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Historical archive of remarkable news



December 2018

Remarkable News:
LIGO and Virgo collaborations announce four new gravitational-waves detection

November 2018

Remarkable News:
"Servipartícules, a new outreach portal from ICCUB"

rolando-ligustri-46P 181128 FB 1543430132 CUT.jpg
Comet 46P/Wirtanen
visible with the naked eye in December 16

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"La 23a setmana de la ciència" in the Institute of Cosmos Sciences(06/11/2018)

October 2018

FFigueras USostenible.jpg
Remarkable News:
F. Figueras participates in the 9th program of «Universo sostenible» TVE

Remarkable News:
Inauguration of the first telescope of a Txerenkov Telescope Array

September 2018

Remarkable news:
Gaia detects a shake in the Milky Way (19/09/2018)

Remarkable news:
RedIRIS collaborates with Gaia and highlights the role of the ICCUB in the mission (18/08/2018)

Remarkable news:
Jordi Torra and Licia Verde awarded with the Narcis Monturiol medal for their scientific contributions (17/09/2018)

August 2018

Astronomy on the radio:
"Dos asteroides de grans dimensions creuaran dimecres l'òrbita de la Terra",
C. Jordi,
Catalunya Migdia, Catalunya Ràdio, (28/08/2018)

Astronomy on the radio:
"Gaia App",
F. Figueras
JELO en verano, Onda Cero, (19/08/2018)

Perseids2018 DouesAosta 1 EMasana.jpg }%
"Perseidas 2018"

Eclipsi2 ca.png
Astronomy in the press:
"L'aplicació "Eclipsi 2.0" recomanada la premsa"


July 2018

Astronomy in the press:
"Desmontando el 'hoax' marciano: Marte no se verá tan grande como la luna"
E. Masana
" El Periódico(30/07/2018)
"Diario Astronómico"

S F0A2800.R.jpg
Astronomy in the press:
"Do aliens feel the beat? Music sent into space for extraterrestrials to decode"

J. Portell
IT Iberia (10/07/2018)

Total Lunar Eclipse on July 27th

"Descobert un gran llac d'aigua líquida a Mart sota el gel del pol sud del planeta" (Catalan)
J.M. Carrasco
Catalunya Migdia, Catalunya Ràdio, (25/07/2018)

ICCUB is now part of the Virgo collaboration

MAGIC telescopes identify the origins of a cosmic neutrino

260 260 image 449.jpg
A superflare in Proxima Centauri conditions the habitability of the closest exoplanet to Earth

June 2018

carta2018 40N es.png
Astronomical agenda:
New ephemeris calendar and Visibility chard in the Astronomical agenda on Serviastro

"X. Luri, C. Jordi and the Gaia Mission on the RECERCAT"

Total Lunar Eclipse on July 27th

"En busca del número que explica el universo"
Miralda, J.; Luri, X.
La Vanguardia (09/06/2018)

Andreu Faro interview J.M. Carrasco on the mission Gaia

Universe themed night: "La vida a l'univers","Sónar Calling", "Cocoon" & "Terrícoles"

May 2018

"IV UB Science Festival, 2018",
Historical Building of the University of Barcelona

ICCUB researchers in Sonar 2018

April 2018

Univers-Gaia-Esa.jpg New Gaia Mission Catalogue, 25/04/2018

imgbf227db05ffead70ae82c1147bc50499.jpg Gaia: mil milions d'estrelles en moviment,04/2018
Ceremony for the publication of the Gaia's second catalogue at the UB .

February 2018

img6ae0f14894308710b79a7565011c45c7.jpg The detection of the signal of the universe's first stars, 28/02/2018,
La Vanguardia, comments by Jordi Miralda, ICREA researcher in the Institute of Cosmos Sciences, ICCUB [IEEC-UB], expert in cosmology.

img91358d8464352d02ddad9d146e416d82.jpg Activities ICCUB_FQA celebrating the International Day of women and girls in science , 11/02/2018

img06a88c5c1e24ba68d77f4e8677308006.jpg "Iluminando el lado oscuro del universo" the book written by Roberto Emparan, 02/02/2018
El descubrimiento de las ondas gravitatorias —el peculiar sonido de dos agujeros negros que chocan y se funden uno con otro— cambiará nuestra manera de imaginar el universo: a partir de ahora escucharemos su banda sonora.
¿Qué significa este hallazgo histórico, y cómo hemos llegado hasta él?
Este es el relato de una fascinante odisea que comenzó hace más de cien años con un joven llamado Albert Einstein. Roberto Emparán, uno de nuestros físicos más reconocidos internacionalmente en el campo de la gravedad, los agujeros negros y la teoría de supercuerdas, ha compuesto una historia de ciencia en acción, que nos invita a recorrer en compañía de sus protagonistas, con sus defectos y sus emociones, en la búsqueda de respuestas a preguntas fundamentales.
Una guía de viaje accesible, estimulante y fiable hacia las sorprendentes ideas sobre el tiempo y el espacio que hace un siglo se imaginaron y hoy por fin hemos conseguido demostrar.
Preparémonos para iluminar el lado oscuro del universo y disfrutar así de la extraordinaria música de la oscuridad cósmica.

January 2018

img495d11a92d10a8a115450c17478fbbbb.jpg Second Gaia Data Release will be on 25th April, 07/12/2017
The European Space Agency has just announced that the date of the publication of the Second Gaia Data Release (DR2) is scheduled for April 25th 2018


December 2017

img495d11a92d10a8a115450c17478fbbbb.jpg Second Gaia Data Release will be on 25th April, 07/12/2017
The European Space Agency has just announced that the date of the publication of the Second Gaia Data Release (DR2) is scheduled for April 25th 2018

Artist s impression of Gaia-300x234.jpg Gaia, one of the 5 ESA-led missions extended to 2020, 07/12/2017
Gaia is on of the five ESA-led missions extended to 2020. The lifetime of Gaia, ESA's billion star surveyor, was extended by eighteen months, from 25 July 2019 to 31 December 2020. This is the first time that Gaia, which was launched in 2013 and originally funded for a five-year mission, has been subject to the extension process.

November 2017

59821 Gaia selected asteroids 2014-16 565.jpg Selected asteroids detected by Gaia between August 2014 and May 2016, 30/11/2017
While scanning the sky, ESA's Gaia mission maps not only the stellar content of our Galaxy, but also the Solar System's asteroid population.
This visualisation shows the detection by Gaia of more than 13 000 asteroids as the spacecraft (represented by the pale blue dot) scanned the sky between August 2014 and May 2016. This is a subset of the total number of asteroids seen by Gaia – the sample shown here is of bright asteroids that have been detected more than ten times during the period. The corresponding data for the position on the sky for each detection of every asteroid – the epoch astrometry – will be included in Gaia's Data Release 2, the second intermediate data release from the mission, expected in April 2018.

a2017 u1 v2a.jpg An asteroid coming from a distant star is visiting the Solar System, 07/11/2017
The Solar System is home to a huge number of asteroids. Most of them lie between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The first asteroid was discovered in 1801; by 1900, nearly 500 were known, and modern techniques for surveying the skies have led to orbit determinations of hundreds of thousands of them. One of the telescopes that explores the sky taking frequent images over large areas and looking for streaks left by a moving asteroid is PANSTARRS 1, located in Hawaii. On October 20th, one of the many new asteroids that are discovered every day was detected by PANSTARRS, but this one showed a very peculiar behavior: as more observations were collected to determine an orbit, it became clear that it was moving much faster than any other known object in the Solar System. This meant that this new asteroid, designated as A/2017 U1, was not a Solar System object, but it had come from another star.

Octuber 2017

eso1733a.jpg First cosmic event observed in both gravitational waves and light, 16/10/2017
Astronomers from different collaborations announced on Monday 16 October the detection of two colliding neutron stars by the gravitational-wave observatories LIGO and Virgo and also by 70 other, more traditional, electromagnetic-wave observatories. This is the first time scientists have detected gravitational waves in addition to light from the same cosmic event, opening a new window in observational astronomy, the ‘multi-messenger’ astronomy.


màxim Cassini Spacecraft Makes Its Final Approach to Saturn , 15/09/2017
Cassini is ending its 13-year tour of the Saturn system with an intentional plunge into the planet to ensure Saturn's moons – in particular Enceladus, with its subsurface ocean and signs of hydrothermal activity – remain pristine for future exploration.

July 2017

màxim Distant Galaxies ‘Lift the Veil’ on the End of the Cosmic Dark Ages, 12/07/2017
National Optical Astronomy Observatory / Astrophysical Journal Letters

Astronomers studying the distant Universe have found that small star-forming galaxies were abundant when the Universe was only 800 million years old, a few percent of its present age. The results suggest that the earliest galaxies, which illuminated and ionized the Universe, formed at even earlier times.

màxim Odd planetary system around fast-spinning star doesn't quite fit existing models of planet formation, 12/07/2017
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy / Astronomy & Astrophysics

Astronomers have discovered a rare, warm, massive Jupiter-like planet orbiting a star that is rotating extremely quickly. The discovery raises puzzling questions about planet formation – neither the planet's comparatively small mass nor its large distance from its host star are expected according to current models.

màxim Big sunspot faces the Earth,, 11/07/2017
Five days after it first appeared, AR2665 has finally rotated into geoeffective position. AR2665 is by far the biggest sunspot of 2017, stretching more than 120,000 km from end to end. Moreover, it has an unstable 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class explosions.The huge sunspot is directly facing Earth.
Click to view a movie of the sunspot's progression from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

June 2017

màxim The latest asteroid discovered at Fabra Observatory is named after the UB professor Jorge Núñez,, 30/06/2017
The asteroid 1941 WA has been named (4298) Jorgenunez. This celestial body, one of the minor planets in the main asteroid belt of the Solar System –located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter-, is named after Jorge Núñez de Murga director of the Fabra Observatory astronomical observatory of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences of Barcelona (RACAB) and member of the ICCUB and the FQA department of the University of Barcelona.

màxim III International Conference of Light Pollution in Cellers, Lleida,, 30/06/2017
The 3rd International Conference of Light Pollution (LPTMM) has been held from June 27 to 30, 2017 in Cellers (Lleida). Eighty experts in Theory, Modelling and Measurements of light pollution from 20 countries around the world have participated. The conference has been organized by the Parc Astronòmic Montsec (PAM) Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Cégep de Sherbrooke in Quebec in Canada.

màxim brain helps Gaia catch speeding stars, 26/06/2017
With the help of software that mimics a human brain, ESA’s Gaia satellite spotted six stars zipping at high speed from the centre of our Galaxy to its outskirts. This could provide key information about some of the most obscure regions of the Milky Way.

màxim No Universe without Big Bang, 15/06/2017
According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the curvature of spacetime was infinite at the big bang. In fact, at this point all mathematical tools fail, and the theory breaks down. However, there remained the notion that perhaps the beginning of the universe could be treated in a simpler manner, and that the infinities of the big bang might be avoided. Now scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) in Potsdam and at the Perimeter Institute in Canada have been able to use better mathematical methods to show that these ideas cannot work. The big bang, in its complicated glory, retains all its mystery.

