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.

  • Vyacheslav (Slava) Lukin

    Disclaimer footnote: Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US National Science Foundation. Vyacheslav (Slava) Lukin is a Program Director in the National Science Foundation (NFS) Division of Physics with responsibility for the program in Plasma Physics. In his own research, he focuses on understanding “magnetic reconnection”, a compex physical phenomenon which causes the aurora borealis, solar flares, coronal mass ejections and gamma ray bursts. This is a process which

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  • Winds launched by a supermassive black hole impact the formation of new stars in the galaxy Markarian 34

    Patricia Bessiere, a researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), has led research which has used data from the KECK telescope in Hawaii to understand the impact that active galactic nuclei have on star formation in their host galaxies. The results are published today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters. One of the key questions that astronomers are trying to answer is ‘Why do galaxies look the way they do?’. Computer simulations of how galaxies formed and evolved suggest that there should be many more very large galaxies than we actually

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  • Artist's impression of the X-ray binary Swift J1858.6-0814. We can see how the neutron star accretes material, via an accretion disk, from the companion star, and how some of that material is ejected in the form of a warm wind. Credits: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).

    All disc-accreting astrophysical objects produce powerful disc winds. In compact binaries containing neutron stars or black holes, accretion often takes place during violent outbursts. The main disc wind signatures during these eruptions are blue-shifted X-ray absorption lines, which are preferentially seen in disc-dominated ‘soft states’. By contrast, optical wind-formed lines have recently been detected in ‘hard states’, when a hot corona dominates the luminosity. The relationship between these signatures is unknown, and no erupting system has as yet revealed wind-formed lines between the

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  • Infrared image of the galaxy Messier 87. The luminous point in its center indicates the position of its black hole, one of the most massive known, one billion times the mass of our Sun. Image taken with the VLT telescope and its adaptive optics system at the ESO observatory in Chile.

    The confirmation of the existence of black holes is one of the most basic results in astrophysics. There is a wide range of masses of black holes, from those with stellar mass, which are the result of the catastrophic final phase of very massive stars, to the supermassive black holes at the centres of most galaxies. The mass of a black hole is up to now the only parameter which scientists are able to measure. In this work, we present an original method for measuring the masses of black holes, from those of stellar mass to the supermassive variety, based on a simple measurement of the

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  • Roque de los Muchachos Observatory

    The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has published a preliminary market study requesting information for the development of the project “Redundancy in the Maritime Optical Network of RedIRIS”, which it undertook following the resolution approved by the Secretariat of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructures (SETLECO) in November of 2021. The project will be financed by the “NextGenerationEU” fund within its programm of investment related to Digital Connextivity driven by cybersecurity and the rollout of 5G” of the Plan of Recovery, Transformation and Resilience

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  • Normalized spectra of the GTC-1 (blue) and GTC-2 epochs (black), both centred at Hα. Telluric bands and diffuse interstellar bands, as well as reference velocities (1000 km/s and 1250 km/s) have been marked to highlight the blue-shifted absorption produced by the wind.

    We present 12 epochs of optical spectroscopy taken across the discovery outburst of the black hole (BH) candidate MAXI J1803-298 with the Gran Telescopio Canarias and Very Large Telescope. The source followed a standard outburst evolution. This means it passed through the so-called "hard" and "soft" states, defined in terms of the relative contribution of high to low energy X-rays. The system displays a "triangular" shape in the hardness intensity diagram, consistent with that seen in high-inclination BH transients and the previously reported detection of X-ray dips. The two epochs observed

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