News
 
IEEC
29/10/2015
L’Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec observarà l’objecte potencialment perillós que passarà dissabte a prop de la Terra [NOT TRANSLATED]
L’Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec (OAdM) de l’IEEC ja està preparat per observar amb el seu telescopi robòtic Joan Oró (TJO) l’objecte potencialment perillós 2015 TB145, que tindrà el seu moment de màxima aproximació a la Terra el proper dissabte 31 d’octubre a les 18:05 (hora continental europea). Aquest objecte, l’existència del qual es desconeixia fins fa només uns dies, ha despertat un enorme interès científic. Els experts creuen que podria tractar-se d’un cometa extint, i l’expectació per poder observar-lo és màxima. Es creu que els cometes, en les seves fases finals, es fragmenten i generen objectes que deixen de tenir activitat cometària i es comporten com asteroides.
IEEC
23/10/2015
Jordi Torra, nou director de l’Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC) [NOT TRANSLATED]
Jordi Torra és el nou director de l’Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), càrrec que ocupa des del passat mes de juliol.
IEEC
23/10/2015
Jordi Torra, new director of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC)
Jordi Torra is the new director of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), since last July. He is Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Barcelona, where he gained his doctorate in Physics in 1984. Doctor Torra is a member of the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB), one of the research centers that form the IEEC. He has been the principal researcher in several scientific projects and has published over a hundred papers. He currently leads the Spanish group taking part in the ESA’s Gaia mission.
Other
23/09/2015
ECLIPSI TOTAL DE LLUNA, 28 de setembre de 2015 [NOT TRANSLATED]
Retransmissió en directe a http://lluna2015.ub.edu/
IEEC
21/04/2015
Mapping the cosmos: Dark Energy Survey creates detailed guide to spotting dark matter
- Analysis will help scientists understand the role that dark matter plays in galaxy formation.
IEEC
13/04/2015
I Astronomy Festival of Montseny
On 23 and 24 May there is an opportunity for all astronomy fans to gather together with the celebration of the First Astronomy Festival of Montseny, dedicated this year to honor the 25 years of the Hubble Space Telescope , author from its advantageous point in space of some of the most impressive images we have seen of our Universe.
IEEC
09/04/2015
Observed the formation of a stellar jet in real time
- The observation over eighteen years shows the gestation of the ejection of matter through a bipolar jet in the early life of a massive star.
IEEC
09/04/2015
IEEC researchers determine the origin of Annama meteorite
An international team led by the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC-IEEC) has determined the orbit of Annama, a new characterized meteorite from a fireball occurred on April 19th 2014 at the Kola Peninsula (Russia). Researchers highlight the importance of this finding because only the orbit of another 22 meteorites is known so far.
IEEC
19/03/2015
Solar Eclipse Live
On the occasion of the solar eclipse of March 20, IEEC will participate in various initiatives to bring the astronomical phenomenon to society.
IEEC
04/03/2015
Dark matter could be a Sun ingredient
• Scientists propose a theoretical solution to the ‘problem of solar composition’
IEEC
19/02/2015
Discovery of lithium in a stellar explosion
- Nature publishes new observational findings today that confirm a theory by scientists from Institut de Ciències de l’Espai (CSIC-IEEC).
IEEC
06/11/2014
Black hole gamma-ray lightning
The MAGIC telescopes at La Palma have recorded the fastest gamma-ray flares seen to date, produced in the vicinity of a super-massive black hole. The scientists explain this phenomenon by a mechanism similar to that producing lightning in a storm. This result, with an important Spanish contribution, is published today in Science. In the night from 12 to 13 November 2012, the MAGIC gamma-ray telescopes, in the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, were observing the Perseus cluster of galaxies (at a distance of about 260 million light-years) when they detected this extraordinary phenomenon coming from one of the galaxies in the cluster, known as IC310. As many other galaxies, IC310 hosts in its center a super-massive black hole of several million times the mass of the Sun, which sporadically produces intense gamma-ray flares. On this occasion, however, the scientists were astonished by the brevity of the flares, lasting only for a few minutes. “Relativity tells us that no object can emit for a time shorter than it takes light to cross it. We know that the black hole in IC310 has a size of about 20 light-minutes, approximately three times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. This means that the black hole cannot produce a flare shorter than 20 minutes”, says Julian Sitarek, a Juan de la Cierva researcher at IFAE (Barcelona), and one of the three leading scientists of this work. However, the flares observed in IC310 lasted for less than 5 minutes. The scientists of the MAGIC Collaboration propose a new mechanism, according to which this “gamma-ray storm” is produced in the vacuum regions created close to the black hole magnetic poles. Very intense electric fields appear in these regions, and are destroyed when they are filled again with charged particles. These particles are accelerated up to close the speed of light, subsequently transferring part of their energy to the photons they find in their way, thus converting them into gamma rays. The time needed for the light to cross one of these vacuum