May 2017

màxim Discovery of a super-Earth near to the habitable zone of a cool star, 30/05/2017
An international team led by researchers from the IAC, using the radial velocity method, have discovered a possibly rocky planet at the edge of the habitable zone of a red dwarf star. Only a few dozen planets of this kind are known and its detection was made possible with the HARPS-N spectrograph on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma.

màxim Astronomers map the Universe with the brightest objects in the sky, 18/05/2017
Astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) have created the first map of the large-scale structure of the Universe based entirely on the positions of quasars. Quasars are the incredibly bright and distant points of light powered by supermassive black holes.

April 2017

màxim Will Earth-like planets be found to have Earth-like oceans?,, 21/04/2017
For a planetary surface to boast extensive areas of both land and water, a delicate balance must be struck between the volume of water it retains and the capacity of its oceanic basins. Each of these two quantities may vary substantially across the full spectrum of water-bearing worlds. Why the Earth’s values are so well balanced is an unresolved and long-standing conundrum. In a paper published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Ed. Oxford University Press) the author, Fergus Simpson of the Institute of Cosmos Science at the University of Barcelona, has constructed a statistical model – based on Bayesian probability – to predict the division between land and water on habitable exoplanets.

màxim Asteroid 2014 JO25 will fly near Earth,, 10/04/2017
Next 19 April asteroid 2014 JO25, discovered on 2014, with a diametre of 650 metres, will fly safely past Earth at a distance of about 4,6 times the distance from Earth to the moon. Although there is no possibility for the asteroid to collide with our planet, this will be a very close approach for an asteroid of this size.

February 2017

màxim Annular Eclipse of the Sun, 26/02/2017
In a narrow corridor cutting across the southern reaches of Chile and Argentina, and stretching across the Atlantic to Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia in Africa, the Moon crossed the sun dead-center. Yet it only covered 99% of the solar disk. ( A video illustration of the path of the eclipse)
Image taken by Enzo De Bernardini a Facundo, Chubut, Argentina.

màxim New data about two distant asteroids give a clue to the possible “Planet Nine”,, 22/02/2017
The dynamical properties of these asteroids, observed spectroscopiccally for the first time using the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, suggest a possible common origin and give a clue to the existence of a planet beyond Pluto, the so-called “Planet Nine”.

màxim New Light on Dark Matter Halos,, 14/02/2017
For the past twenty years observers have been trying to test the effects of the predicted dark matter halos on the bars in barred galaxies. The basic idea is that according to simulation models which include the halos, these should have acted as a gravitational brake and slowed down the rotation of the bars during the lifetimes of galaxy discs.

màxim Exhibitions to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11/02/2017

màxim "Mujeres con pasión por las estrellas", 11/02/2017
Cesca Figueras comments on the role of women in astronomy in the "ARA"

January 2017

màxim Waiting for the Solar Storm,l, 17/01/2017
Solar storms are now becoming a phenomenon of risk given the great social dependence of electricity and communications.

màxim New theory of the formatiopn of the Moon, 11/01/2017
A new theory has come out claiming that the origin for the Moon was a multiple-little-impact against the old theory of an only one giant-impact.

màxim Gaia tuns its eyes to asteroid hunting, 24/01/2017
Whilst best known for its surveys of the stars and mapping the Milky Way in three dimensions, ESA's Gaia has many more strings to its bow. Among them, its contribution to our understanding of the asteroids that litter the Solar System. Now, for the first time, Gaia is not only providing information crucial to understanding known asteroids, it has also started to look for new ones, previously unknown to astronomers.

màxim ALMA Starts Observing the Sun, 17/01/2017
New images taken with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have revealed otherwise invisible details of our Sun, including a new view of the dark, contorted centre of a sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth. The results are an important expansion of the range of observations that can be used to probe the physics of our nearest star.

màxim Hubble Detects 'Exocomets' Taking the Plunge into a Young Star,1 2/01/2017
Interstellar forecast for a nearby star: Raining comets! NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered comets plunging into the star HD 172555, which is a youthful 23 million years old and resides 95 light-years from Earth. The exocomets — comets outside our solar system — were not directly seen around the star, but their presence was inferred by detecting gas that is likely the vaporized remnants of their icy nuclei.

màxim VLT to Search for Planets in Alpha Centauri System, 09/01/2017
ESO has signed an agreement with the Breakthrough Initiatives to adapt the Very Large Telescope instrumentation in Chile to conduct a search for planets in the nearby star system Alpha Centauri. Such planets could be the targets for an eventual launch of miniature space probes by the Breakthrough Starshot initiative.


December 2016

màxim Spinning Black Hole Swallowing Star Explains Superluminous Event, 12/12/2016
An extraordinarily brilliant point of light seen in a distant galaxy, and dubbed ASASSN-15lh, was thought to be the brightest supernova ever seen. But new observations from several observatories, including ESO, have now cast doubt on this classification. Instead, a group of astronomers propose that the source was an even more extreme and very rare event — a rapidly spinning black hole ripping apart a passing star that came too close.

màxim Preventing solar storms, 12/12/2016
Blai Sanahuja, Full Professor at the University of Barcelona, expert on the Space Weather, speaks to Ara newspaper about this topic

màxim Dark Matter May be Smoother than Expected, 07/12/2016
Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought.


màxim MAGIC observes a gravitational lens at very high energies,11/11/2016
Scientists working with the Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov (MAGIC) observatory report the discovery of the most distant gamma-ray source ever observed at very high energies, thanks to the “replay” of an enormous flare by a galactic gravitational lens as foreseen by Einstein’s General Relativity.

màxim Sculpting Solar Systems, 09/11/2016
ESO’s SPHERE instrument reveals protoplanetary discs being shaped by newborn planets

màxim The IEEC celebrates its 20th anniversary with a lecture series "Descobrint l'Univers" at CosmoCaixa, 07/11/2016
The Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) turns 20. Two decades dedicated to know the universe. The four units that form the IEEC: The Institute of Cosmos (UB) Science, the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC), the Centre for Studies and Space Research (UAB) and the research group in Science and Technology of the Space (UPC) have participated during these 20 years in various space missions of different space agencies and have contributed significantly to the knowledge of astrophysics and astronomy.

màxim Gaia spies two temporarily magnified stars, 03/11/2016
While scanning the sky to measure the position of over one billion stars in our Galaxy, ESA's Gaia satellite has detected two rare instances of stars whose light was temporarily boosted by other celestial objects passing across their lines of sight. One of these stars is expected to brighten again soon. Gaia's measurements will be instrumental to learn more about the nature of these 'cosmic magnifying glasses'.

October 2016


Exomars reaches Mars, 19/10/2016

Exomars page on Serviastro

màxim 3rd Montsec Astronomy Festival, 30/09/2016 -09/10/2016

September 2016

màxim Signed the agreement to host the Northern CTA observatory at La Palma, 23/09/2016
On September 19, the Consortium Network Cherenkov telescopes (CTA) has signed a framework agreement with the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) to install the Cherenkov observatory in the northern hemisphere in the Roque de los Muchachos on the island of La Palm.

màxim Gaia presents the most accurate map of the Universe, 14/09/2016
Wednesday September 14, the European Space Agency (ESA) has published the first data for Gaia mission, an astrometry mission aiming to create the most precise map of stars of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

màxim Gaia Data Release set for 14 September, 07/09/2016
ESA's billion-star surveyor Gaia, launched on 19 December 2013, and in routine science operations since 25 July 2014, will release the first mission data on 14 September 2016.

màxim RoseTTa finale on 30 September, 06/09/2016
Rosetta is set to complete its mission in a controlled descent to the surface of its comet on 30 September.
The mission is coming to an end as a result of the spacecraft’s ever-increasing distance from the Sun and Earth. It is heading out towards the orbit of Jupiter, resulting in significantly reduced solar power to operate the craft and its instruments, and a reduction in bandwidth available to downlink scientific data.

màxim Philae found, 06/09/2016
Less than a month before the end of the mission, Rosetta’s high-resolution camera has revealed the Philae lander wedged into a dark crack on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

August 2016

màxim Rosetta captures comet outburst, 25/08/2016
In unprecedented observations made earlier this year, Rosetta unexpectedly captured a dramatic comet outburst that may have been triggered by a landslide.

màxim Planet Found in Habitable Zone Around Nearest Star, 25/08/2016
Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us — and it may also be the closest possible abode for life outside the Solar System.

July 2016

màxim On second more in 2016, 6/07/2016,
The International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (IERS), announced that on 31 December 2016 will add a second to our clock time (UTC) to adjust it with the Solar Time (UT). This Time difference corresponds to the variability of the terrestrial rotation.
Monograph about Time mesurement (catalan)

màxim Juno in orbit around Jupiter, 05/07/2016
After an almost five-year journey to the solar system’s largest planet, NASA's Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit during a 35-minute engine burn. Confirmation that the burn had completed was received on Earth at 8:53 p.m. PDT (11:53 p.m. EDT) Monday, July 4.

Juno's special web page

màxim Gaia data release set for 14 September, 04/07/2016
ESA's billion-star surveyor Gaia, launched on 19 December 2013, and in routine science operations since 25 July 2014, will release the first mission data on 14 September 2016.

June 2016

màxim Juno to risk Jupiter's fireworks for science on 4th July, 20/06/2016
On July 4, NASA's mission Juno will fly within 2,900 miles (4,667 kilometres) of the cloud tops of our solar system’s largest planet.

