News & Press releases

Number of entries: 107

18
June 2019

CARMENES finds two temperate Earth-mass planets around a nearby small star


CARMENES finds two temperate Earth-mass planets around a nearby small star
Planets in the habitable zone around a star
Image: Chester Harman / Planets: PHL @ UPR Arecibo, NASA/JPL
Researchers from the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC) and from Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) have participated in an international study carried out by the CARMENES consortium, which has discovered two small, terrestrial planets around Teegarden’s Star. The planets have masses similar to Earth and their temperatures could be mild enough to sustain liquid water on their surfaces. Observations were carried out with the CARMENES instrument in Calar Alto (Spain), as well as several other smaller complementary facilities, including IEEC’s Telescopi Joan Oró, at the Montsec Astronomical Observatory. The scientific paper is led by researchers at the University of Göttingen and appears in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

At a distance of only 12.5 light years, Teegarden’s Star is the 24th nearest star system to ours, and one of the smallest red dwarf stars known. Despite its proximity and due to its faintness, Teegarden’s Star was only identified in 2003.

“We have been observing this star with the CARMENES instrument since the beginning of the survey three years ago to measure its motion very precisely” explains Dr. Mathias Zechmeister, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Göttingen (Germany), and lead author of the publication.

The method used to detect the planets was the so-called Doppler technique. A planet orbiting a star causes a small back-and-forth reflex motion. This motion induces a very subtle Doppler effect on the star light, which is then measured down to a precision of 1 meter per second with CARMENES, the equivalent of walking speed, or 3.6 km/h. Small planets produce a small signal, but their signals are easier to detect on small red dwarfs like Teegarden’s Star rather than on a star like the Sun because the reflex motion is larger and it repeats more often.

“CARMENES is the first high-precision spectrometer in operation specifically designed to find planets using this ‘red dwarf advantage’,” adds Mathias Zechmeister. Teegarden’s temperature is only 2600ºC (compared to the 5500ºC of the Sun), it is 1500 times fainter and ten times less massive than our Sun. As a result, it radiates most of its energy in the red and infrared which made it an ideal target for the CARMENES survey.

The Doppler measurements of Teegarden’s Star showed the presence of at least two signals, now reported as the two new exoplanets, Teegarden’s Star b and c. Obtaining a robust detection with a new instrument required the collection of over 200 measurements. Based on the measured motion, the researchers can deduce that Teegarden’s Star b has a mass similar to that of the Earth, it orbits the star every 4.9 days at about 2,5% the Earth-Sun distance. Teegarden’s Star c is also similar to the Earth in terms of mass, completes its orbit in 11.4 days and is located at 4,5% the Earth-Sun distance. Since Teegarden’s Star radiates much less energy than our Sun, the temperatures on these planets should be mild and they could, in principle, hold liquid water on their surfaces, especially the outer one, Teegarden’s Star c. This kind of planets is the primary target for future searches for life beyond our Solar System.

A major milestone of the CARMENES project
As opposed to previous CARMENES discoveries that combined measurements from several instruments, such as Barnard’s star b, all high-precision Doppler measurements and follow-up observations used for this finding have been obtained by the CARMENES consortium. Several groups within the consortium used smaller telescopes to monitor changes in the brightness of the star to rule out alternative explanations such as star spots or other surface features. The follow-up activities included intensive photometric campaigns at the 1.23-m Calar Alto Telescope/CSIC, the Sierra Nevada Observatory/IAA-CSIC and the Telescopi Joan Oró-Montsec/IEEC, among others.

“This discovery is a great success for the CARMENES project, which was specifically designed to search for planets around the least massive stars“, says Dr. Ignasi Ribas, a researcher from IEEC at ICE/CSIC, and project scientist of CARMENES. The new planets are number ten and eleven in the CARMENES exoplanet discovery tally, and the search continues.

“Both planets may be part of a larger system,'' says Prof. Stefan Dreizler from University of Goettingen and co-author of the study. “Very low-mass stars seem to have densely populated planetary systems“ More data may reveal an even richer system.

“The unique feature of our instrument, which allows it to observe simultaneously in the visible and near infrared, is fundamental to confirm the nature of the signals detected with both channels as due to the presence of planets in orbit, since in this case, the amplitude of the signal does not depend on the channel with which it is measured, contrary to what happens when the signal is due to the star’s intrinsic variability,” points out Dr. Pedro Amado from IAA/CSIC, and deputy principal investigator of CARMENES.

