News & Press releases

Number of entries: 112

28
January 2020

Juan Carlos Morales, Premi Ciutat de Barcelona in experimental sciences and technology 2019


Juan Carlos Morales is awarded with the Premi Ciutat de Barcelona in experimental sciences and technology
Ada Colau, Major of Barcelona City giving the prize to Joan Carles Morales
Juan Carlos Morales, researcher at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC) and the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), has been awarded with the Ciutat de Barcelona prize for experimental sciences and technology for 2019.
The panel, integrated by Maria Garcia Parajo, Carme Rovira, Sergi Jordà and Nanda Rea, have been awarded him for the discovery of a giant, gaseous planet around a low mass star (GJ 3512), which questions the theories established on the formation of planets and proposes new scenarios completely unknown until now.
22
January 2020

Euclid Meeting 2020 in Sitges (Barcelona)


Euclid Meeting 2020 will be held in Sitges (Barcelona, Spain) in May 4-8.
The Euclid Meeting 2020 will be held in Sitges (Barcelona, Spain) between May 4th and 8th. It is organized by the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC) and Institute of Space Science (ICE, CSIC).

Euclid is an ESA mission to investigate the geometry of the Universe and understand the nature of dark matter and dark energy. This mission will be launched in mid-2022 from the Guiana Space Center.

In this meeting the different Working Groups  and the Instrument Teams will discuss  about teh status of the mission now that we are  two years away from launch.

More information in the webpage of the Meeting (https://www.ice.csic.es/research/euclid2020/)
21
January 2020

Proxima Centauri amazes us again: a possible second low-mass planet is found orbiting the nearest star to the Sun


New observations of Proxima Centauri have made it possible to reveal the presence of a candidate low-mass planet orbiting the star.
Artistic representation of the planetary system around Proxima Centauri.
Lorenzo Santinelli
  • The candidate planet is orbiting the star at a distance 1.5 times greater than that separating the Earth from the Sun
  • The study, with the participation of an IEEC researcher at ICE-CSIC, is published in the journal Science Advances.

New observations of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Solar System at a distance of 4.2 light-years, have made it possible to reveal the presence of a candidate low-mass planet orbiting the star at a distance 1.5 times greater than that separating the Earth from the Sun.

The discovery, published today in the journal Science Advances, was made by an international team including Guillem Anglada-Escudé, a researcher from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC  — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE - CSIC) and was led by Mario Damasso (National Institute for Astrophysics-Astrophysical Observatory of Turin), and Fabio Del Sordo (University of Crete and the Institute of Astrophysics at FORTH), thanks to the data collected with spectrographs installed in Chile. Compared to other candidates discovered around more distant stars, Proxima c - as it has been named - is an ideal planet in that complementary techniques can be used to confirm its existence and better characterize it in the near future.

Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf star about 8 times less massive than the Sun; Proxima b, a (most likely) rocky planet, was discovered orbiting the star within its habitable zone in 2016. Proxima b was found by analyzing the star’s radial velocities from spectra collected with the UVES and HARPS spectrographs that are installed, respectively, on the Very Large Telescope array in Cerro Paranal and on the 3.6-m La Silla telescope, both belonging to the European Southern Observatory in Chile. Following this discovery, further Proxima observations were made in 2017 with HARPS as part of the Red Dots project, with the aim of studying this planetary system in greater detail.

The team coordinated by Damasso and Del Sordo have analyzed these new measurements, for a total of about 17 years of observations. In doing so, they revealed the presence of a signal with a period of 5.2 years that is compatible with the existence of a second planet with a minimum mass of about 6 times the mass of the Earth, and with an orbital radius of 1.5 astronomical units (i.e., similar to the average distance between Mars and the Sun).

"According to our analysis, the presence of this periodic signal seems very convincing, and the available data do not seem to indicate a clear physical cause other than the presence of a planet, although we still cannot completely rule out other explanations," Damasso says. "In fact, it is very difficult to find a planet with a relatively low minimum mass and such a long orbital period by only using the radial velocity technique" underlines Damasso. “A signal like the one we found could be due to a cycle of magnetic activity of Proxima, which can mimic the presence of a planet. Further observations are therefore needed to confirm our discovery over the next few years.”