Juno will fire its main engine for 35 minutes, placing it into a polar orbit around the gas giant. During the flybys, Juno will probe beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and study its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

Juno's special page

màxim Unexpected Excess of Giant Planets in Star Cluster, 17/06/2016
An international team of astronomers have found that there are far more planets of the hot Jupiter type than expected in a cluster of stars called Messier 67. This surprising result was obtained using a number of telescopes and instruments, among them the HARPS spectrograph at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The denser environment in a cluster will cause more frequent interactions between planets and nearby stars, which may explain the excess of hot Jupiters.

màxim LIGO detects gravitational waves from a second pair of colliding black holes, 15/06/2015
The Group of Relativity and Gravitation at the University of the Balearic Islands participates through the LIGO Scientific Collaboration in identifying a second event of gravitational waves in data-LIGO detectors Advanced.
On December 26, 2015 at 03:38:53 UTC, scientists observed gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of spacetime — for the second time. The gravitational waves were detected by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational – Wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA.

màxim Primera detección de alcohol metílico en un disco de formación planetaria, 15/06/2015
The organic molecule methyl alcohol (methanol) has been found by the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the TW Hydrae protoplanetary disc. This is the first such detection of the compound in a young planet-forming disc. Methanol is the only complex organic molecule as yet detected in discs that unambiguously derives from an icy form. Its detection helps astronomers understand the chemical processes that occur during the formation of planetary systems and that ultimately lead to the creation of the ingredients for life.

màxim Asteroseismologists listen to the relics of the Milky Way: sounds from the oldest stars in our Galaxy, 08/06/2015
The research team, from the University of Birmingham’s School of Physics and Astronomy, has reported the detection of resonant acoustic oscillations of stars in ‘M4’, one of the oldest known clusters of stars in the Galaxy, some 13 billion years old.
Listen to the star sound clicking on the image of the news page

May 2016

màxim PO molecule, one step to the origin of the life in the Universe, 27/05/2015
For the first time a prebiotic molecule PO has been detected in star-forming regions. This molecule plays a key role in the formation of the DNA structure and thus, directly related to the life's origin.

màxim Rosetta's comet contains ingredients for life, 27 de mayo 2015
Ingredients regarded as crucial for the origin of life on Earth have been discovered at the comet that ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has been probing for almost two years.They include the amino acid glycine, which is commonly found in proteins, and phosphorus, a key component of DNA and cell membranes.

global-mosaic-of-pluto-in-true-color.jpg Pluto’s Interaction with the Solar Wind is Unique, Study Finds ,05/05/2016,
Pluto behaves less like a comet than expected and somewhat more like a planet like Mars or Venus in the way it interacts with the solar wind, a continuous stream of charged particles from the sun.

Magic Eye Mercury large.jpg Magic Eye Mercury ,05/05/2016,
This image offers an intriguing view of Mercury’s Kertész crater, as viewed by NASA’s Messenger orbiter. Reminiscent of a ‘Magic Eye’ optical illusion, the image may show one of two things: either a mound bulging out of the planetary surface, looming towards the camera like a dome, or – correctly – a crater that dips into Mercury’s crust.

starspot-images-give-insights-into-early-sun-zet-2011-orig-20160504.jpg 'Starspot' images give insights into early sun ,05/05/2016,
Astronomers at the University of Michigan have taken close-up pictures of a nearby star that show starspots—sunspots outside our solar system.

April 2016

museumiro.jpg Star Party at the Fundació Miró , 30/04/2016,
The Fundació Joan Miró, in collaboration with the Universitat de Barcelona and Parc Astronòmic Montsec has organized a public viewing night.
The stargazing activity has been substituted for the colloquium "Descobrim l'Univers" by the astronomers Eduard Masana, J. Manel Carrasco and Salvador J. Ribas.

FESTACIENCIAUB.jpg Solar Observation at the " II Festa de la Ciència de la UB" , 29 April 2016,
On 29th April 2016, the Universitat de Barcelona open its doors to the public to celebrate the "II Festa de la Ciència UB".The aim of this activity is make the research done at the Universtat de Barcelona accessible to all public in a ludic and innovative way.In the UB campus, during the day will be organized outreach activities where the researcher's work will be shown and its repercussion on the Society progress explained.
The Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (IEEC-UB) and the Quantum Physics and Astrophysics Department will install a telescope in front of the entrance to the Historical Building of the University in order to offer to the public a solar observation.

March 2016

salo2016.jpg Cosmic Distances Activity on the "Saló de l'ensenyament"

TSE2016globe1v.jpg Total Solar Eclipse, 09 March,
On 9th March 2016 took place a Total Solar Eclipse, the only total eclipse of the 2016. It was visible on its totallity from East Asia, Australia and the Pacífic. It could be seen as partial from Sumatra and Borneo

February 2016

01 TelescopiCatala Introi baixa.JPG Exhibition "Telescopi Asssumpció Català", 24 February 2016
On 4 March will open the exhibition "Catalan Telescope Assumption" on the occasion of the "baptism" of a new telescope at the Centre for Observation of the Universe, Ager. Maria Assumpció Català was the first astronomer numerary teacher at a University in Spain. The exhibition has been prepared by members of the Department of Astronomy and Meteorology at the University of Barcelona and is available for free.

màxim ATLASGAL Survey of Milky Way Completed, 24 February 2016
The APEX telescope in Chile has mapped the full area of the Galactic Plane visible from the southern hemisphere for the first time at submillimetre wavelengths — between infrared light and radio waves — and in finer detail than recent space-based surveys

màxim LIGO Detected Gravitational Waves from Black Holes, 12 February 2016
On September 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (09:51 UTC), the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA both measured ripples in the fabric of spacetime – gravitational waves – arriving at the Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe.

màxim "Gravitational waves. Have they been found?", 12 de febrero de 2016
Scientists to provide update on the search for gravitational waves. 100 years after Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, the National Science Foundation gathers scientists from Caltech, MIT and the LIGO Scienti­c Collaboration to update the scienti­c community on efforts to detect them.

màxim Meteor Showers names at the TERMCAT, 8 February 2016
On the occasion of alpha-Centaurids meteor shower, TERMCAT has published this interactive map of constellations with reference to a fifteen meteor showers. The meteor shower from Centaurus constellation is one of the first of the year: it has a peak activity on the 8th of February, although it takes place throughout the first fortnight of the month.

màxim ‘Woohoo!’ email stokes rumor that gravitational waves have been spotted, 5 February 2016
For weeks, gossip has spread around the Internet that researchers with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) have spotted gravitational waves—ripples in space itself set off by violent astrophysical events. In particular, rumor has it that LIGO physicists have seen two black holes spiraling into each other and merging. But now, an email message that ended up on Twitter adds some specific numbers to those rumors.

January 2016

màxim The most energetic light ever observed from a pulsar, 16 January 2016
A group of scientists working on the Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov (MAGIC) observatory, have reported the discovery of the most energetic pulsating radiation ever detected from a stellar object: the Crab pulsar.

màxim New volcanic rocks on the Moon, 12 January 2016
Rover finds volcanic rocks unlike those returned by Apollo and Luna missions, tantalizing clues to the period of lunar volcanism

màxim First global age map of the Milky Way, 8 January 2016
Using completely new ways of deducing the ages of so-called red giant stars from observational data, astronomers have created the first large-scale map that shows stellar ages in the Milky Way


December 2015

màxim Chandra Finds Remarkable Galactic Ribbon Unfurled, 21 December 2015
An extraordinary ribbon of hot gas trailing behind a galaxy like a tail has been discovered using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This ribbon, or X-ray tail, is likely due to gas stripped from the galaxy as it moves through a vast cloud of hot intergalactic gas. With a length of at least 250,000 light years, it is likely the largest of such a tail ever detected.

màxim Cervantes, the Star, 15 December 2015
It seemed quixotic, but we did it! Since today Cervantes is a Star and Quijote, Rocinante, Sancho and Dulcinea are its four orbiting planets. The Cervantes’ proposal has been clearly won the competition, called NameExoWorlds, who had organized the International Astronomical Union ( IAU) this year to vote on proposals to rename 19 exoworlds (formed by stars and planets) discovered in recent years. The Pamplona Planetarium and Astronomy Society presented Spanish Cervantes option.

màxim LISA Pathfinder en route, 3 December 2015

màxim SOHO celebrates 20 years of discoveries, 2 December 2015
Originally planned for a two-year mission, the ESA–NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, SOHO, is today celebrating two decades of scientific discovery.

November 2015

màxim LISA Pathfinder ready for launch, the ESA mission with an important contribution of ICE (IEEC-CSIC), 20 November 2015
The launch is scheduled for 5:30 a.m. the 2nd of December.
The ICE (IEEC-CSIC) will broadcast the event with deferred transmission and will organize activities throughout the day visits to laboratories and to the control room.
LISA Pathfinder will test in flight the concept of low-frequency gravitational wave detection: it will put two test masses in a near-perfect gravitational free-fall, and control and measure their motion with unprecedented accuracy

màxim Aging Star’s Weight Loss Secret Revealed, 15 November 2015
A team of astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has captured the most detailed images ever of the hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris. These observations show how the unexpectedly large size of the particles of dust surrounding the star enable it to lose an enormous amount of mass as it begins to die. This process, understood now for the first time, is necessary to prepare such gigantic stars to meet explosive demises as supernovae.

màxim A supermassive Black Hole in action, 16 November 2015
Scientists often use the combined power of multiple telescopes to reveal the secrets of the Universe – and this image is a prime example of when this technique is strikingly effective.

màxim The Glowing Halo of a Zombie Star, 11 November 2015
The remains of a fatal interaction between a dead star and its asteroid supper have been studied in detail for the first time by an international team of astronomers using the Very Large Telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. This gives a glimpse of the far-future fate of the Solar System.

màxim SEA scholarship Finalist videos for the ESO Camps,, 11 November 2015
Carme Homs Pons is the winning student for the scholarship offered by the Spanish Astronomical Society to attend the ESO astronomy Camp. SEA scholarship covers the full cost of the camp, including transportation.
The camp will be held from December 26 2015 to January 1, 2016 at the Astronomical Observatory of the Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta, it is located in Saint-Barthelemy, Nus (Italy). The `participants were students aged 16 to 18 who shot a video in English with a maximum of three minutes on "My object / favorite astronomical phenomenon."
A total of 30 students participated in Spain. Besides Homs Carmen Pons, were finalists Sonali Mayani, Maria Civit Solé, Francesc Xavier Alvarez and Laia Ruché Tower.

màxim Radar Images Provide New Details on Halloween Asteroid
The highest-resolution radar images of asteroid 2015 TB145's safe flyby of Earth have been processed. NASA scientists used giant, Earth-based radio telescopes to bounce radar signals off the asteroid as it flew past Earth on Oct. 31 at 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT) at about 1.3 lunar distances (300,000 miles, or 480,000 kilometers) from Earth. Asteroid 2015 TB145 is spherical in shape and approximately 2,000 feet (600 meters) in diameter.

màxim 631 418 votes for the 20 planetary systemsIn a few weeks we will have the final results

October 2015

2015TB145 Asteroid
Succession of 40 images from the Fabra Observatori on 31/10/2015 from 00:12 to 00:53 (UTC)

màxim 2015 TB145, un objecte potencialment perillós, 28 d'octubre
Notícia a l'ESA>,
Observat des del Montsec

màxim 2015 TB145, a potentially hazardous object, 28 October
ESA News,
Observed from the Montsec

màxim VISTA Discovers New Component of Milky Way, 28 October
By mapping out the locations of a class of stars that vary in brightness called Cepheids, a disc of young stars buried behind thick dust clouds in the central bulge has been found.

