Astrophysical research


The research activity at the IAC is structured around individual astrophysical research projects. These projects are grouped into six global research lines that cover most fields of theoretical, observational or instrumental astrophysics. The individual research projects are led and managed by a Principal Investigator (PI) and can include scientists at pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, tenured and senior levels. The links and collaborations with researchers from other centers are recognized and encouraged. 


Exoplanets and Solar System


The area of planetary and solar systems involves several research groups working on Exoplanets, Solar System and Cultural Astronomy. Our main objectives are:

  • The detection and characterization of giant and rocky planets around nearby stars using the most advanced instruments (CARMENES, ESPRESSO, HARPS Norte y Sur, SONG, LCO, MUSCAT2) and space missions (CoRoT, Kepler K2, CHEOPS, TESS and PLATO). The group is particularly interested in the study of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone of their host stars where water can be in liquid form.
  • The characterization of the atmospheres of planets to know their structure and composition, both by transits and direct imaging, using ground-based telescopes such as GTC and space missions such as CHEOPS.
  • Investigate the formation of exoplanet systems by studying the chemical composition of planet host stars, and the dynamical evolution of exoplanets at their early stages of formation.
  • Study the physical properties of different families of minor bodies of the Solar System (asteroids, comets, trans-neptunian objects, etc.) to understand the origin and evolution of Solar System with GTC and space missions such as OSIRIS-REx.
  • The study of ancient cosmologies through cultural astronomy and the defense of cultural heritage through the astronomy.
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    Exoplanets and Astrobiology

    The search for life in the universe has been driven by recent discoveries of planets around other stars (known as exoplanets), becoming one of the most active fields in modern astrophysics. The growing number of new exoplanets discovered in recent years and the recent advance on the study of their atmospheres are not only providing new valuable

    Pallé Bago
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    Minor Bodies of the Solar System

    This project studies the physical and compositional properties of the so-called minor bodies of the Solar System, that includes asteroids, icy objects, and comets. Of special interest are the trans-neptunian objects (TNOs), including those considered the most distant objects detected so far (Extreme-TNOs or ETNOs); the comets and the comet-asteroid

    Julia de
    León Cruz
  •  Spring equinox sunset at the Obelisks in Jabal Madbah, in ancient Petra

    The main objective of this project is to study the importance of astronomy as a fundamental part of human culture and civilization from Paleolithic to the present day. Our interest is mainly devoted to the people of the ancient Mediterranean cultures from the Atlantic to the Middle East, with a special dedication to Spain, its geographical

    Juan Antonio
    Belmonte Avilés
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    Nucleosynthesis and molecular processes in the late stages of Stellar Evolution

    Low- to intermediate-mass (M < 8 solar masses, Ms) stars represent the majority of stars in the Cosmos. They finish their lives on the Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) - just before they form planetary nebulae (PNe) - where they experience complex nucleosynthetic and molecular processes. AGB stars are important contributors to the enrichment of the

    Domingo Aníbal
    García Hernández