"It is a fascinating result," says Del Sordo, "we are adding a new piece to the knowledge of our closest planetary system." He then adds: “The signal we have found is at the limit of instrumental capabilities. In our study, we show that astrometric data taken with the Gaia satellite is expected to play a decisive role in confirming the existence of this planet. The position of Proxima c's orbit is not easily explained by current models of planetary formation and evolution, and many questions are thus being raised on how it could have formed just over 5 billion years ago."

"Apart from the exciting science in the paper, we are very happy about this because it is the result of early releasing data and the resulting spontaneous collaboration with the lead authors of the paper. For example, several of the Red Dots team members further contributed to the paper and are co-authors, and it also includes contributions from pro-Am astronomers from the American Association of Variable Stars Observers that also participated in the public campaign”, says Guillem Anglada-Escudé, who led the Red Dots observations and corresponding public campaign. 

Links More information
This research is presented in the article "A low-mass planet candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri at a distance of 1.5 AU" by M. Damasso et al., published in Science Advances on 15 January 2020.

The Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC  — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) promotes and coordinates space research and technology development in Catalonia for the benefit of society. IEEC fosters collaborations both locally and worldwide and is an efficient agent of knowledge, innovation and technology transfer. As a result of over 20 years of high-quality research, done in collaboration with major international organisations, IEEC ranks among the best international research centers, focusing on areas such as: astrophysics, cosmology, planetary science, and Earth Observation. IEEC’s engineering division develops instrumentation for ground- and space-based projects, and has extensive experience in working with private or public organisations from the aerospace and other innovation sectors.  

IEEC is a private non-profit foundation, governed by a Board of Trustees composed of Generalitat de Catalunya and four other institutions that each have a research unit, which together constitute the core of IEEC R&D activity: the University of Barcelona (UB) with the research unit ICCUB — Institute of Cosmos Sciences; the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) with the research unit CERES — Center of Space Studies and Research; the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) with the research unit CTE — Research Group in Space Sciences and Technologies; the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) with the research unit ICE — Institute of Space Sciences. IEEC is integrated in the CERCA network (Centres de Recerca de Catalunya).

Contacts
IEEC Communication Office
Barcelona, Spain

Rosa Rodríguez Gasén
E-mail: comunicacio@ieec.cat 

Lead Scientist at IEEC
Institute of Space Science (ICE-CSIC)
Barcelona, Spain

Guillem Anglada-Escudé
Researcher
E-mail: anglada@ieec.cat, anglada@ice.csic.es

Press Release created by the IEEC Comunication Office with the collaboration of Science Wave
21
January 2020

IEEC researchers at the heart of new space mission to study the state of matter under extreme conditions


A new space mission, called eXTP (Enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry Mission), will have at its core Spanish astronomers.
X-ray Timing and Polarimetry mission (eXTP)
eXTP Consortium
  • Meeting in Barcelona on 21-22 January 2020 will kick off the eXTP X-ray satellite mission for the Spanish astronomy community

A new space mission, called eXTP (Enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry Mission), will have at its core Spanish astronomers. The mission, designed to study fundamental physics topics such as what is happening on the vicinity of black holes or what is the state of matter inside neutron stars, is a collaboration between several European countries and China. 

The eXTP X-ray satellite (enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry Mission) is envisioned to be launched in 2027, with four instruments onboard. One of them, the Wide Field Monitor (WFM), will have Margarida Hernanz, a researcher from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC  — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC), as its principal investigator. The ICE-CSIC group will also be responsible for the mechanical and thermal design of the WFM instrument, and the development of the entire mechanical assembly of its cameras.

The mission’s plan is to study the state of matter under extreme conditions of density, gravity and magnetism. The main goals are the determination of the equation of state of matter at very large densities, probing the theory of gravity in extreme environments, as well as the study of the behavior of light in the presence of ultra-strong magnetized stars. With these aims, the primary targets are isolated and binary neutron stars, stellar-mass and supermassive black holes and magnetars - neutron stars with gigantic magnetic fields - respectively.