màxim Venus, Jupiter and Marte very close at dawn, 27 de octubre
Although any morning in late October is a good time to look at these planets, the six day stretch from Oct. 24th through the 29th is the best. That's because during this time, the triangle of planets will shrink until it is less than five degrees wide. By the time October comes to an end, the planetary triangle will start breaking apart. But there are still two dates of special interest: Nov. 6th and 7th. On those increasingly wintry mornings, the crescent Moon will swoop in among the dispersing planets.

màxim Final Kiss of Two Stars Heading for Catastrophe, 21 October
An international team of astronomers have found the hottest and most massive double star with components so close that they touch each other. The two stars in the extreme system VFTS 352 could be heading for a dramatic end, during which the two stars either coalesce to create a single giant star, or form a binary black hole.

màxim Troben la relació entre les pluges de cometes i asteroides i les extincions en massa, 21 October
Mass extinctions occurring over the past 260 million years were likely caused by comet and asteroid showers, scientists conclude in a new study published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

màxim Saturn and Dione, 20 October
Saturn has many, varied moons – over 60 have been discovered so far. One of the larger ones, Dione, is shown here in this image from the Cassini orbiter, pictured as it moved across the face of its parent planet.

màxim Common Accretion across Young Stellar Objects, White Dwarfs, Black Holes and Supermassive Black Holes, 16 October
An international team of astronomers have discovered a previously unknown link between the way young stars, white dwarfs and black holes grow feeding from their surroundings.

màxim A Cosmic Sackful of Black Coal, 14 October
The inky areas are small parts of a huge dark nebula known as the Coalsack, one of the most prominent objects of its kind visible to the unaided eye. Millions of years from now, chunks of the Coalsack will ignite, rather like its fossil fuel namesake, with the glow of many young stars.

màxim Aiming a light across millions of kilometres, 13 October
laser communications would return results to scientists several times faster than standard radio signals.

màxim Changes in Jupiter’s great red spot, 13 October
Collecting these yearly images will help current and future scientists see how these giant worlds change over time. The observations are designed to capture a broad range of features, including winds, clouds, storms and atmospheric chemistry.

màxim Outbursts from a newborn star, 13 October
The object lies in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter) in a dense molecular star-forming region, not far from the famous Horsehead Nebula. In regions like this, clouds of dust and gas collapse under the force of gravity, spinning faster and faster and becoming hotter and hotter until a young star ignites at the cloud’s centre. Any leftover material swirling around the newborn protostar comes together to form an accretion disc that will, under the right circumstances, eventually evolve to form the base material for the creation of planets, asteroids and comets.

màxim Cassini begins series of flybys with close-up of Saturn moon Enceladus, 13 October
Cassini spacecraft will wrap up its time in the region of Saturn's large, icy moons with a series of three close encounters with Enceladus starting Wednesday, Oct. 14. Images are expected to begin arriving one to two days after the flyby, which will provide the first opportunity for a close-up look at the north polar region of Enceladus.

màxim Laying the first stone of the prototype of the LST (Large Size Telescope) , 8 October,
On Friday, October 9th at five o’clock in the afternoon, the ceremony of the stone laying for the biggest Cherenkov telescope in the northern hemisphere, the prototype of the LST (Large Size Telescope) with a diameter of 23 metres, took place at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) on the island of La Palma.

màxim Mysterious Ripples Found Racing Through Planet-forming Disc, 8 October 2015,
Using VLT and the Hubble astronomers have discovered never-before-seen structures within a dusty disc surrounding a nearby star. The fast-moving wave-like features in the disc of the star AU Microscopii are unlike anything ever observed, or even predicted, before now.

màxim Pluto’s Big Moon Charon Reveals a Colorful and Violent History, 1 October
New Horizons spacecraft has returned the best color and the highest resolution images yet of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon – and these pictures show a surprisingly complex and violent history.

September 2015

màxim NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars, 29 September
New findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.

màxim Total Lunar Eclipse, 28 September
Check the information and the images of the event.

màxim Cosmic optical illusions un Ursa Major, 21 September
Some of the stunning views we have of the cosmos owe their beauty to a trick of perspective, as captured in this Hubble Space Telescope image.

màxim A Shy Galactic Neighbour, 16 September
The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy, pictured in this new image from the Wide Field Imager camera, installed on the 2.2-metre MPG/ESO telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, is a close neighbour of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Despite their close proximity, both galaxies have very distinct histories and characters. This galaxy is much smaller and older than the Milky Way, making it a valuable subject for studying both star and galaxy formation in the early Universe. However, due to its faintness, studying this object is no easy task.


Live webcast on ServiAstro

Check the information of the event


2nd Astronomy Festival in the Montsec, 10-11 October

Check the programme .


Estrella Cervantes Campaign

to name the star μ Arae "Cervantes.

màxim ESO Astronomy Camp
Check the grants



CHEOPS Contest for children

between ages 8 and 14
Send your drawing into space!

August 2015

màxim Gaia’s first year of scientific observations 26 August 2015

màxim Castellterçol Star Party, 12 August 2015
By DAM astronomers.
28/08/2015 at 21:30 departure from Plaça Nova (Castellterçol), observing from la Creueta.. Free activity

màxim Perseids 2015, 12 august 2015
How to observe?Send your images and we will post them on ServiAstro

July 2015

màxim Science on the surface of a comet, 31 July 2015
Complex molecules that could be key building blocks of life, the daily rise and fall of temperature, and an assessment of the surface properties and internal structure of the comet are just some of the highlights of the first scientific analysis of the data returned by Rosetta’s lander Philae last November.

màxim NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth, 23 July 2015
NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another “Earth.”

màxim Interviw with Josep Manel Carrasco in the "Notícies de les 10 de BTV" about Pluto and New Horizons, 16 de July 2015
New Horizons reached Pluto after a nine- year journey through the Solar System. Josep Manel Carrasco, astronomer of the Department of Astronomy and Meteorology of the UB talk about Pluto

màxim From Mountains to Moons: Multiple Discoveries from NASA’s New Horizons Pluto Mission, 16 July 2015
Icy mountains on Pluto and a new, crisp view of its largest moon, Charon, are among the several discoveries announced Wednesday by NASA's New Horizons team, just one day after the spacecraft’s first ever Pluto flyby.

màxim Jupiter Twin Discovered Around Solar Twin, 15 July 2015
An international group of astronomers has used the ESO 3.6-metre telescope to identify a planet just like Jupiter orbiting at the same distance from a Sun-like star, HIP 11915. According to current theories, the formation of Jupiter-mass planets plays an important role in shaping the architecture of planetary systems. The existence of a Jupiter-mass planet in a Jupiter-like orbit around a Sun-like star opens the possibility that the system of planets around this star may be similar to our own Solar System. HIP 11915 is about the same age as the Sun and, furthermore, its Sun-like composition suggests that there may also be rocky planets orbiting closer to the star.

màxim Rosetta preparing for perihelion, 13 July 2015
Rosetta’s investigations of its comet are continuing as the mission teams count down the last month to perihelion – the closest point to the Sun along the comet’s orbit – when the comet’s activity is expected to be at its highest.

màxim Pluto and Charon: New Horizons’ Dynamic Duo, 9 July 2015
They’re a fascinating pair: Two icy worlds, spinning around their common center of gravity like a pair of figure skaters clasping hands. Scientists believe they were shaped by a cosmic collision billions of years ago, and yet, in many ways, they seem more like strangers than siblings.

màxim Biggest Explosions in the Universe Powered by Strongest Magnets, 8 July 2015
Observations from ESO’s La Silla and Paranal Observatories in Chile have for the first time demonstrated a link between a very long-lasting burst of gamma rays and an unusually bright supernova explosion. The results show that the supernova was not driven by radioactive decay, as expected, but was instead powered by the decaying super-strong magnetic fields around an exotic object called a magnetar.

màxim 4th July geomagnetic storm, 4 July 2015
During the late hours of July 4th, a solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field, sparking a moderately-strong (G2-class) geomagnetic storm. Fireworks were exploding across much of North America when the storm reach its peak. In Cape Cod, Massachusetts, auroras appeared alongside the pyrotechnics

màxim Counting stars with Gaia, 3 July 2015
This image, based on housekeeping data from ESA’s Gaia satellite, is no ordinary depiction of the heavens. While the image portrays the outline of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, and of its neighbouring Magellanic Clouds, it was obtained in a rather unusual way.

màxim Comet sinkholes generate jets, 3 July 2015
A number of the dust jets emerging from Rosetta’s comet can be traced back to active pits that were likely formed by a sudden collapse of the surface. These ‘sinkholes’ are providing a glimpse at the chaotic and diverse interior of the comet..

màxim New Horizons Update: Methane Detected; New Images of Pluto and Charon; Sunrise/Sunset Observations, 1 July 2015
Yes, there is methane on Pluto, and, no, it doesn’t come from cows. The infrared spectrometer on NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft has detected frozen methane on Pluto’s surface; Earth-based astronomers first observed the chemical compound on Pluto in 1976.

June 2015

màxim Monster black hole wakes up after 26 years, 26 June 2015
Over the past week, ESA's Integral satellite has been observing an exceptional outburst of high-energy light produced by a black hole that is devouring material from its stellar companion.

màxim Hot lava flows discovered on Venus, 18 june
ESA’s Venus Express has found the best evidence yet for active volcanism on Earth’s neighbour planet. Seeing the planet’s surface is extremely difficult due to its thick atmosphere, but radar observations by previous missions to Venus have revealed it as a world covered in volcanoes and ancient lava flows.

màxim Hubble Telescope Detects ‘Sunscreen’ Layer on Distant Planet ,12 June
Hubble Space Telescope has detected a stratosphere, one of the primary layers of Earth’s atmosphere, on a massive and blazing-hot exoplanet known as WASP-33b.
The presence of a stratosphere can provide clues about the composition of a planet and how it formed. This atmospheric layer includes molecules that absorb ultraviolet and visible light, acting as a kind of “sunscreen” for the planet it surrounds. Until now, scientists were uncertain whether these molecules would be found in the atmospheres of large, extremely hot planets in other star systems.

màxim Interview with Carme Jordi "Gaya has already covered the entire sky". EWASS 2015, 23 June 2015

màxim A Celestial Butterfly Emerges from its Dusty Cocoon,10 June
Some of the sharpest images ever made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have, for the first time, revealed what appears to be an ageing star giving birth to a butterfly-like planetary nebula. These observations of the red giant star L2 Puppis, from the ZIMPOL mode of the newly installed SPHERE instrument, also clearly showed a close companion. The dying stages of stars continue to pose astronomers with many riddles, and the origin of such bipolar nebulae, with their complex and alluring hourglass figures, doubly so. This new imaging mode means that the VLT is currently the sharpest astronomical direct imaging instrument in existence.

màxim Meteor Shower in Broad Daylight ,5 June
Earth is entering a stream of debris from an unknown comet, and this is causing one of the most intense meteor showers of the year. Ironically, most sky watchers won't notice because the shower peaks in broad daylight. We only know it's happening because a radar in Canada is picking up echoes from meteoroids streaking through the blue sky overhead. Astronomers call these meteors "Arietids" because they emerge from the constellation Aries not far from the June sun.

màxim NASA’s Hubble Finds Pluto’s Moons Tumbling in Absolute Chaos , 4 June
If you lived on one of Pluto’s moons, you might have a hard time determining when, or from which direction, the sun will rise each day. Comprehensive analysis of data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows that two of Pluto’s moons, Nix and Hydra, wobble unpredictably.

màxim Ultraviolet study reveals surprises in comet coma , 2 June
Rosetta’s continued close study of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has revealed an unexpected process at work, causing the rapid breakup of water and carbon dioxide molecules spewing from the comet’s surface.