More information
The CARMENES (Calar Alto high-Resolution search for M dwarfs with Exoearths with Near-infrared and optical Échelle Spectrographs) instrument is a high-resolution optical and near-infrared spectrograph built in collaboration by 11 Spanish and German research institutions, and it is operated by the Calar Alto observatory (Spain). CARMENES has been working non-stop since 2016.
 
Contacts
IEEC Public Information Office
Barcelona, Spain
Rosa Rodríguez Gasén
E-mail: comunicacio@ieec.cat
 
Main Scientist at IEEC
Barcelona, Spain
Ignasi Ribas
Institute of Space Science (ICE-CSIC)
Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC)
E-mail: iribas@ice.cat

This Press Release is an adaptation of the PR elaborated by IEEC Comunication Department
14
May 2019

Sant Cugat Forum on Astrophysics: Workshop on Polarization in Protoplanetary Disks and Jets


Workshop on Polarization in Protoplanetary Disks and Jets. Sant Cugat del Vallès, May 20-24, 2019
Workshop on Polarization in Protolanetary Disks and Jets
The study of the formation and evolution of protoplanetary disks around young stars saw a tremendous boost by the advent of ALMA and the development of new capabilities in the infrared and radio telescopes, thanks to the huge combined improvement in sensitivity, angular resolution, and image fidelity. However, the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of disks around young stars is still a poorly understood topic. Are protoplanetary disks and protostellar jets magnetized? Polarimetric observations are the primary means to obtain information regarding the magnetic fields. However, this technique can be hampered by other polarization mechanisms such as dust self-scattering, radiation alignment of aspherical grains or anisotropic resonant scattering of linear polarization of molecular lines. The main goal of this focused meeting is to bring together observers and theoreticians interested in the study of magnetic fields in protoplanetary disks and protostellar jets as well as polarization mechanisms to review the current state of the research and explore effective means to probe magnetic fields.
03
May 2019

Modified Gravity and Cosmology Workshop - 8-10 May 2019, Barcelona, Spain


Modified Gravity and Cosmology Workhop
Modified Gravity and Cosmology Workhop 8-10 May 2019, Barcelona, Spain
The Workshop is open to topics related to cosmology and theoretical physics, including:
  • Cosmological models: modified gravities, f(R) theories, and the like, non-local models.
  • Possibility of Observing Modified Gravity in an Astrophysical Level (Neutron Stars)
  • Quantum Gravity
  • Quantum Cosmology and Loop Quantum Cosmology
  • Quantum vacuum and the Casimir Effect
  • The cosmological constant problem.
  • Mathematical physics techniques for quantum vacuum studies

 
22
April 2019

PHAROS Conference 2019: the multi-messenger physics and astrophysics of neutron stars


Pharos Conference 2019 in Platja d'Aro (Girona, Spain) in April 23-26.
Pharos Conference 2019 in Platja d'Aro (Girona, Spain) in April 22-26. More information in the web page of the meeting.
15
April 2019

Primordial comet fragment discovered inside meteorite gives clues to the origin of the Solar System


Primordial comet fragment discovered inside meteorite gives clues to the origin of the Solar System
Section of the carbonaceous chondrite LaPaz 02342 and extension of the cometary dust speck. Credit: IEEC-CSIC/Carnegie Institution for Science.
ICE, CSIC / IEEC / Carnegie Institution for Science
Using the only international repository of NASA’s Antarctic meteorites based in Spain, at ICE, a study co-led by IEEC– CSIC has revealed a comet fragment inside the carbonaceous chondrite meteorite LaPaz 02342

An international team including researchers from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC) has discovered a pristine comet fragment inside a meteorite. This finding demonstrates that the class of meteorites known as carbonaceous chondrites contains clues to the composition of more fragile objects that formed in regions distant from the Sun, more than 4,560 million years ago. The results are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

After a three-year study of the carbonaceous chondrite LaPaz 02342, from NASA's Antarctic collection, researchers have come to the conclusion that the comet fragment, of about one hundred microns, is composed of an unusual mixture of organic materials, amorphous and crystalline silicates, sodium sulphates, sulphides, and presolar grains; the latter synthesised in stars that enriched the original materials of our Solar System. Among other instruments, a secondary ion mass spectrometer (nano-SIMS) of the Carnegie Institution for Science (USA) has been used for its analysis, which allows studying at a nanometric scale the composition of the meteorite at an isotopic and elemental level.