Several scientists of IEEC (ICE-CSIC) are involved in the scientific design of the eXTP X-ray satellite: in particular, Nanda Rea, Laura Tolos, Diego Torres, Francesco Coti Zelati and Alessandro Patruno have been working for several years in the scientific shaping of the instrument for neutron star studies. The technical challenges about the design of the WFM instrument are the responsibility of engineers from IEEC (ICE-CSIC), in particular José Luis Gálvez, Lluís Gesa, Mikel Lamensans and Eduard Mirabet.

Researcher Margarita Hernanz says: "Being the PI of the WFM for eXTP is a challenging and exciting task, both from the scientific and technological point of view, done in close collaboration with the most expert teams in the field of X-ray astronomy in the world. It will allow the scientific community to get access to an incredible wealth of data, crucial for solving problems within fundamental physics and astrophysics."

The WFM instrument will be composed of a set of 3 pairs of coded mask cameras, equipped with silicon detectors, covering a wide field of view. Its mission will be to scan the sky in search of rare events for which it will then be able to emit triggers, so that the other instruments onboard the satellite, that have a narrower field of view, can make more precise observations. 

The idea of this mission stems from a former European Space Agency (ESA) mission proposal, called LOFT (Large Observatory For X-ray Timing). The feasibility study, funded by ESA, was completed in 2013 with an excellent evaluation. Even though LOFT was not selected for launch, the idea was continued by a collaboration between China, Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic and Switzerland, who are now actively participating in the development of eXTP. 

On the 21 and 22 January 2020, ICE-CSIC is hosting a workshop dedicated to the scientific and technical advances in the development of the eXTP mission. The objective of the meeting is to publicize the science and possibilities that eXTP will offer to the Spanish astronomical community, as the large involvement of Spain in this mission will provide unique opportunities for research. The meeting is organised and funded by the Spanish Red de Infraestructuras de Astronomía (RIA) and ICE-CSIC.

Links More information
The Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC  — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) promotes and coordinates space research and technology development in Catalonia for the benefit of society. IEEC fosters collaborations both locally and worldwide and is an efficient agent of knowledge, innovation and technology transfer. As a result of over 20 years of high-quality research, done in collaboration with major international organisations, IEEC ranks among the best international research centers, focusing on areas such as: astrophysics, cosmology, planetary science, and Earth Observation. IEEC’s engineering division develops instrumentation for ground- and space-based projects, and has extensive experience in working with private or public organisations from the aerospace and other innovation sectors.  

IEEC is a private non-profit foundation, governed by a Board of Trustees composed of Generalitat de Catalunya and four other institutions that each have a research unit, which together constitute the core of IEEC R&D activity: the University of Barcelona (UB) with the research unit ICCUB — Institute of Cosmos Sciences; the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) with the research unit CERES — Center of Space Studies and Research; the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) with the research unit CTE — Research Group in Space Sciences and Technologies; the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) with the research unit ICE — Institute of Space Sciences. IEEC is integrated in the CERCA network (Centres de Recerca de Catalunya).

Contacts
IEEC Public Information Office
Barcelona, Spain
Rosa Rodríguez Gasén
E-mail: comunicacio@ieec.cat 

Lead Scientist at IEEC
Institute of Space Science (ICE-CSIC)

Barcelona, Spain
Margarida Hernanz
Researcher
E-mail: hernanz@ieec.cat, hernanz@ice.csic.es

Press Release created by the IEEC Comunication Office with the collaboration of Science Wave
 
13
January 2020

TESS dates an ancient collision with our galaxy


A single bright star in the constellation of Indus reveals new insights on the ancient collision of our galaxy with Gaia Enceladus.
TESS mosaic of Sectors 1, 12 and 13
T. Mackereth - University of Birmingham
  • The observation of a bright star with NASA's TESS space telescope has provided new information about an encounter that would have happened between the Milky Way and a smaller galaxy about 12.5 billion years ago.
  • The study, with the participation of IEEC researchers at ICE, is published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
A single bright star, situated in the constellation of Indus — visible from the southern hemisphere — has revealed new insights on an ancient collision that the Milky Way underwent with another smaller galaxy, called Gaia-Enceladus, early in its history.