May 2015

màxim Call to Action: Cosmic Light Edu kit Workshops, 29 May
The Cosmic Light EDU kit, which comprises a virtual kit with many activities, tools and other resources on the topic of the science of light. This kit will feature continued support for teaching communities around the world, and a special component designed for children with visual impairments will also be incorporated.

màxim The Dreadful Beauty of Medusa, 21 May
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have captured the most detailed image ever taken of the Medusa Nebula. As the star at the heart of this nebula made its transition into retirement, it shed its outer layers into space, forming this colourful cloud. The image foreshadows the final fate of the Sun, which will eventually also become an object of this kind

màxim UB Science Festival, On 22 May 2015, the University of Barcelona opens its door to citizens to celebrate the UB Science Festival. The main objective of the activity is to bring people closer to the research activity developed at the University in an amusing and innovative way.
Throughout the day, UB campuses organise different science dissemination activities.

màxim The Dark Side of Star Clusters, 13 May
Observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered a new class of “dark” globular star clusters around the giant galaxy Centaurus A. These mysterious objects look similar to normal clusters, but contain much more mass and may either harbour unexpected amounts of dark matter, or contain massive black holes — neither of which was expected nor is understood.

màxim Outreach talk: "Quiet Blak Holes hidden in Binary Systems" ,
Speaker: Marc Ribó
Date/Time: wednesday 13 May / 20:00
Place: Seu de l'Agrupació Astronòmica Sabadell, C/ Prat de la Riba, s/n (Parc Catalunya), Sabadell

màxim Fresh Evidence for How Water Reached Earth Found in Asteroid Debris, 8 May
Water delivery via asteroids or comets is likely taking place in many other planetary systems, just as it happened on Earth, according to new research. The findings add further support to the possibility that water can be delivered to Earth-like planets via such bodies to create a suitable environment for the formation of life.

màxim Saturn Moon's Activity Could Be 'Curtain Eruptions', 7 May
New research using data from NASA's Cassini mission suggests most of the eruptions from Saturn's moon Enceladus might be diffuse curtains rather than discrete jets. Many features that appear to be individual jets of material erupting along the length of prominent fractures in the moon's south polar region might be phantoms created by an optical illusion, according to the new study.

April 2015

màxim NASA’s New Horizons Detects Surface Features, Possible Polar Cap on Pluto, 30 April
For the first time, images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft are revealing bright and dark regions on the surface of faraway Pluto – the primary target of the New Horizons close flyby in mid-July.

màxim Saturn's sponge-like moon Hiperion, 29 April
The subject of this image bears a remarkable resemblance to a porous sea sponge, floating in the inky black surroundings of the deep sea.
Indeed, the cold, hostile and lonely environment of deep water is not too far removed from deep space, the actual setting for this image in which one of Saturn’s outer moons, Hyperion, can be seen in incredible detail. This image was taken by Cassini when the spacecraft performed a flyby of the small moon on 26 September 2005.

màxim 20 Exoworlds available for naming proposals, 27 April
The NameExoWorlds contest, organised by the IAU and Zooniverse, is now entering its next stage. The 20 most popular ExoWorlds have been made available for naming proposals from registered clubs and non-profit organisations.

màxim The Treasures of Hubble, 24 April
Today is the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) in Madrid, yesterday wished long life to Hubble and explained that more than half of current discoveries with the telescope are based on observations stored in the astronomical library of the ESAC.

màxim First Near Earth Asteroids Discovered from La Palma, 15 April
In 2014 the Isaac Newton Telescope became the first telescope in La Palma to discover and secure five Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) as part of the EURONEAR project and as a result of the allocation of several override programmes awarded by the time allocation committees.

màxim Dark Energy Survey: mapping the dark matter of the Universe, 15 april
Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey have released the first in a series of dark matter maps of the cosmos. These maps, created with one of the world's most powerful digital cameras, are the largest contiguous maps created at this level of detail and will improve our understanding of dark matter's role in the formation of galaxies. Analysis of the clumpiness of the dark matter in the maps will also allow scientists to probe the nature of the mysterious dark energy, believed to be causing the expansion of the universe to speed up.

màxim First Signs of Self-interacting Dark Matter?,
For the first time dark matter may have been observed interacting with other dark matter in a way other than through the force of gravity. Observations of colliding galaxies made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have picked up the first intriguing hints about the nature of this mysterious component of the Universe.

màxim Calling all Photographers,
For the launch of Sentinel-2A, ESA is inviting you to take part in a photo contest focusing on the theme of ‘colour vision’. Enter for a chance to win a trip to ESA’s operations centre for the satellite’s launch event.

màxim NASA host briefings on historic mission to Pluto,
NASA Television will air media briefings at 1 p.m. EDT and 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, to discuss plans and related upcoming activities about the agency’s historic New Horizons spacecraft flyby of Pluto this summer.
Briefers will describe the mission’s goals, scientific objectives and encounter plans, including the types of images and other data that can be expected and when.

màxim Complex Organic Molecules Discovered in Infant Star System,
For the first time, astronomers have detected the presence of complex organic molecules, the building blocks of life, in a protoplanetary disc surrounding a young star. The discovery, made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), reaffirms that the conditions that spawned the Earth and Sun are not unique in the Universe.

màxim NASA Extends Campaign for Public to Name Features on Pluto The public has until Friday, April 24 to help name new features on Pluto and its orbiting satellites as they are discovered by NASA’s New Horizons mission.

màxim Total Lunar Eclipse 4 April,
At 12:00 TU occurred a Total Lunar Eclipse visible from Asia, Australia, Pacific, America.

màxim Hershel and Planck find missing clue to galaxy cluster formation 1 April,
By combining observations of the distant Universe made with ESA’s Herschel and Planck space observatories, cosmologists have discovered what could be the precursors of the vast clusters of galaxies that we see today.

March 2015

màxim Watch Galileo launch 27 March,
onstruction of Europe’s navigation satellite constellation resumes on Friday, 27 March with the launch of the seventh and eighth Galileo satellites. Launch is scheduled for 21:46:18 GMT (22:46:18 CET, 18:46:18 local time) atop a Soyuz ST-B rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. Streaming starts at 21:26 GMT (22:26 CET).

màxim Black Hole winds pull the plug on star formation 26 March,
Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel space observatory have found that the winds blowing from a huge black hole are sweeping away its host galaxy’s reservoir of raw star-building material.

màxim Colliding Stars Explain Enigmatic Seventeenth Century Explosion 23 March,
New observations made with APEX and other telescopes reveal that the star that European astronomers saw appear in the sky in 1670 was not a nova, but a much rarer, violent breed of stellar collision. It was spectacular enough to be easily seen with the naked eye during its first outburst, but the traces it left were so faint that very careful analysis using submillimetre telescopes was needed before the mystery could finally be unravelled more than 340 years later. The results appear online in the journal Nature on 23 March 2015.

màxim ESA's minisatellites to follow Europe's solar eclipse 6 March,
On Friday morning, 20 March, Europe will experience a partial solar eclipse. Only a partial solar eclipse will be visible from continental Europe, but the Agency’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite, up in its 820 km-altitude orbit, will see two periods of near-total eclipse for a few dozen seconds.

màxim Hot water activity on icy moon's seafloor 12 march,
Tiny grains of rock detected by international Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn point to hydrothermal activity on the seafloor of its icy moon Enceladus

màxim Mars: The Planet that Lost an Ocean’s Worth of Water 5 March,
A primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean, and covered a greater portion of the planet’s surface than the Atlantic Ocean does on Earth, according to new results published today. An international team of scientists used ESO’s Very Large Telescope, along with instruments at the W. M. Keck Observatory and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, to monitor the atmosphere of the planet and map out the properties of the water in different parts of Mars’s atmosphere over a six-year period. These new maps are the first of their kind.

màxim NASA’s Chandra Observatory Finds Cosmic Showers Halt Galaxy Growth 4 March,
Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have found that the growth of galaxies containing supermassive black holes can be slowed down by a phenomenon referred to as cosmic precipitation.

February 2015

màxim Looking Deeply into the Universe in 3D26 February,
The MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has given astronomers the best ever three-dimensional view of the deep Universe. After staring at the Hubble Deep Field South region for only 27 hours, the new observations reveal the distances, motions and other properties of far more galaxies than ever before in this tiny piece of the sky. They also go beyond Hubble and reveal previously invisible objects.

màxim Exploring the colours of the Small Magellanic Cloud, 24 February,
The scene is actually a collaboration between two cosmic artists — ESA’s Herschel space observatory and NASA’s Spitzer space telescope. The image is reminiscent of an artistic stipple or pointillist painting, with lots of small, distinct dots coming together to create a striking larger-scale view.

màxim Aster organizes an observation of the eclipse of March 20th in Barcelona, 23 February,
Aster, Astronomical Association from Barcelona organizes an observation of the eclipse on the Passeig Marítim of Barcelona, in front of the Parc de la Barceloneta, at the south of the Hospital del Mar.
People who want to participate will be invited to observe the eclipse, giving them goggles. And there will be an observation reserved for groups of students from schools in that area.
Students will be invited to draw the appearance of the Sun at that time. At the end of the phenomenon, every school should be able to make a poster or mural with the complete sequence of the eclipse drawings made by students at different stages of the eclipse.

màxim Unusual comet dive-bombs the Sun, 20 February,
Astronomers are puzzling over a comet that passed "insanely close" to the sun on Feb. 19th. At first glance it appeared to be a small object, not much bigger than a comet-boulder, doomed to disintegrate in the fierce heat. Instead, it has emerged apparently intact and is actually brightening as it recedes from the sun. Unofficially, the icy visitor is being called "SOHO-2875," because it is SOHO's 2,875th comet discovery.

màxim Spooky Alignment of Quasars Across Billions of Light-years, 19 February,
New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have revealed alignments over the largest structures ever discovered in the Universe. A European research team has found that the rotation axes of the central supermassive black holes in a sample of quasars are parallel to each other over distances of billions of light-years. The team has also found that the rotation axes of these quasars tend to be aligned with the vast structures in the cosmic web in which they reside.

màxim Mystery Mars plume baffles scientists, 17 February,
Plumes seen reaching high above the surface of Mars are causing a stir among scientists studying the atmosphere on the Red Planet.

màxim Planck reveals first stars were born late, 05 February,
New maps from ESA’s Planck satellite uncover the ‘polarised’ light from the early Universe across the entire sky, revealing that the first stars formed much later than previously thought.

màxim Rosetta swoops in for a close encounter, 04 February,
ESA’s Rosetta probe is preparing to make a close encounter with its comet on 14 February, passing just 6 km from the surface.
Rosetta's page on Serviastro

màxim XMM-Newton and Hubble view of Jupiter's Ghost, 28 January,
ESA’s Rosetta mission is providing unique insight into the life cycle of a comet’s dusty surface, watching 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as it sheds the dusty coat it has accumulated over the past four years.

