IZw18: the galaxy that reveals the universe’s history


  • IZw18 stands out for its extreme scarcity of heavy elements, a characteristic typical of primeval galaxies
  • A map of ionized helium in the galaxy has just been published which indicates the presence of peculiar stars similar to the first that ever shone in the universe

The first galaxies were formed some 13.3 billion years ago, mainly composed of hydrogen and helium, the primary elements that emerged from the Big Bang. Their study to date has been technically very challenging due to their great distance from us, but the observation of analogous galaxies in our vicinity has turned out to be an excellent shortcut.



Prize to a divulgation article with Calar Alto Observatory data

56145 2_DBarrado-JLilloMadrid Comunity, through the “Fundación para el Conocimiento madri+d”, has published the result of the madri+d award, which went to the article entitled “La epopeya exoplanetaria: planetas gigantes, planetas rocosos”, of David Barrado (left) and Jorge Lillo (right), both researchers of the Astrobiology Centre (CAB, CSIC-INTA).

 The text, which the jury highlighted the originality, quality of writing and its disclosure level, put in context Kepler 37-B finding, an extrasolar planet with a similar size of the Moon, and which is the smallest one detected up to date. The discovery was possible thanks to the Calar Alto Observatory (CAHA) instrumental capacity, in particular AstraLux instrument, placed at the 2.2m telescope, which is able to get images with a similar quality as the Hubble space telescope.

“This prize highlights Calar Alto Observatory importance as a knowledge creator tool in all areas: science, technology and culture”, CAHA Deputy Director Jesús Aceituno said.


A universal comb

entrada astrocomb

Optical frequency comb allows more accurate astronomical observations.

Scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) and the Centre for innovation competence innoFSPEC have tested a novel optical frequency comb at an astronomical instrument. This new light source shall improve the calibration of spectrographs and hence their scientific measurements.



On computer names and M dwarf discoverers

logo carmenesWe start a series of short pieces of news related to the imminent arrival to Calar Alto of CARMENES, the new Observatory’s exoplanet hunter. In plain English, it is a “machine to discover planets like our Earth around the most abundant (and, also, the closest, smallest and coolest) stars”.  



Observers find two stars so close together that they will end up by merging into 1 very massive star

estrellas entrada

A study of the binary system “MY Camelopardalis” published in the journalAstronomy & Astrophysics, shows that the most massive stars are formed by the merging of other smaller stars, as theoretical models predicted. 



An unprecedented view of two hundred galaxies of the local Universe


The second data release of the international project CALIFA - a survey of galaxies carried out at Calar Alto observatory – will take place today.

Performed at Calar Alto, CALIFA reaffirms to Calar Alto as a very competitive worldwide astronomical facility and highly productive.



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