The work, led by the University of Birmingham and in which the researcher of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC  — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) at the Institute of Space Science (ICE-CSIC) Aldo M. Serenelli has participated, has used the characterisation of a single ancient, bright star, called 𝝂  Indi, to study the history of the Milky Way.  Stars carry “fossilized records” of their histories and, hence, the environments in which they formed. The team used data from spatial and ground-based telescopes to unlock this information from the star 𝝂 Indi.

The star was aged using its natural oscillations (asteroseismology), detected in data collected by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Launched in 2018, TESS is surveying stars across most of the sky to search for planets orbiting the stars and to study the stars themselves. When combined with data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia Mission, TESS data have revealed that 𝝂  Indi was born early in the history of the Milky Way, 11.5 billion years ago, and later the Gaia-Enceladus collision altered its motion in our Galaxy.

William J. Chaplin, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham and lead author of the study, said: “Since the motion of 𝝂 Indi was affected by the Gaia-Enceladus collision, the collision must have happened once the star had formed. That is how we have been able to use the astereoseismically-determined age to place new limits on when the Gaia-Enceladus event occurred.”

The presence in our galaxy of many stars belonging to Gaia-Enceladus indicates that its collision with the Milky Way had and has had a large impact on the evolution of our Galaxy. Understanding this is now a very trending topic in astronomy, and this study is an important step in determining exactly when this collision occurred.

"Stellar oscillations are very sensitive to the internal structure of the star, which changes as it evolves. This sensitivity has allowed us, by comparing the observations made by TESS and models of stellar structure and evolution developed at our institute, to determine with great accuracy the age of 𝝂 Indi and, therefore, the moment in the history of the Milky Way when it formed", explains Aldo M. Serenelli, IEEC researcher at ICE.

The work also demonstrates the potential of asteroseismology made with TESS, and the possibilities that arise when it is possible to combine observations with state-of-the-art instruments, even in the case of a single bright star.

Links
More information
This research is presented in the paper “Age dating of an early Milky Way merger via asteroseismology of the naked-eye star 𝝂 Indi”, de W. J. Chaplin, A. M.  Serenelli et al., which is published in the journal Nature Astronomy on 13 January 2020.
The Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC  — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) promotes and coordinates space research and technology development in Catalonia for the benefit of society. IEEC fosters collaborations both locally and worldwide and is an efficient agent of knowledge, innovation and technology transfer. As a result of over 20 years of high quality research, done in collaboration with major international organisations, IEEC ranks among the best international research centers, focusing on areas such as: astrophysics, cosmology, planetary science, and Earth Observation. IEEC’s engineering division develops instrumentation for ground- and space-based projects, and has extensive experience in working with private or public organisations from the aerospace and other innovation sectors.  

IEEC is a private non-profit foundation, governed by a Board of Trustees composed of Generalitat de Catalunya and four other institutions that each have a research unit, which together constitute the core of IEEC R&D activity: the University of Barcelona (UB) with the research unit ICCUB — Institute of Cosmos Sciences; the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) with the research unit CERES — Center of Space Studies and Research; the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) with the research unit CTE — Research Group in Space Sciences and Technologies; the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) with the research unit ICE — Institute of Space Sciences. IEEC is integrated in the CERCA network (Centres de Recerca de Catalunya).

Contacts
IEEC Communication Office
Barcelona, Spain
Rosa Rodríguez Gasén
E-mail: comunicacio@ieec.cat 

Lead Scientist at IEEC
Institute of Space Science (ICE-CSIC)
Barcelona, Spain
Aldo M. Serenelli
ResearcherE-mail: aldos@ice.csic.es

Press Release created by the IEEC Comunication Office with the collaboration of Science Wave
20
December 2019

Science and development of eXTP in Spain


RIA meeting: publicize the science and possibilities that eXTP will offer to the Spanish astronomical community.
Poster oficial

The eXTP X-ray satellite (enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry Mission) is a Sino-European scientific space mission proposal designed to study the state of matter in extreme conditions of density, gravity and magnetism. eXTP includes two European instruments, based on the LOFT (Large Observatory For X-ray Timing) mission, a proposal selected by ESA for feasibility study (phase A) in the M3 call; this study was completed in 2013 with an excellent evaluation, but LOFT was not selected for launch. The collaboration between Europe and China, the embryo of the current eXTP proposal, began then, and several European countries – Spain, Italy, Germany, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic,Switzerland – are actively participating in the development of eXTP. Phase B of eXTP has already started both in China and in Europe, after having successfully passed an ESA review. The expected launch date of eXTP is 2027.