"This fragment, technically known as xenolith, has unusual characteristics that we think were produced from the incorporation of primitive materials embedded in ice", says IEEC– CSIC researcher Josep Maria Trigo-Rodríguez, who works at ICE and co-leads the study.

"Many objects in the Solar System have a very different composition than the meteorites available in terrestrial collections. Carbonaceous chondrites, such as LaPaz 02342, constitute a fossil legacy of the creation of the planetesimals in their interior and are capable of preserving unique samples of other objects much richer in organic and volatile matter, known as comets", explains Trigo-Rodríguez.

As the researcher points out: "The asteroid progenitor of this carbonaceous chondrite underwent aqueous alteration[1], but fortunately, it was neither extensive nor homogeneous. This led to the preservation of the unique properties of this cometary dust speck, among which the richness in tiny mineral grains formed in stars of the same environment in which the Sun was born.” The study concludes that this tiny fragment incorporated not only ice but also materials from the interstellar medium. The fragment was also irradiated by high-energy cosmic rays, a process in which tiny glasses known as GEMS (Glass with Embedded Metal and Sulfides) were created.

The most primitive meteorites
Carbonaceous chondrites come from transitional bodies, a category falling between asteroids and comets. Given their sizes typically smaller than a few hundred kilometres, such bodies never melted or suffered internal chemical differentiation as occurred to the planets. The materials that make up these objects are usually fragile and do not usually survive the transit of tens of millions of years that transport them from their parent bodies to the Earth orbit. In case they do, they fragment and volatilise when entering into the atmosphere at hypersonic velocities. Precisely because of this reason, ultracarbonaceous materials such as those discovered are extremely rare and have only been identified as micrometeorites.

The search for primordial materials among the most primitive meteorites can be carried out at ICE, given that it is the only international repository of NASA’s Antarctic meteorites in Spain. The samples studied by the IEEC–CSIC scientific team come from NASA's Johnson Space Center. Hence, researchers have access to unique specimens, being able to select those that have not undergone thermal metamorphism[2] or extreme aqueous alteration.

This discovery is part of the National Astronomy and Astrophysics Plan project (AYA- 2015-67175-P) for the study of primitive materials preserved in meteorites led by Josep M. Trigo-Rodríguez. Carles E. Moyano-Cambero and Safoura Tanbakouei, from IEEC at ICE (CSIC), have also participated. The international cooperation has been led by Larry Nittler from the Carnegie Institution for Science, in collaboration with his colleagues Conel Alexander and Jemma Davidson, as well as Rhonda Stroud and Bradley De Gregorio of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

Notes
[1] The change in the composition of a rock, as a response to interactions with water- bearing ices, liquids, and vapors by chemical weathering.
[2] A type of metamorphism resulting in a chemical reconstitution controlled by a temperature increase.

Links
- IEEC
- ICE
- CSIC

More information
This research is presented in a paper entitled “A cometary building block in a primitive asteroidal meteorite", by Nittler L.R. et al., to appear in the journal Nature Astronomy on 15 April 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 Public Information Office
Barcelona, Spain

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

Scientist at IEEC-ICE/CSIC
Barcelona, Spain

Josep Maria Trigo Rodríguez
Institute of Space Science (CSIC)
E-mail: trigo@ice.csic.es

Press Release eleborated by the IEEC Public Information Office.
15
March 2019

Dark Energy Survey Workshop Meeting in Barcelona


Workshop for the cosmological analysis of DES 3 yrs. data organised by ICE and IFAE
DESY3KP
A focused workshop of the DES collaboration will be hosted jointly by the Institute of Space Science (IEEC-CSIC) and the
Institute for High Enery Physics (IFAE) from March 25th to 29th, 2019. This meeting, gathering around 50 scientist, will 
concentrate on the cosmological analysis of the first three years of DES data. 
14
March 2019

2nd Announcement: 3rd ICE Summer School -- 1st IEEE GRSS Instrumentation and Future Technologies Remote Sensing Summer School (IFT-R3S)


2nd Announcement: 3rd ICE Summer School, 1st IEEE GRSS Instrumentation and Future Technologies Remote Sensing Summer School (IFT-R3S)
Poster of the IFT-R3S
ICE-CSIC/IEEC
Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC)
3rd Institute of Space Sciences Summer School and 
1st IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing society (GRSS) Instrumentation and Future Technologies (IFT) 

Remote Sensing Summer School (IFT-R3S)
Bellaterra (Barcelona) - 1-5 July 2019
  The Institute of Space Sciences (Institut de Ciències de l’Espai - ICE) is organizing its 3rd Institute of Space Sciences Summer School, which in this edition is linked to the 1st IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing society (GRSS) Instrumentation and Future Technologies (IFT) Remote Sensing Summer School (IFT-R3S).