January 2015

màxim Hubble's High-Definition Panoramic View of the Andromeda Galaxy, 30 January,
The largest Hubble Space Telescope image ever assembled, this sweeping view of a portion of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is the sharpest large composite image ever taken of our galactic neighbor. Though the galaxy is over 2 million light-years away, the Hubble telescope is powerful enough to resolve individual stars in a 61,000-light-year-long section of the galaxy's pancake-shaped disk. It's like photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand.

màxim The mouth of the beast, 28 January,
Like the gaping mouth of a gigantic celestial creature, the cometary globule CG4 glows menacingly in this new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Although it appears to be big and bright in this picture, this is actually a faint nebula, which makes it very hard for amateur astronomers to spot. The exact nature of CG4 remains a mystery.

màxim Rosetta watches comet shed its dusty coat, 28 January,
ESA’s Rosetta mission is providing unique insight into the life cycle of a comet’s dusty surface, watching 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as it sheds the dusty coat it has accumulated over the past four years.

màxim Asteroid that flew past Earth today has Moon, 27 January,
The first radar images show the asteroid 2004 BL86 , which made its closest approach on Jan. 26, 2015 at 8:19 a.m. PST (11:19 a.m. EST) at a distance of about 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers, or 3.1 times the distance from Earth to the moon), has its own small moon.

màxim màxim

Lovejoy magnificent, 22 January 2015,
Comet Lovejoy is still on the way to the perihelion of its orbit, which will take place on 30 January. Although at this time is moving away from Earth, it continues being an object visible to the naked eye (magnitude around 4) due its high activity.

From an astronomical perspective these days we are living the most spectacular moments that the comet can offer. Moving from state of hibernation to a frenetic activity due to increased solar radiation. This activity is visible on its comma and on the tail. + info: Article "cometa Lovejoy" from Miquel Serra Ricart, IAC astrophysicist on the blog Vía Láctea s/n.





màxim One second more in 2015, 21 January,
The International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (IERS), announced that on June 30th will add a second to our clock time (UTC) to adjust it with the Solar Time (UT). This Time difference corresponds to the variability of the terrestrial rotation.

màxim Getting to know Rosetta's comet, 22 January,
Rosetta is revealing its host comet as having a remarkable array of surface features and with many processes contributing to its activity, painting a complex picture of its evolution.
Web about Rosetta on serviastro

màxim Asteroid to fly by Earth safely on January 26, 15 January,
An asteroid, designated 2004 BL86, will safely pass about three times the distance of Earth to the moon on January 26. From its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about a third of a mile (0.5 kilometers) in size. The flyby of 2004 BL86 will be the closest by any known space rock this large until asteroid 1999 AN10 flies past Earth in 2027.

màxim Where did all the stars go?, 7 January,
Some of the stars appear to be missing in this intriguing new ESO image. But the black gap in this glitteringly beautiful starfield is not really a gap, but rather a region of space clogged with gas and dust. This dark cloud is called LDN 483 — for Lynds Dark Nebula 483. Such clouds are the birthplaces of future stars.

màxim Chasms and cliffs on Mars, 7 January,
Although Mars is a very alien planet, some aspects of its geology are surprisingly familiar. This Mars Express image shows a snippet of a region of Mars filled with cliffs, trenches, faults, giant plateaus and volcanoes.

màxim NASA’s Kepler Marks 1,000th Exoplanet Discovery, Uncovers More Small Worlds in Habitable Zones, 6 January,
Of the more than 1,000 verified planets found by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, eight are less than twice Earth-size and in their stars' habitable zone. All eight orbit stars cooler and smaller than our sun. The search continues for Earth-size habitable zone worlds around sun-like stars.

màxim NASA’s Kepler Marks 1,000th Exoplanet Discovery, Uncovers More Small Worlds in Habitable Zones, 5 January,
Astronomers have observed the largest X-ray flare ever detected from the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. This event, detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, raises questions about the behavior of this giant black hole and its surrounding environment.


December 2014



Comet Lovejoy brightens, 28 December,
Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) has been a naked-eye object for the observers from the Southern Hemisphere. In recent days has been seen from southerly latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. And soon, it’ll be high in Northern Hemisphere skies!

The path of the comet can be seen in the map


Physics Photo Contest «International Year of light»

The "Catalan Society of Physics", has announced the list of the 6 awarded images

màxim New Horizons wakes up on Pluto's doorstep, 7 December,
After a voyage of nearly nine years and three billion miles —the farthest any space mission has ever traveled to reach its primary target – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation on Dec. 6th for its long-awaited .


International Conference outreach Activities
Gaia Team from UB have organized outreach activities to secundary school students, and general public.

  • Guided visit to the exhibition" Mil milions d'ulls per a mil milions d'estrelles".On the ground floor of the Sciences courtyard of the Historical Building
  • Talk: "Gaia i l'odissea galàctica". Paranimf of the Historical Building.
  • Date:2 December 2014
  • Hour: 18:00-19:30
The activities are part of the International Conference " The Milky Way unravelled by Gaia" that is going to be held in the UB Historic Building.
More deails: here

màxim Geminid Meteor Shower, 1 December,
Earth is entering a stream of gravelly debris from "rock comet" 3200 Phaethon, source of the annual Geminid meteor shower. On the night of Nov. 30-Dec. 1, NASA's network of all-sky cameras detected three Geminid fireballs over the USA (see the image). This specimen from the desert southwest was clearly visible despite the glare from the waxing gibbous Moon. Meteor sightings will increase in the nights ahead as Earth plunges deeper into the debris stream. Forecasters expect peak rates to occur on Dec. 13-14, when dark-sky observers in both hemispheres could see as many as 120 meteors per hour.

November 2014

màxim The last news about Rosetta Mission

màxim Mars Spacecraft Reveal Comet Flyby Effects on Martian Atmosphere, 7 November,
Two NASA and one European spacecraft that obtained the first up-close observations of a comet flyby of Mars on Oct. 19, have gathered new information about the basic properties of the comet’s nucleus and directly detected the effects on the Martian atmosphere.

màxim Black hole gamma-ray lightning, 6 November,
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.

màxim Revolutionary ALMA Image Reveals Planetary Genesis, 6 November,
This new image from ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, reveals extraordinarily fine detail that has never been seen before in the planet-forming disc around a young star. These are the first observations that have used ALMA in its near-final configuration and the sharpest pictures ever made at submillimetre wavelengths. The new results are an enormous step forward in the observation of how protoplanetary discs develop and how planets form.

màxim NASA Rocket Experiment Finds the Universe Brighter Than We Thought, 6 November,
A NASA sounding rocket experiment has detected a surprising surplus of infrared light in the dark space between galaxies, a diffuse cosmic glow as bright as all known galaxies combined. The glow is thought to be from orphaned stars flung out of galaxies.

màxim VLTI Detects Exozodiacal Light, 3 November,
By using the full power of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer an international team of astronomers has discovered exozodiacal light close to the habitable zones around nine nearby stars. This light is starlight reflected from dust created as the result of collisions between asteroids, and the evaporation of comets. The presence of such large amounts of dust in the inner regions around some stars may pose an obstacle to the direct imaging of Earth-like planets in the future.

October 2014

màxim Planet-forming Lifeline Discovered in a Binary Star System, 30 October,
For the first time, researchers using ALMA have detected a streamer of gas flowing from a massive outer disc toward the inner reaches of a binary star system. This never-before-seen feature may be responsible for sustaining a second, smaller disc of planet-forming material that otherwise would have disappeared long ago. Half of Sun-like stars are born in binary systems, meaning that these findings will have major consequences for the hunt for exoplanets. The results are published in the journal Nature on 30 October 2014.

màxim Two Families of Comets Found Around Nearby Star, 23 October,
The HARPS instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has been used to make the most complete census of comets around another star ever created. A French team of astronomers has studied nearly 500 individual comets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris and has discovered that they belong to two distinct families of exocomets: old exocomets that have made multiple passages near the star, and younger exocomets that probably came from the recent breakup of one or more larger objects. The new results will appear in the journal Nature on 23 October 2014.

màxim Partial eclipse, 22 October,
On Thursday, Oct. 23rd, the Moon will pass in front of the sun, off center, producing a partial solar eclipse visible from almost all of North America. Greatest eclipse occurs at 21:44:31 TU with a magnitude of 0.811. At that time, the axis of the Moon's shadow will pass about 675 km above Earth's surface. The eclipse will begin near the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Sibera,as it moves east, much of North America will be able to see a partial solar eclipse. The maximum eclipse will take place over Canada's Nunavut Territory near Prince of Wales Island.

màxim MONSTER SUNSPOT, 21 October,
The biggest sunspot of the current solar cycle is turning toward Earth. This behemoth active region is 125,000 km wide, almost as big as the planet Jupiter. A few days ago, AR2192 unleashed an X1-class solar flare. Since then the sunspot has almost doubled in size and developed an increasingly unstable 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field. It would seem to be just a matter of time before another strong explosion occurs..

màxim Mars Orbiter Image Shows Comet Nucleus is Small, 20 October,
The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured views of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring while that visitor sped past Mars on Sunday (Oct. 19), yielding information about its nucleus.

màxim NASA’s Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy through Cosmic Magnifying Glass, 16 October,
Peering through a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a tiny, faint galaxy -- one of the farthest galaxies ever seen. The diminutive object is estimated to be more than 13 billion light-years away.

màxim NASA Spacecraft Provides New Information About Sun’s Atmosphere, 16 October,
NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) has provided scientists with five new findings into how the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, is heated far hotter than its surface, what causes the sun’s constant outflow of particles called the solar wind, and what mechanisms accelerate particles that power solar flares.