eXTP has a unique and unprecedented set of cutting-edge scientific instruments, which will allow for the first time simultaneous studies of polarimetry and spectroscopy with enormous temporal precision, in the energy range 0.5-30 keV. The four instruments provided are:

– The “Spectroscopic Focusing Array” (SFA): set of 9 X-ray telescopes operating in the 0.5-10 keV energy band

– The “Large Area Detector” (LAD): set of silicon detectors and a collimator operating between 2 and 30 keV, with spectral resolution better than 250 eV.

– The “Polarimetry Focusing Array” (PFA): set of 4 X-ray telescopes with an energy range between 2 and 10 keV.

– The “Wide Field Monitor” (WFM): set of 3 pairs of coded mask cameras, equipped with silicon detectors similar to those of the LAD instrument, covering a FoV of 3.7 sr and operating in the energy range of 2 to 50 keV. Spain leads the WFM, with Margarita Hernanz, from the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC) and IEEC, its PI.

These instruments will allow to carry out key studies for the determination of the equation of state of matter in conditions of supra-nuclear density, the measurement of the effects of QED on highly magnetized stars and the study of accretion in the strong field gravity regime, in addition to multiple additional topics possible since eXTP will be an X-ray observatory. eXTP is therefore of interest to a large community working on neutron stars, isolated and in binary systems, neutron stars with extreme magnetic fields (magnetars), pulsars, stellar-mass and supermassive black holes, and many other high-energy topics.

The large involvement of Spain in eXTP offers a unique opportunity to get the most out of this mission, thanks to the detailed knowledge of the instrumentation. For all this we organize this RIA meeting: publicize the science and possibilities that eXTP will offer to the Spanish astronomical community. eXTP brings together the communities involved in the ESA  proposals LOFT and XIPE.

More information: http://riastronomia.es/ciencia-y-desarrollo-de-extp-en-espana/
12
November 2019

PLAZAS PERSONAL GESTION I+D+I GARANTIA JUVENIL


Proceso selectivo para formalización 152 plazas en el CSIC para toda España, dos para nuestro instituto, fecha límite 26/11/2019
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PLAZAS DE PERSONAL GESTION I+D+I GARANTIA JUVENIL
Se abre un proceso selectivo para formalización de 152 plazas en el CSIC para toda España, de las cuales 2 han sido adjudicas al Instituto de Ciencias del Espacio. Fecha límite 26/11/2019.


C19_CAT_ICE_001  Titulación exigida: TS Administración y Finanzas, TS Comercio Internacional o titulación análoga.

C19_CAT_ICE_002 Titulación exigida: TS Administración y Finanzas, TS Comercio Internacional o titulación análoga.

Son contratos en prácticas para realizar tareas administrativas tuteladas por la Gerencia del Instituto.

Requisitos imprescindibles:
  • No haber sido contratado con anterioridad con un contrato de Garantía Juvenil con la misma titulación de esta convocatoria.
  • Estar inscrito en el sistema nacional de Garantía Juvenil (http://garantiajuvenil.gencat.cat/ca/apunta-thi/)
  • A la fecha de firma contrato ser menor de 30 años.

Los interesados deberán dirigirse  para inscribirse a esta convocatoria a (https://sede.csic.gob.es/servicios/formacion-y-empleo/convocatorias-personal/-/convocatoria/37616)
Consultas y aclaraciones: 937 37 97 88 o gerencia.ice@csic.es
 
30
October 2019

Nanda Rea receives the prize "Fundación Real Academia de Ciencias al Joven Talento Científico Femenino”


Nanda Rea receives the prize
Our researcher Nanda Rea has been received the prize "Fundación Real Academia de Ciencias al Joven Talento Científico Femenino” in the field of Physics and Chemistry in the Invernadero de La Plaza de Toros in Madrid this afternoon.
28
October 2019

