February 12th 2020
Using the Calar Alto Schmidt telescope remotely from Italy, a team from the Planetary Defence Office of the European Spatial Agency (ESA) managed to observe the Solar Orbiter satellite and booster two days after launch from Cape Canaveral. The observations were obtained in coordination with ESA’s Near-Earth Object Coordination Centre (NEOCC).
Despite a very bright (nearly Full) Moon these days, the quality of the sky and of the telescopes at Calar Alto has allowed Marco Micheli, an astronomer at ESA, to recover Solar Orbiter -- a joint ESA/NASA mission -- well after its launch in the morning of February 10, 2020 with an Atlas V rocket. After the ESOC's Mission Analysis team computed an accurate post-launch trajectory, Micheli pointed the Schmidt telescope to the expected position, and Solar Orbiter was indeed recovered in the field.
January 7th 2020
A group from the Basque Country University has followed-up for one year a series of convective storms inside a cyclone on Jupiter and, by means of simulations, found that storms of this size could only have been generated by water condensation.
In February 2018, a series of convective storms occurred on Jupiter. They were storms with strong vertical movements and great precipitation development that were so powerful that they completely changed the region where they took place: a cyclone 28,000 km long, called a ghost cyclone -- owing to its weak contrast which renders it difficult to make out in observations from the Earth, although it could be observed from Calar Alto.
October 24th 2019
Astronomers from Bilbao (Basque Country) have coordinated the global follow-up of a series of storms, which developed in 2018 on the disk of the ‘lord of the rings’, using space- and ground-based observations, including data from Calar Alto.
With its enormous rings, Saturn is the most appealing of the giant gaseous planets. Like other planets with an atmosphere, it is a natural laboratory to study meteorological events happening in our planet and to test, under extreme conditions, models used to explain and predict them.
December 11th 2019
Astronomers have detected hints of a satellite orbiting Varuna, an object located beyond Neptune, after observing it for nearly 15 years, in particular from Calar Alto.
Beyond Neptune, the eighth and last planet in the Solar System, orbit many Trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). Lying at large distances (more than 30 times the one of the Earth to the Sun), TNOs preserve
fossil records of the nebula that gave birth to the Solar System. To date, about 2,500 TNOs have been discovered; among them, Varuna, a large TNO of nearly 1000 km in its longest (elongated) shape.
The mirror of the SUNRISE mission, which will study the Sun from a stratospheric balloon, gets ready at Calar Alto
October 7th 2019
The SUNRISE mirror, with a diameter of one meter, undergoes the aluminizing process as part of the preparations for the next mission flight.
SUNRISE, a mission designed to study the Sun’s magnetic field from a stratospheric balloon, faces its third flight after its successful trips flying over the Arctic in 2009 and 2013. The instrumentation was recovered in both occasions, and now the mission team focuses on the preparation of the next phase, which will take place in 2021. In late September, the aluminizing of the SUNRISE telescope mirror took place at Calar Alto, a service offered by the observatory that permits to preserve the optimal conditions for observations.
November 20th 2019
The Calar Alto observatory (CAHA) is a key institution for the international astronomical community, for its highly competitive astronomical facilities (telescopes and instrumentation). From 2019 on, the current administration of CAHA includes the Junta de Andalucía as a new partner - replacing the Max Planck Gesellschaft -, and together with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) these two institutions manage the operation of the observatory.
The recent success of long-term observational projects already finished (CALIFA) or close to finalization (CARMENES), together with the innovative tradition in available instrumentation of CAHA, point to the necessity of a new call to the international astronomical community for scientific and technological proposals that will contribute to keep the level of excellence of the observatory.
September 26th 2019
CARMENES instrument, co-led by the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), has detected a giant planet around a dwarf star from the Observatory of Calar Alto (Almería)
The planet could have been formed by the rupture of the disk around the star, and not by the accumulation of gas around a solid nucleus, as it is believed that gas giants form
CARMENES instrument, which operates from the Calar Alto Observatory (Almería), has found a giant gas planet around the red dwarf star GJ3512, as well as indications of the presence of another. The finding, published in the journal Science, calls into question the most accepted model of formation of the giant planets, which states that they are born from a solid nucleus that accumulates gas, and opens up the possibility of their formation after the rupture into fragments of a protoplanetary disk.