Call for letters of intent for the construction of the next generation instrument for CAHA 3.5m telescope
May 11th 2018
Calar Alto is looking for competitive science cases and associated instrumentation concepts for its flagship telescope, the CAHA 3.5m. It is expected that the current observatory mode of operation will remain in the future, with most of the time devoted to high impact science cases requiring large allocations of time.
April 27th 2018
In the framework of the Space Situational Awareness program, funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), astronomers observing remotely with the Calar Alto Schmidt telescope managed to recover comet P/2011 CR42 Catalina.
Solar System objects like asteroids and comets appear like moving targets in the stellar fields observed with telescopes. Observations spread over various nights allow us to compute accurately their orbits. Comets, in particular, can present elongated (elliptic), periodic orbits, like the famous comet Halley, passing close to the Earth every 76 years or so, and visible to the naked eye (the last time in 1986, but it was probably observed since prehistoric times).
Almería, January 3rd 2018
The CALIFA survey allows to map the orbits of the stars of a sample of 300 galaxies, a fundamental information to know how they formed and evolved.
Just like the Sun is moving in our Galaxy, the Milky Way, all the stars in galaxies are moving, but with very different orbits: some of the stars have strong rotations, while others may be moving randomly with no clear rotation. Comparing the fraction of stars on different orbits we can find out how galaxies form and evolve. An international team of astronomers has derived directly, for the first time, the orbital distribution of a galaxy sample, containing more than 300 galaxies of the local universe. The results, published in Nature Astronomy, are based on the CALIFA survey, a project developed at Calar Alto Observatory.
Almería, April 6th, 2018
The planet K2-229b has a similar composition to Mercury, because the vicinity to its sun blows its mantle, forming an atmosphere of evaporated silicates. This finding is partly based on data obtained from Calar Alto.
An international team has found a planetary system around a star (named K2-229) similar to our Sun, which helps us to understand the formation and properties of the planet Mercury. The planet K2-229b, lying in this system, has a composition very similar to that of Mercury. The finding, published in Nature Astronomy, is the result of an international cooperation led by Alexandre Santerne, from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France).
December 18th 2017
Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers are hunting for planets with the Carmenes spectrograph. They have now discovered their first star with an exoplanet.
The star is a so-called M-dwarf only about half as massive as the Sun, its planet with the name HD 147379b is slightly more massive than Neptune. HD 147379b orbits its star once every 86 days at a distance that is only a third of the distance between Earth and the Sun. At this location, the planet is located inside the so-called habitable zone where water could exist in liquid form. However, it is unlikely that life could develop on this planet because it probably has no solid surface.
Almería, March 26th 2018
The Trifid Nebula is a well-known complex of young stars, some of them still hidden in the cloud of gas and dust from which they were born.
A new study, using data from the Calar Alto Observatory, sheds new light on this intricate stellar nursery of multi-epoch star formation in the last 300,000 years.
The Trifid Nebula, discovered in 1764, is visible with small telescopes as a diffuse patch of light towards the constellation of Sagittarius, in the densest regions of the Milky Way. It includes a group of thousands of very young stars embedded in a nebula, a mixture of gas and dust particles, which constitutes the deposit of material to form future stars.
Its name refers to its most striking visual feature: a nebula divided into three lobes by dark clouds of dense molecular material. New infrared observations, which allow us to see through the dust, reveal a complex area of ongoing star formation in its darkest parts, which began about 300,000 years ago, the age of Homo sapiens.
November 22nd 2017
The Monitoring Commission of the agreement signed with the "Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad" for the execution of the "MIOCA-Mejora del Instrumental del Observatorio de Calar Alto" project, was set up.
The project’s budget of 1.129.098 €, will allow consolidate the competitiveness of Calar Alto Observatory.
The Spanish-German Astronomical Center (CAHA) has the purpose of the management, maintenance, operation and scientific exploitation of the Calar Alto Observatory, making it available to the international astronomical community, as well as giving the capacity and the infrastructure needed for carrying out astronomical observation programs and developing innovative concepts concerning instrumentation. Now, CAHA faces up an improvement of its instrumentation in order to continue at the forefront of the astronomical observation.