DESI Opens Its 5000 Eyes to Capture the Colors of the Cosmos


DESI, a new instrument designed to accurately map the universe, begins its final testing stage
Vista del plano focal completo de DESI
: DESI Collaboration
DESI Opens Its 5000 Eyes to Capture the Colors of the Cosmos
 
  • The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), a new instrument designed to accurately map the universe, begins its final testing stage.
  • Researchers from the Institut de Física d'Altes Energies (IFAE), the Institute of Space Science (ICE, CSIC), the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), the Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT) and the Instituto de Física Teórica (IFT, UAM-CSIC) participate in the project. 
A new instrument installed in a telescope in Arizona (USA) that will observe a record number of galaxies and quasars, made its first light observation by pointing its 5000 fiber-optic “eyes” towards the cosmos this past night of Monday, 28 October, to test its unique view of the universe.
 
The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, known as DESI, which installation is about to be completed. The instrument is designed to explore the mystery of dark energy, which makes up approximately 68% of the universe and is responsible for its accelerated expansion. To this end, DESI will observe for 5 years a third of the sky with the aim of mapping the distance between the Earth and 35 million galaxies, plus another 2.4 million quasars. The instrument will start scientific observations in early 2020.
 
The most detailed three-dimensional map of the Universe
 
As if it was a powerful time machine, DESI will investigate the universe's childhood and early evolution (about 11 billion years ago) to create the most detailed three-dimensional map of the Universe to date.
 
DESI will also provide very accurate measurements of the universe's rate of expansion and how it has varied over time. Gravity slowed this expansion in the early universe but, ever since, the action of dark energy has been responsible for accelerating its expansion.

“After a decade in planning and R&D, installation and assembly, we are delighted that DESI can soon begin its quest to unravel the mystery of dark energy,” says DESI Director Michael Levi of the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the U.S. institution that leads DESI's construction and operations.
 
“The mystery of dark matter and energy is a challenge to understanding how the universe behaves. State-of-the-art experiments like DESI are the best way forward to unravel these riddles,” adds Ramon Miquel, the project's principal investigator at IFAE.
 
DESI is designed to automatically target pre-selected clusters of galaxies and collect their light to then scatter it into narrow bands of color. This will make it possible to determine with great precision the speed at which galaxies move away from us, to know their distance from Earth and to measure how much the universe expanded as this light traveled to us. Ideally, DESI can measure a new set of 5000 galaxies every 20 minutes.
 
5000 robotic fiber-optic “eyes”
 
DESI collaboration involves about 500 researchers from 75 institutions in 13 countries. In the last 18 months, the components of the instrument were sent from these institutions around the world to the Nicholas U. Mayall Telescope, located at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson (Arizona, USA), where they have been installed.
 
The instrument's primary mirror, 4 metres in diameter, and the set of corrective lenses, each about one metre in diameter, provide DESI with a large field of vision. The focal plane of the instrument is composed of 10 wedge-shaped petals, each containing 500 robotic positioners and a small camera that allows the telescope to be focused, aligned and pointed to optimally collect light from galaxies. The small positioning robots, which hold each of the optical fibers that collect the light, serve as the eyes of DESI.
 
DESI is able, in just 10 seconds, to automatically reposition all the optical fibers and focus on a new set of galaxies. Thanks to this speed, it will be able to map more than 20 times more cosmic objects than any previous instrument.
 
“DESI will not only contribute to substantially improving our understanding of dark energy, but it will also mean new knowledge about neutrinos, the most elusive particles known, since it is capable of measuring their influence on the evolution of the universe”, qualifies Eusebio Sánchez, DESI's principal researcher at CIEMAT.
 
Among the last components installed is the set of spectrographs designed to divide the collected light into three separate colour bands and, thus, allow precise measurements of the distance of the observed galaxies. These spectrographs, which allow DESI's robotic eyes to "see" even distant and faint galaxies, are designed to measure the redshift, which is a change in the color of cosmic objects to longer and redder wavelengths as they move away from us.
 
“The possibility of being able to simultaneously observe so many galaxies and measure their distance by obtaining their spectrum has required technological development to be able to produce such a high-precision instrument,” adds Francisco Castander, as principal investigator of ICE-CSIC and IEEC.
 
