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.

  • Los telescopios MAGIC en el Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos
    MAGIC telescopes test the quantum structure of space-time

    The detection of a gamma ray burst by the MAGIC telescopes at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory allows us to study whether the speed of light in a vacuum is a constant in nature. The results, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, indicate that there are no significant differences in the arrival times of photons of different energies, which sets constraints on some quantum theories of gravity.

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  • Spitzer images of the galaxy M87. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/IPAC/Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration
    The structure of the famous Jet of material in M87, the brightest galaxy in the Virgo Cluster, revealed

    A Master’s degree research project at the University of Barcelona (UB), carried out at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) by the student Alejandra Yrupe Fresco, currently studying for her doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, in Germany, has revealed the faint nucleus and the structure of the jet of particles in the nuclear region of M87, the brightest galaxy in the Virgo cluster. This project was carried out in collaboration with the IAC researchers Juan Antonio Fernández Ontiveros, Almudena Prieto and José Antonio Acosta Pulido, and was possible

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  • Frame of the video Traveling on a Comet. Credit: Virtualisrealitates
    Activities for Asteroid Day

    To celebrate Asteroid Day, which commemorates the impact of the Tunguska Fireball in 1908, several researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) will participate in on-line chats to talk about the nature of these lesser bodies of the Solar System, and about the risk of impact on the Earth.

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  • Artistic recreation of GJ887 and its planets. Credit: University of Göttingen.
    A system of superearths has been detected around the brightest red dwarf in the sky

    The exoplanets closest to us offer the best opportunities to make a detailed study of their physical properties, including the search for life outside the Solar System. In research led by the University of Göttingen (Germany), in which the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and the University of La Laguna (ULL) are participants, has detected a system of superearths in orbit round the nearby star Gliese 887 (GJ 887), the brightest red dwarf in the sky. The results are published today in the journal Science. Superearths are planets with a larger mass than the Earth, but substancially less

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  • Artistic impression of AU Mic b. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (USRA).
    A planet in the process of formation found round the nearby young star AU Mic

    An international team of scientists, with the participation of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), has discovered a planet of the size of Neptune orbiting in rather more than a week around AU Microscopii, a young star a little over of 30 light years away, and surrounded by a disc of debris left over from its formation. The data were obtained with NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the Spitzer Space Telescope (now retired from service). The Discovery is published today in Nature magazine. The finding in this system, abbreviated as AU Mic, will be a unique

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  • Relative stability measurement of two laser frequency combs (LFCs). LFC1 (18 GHz mode spacing) is in channel A and LFC2 (25 GHz mode spacing) in channel B. a, Series of 100 spectrograph calibrations with one exposure every 61 s, 102 min in total. b, Results obtained with binned exposures of increasing size. The filled circles represent the standard deviation in A-B. The error bars quantify the uncertainty of the standard deviation estimated from the size of the statistical sample.
    A crucial test for astronomical spectrograph calibration with frequency combs

    Laser frequency combs (LFCs) are well on their way to becoming the next-generation calibration sources for precision astronomical spectroscopy. This development is considered key in the hunt for low-mass rocky exoplanets around solar-type stars whose discovery with the radial-velocity method requires cm/s Doppler precision. In order to prove such precise calibration with an LFC, it must be compared to another calibrator of at least the same precision. Being the best available spectrograph calibrator, this means comparing it to a second - fully independent - LFC. Here, we report on a test in

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