17/12/2015. CARMENES, an outstanding novel astronomical instrument, which has been designed to look for Earth-like planets, has successfully passed first “on-sky” tests at the telescope. Scientist and engineers of Calar Alto Observatory have participated in the design and construction of the new “planet hunter”. After five years of preparation, the highly complex instrument was for the first time used in November at the 3.5m telescope of the Calar Alto Observatory near Almería in southern Spain, which is operated jointly by the Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). CARMENES has been designed and built by a large international consortium of eleven institutions in Germany and Spain. The instrument consists of two spectrographs to analyze the visible and the infrared light coming from celestial bodies. Both have been optimized for the discovery of planets orbiting nearby stars. Thus, observations with CARMENES will be an important milestone for one of the most exciting areas of space exploration - the search for a second Earth.
This is an update from previous new. As told yesterday, an international group of researchers have observed the 2015TB145 NEO, also known as "The great Halloween pumpkin" with the 1.23m telescope and with PMAS instrument at 3.5m telescope. Here you have images and the video of the observations.
The image on the left shows the asteroid. If you click below on the "read more" button, you'll have access to a complete video.
The nights of October 30th and 31st are the best opportunity for studying this asteroid, which characteristics points that it could be an extinct comet.
The asteroid, with 400 meters wide, will be at about 480.000 km from Earth at its closest approach.
CARMENES, a spectrograph that will search for earth-like planets, is a unique instrument due to its stability, very high resolution and because it will observe at the same time in both the visible and infrared channels.
The infrared channel, developed at the Instituto de Astronfísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), will be tomorrow placed in its final location, at the 3.5m Calar Alto Observatory telescope.