Contribution of the Barcelona-Madrid group to the DESI project
 
The instrumental contribution to DESI of the Barcelona-Madrid Regional Participation Group, made up of researchers from IFAE, ICE-CSIC, IEEC, CIEMAT and IFT-UAM, has been the design, construction and installation of the complete Guiding, Focusing and Alignment system (GFA). This system is made up of 10 cameras, each of them installed in one of the focal plane petals of the instrument which, as its name indicates, are in charge of focusing, guiding and aligning the telescope so that the robotic positioners can collect the light from the galaxies under optimum conditions. This contribution has been led by IFAE, where the construction of the cameras has been carried out, with the collaboration of ICE, IEEC, CIEMAT and IFT. In addition, ICE and IEEC have led the production of the software to be able to point the whole instrument properly.
 
“The production of the self-guided cameras has required a great effort from all our team, where we have had to overcome many technological challenges in very tight times”, points out Laia Cardiel-Sas, from IFAE and coordinator of the engineering team. “Our team is very satisfied with the performance of our cameras once installed on the instrument,” adds IFAE engineer Otger Ballester.
 
“It is a huge satisfaction to be able to point a telescope that weighs 260 tons with a precision of microns, with our cameras and the software we have developed”, concludes Santiago Serrano, ICE-CSIC and IEEC engineer. “After several years of working within the big family of the DESI collaboration, we are excited to see the first successful tests of the instrument and are looking forward to the scientific results that will come after starting operations,” says Ricard Casas, also a researcher at ICE-CSIC and IEEC.
 
More information
 
DESI is funded by the following institutions: the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy; the U.S. National Science Foundation; the Division of Astronomical Sciences under contract to the National Observatory of Optical Astronomy; the UK Council for Scientific and Technological Facilities; the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; the Heising-Simons Foundation; the French Commission for Alternative Energy and Atomic Energy (CEA); the National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico; the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities of Spain; and DESI member institutions. DESI scientists are honored to be allowed to conduct astronomical research at lolkam Du'a (Kitt Peak, Arizona), a mountain of particular significance to the Tohono O'odham nation.
 
The Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), the Institute of Space Science (ICE-CSIC), the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), the Institut de Física d'Altes Energies (IFAE) and the Instituto de Física Teórica (UAM-CSIC) participate in DESI through the Barcelona-Madrid RPG. The Instituto Astrofísica Andalucía (IAA), the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the Instituto de Física Teórica (UAM-CSIC) participate in DESI through the Granada-Madrid-Tenerife RPG. Researchers from the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the Universitat de Barcelona (ICCUB) also participate in the DESI project.
 
The Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC  — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) promotes and coordinates space research and technology development in Catalonia for the benefit of society. IEEC fosters collaborations both locally and worldwide and is an efficient agent of knowledge, innovation and technology transfer. As a result of over 20 years of high-quality research, done in collaboration with major international organisations, IEEC ranks among the best international research centers, focusing on areas such as: astrophysics, cosmology, planetary science, and Earth Observation. IEEC’s engineering division develops instrumentation for ground- and space-based projects, and has extensive experience in working with private or public organisations from the aerospace and other innovation sectors. 
 
IEEC is a private non-profit foundation, governed by a Board of Trustees composed of Generalitat de Catalunya and four other institutions that each have a research unit, which together constitute the core of IEEC R&D activity: the University of Barcelona (UB) with the research unit ICCUB — Institute of Cosmos Sciences; the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) with the research unit CERES — Center of Space Studies and Research; the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) with the research unit CTE — Research Group in Space Sciences and Technologies; the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) with the research unit ICE — Institute of Space Sciences. IEEC is integrated in the CERCA network (Centres de Recerca de Catalunya).
 