The objective of the first Summer School on Instrumentation and Future Technologies for Remote Sensing is to promote future research in remote sensing, to connect future PhD students to research topics under the IEEE GRSS IFT Technical Committee, and to highlight the educational activities of the GRSS society. This IFT-R3S is meant to be the first of an itinerant series (annual or biannual) of IFT-R3S editions, moving to different towns and continents and hosted by other Instrumentation and Future Technologies Technical Committee (IFT-TC) groups.

The topics of this edition are:
  • SAR principles, modes of operation, spaceborne instrument, processing, interferometric SAR, bi-static SAR,
  • Reflectometry using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and other Sources of OPportunity (SoOP),
  • Lidar principles, Lidar applications, instruments, and processing techniques.

Information and application forms can be found at: http://www.ice.csic.es/summer2019

APLICATIONS are open since February 4th, 2019 and will close on April 26th, 2019. Acceptance of participants will be announced on April 30th, 2019. The school fees are 50 e for Master and PhD
students, and 100 e for young professionals.

A number of partial and full studentships will be available.

Additional information can be requested to: summer2019@ice.csic.es

Confirmed Lecturers and Topics

- OPENING SESSION
– The IEEE and GRSS societies, early career perspective: Prof. Adriano Camps, Past President IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing society (GRSS), Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya
(UPC), Spain
– Relevance and Impact of Remote Sensing into NOAA products: Dr. Lı́dia Cucurull, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA
– Overview of Radar Remote Sensing Techniques: Dr. Scott Hensley, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CA, USA

- SAR
– SAR principles, operation modes, spaceborne SAR instruments: Dr. Marwan Younis, DLR, Germany
– SAR processing: Dr. Scott Hensley, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CA, USA
– SAR interferometry, Bi-static SAR: Dr. Pau Prats, DLR, Germany

- REMOTE SENSING WITH GNSS AND SoOP
– GNS Reflectometry and Radio Occultation: Dr. Estel Cardellach, Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC), Spain
– Reflectometry with other Sources of OPportunity (SoOP): Dr. Rashmi Shah, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CA, USA
– GNSS-R and SoOP-R instruments: Dr. Serni Ribó, Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC), Spain

- LIDAR
– Lidar principles: Prof. Adolfo Comerón, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain
– Lidar applications: Dr. Upendra N. Singh, Chair IEEE GRSS Instrumentation and Future Technologies Technical Committee (IFT), NASA/Langley Research Center, VA, USA
– Lidar Instruments and processing techniques: Prof. Alex Papayannis, President ICLAS, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece

- CLOSING REMARKS
– IEEE Young Professionals and Inspire, Develop, Empower, Advance (IDEA) activities: Dr. Shawn C. Kefauver, IEEE GRSS IDEA committee, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
– School closure: Dr. Upendra Singh, Chair IEEE GRSS Instrumentation and Future Technologies Technical Committee (IFT), NASA/Langley Research Center, VA, USA

Organizing Committee

- General chair: Dr. Cardellach, Estel (ICE-CSIC & IEEC)
- Logistics and Finance: Mrs. Cortés, Noemí (ICE-CSIC & IEEC)
- Technical and educational contents – SAR: Dr. Younis, Marwan (DLR)
- Technical and educational contents – GNSS/SoOP: Dr. Shah, Rashmi (NASA/JPL)
- Technical and educational contents – Lidar: Dr. Tzeremes, Georgios (ESA/ESTEC)
- Link to GRSS: Dr. Singh, Upendra N. (NASA/LRC)
- GRSS communications POC: Dr. Burgin, Mariko (NASA/JPL)

Studentships

• CSIC-IEEC will provide a limited number of studentships to cover part or full costs of accommodation and/or short-distance travel.
• IEEE GRSS will provide a limited number of studentships to cover part of the costs of long-distance travel.
• Please note that students being granted by IEEE GRSS must be member of the IEEE at the time of accepting the studentship.
• Granted studentships will be communicated together with the letter of acceptance (end of April).
         