regions is of a few minutes, in agreement with the observations of IC310. “It is similar to what happens in an electric storm”, explains Oscar Blanch, Ramón y Cajal researcher at IFAE, and Co-Spokesman of the MAGIC Collaboration. “The potential difference is so large that it ends up discharging into a lightning”. In this case, the discharge reaches the highest energies observed in nature, and produces gamma rays. The black hole appears to be immersed in a storm of colossal proportions. Up until now, the gamma ray emissions from galaxies such as IC310 were believed to originate in the particle jets produced by the black holes. These jets are detected in many galaxies, and they expand for hundreds of thousands light-years. When a jet points directly towards the Earth, a relativistic effect, called “apparent superluminous motion”, is produced, due to the similar speeds at which the emitter (jet particles) and the emission (the gamma rays) travel toward us. As a result, the measured intensity of the gamma-ray emission is higher, and its variability faster. However, this explication does not apply to the case of IC310, as its jets do not point at us. The gamma rays must be created practically on the black hole itself. MAGIC is the present of a young yet fruitful field of science known as Ground-based Gamma-ray Astronomy. Its first steps at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias trace back to the 1980s, with the HEGRA telescopes. The imminent future of the field is the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), to be formed of about 100 telescopes at two observatories (in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres). The Spanish groups of the MAGIC Collaboration have presented a candidacy to build the CTA-North observatory at Roque de los Muchachos or at Teide. This is the best opportunity for Spain to host one of the major global scientific installations that will mark the progress of Astronomy in the years to come. MAGIC consists of two, 17-m diameter reflective telescopes, built and operated by an international collaboration of 160 scientists from Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Finland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Japan and India. MAGIC is celebrating its tenth anniversary with its fifth scientific publication in Science Magazine. Major contributions of the Spanish groups to the construction of MAGIC include the original camera of one of the telescopes, most of the electronics and the data center. The success of the experiment has been possible thanks to the quality of the sky at La Palma. The Spanish institutes participating in the experiment are: Instituto de Física de Altas Energías (IFAE, Barcelona), Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Universidad de Barcelona, Instituto de Ciencias del Espacio (CSIC, Barcelona), Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC, La Laguna), Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT, Madrid). Further information on MAGIC: https://wwwmagic.mpp.mpg.de/
IEEC
06/11/2014
A Black hole gamma-ray lightning was recorded in The Canary Islands
The scientists explain this phenomenon by a mechanism similar to that producing lightning in a stor
IEEC
08/09/2014
Un superbólido cruza el cielo de Catalunya [NOT TRANSLATED]
M20140907_045647_MasLaRoca_W(1)
IEEC
04/09/2014
INTEGRAL catches dead star exploding in a blaze of glory
27 August 2014 by ESA Astronomers using ESA's INTEGRAL gamma-ray observatory have demonstrated beyond doubt that dead stars known as white dwarfs can reignite and explode as supernovae The finding came after the unique signature of gamma rays from the radioactive elements created in one of these explosions was captured for the first time. The explosions in question are known as Type Ia supernovae, long suspected to be the result of a white dwarf star blowing up because of a disruptive interaction with a companion star. However, astronomers have lacked definitive evidence that a white dwarf was involved until now. The 'smoking gun' in this case was evidence for radioactive nuclei being created by fusion during the thermonuclear explosion of the white dwarf star. "INTEGRAL has all the capabilities to detect the signature of this fusion, but we had to wait for more than ten years for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch a nearby supernova," says Eugene Churazov, from the Space Research Institute (IKI) in Moscow, Russia and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics,in Garching, Germany. Although Type Ia supernovae are expected to occur frequently across the Universe they are rare occurrences in any one galaxy, with typical rates of one every few hundred years. INTEGRAL's chance came on 21 January 2014, when students at the University College London's teaching observatory at Mill Hill, UK detected a type Ia supernova, later named SN2014J, in the nearby galaxy M82. According to the theory of such explosions, the carbon and oxygen found in a white dwarf should be fused into radioactive nickel during the explosion. This nickel should then quickly decay into radioactive cobalt, which would itself subsequently decay, on a somewhat longer timescale, into stable iron. Because of its proximity – at a distance of about 11.5 million light-years from Earth, SN2014J is the closest of its type to be detected in decades – INTEGRAL stood a good chance of seeing the gamma rays produced by the decay. Within one week of the initial discovery, an observing plan to use INTEGRAL had been drawn-up and approved. Using INTEGRAL to study the aftermath of the supernova explosion, scientists looked for the signature of cobalt decay – and they found it, in exactly the quantities that the models predicted. "The consistency