radio-jets and optical winds during the hard accretion states, and highly ionised winds observed in X-rays during the soft states. The black hole transient MAXI J1820+070 showed optical winds with velocities up to 1800 km/s during the hard state of its 2018-2019 outburst. In this work

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  • The stellar source for phosphorus, element so important for life, is still unknown. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).
    The phosphorus that came from the stars

    All chemical elements in the Universe (except for H and most of the He) have been made in stellar interiors. But among those elements, the ones that allowed to build life such as we find on Earth are of particular interest (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and phosphorus). However, the stellar origin of phosphorus (P) is still unknown as none of the current models of Galactic chemical evolution can explain all the phosphorus we observe in the Galaxy and notably in our Solar System, highlighting a still lacking phosphorus source. In this work we report the discovery of stars very rich in

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  • Artist's impression of a star pulsating in one of its hemispheres due to the gravitational attraction of a companion star. Credit: Gabriel Pérez (SMM-IAC).
    Tidally trapped pulsations in a close binary star system

    It has long been suspected that tidal forces in close binary stars could modify the orientation of the pulsation axis of the constituent stars. Such stars have been searched for, but until now never detected. Here we report the discovery of tidally trapped pulsations in the ellipsoidal variable HD 74423 in Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) space photometry data. The system contains a Delta Scuti pulsator in a 1.6 d orbit, whose pulsation mode amplitude is strongly modulated at the orbital frequency, which can be explained if the pulsations have a much larger amplitude in one

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