Library of galaxy histories reconstructed from motions of stars


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.

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Search for planets with Carmenes successful


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.

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Calar Alto Observatory will improve its instruments with co-financing of ERDF funds


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.

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CARMENES instrument demonstrates its capacity for finding planets similar to Earth



October 4th 2017

CARMENES, a spectrograph that operates in both visible and infrared channels, operating at Calar Alto Observatory (Almería), study a three hundred stars sample in order to find similar to Earth planets.

The first results of its visible channel, derived from the study of seven planetary systems, show its perfect functioning.

CARMENES instrument, developed by a consortium of eleven institutions from Germany and Spain, and co-lead by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), with the participation of the Institut de Ciències de l’Espai (IEEE-CSIC) and the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB, CSIC-INTA), has been designed for searching earth like planets within the habitability zone or area that surrounds a star where the conditions allow the existence of liquid water. The first results, obtained with the Calar Alto Observatory 3.5m telescope and published today, analyze seven known planetary systems and proves its excellent performing.


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