màxim NASA’s Hubble Telescope Finds Potential Kuiper Belt Targets for New Horizons Pluto Mission, 15 October,
This is an artist’s impression of a Kuiper Belt object (KBO), located on the outer rim of our solar system at a staggering distance of 4 billion miles from the Sun. A HST survey uncovered three KBOs that are potentially reachable by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft after it passes by Pluto in mid-2015

màxim ESA confirms the primary landing site for Rosetta, 15 October,
ESA has given the green light for its Rosetta mission to deliver its lander, Philae, to the primary site on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 12 November, in the first-ever attempt at a soft touchdown on a comet.

màxim Construction Secrets of a Galactic Metropolis, 15 October,
Astronomers have used the APEX telescope to probe a huge galaxy cluster that is forming in the early Universe and revealed that much of the star formation taking place is not only hidden by dust, but also occurring in unexpected places. This is the first time that a full census of the star formation in such an object has been possible.

màxim Astronomical Hackathon: A Universe of data
The Astronomical Hackathon is dedicated to astronomy and data. A universe of data that show us our universe as we know it, with a collection of fascinating facts. How many planets we know? How many of these could have life? What are their characteristics and where are they? What do we explain the electromagnetic data? We invite all amateur and professional astronomers to participate on Saturday 11 October at the laboratory of the exhibition Big Bang Data.With he introduction and advising of Xavi Luri (professor in the Department of Astronomy and Meteorology of the UB and ICCUB / IEEC researcher).
Project: Astronomical Hackathon
Organizing by: ZZZINC and Outliers
Dates: Saturday 11th October since 11h to 20h
_Image: xkcd, CC BY-NC_

màxim NASA Prepares its Science Fleet for Oct. 19 Mars Comet Encounter, 9 October 2014,
NASA’s extensive fleet of science assets, particularly those orbiting and roving Mars, have front row seats to image and study a once-in-a-lifetime comet flyby on Sunday, Oct. 19. Comet C/2013 A1, also known as comet Siding Spring, will pass within about 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) of the Red Planet -- less than half the distance between Earth and our moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth.

màxim Lunar Eclipse, 8 October, a Total Lunar Eclipse eclipse took place on 8 October at 10:54 TU. The Eclipse wasn't visible from Catalonia, and was best seen from the Pacific Ocean and bordering regions.The eclipse occurs at the Moon's descending node in southern Pisces, two days after perigee (October 06 at 09:41 UT). This means that the Moon will appear 5.3% larger than it did during the April 15 eclipse (32.7 vs. 31.3 arc-minutes)

Spaceweather Image Gallery

Image by Morris Maduro, California

màxim World Space Week at Catalonia, 4 October 2014,
World Space Week is the celebration at the international level for the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition.
Barcelona Activities Programme
Castelldefels Activities Programme

màxim NASA Mission Points to Origin of “Ocean of Storms” on Earth’s Moon, 1 October 2014,
Early theories suggested the craggy outline of a region of the moon’s surface known as Oceanus Procellarum, or the Ocean of Storms, was caused by an asteroid impact. If this theory had been correct, the basin it formed would be the largest asteroid impact basin on the moon. However, mission scientists studying GRAIL data believe they have found evidence the craggy outline of this rectangular region -- roughly 1,600 miles (2,600 kilometers) across -- is actually the result of the formation of ancient rift valleys.

màxim Why sibling stars look alike: early, fast mixing in star-birth clouds, 1 October 2014,
Early, fast, turbulent mixing of gas within giant molecular clouds—the birthplaces of stars— means all stars formed from a single cloud bear the same unique chemical “tag” or “DNA fingerprint,” finds computational astronomers at University of California, Santa Cruz

màxim Wild Ducks Take Flight in Open Cluster 1 October 2014,
The Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile has taken this beautiful image, dappled with blue stars, of one of the most star-rich open clusters currently known — Messier 11, also known as NGC 6705 or the Wild Duck Cluster.

September 2014

màxim Violent Origins of Disc Galaxies Probed by ALMA 17 Septembre 2014,
For decades scientists have believed that galaxy mergers usually result in the formation of elliptical galaxies. Now, for the the first time, researchers using ALMA and a host of other radio telescopes have found direct evidence that merging galaxies can instead form disc galaxies, and that this outcome is in fact quite common. This surprising result could explain why there are so many spiral galaxies like the Milky Way in the Universe.

màxim Hubble helps find smallest known galaxy containing a supermassive black hole 17 September 2014,
Astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and ground observation have found an unlikely object in an improbable place -- a monster black hole lurking inside one of the tiniest galaxies ever known.

màxim Hubble Helps Find Smallest Known Galaxy Containing a Supermassive Black Hole 17 September 2014,
A new catalogue of the visible part of the northern part of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, includes no fewer than 219 million stars. Geert Barentsen of the University of Hertfordshire led a team who assembled the catalogue in a ten year programme using the Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

màxim NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory Finds Planet That Makes Star Act Deceptively Old 16 September 2014,
A planet may be causing the star it orbits to act much older than it actually is, according to new data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This discovery shows how a massive planet can affect the behavior of its parent star.

màxim Gaia discovers its first supernova, 12 September,
While scanning the sky to measure the positions and movements of stars in our Galaxy, Gaia has discovered a supernova, called Gaia 14aaa, in a galaxy located about 500 million light years away.
The sudden rise in the galaxy brightness detected between one observation on August 30th and another one made one month before, indicated the possibility of a supernova. This galaxy showed a a 6 factor change of its brightness.
Position measurements were made to corroborate the hypothesis that it was a supernova and to reject the option of outbursts caused by the mass-devouring supermassive black hole at the galaxy centre. The position of the bright spot of light was slightly offset from the galaxy’s core, suggesting that it was unlikely to be related to a central black hole. The astronomers analysed the light spectrum to seek signatures of various chemical elements typical of those kind of phenomenon. Complementary observations were made with terrestrial Telescopes such as the Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) and the Liverpool Telescope, both placed at the La Palma Island. All information confirmed that the phenomenon was a supernova and also indicated its nature: a Type Ia supernova, correspondent to the explosion of a white dwarf locked in a binary system with a companion star.
It was just the firts discovery of the many that will occur during the 5 years of the mission.

More information about the supernova
GaiaUB Group
Follow the mision with the GaiaApp

Gaia is an ESA mission to survey one billion stars in our Galaxy and local galactic neighbourhood in order to build the most precise 3D map of the Milky Way and answer questions about its origin and evolution. It was launched on 19 December 2013. The Gaia Group of the University of Barcelona-Institute of Cosmos Sciences- Institute of Spatial Studies of Catalonia, has a important contribution in this mission.

màxim Esa's bug-eyed telescope to spot risky asteroids 10 September 2014,
Spotting Earth-threatening asteroids is tough partly because the sky is so big. But insects offer an answer, since they figured out long ago how to look in many directions at once.

màxim Hubble Finds Supernova Companion Star after Two Decades of Searching 9 September 2014,
Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered a companion star to a rare type of supernova. The discovery confirms a long-held theory that the supernova, dubbed SN 1993J, occurred inside what is called a binary system, where two interacting stars caused a cosmic explosion.

màxim Rosetta comet observed with Very Large Telescope 8 September 2014,
Since early August 2014, Rosetta has been enjoying a close-up view of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Meanwhile, astronomers on Earth have been busy following the comet with ground-based telescopes. As Rosetta is deep inside the ‘atmosphere’ coma – it was 100 km from the nucleus on 6 August, and has been getting much closer since then – the only way to view the whole comet is to ‘stand back’ and observe it from Earth.

màxim Cosmic Forecast: Dark Clouds Will Give Way to Sunshine 3 September 2014,
Lupus 4, a spider-shaped blob of gas and dust, blots out background stars like a dark cloud on a moonless night in this intriguing new image. Although gloomy for now, dense pockets of material within clouds such as Lupus 4 are where new stars form and where they will later burst into radiant life. The Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile captured this new picture.

màxim Gaia in your pocket - Mapping the Galaxy with the new Gaia App 1 September 2014,
You can follow the mission’s progress with a new app created by the University of Barcelona. Being able to track the progress of this groundbreaking mission via your iPhone, iPad or iPod means the stars have never been closer!

màxim XI Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Society of Astronomy 1 September 2014,
The Spanish Society of Astronomy (SEA) cellebrate its XI Scientific Meeting at Teruel from 8 to 12 September 2014.
As on previous occasions, the main idea of this meeting is to create a science discussion forum where Spanish Astronomy and its guests can present and discuss their latests works, create new collaborations and organize themselves to face new challenges.
This meeting is thought as a meeting point for every astronomer and as a place where the youngest members of our society can improve in their research.

màxim Magnetar discoveed close to Supernova remnant KESTEVEN 79 1 September 2014,
Massive stars end their life with a bang, exploding as supernovas and releasing massive amounts of energy and matter. What remains of the star is a small and extremely dense remnant: a neutron star or a black hole.
This image depicts two very different neutron stars that were observed in the same patch of the sky with XMM-Newton. The green and pink bubble dominating the image is Kesteven 79, the remnant of a supernova explosion located about 23,000 light-years away from us.

August 2014

màxim How Rosetta arrives at a comet 2 August 2014,
After travelling nearly 6.4 billion kilometres through the Solar System, ESA’s Rosetta is closing in on its target. But how does a spacecraft actually arrive at a comet?