of the spectra, obtained by INTEGRAL 50 days after the explosion, with that expected from cobalt decay in the expanding debris of the white dwarf was excellent," says Churazov, who is lead author of a paper describing this study and reported in the journal Nature. With that confirmation in hand, other astronomers could begin to look into the details of the process. In particular, how the white dwarf is detonated in the first place. White dwarfs are inert stars that contain up to 1.4 times the mass of the Sun squeezed into a volume about the same size as the Earth. Being inert, they can't simply blow themselves up. Instead, astronomers believe that they leech matter from a companion star, which builds up on the surface until a critical total mass is reached. At that point, the pressure in the heart of the white dwarf triggers a catastrophic thermonuclear detonation. Early INTEGRAL observations of SN2014J tell a somewhat different story, and have been the focus of a separate study, reported online in Science Express by Roland Diehl from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Germany, and colleagues. Diehl and his colleagues detected gamma rays from the decay of radioactive nickel just 15 days after the explosion. This was unexpected, because during the early phase of a Type Ia supernova, the explosion debris is thought to be so dense that the gamma rays from the nickel decay should be trapped inside. "We were puzzled by this surprising signal, and some from the group even thought it must be wrong," says Diehl. "We had long and ultimately very fruitful discussions about what might explain these data." A careful examination of the theory showed that the signal would have been hidden only if the explosion had begun in the heart of the white dwarf. Instead, Diehl and colleagues think that what they are seeing is evidence for a belt of gas from the companion star that must have built up around the equator of the white dwarf. This outer layer detonated, forming the observed nickel and then triggering the internal explosion that became the supernova. "Regardless of the fine details of how these supernovae are triggered, INTEGRAL has proved beyond doubt that a white dwarf is involved in these stellar cataclysms," says Erik Kuulkers, ESA's INTEGRAL Project Scientist. "This clearly demonstrates that even after almost twelve years in operation, INTEGRAL is still playing a crucial role in unraveling some of the mysteries of the high-energy Universe." Notes for editors "56Co gamma-ray emission lines from the type Ia supernova SN2014J" by E. Churazov et al., is published in the 28 August 2014 issue of Nature; DOI: 10.1038/nature13672 "Early 56Ni decay ? rays from SN2014J suggest an unusual explosion" by R. Diehl et al., appeared online in Science Express on 31 July 2014; DOI: 10.1126/science.1254738 Some of the observations of SN2014J were obtained as part of an INTEGRAL Target of Opportunity programme led by Principal Investigator Jordi Isern (ICE-CSIC/IEEC, Spain). The INTEGRAL Project Scientist, Erik Kuulkers, made additional observing time available, on request of the INTEGRAL supernova community, to maximise the scientific return. This was supplemented by a contribution from the Russian guaranteed time on the recommendation of the Russian INTEGRAL Advisory Committee. Type Ia supernovae are particularly important because they are used to gauge distances across much of the visible Universe. In the 1990s, their study led to the discovery of the cosmic acceleration that is now thought to be powered by a mysterious form of energy called 'dark energy'. The Nobel Prize for Physics ESA Science & Technology:INTEGRAL catches dead star ex... http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/printfriendly.cfm?fobje... 2 in 2011 was awarded to Saul Perlmutter, Adam Riess, and Brian Schmidt for their role in the discovery of dark energy. The International Gamma-ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL) was launched on 17 October 2002. It is an ESA project with the instruments and a science data centre funded by ESA Member States (especially the Principal Investigator countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland), and with the participation of Russia and the USA. The mission is dedicated to the fine spectroscopy (E/?E = 500) and fine imaging (angular resolution: 12 arcmin FWHM) of celestial gamma-ray sources in the energy range 15 keV to 10 MeV with concurrent source monitoring in the X-ray (4-35 keV) and optical (V-band, 550 nm) wavelengths. Contacts Markus Bauer ESA Science and Robotic Exploration Communication Officer Email: markus.bauer esa.int Phone: +31-71-565-6799 Mobile: +31-61-594-3-954 Eugene Churazov Space Research Institute (IKI), Moscow, Russia Email: churazov hea.iki.rssi.ru Phone: +7-495-3333377 and Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Germany Email: churazov mpa-garching.mpg.de Phone: +49-89-30000-2219 Roland Diehl Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Germany Email: rod mpe.mpg.de Phone: +49-89-30000-3850 Erik Kuulkers INTEGRAL Project Scientist Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration European Space Agency Email: Erik.Kuulkers sciops.esa.int Phone: +34-91-8131-358 Images And Videos Supernova explosion (artist's impression) (http://sci.esa.int/jump.cfm?oid=54568) Supernova SN2014J in nearby galaxy M82 (http://sci.esa.int/jump.cfm?oid=54569) Related Publications Churazov et al. [2014] (http://sci.esa.int/jump.cfm?oid=54571) Diehl et al. [2014] (http://sci.esa.int/jump.cfm?oid=54570)
Generalitat de CatalunyaUniversitat de BarcelonaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaConsejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasCentres de Recerca de Catalunya