08
March 2019

Medal For Achievments of Tomsk Regional Government is awarded to Prof.S.D. Odintsov


Medal For Achievments of Tomsk Regional Government is awarded to Prof.S.D. Odintsov
Tomsk Regional Government (Russia) awarded Prof.S.D. Odintsov by the medal For Achievments 
01
March 2019

Honorary Professorship Award of Tomsk State Pedagogical University to Prof.S.D.Odintsov


Honorary Professorship Award of Tomsk State Pedagogical University in relation with his 60 years birthday, 28 February 2019
Prof.S.D. Odintsov is awarded by Honorary Professorship of Tomsk State Pedagogical University, Tomsk in relation with his 60 years birthday
14
February 2019

Carbonaceous chondrites provide clues about the delivery of water to Earth


Carbonaceous chondrites provide clues about the delivery of water to Earth
Sample collecting of meteorites in the Antarctica
Katherine Joy / ANSMET
  • A study led by researchers of Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC) and Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC)  discovers how these meteorites retained water and organic material inside them before reaching our planet
  • Researchers suggest that billions of tons of carbonaceous chondrites reached Earth about 3.800 millions of years ago
An international study led by researchers from the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC)and the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC) has discovered that carbonaceous chondrites, a class of meteorites, incorporated hydrated minerals along with organic material from the protoplanetary disk before the formation of planets. Scientists from the study published in the journal Space Science Reviews note that these meteorites played “an important role in the primordial Earth’s water enrichment” because they facilitated the transportation of volatile elements that were accumulated on the external regions of the so-called protoplanetary disk from which planets were formed more than 4.500 millions of years ago. Earth was formed in an environment close to the Sun, very much reduced due to the relative lack of oxygen.

Carbonaceous chondrites come from asteroidal bodies that due to their size, generally inferior to hundred kilometres, never melted, and neither suffered internal chemical differentiation as planets did. Thus, the study gives clues about the initial accretion phases of the first bodies that formed the planets. The meteorites analysed in this work belong to the NASA’s Antartic collection, whose CSIC’s Institute of Space Sciences is the only repository Spanish centre, and the meteorites that fell in Murchison (Australia) in 1969 and in Renazzo (Italy) in 1824. Representative samples of the two more-hydrated types of carbonaceous chondrites (CM and CR groups) have been studied.

“Chondrites constitute a fossil legacy of the creation of the planetesimals, which provide information about the accretion of the first building blocks of planets, and also about everything that happened inside them shortly after their formation. In this study, we want to go a step further to identify processes of water incorporation befallen in the same protoplanetary disk”, explains CSIC researcher Josep M. Trigo-Rodríguez, who works at the Institute of Space Sciences and has led the study.

ICE/IEEC researcher adds: “There is a great debate about the origin of water in Earth and our study proves that carbonaceous chondrites were able to transport water in a very efficient way in their matrices. That water seems to come from two types of objects formed at different distances from the Sun: hydrated asteroids and comets. Obviously, in order to know the origin of water in Earth, we must study not only the comets but also the carbonaceous chondrites that come from an asteroid population called transitional. These bodies were far more numerous 4.000 millions of years ago, but suffered a gravitational destabilisation during Jupiter and Saturn’s migration to its current location. Those that did not end being swallowed by Jupiter and Saturn were rejected towards the terrestrial planets and to other regions of the Solar System, transporting water and organic material inside them”, explains the researcher.

The study also points at the direct implications for the origin of water in Earth. “Our calculations indicate that, coinciding with the so-called ‘Heavy Bombardment’ produced by the gravitational destabilisation of the main asteroid belt, billions of tons of carbonaceous chondrites reached Earth about 3.800 millions of years ago. And they did it transporting in their fine matrices water and other volatile elements in form of hydrated minerals”, says Trigo.

In this study have participated Safoura Tanbakouei and Victoria Cabedo from the Institute of Space Sciences; Albert Rimola from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; and Martin Lee from the University of Glasgow (Scotland).

Aims for future missions
Currently, there are two ongoing missions for sample return from primitive asteroids: NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex and JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Hayabusa 2. The results from the carbonaceous chondrites’ analysis at a micro- and nanoscale that are published in this new study reveal the importance of the sample-return missions, that can bring to Earth rocks less altered by collisions than the meteorites that land on the terrestrial surface.
 
Trigo-Rodríguez J.M., Rimola A., Tanbakouei, S., Cabedo V. y Lee M.R. Accretion of water in carbonaceous chondrites: current evidence and implications for the delivery of water to early Earth. Space Science Reviews. DOI: 10.1007/s11214-019-0583-0.

The paper can be found in  Arxiv.

Press Release adapted from the PR generated by the Communication Department of CSIC
Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC)

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Affiliated with the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya

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