Contacts
 
IEEC Communication Office
Barcelona, Spain
Rosa Rodríguez Gasén
E-mail: comunicacio@ieec.cat
 
Principal Investigators of ICE-CSIC/IEEC at DESI
Barcelona, Spain
Francisco J. Castander
Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC)
Institute of Space Science (ICE, CSIC)
E-mail: fjc@ieec.cat  
 
Enrique Gaztañaga
Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC)
Institute of Space Science (ICE, CSIC)
E-mail: gazta@ieec.cat 

Press Release adapted by the IEEC Comunication Office with the collaboration of Science Wave
03
October 2019

Twin baby stars grow in complex network of gas and dust


Twin baby stars grow in complex network of gas and dust
Pretzel-type filaments
Credit: Felipe O. Alves (MPE)
  • For the first time, high-resolution images obtained with the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) show a young stellar binary system in which a complex network of accretion filaments is nurturing two proto-stars. 
  • Each star has a circumstellar disk of its own and together, the stars and their disks, have another, larger, circumbinary disk. 
  • The team was led by Felipe Alves, currently at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, who did his doctoral studies at the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC), under the coordination of IEEC member Dr. Josep Miquel Girart, who is also the third author of the study.
  • The results appear in the journal Science.
Most stars in the Universe come in the form of pairs – binaries – or even multiple star systems. Now, the formation of such a binary star system has been observed for the first time with high-resolution ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array) images.

An international team of astronomers targeted the system [BHB2007] 11, the youngest member of a small cluster of young stellar objects in the Barnard 59 dark nebula, which is part of the cloud of dust and gas called the Pipe nebula. While previous observations showed a rotating and infalling envelope surrounding a circumbinary disk, the new observations now also reveal its inner structure.

“We see two compact sources, that we interpret as circumstellar disks around the two young stars,” explains Felipe Alves from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE). The stars grow bigger by pulling matter from these disks. “The size of each of these disks is similar to the asteroid belt in our Solar System and their separation is slightly smaller than our Solar System as a whole.” In addition, both protostars and their circumstellar disks are surrounded by a bigger disk, called a circumbinary disk, with a total mass of about 80 Jupiter masses, which shows a complex network of dust structures distributed in spiral shapes, resembling a pretzel.

Astronomers have observed an accretion process in two stages. In the first stage, mass is transferred from the big, circumbinary disk to the circumstellar disks. In the second stage, mass is transferred from the circumstellar disks to the stars. 
“Thanks to the power of ALMA, we have managed to peer deeper into the complex system of young binary stars and gain a better understanding of how such systems form, as well as find out that the formation of rocky planets in such environments may be possible. Using this knowledge, we can now study more similar systems to further describe the conditions that allow for multiple star systems to form,” declared Dr. Josep Miquel Girart, a researcher from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC) and third author of the study.

Observatories and Instruments
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of ESO, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI). ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

Links
More information
This research is presented in a paper entitled “Gas flow and accretion via spiral streamers and circumstellar disks in a young binary protostar”, by F. O. Alves, P. Caselli, J. M. Girart  et al., to appear in the journal Science on 4 October 2019.

The Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC  — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) promotes and coordinates space research and technology development in Catalonia for the benefit of society. IEEC fosters collaborations both locally and worldwide and is an efficient agent of knowledge, innovation and technology transfer. As a result of over 20 years of high-quality research, done in collaboration with major international organisations, IEEC ranks among the best international research centers, focusing on areas such as: astrophysics, cosmology, planetary science, and Earth Observation. IEEC’s engineering division develops instrumentation for ground- and space-based projects, and has extensive experience in working with private or public organisations from the aerospace and other innovation sectors. 

IEEC is a private non-profit foundation, governed by a Board of Trustees composed of Generalitat de Catalunya and four other institutions that each have a research unit, which together constitute the core of IEEC R&D activity: the University of Barcelona (UB) with the research unit ICCUB — Institute of Cosmos Sciences; the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) with the research unit CERES — Center of Space Studies and Research; the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) with the research unit CTE — Research Group in Space Sciences and Technologies; the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) with the research unit ICE — Institute of Space Sciences. IEEC is integrated in the CERCA network (Centres de Recerca de Catalunya).

Contacts

IEEC Communication Office
Barcelona, Spain
Rosa Rodríguez Gasén
Email: comunicacio@ieec.cat 

Lead Scientist
Garching bei München, Germany
Felipe Alves
Center for Astrochemical Studies
Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
Tel: +49 89 30000 3897
Email: falves@mpe.mpg.de

Third author
Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalonia, Spain
Josep Miquel Girart
Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC) / IEEC
Email: girart@ice.cat

Press Release elaborated by the IEEC Comunication Department
Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC)

Campus UAB, Carrer de Can Magrans, s/n
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