July 2014

màxim Gaia: Go for science 30 July 2014,
Following extensive in-orbit commissioning and several unexpected challenges, ESA’s billion-star surveyor, Gaia, is now ready to begin its science mission.
The satellite was launched on 19 December 2013, and is orbiting a virtual location in space 1.5 million kilometres from Earth.

màxim Nearby M33 galaxy blossoming with star birth 28 July 2014,
The spiral galaxy M33, also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, is one of our closest cosmic neighbours, just three million light-years away. Home to some forty billion stars, it is the third largest in the Local Group of galaxies after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and our own Milky Way.
This image, from ESA's Herschel space observatory, shows M33 in far-infrared light, revealing the glow of cosmic dust in the interstellar medium that permeates the galaxy. The patchy, disorganised structure of M33's spiral arms resembles a tuft of wool, leading astronomers to classify it as a flocculent spiral galaxy.

màxim Hubble Finds Three Surprisingly Dry Exoplanets 24 July 2014,
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have gone looking for water vapor in the atmospheres of three planets orbiting stars similar to the sun -- and have come up nearly dry.
The three planets, known as HD 189733b, HD 209458b, and WASP-12b, are between 60 and 900 light-years away from Earth and were thought to be ideal candidates for detecting water vapor in their atmospheres because of their high temperatures where water turns into a measurable vapor.

màxim Lives and Deaths of Sibling Stars 23 July 2014,
In this striking new image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile young stars huddle together against a backdrop of clouds of glowing gas and lanes of dust. The star cluster, known as NGC 3293, would have been just a cloud of gas and dust itself about ten million years ago, but as stars began to form it became the bright group of stars we see here. Clusters like this are celestial laboratories that allow astronomers to learn more about how stars evolve.

màxim Bizarre nearby blast mimics Universe'smost ancient stars 11 July 2014,
ESA’s XMM-Newton observatory has helped to uncover how the Universe’s first stars ended their lives in giant explosions.
Astronomers studied the gamma-ray burst GRB130925A – a flash of very energetic radiation streaming from a star in a distant galaxy 5.6 billion light years from Earth – using space- and ground-based observatories.

màxim NASA Spacecraft Observes Further Evidence of Dry Ice Gullies on Mars 10 July 2014,
Repeated high-resolution observations made by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) indicate the gullies on Mars’ surface are primarily formed by the seasonal freezing of carbon dioxide, not liquid water.
màxim NameExoWorlds: An IAU World wide Contest to name Exoplanets and their Host Stars 9 July 2014,
For the first time, in response to the public’s increased interest in being part of discoveries in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is organizing a worldwide contest to give popular names to selected exoplanets along with their host stars. The proposed names will be submitted by astronomy clubs and non-profit organisations interested in astronomy, and votes will be cast by the public from across the world through the web platform NameExoWorlds.
Spanish Blog

màxim VLT Clears Up Dusty Mystery 9 July 2014,
A group of astronomers has been able to follow stardust being made in real time — during the aftermath of a supernova explosion. For the first time they show that these cosmic dust factories make their grains in a two-stage process, starting soon after the explosion, but continuing for years afterwards.

màxim Farewell Lutetia! 7 July 2014,
This ethereal image shows a stunning sliver of large main-belt asteroid Lutetia from the viewpoint of ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, taken as Rosetta passed by on its 10-year voyage towards comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

màxim Ocean on Saturn Moon Could be as Salty as the Dead Sea 2 July 2014,
scientists analyzing data from NASA’s Cassini mission have firm evidence the ocean inside Saturn's largest moon, Titan, might be as salty as the Earth's Dead Sea.

màxim Young sun'sviolent history solves meteorite mystery 1 July 2014
, Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel space observatory to probe the turbulent beginnings of a Sun-like star have found evidence of mighty stellar winds that could solve a puzzling meteorite mystery in our own back yard.

màxim Nanda Rea receives the Zeldovich Medal 1 July 2014
, Dr. Nanda Rea, research scientist of the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC) / Institute of Space Studies of Catalunya (IEEC), receives the Zeldovich Medal, awarded by the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

màxim Discovery of Near Earth Asteroid 2014 LU14 with the Isaac Newton Telescope 1 July 2014,
LU14 is the first Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) discovered using the Isaac Newton Telescope and the first ever from La Palma. Having an absolute magnitude of H=18.6, the discovered NEA has an estimated size of about half a kilometer (assuming a mean albedo of 0.2), and will become better visible in July 2014 (estimated magnitude V=20).

June 2014

màxim Puzzling X rays point to dark matter 17 June
Astronomers using ESA and NASA high-energy observatories have discovered a tantalising clue that hints at an elusive ingredient of our Universe: dark matter.

màxim New moleculas around old starss 17 June
Using ESA’s Herschel space observatory, astronomers have discovered that a molecule vital for creating water exists in the burning embers of dying Sun-like stars.

màxim Gigantic Explosions Buried in Dust 14 June
Observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have for the first time directly mapped out the molecular gas and dust in the host galaxies of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) — the biggest explosions in the Universe.

màxim Black Hole ‘Batteries’ Keep Blazars Going and Going 3 June
Astronomers studying two classes of black-hole-powered galaxies monitored by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have found evidence that they represent different sides of the same cosmic coin. By unraveling how these objects, called blazars, are distributed throughout the universe, the scientists suggest that apparently distinctive properties defining each class more likely reflect a change in the way the galaxies extract energy from their central black holes.

màxim Astronomers Confounded By Massive Rocky World 2 June
Astronomers have discovered a rocky planet that weighs 17 times as much as Earth and is more than twice as large in size. This discovery has planet formation theorists challenged to explain how such a world could have formed.

May 2014

màxim A peppering of craters at the Moon's south pole 26 May
The dark and shadowed regions of the Moon fascinate astronomers and Pink Floyd fans alike. Our Moon’s rotation axis has a tilt of 1.5º, meaning that some parts of its polar regions never see sunlight – the bottoms of certain craters, for example, are always in shadow.

màxim Camelopardalid meteor shower 26 May
That's not what a meteor storm looks like. On May 24th, as predicted, Earth passed through a stream of debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR, and the encounter did produce a number of fine meteors. However, contrary to some forecasts, there was no intense outburst. Typical naked-eye meteor rates were no more than 5 or 10 per hour, a far cry from the "meteor storm" some headlines anticipated.

màxim A Star Cluster in the Wake of Carina 21 May
This colourful new image from the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile shows the star cluster NGC 3590. These stars shine brightly in front of a dramatic landscape of dark patches of dust and richly hued clouds of glowing gas. This small stellar gathering gives astronomers clues about how these stars form and evolve — as well as giving hints about the structure of our galaxy's pinwheeling arms.

màxim Hubble sees aurora on Saturn 19 May
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have captured new images of the dancing auroral lights at Saturn’s north pole. Taken in April and May 2013 from Hubble’s perspective in orbit around Earth, these observations provide a detailed look at previously unseen dynamics in the choreography of the auroral glow.

màxim Magnetar Formation Mystery Solved? 14 May
Magnetars are the bizarre super-dense remnants of supernova explosions. They are the strongest magnets known in the Universe — millions of times more powerful than the strongest magnets on Earth. A team of European astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) now believe they’ve found the partner star of a magnetar for the first time. This discovery helps to explain how magnetars form — a conundrum dating back 35 years — and why this particular star didn’t collapse into a black hole as astronomers would expect.

màxim A new Meteor Shower on May 24? 9 May
On the morning of May 24 we could see a new meteor shower. HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px;">It’s predicted for the night of May 23-24. This possible shower stems from Comet 209P/LINEAR, discovered in 2004. If the predictions hold true, Earth might be sandblasted with debris from this comet, resulting in a fine display of meteors, or HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 18px;">shooting starsHelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px;"> on the evening of May 23, and the morning of May 24. Mid-northern North American latitudes are favored.

màxim Astronomers Create First Realistic Virtual Universe 7 May
Astronomers have created the first realistic virtual universe using a computer simulation called "Illustris." Illustris can recreate 13 billion years of cosmic evolution in a cube 350 million light-years on a side with unprecedented resolution.

màxim Planck takes magnetic fingerprint of our Galaxy 6 May
Our Galaxy’s magnetic field is revealed in a new image from ESA’s Planck satellite. This image was compiled from the first all-sky observations of ‘polarised’ light emitted by interstellar dust in the Milky Way.

màxim Saturn's rainbow rings 5 May
This colourful cosmic rainbow portrays a section of Saturn’s beautiful rings, four centuries after they were discovered by Galileo Galilei.

April 2014

màxim Length of Exoplanet Day Measured for First Time 30 April
Observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have, for the first time, determined the rotation rate of an exoplanet. Beta Pictoris b has been found to have a day that lasts only eight hours. This is much quicker than any planet in the Solar System — its equator is moving at almost 100 000 kilometres per hour. This new result extends the relation between mass and rotation seen in the Solar System to exoplanets. Similar techniques will allow astronomers to map exoplanets in detail in the future with the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

màxim M82 Galaxy and Supernova SN2014J29 April
On the 21st January 2014 astronomers reported the discovery of supernova SN2014J which reached its peak brightness on the 31st January. Some days later, this type Ia supernova started to fade. The image demonstrates that SN2014J (marked with black lines) continued to be the brightest optical object in the galaxy even one month after the discovery.

màxim Asteroids as Seen From Mars; A Curiosity Rover First 25 April
A new image from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is the first ever from the surface of Mars to show an asteroid, and it shows two: Ceres and Vesta. These two -- the largest and third-largest bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter -- are the destinations of NASA's Dawn mission. Dawn orbited Vesta in 2011 and 2012, and is on its way to begin orbiting Ceres next year. Ceres is a dwarf planet, as well as an asteroid.

màxim Total Lunar Eclipse 15 April
The entire event is visible from both North and South America. Observers in the western Pacific miss the first half of the eclipse because it occurs before moonrise. Likewise most of Europe and Africa experience moonset just as the eclipse begins. None of the eclipse is visible from north/east Europe, eastern Africa, the Middle East or Central Asia..
NASA offered live via its website the event. Those who have not been able to enjoy such a spectacle, can see the best images that different observers have uploaded at the group that created NASA in flick called
"NASA Lunar Eclipse Group".



màxim | The DAM Gaia group on the fair «Live research»

The Gaia group of our Department has participated on the fair «Live research». The fair is an exhibition of contemporary research organized annually by the Barcelona Science Park (Parc Científic de Barcelona) in collaboration with the University of Barcelona (UB).

The aim of the fair is to improve scientific understanding and awareness in our society by presenting research that is currently being undertaken in Barcelona to the public, and for real researchers to explain to the general public the main characteristics of the scientific method.

At the same time the Fair presents research being performed in Barcelona in a coordinated way, exhibiting projects of research groups from different R&D institutions and centres in the city. These bring part of their laboratories to the Fair so that members of the public can interact with the instruments that are central to research in Barcelona and ask whatever questions they fancy.

Dates: 8-10 April 2014
Place: Aula Capella of the UB Historic Building
Time: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free entrance from 4 p.m.
Free entrance
Groups of more than 10 people need to reserve in advance. ||||


màxim Faraway Moon or Faint Star? Possible Exomoon Found 10 April
NASA-funded researchers have spotted the first signs of an "exomoon," and though they say it's impossible to confirm its presence, the finding is a tantalizing first step toward locating others. The discovery was made by watching a chance encounter of objects in our galaxy, which can be witnessed only once. "We won't have a chance to observe the exomoon candidate again," said David Bennett of the University of Notre Dame, Ind., lead author of a new paper on the findings appearing in the Astrophysical Journal. "But we can expect more unexpected finds like this." The international study is led by the joint Japan-New Zealand-American Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) and the Probing Lensing Anomalies NETwork (PLANET) programs, using telescopes in New Zealand and Tasmania. Their technique, called gravitational microlensing, takes advantage of chance alignments between stars. When a foreground star passes between us and a more distant star, the closer star can act like a magnifying glass to focus and brighten the light of the more distant one. These brightening events usually last about a month..

màxim Galactic Serial Killer 2 April
This new image from the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile shows two contrasting galaxies: NGC 1316, and its smaller neighbour NGC 1317. These two are quite close to each other in space, but they have very different histories. The small spiral NGC 1317 has led an uneventful life, but NGC 1316 has engulfed several other galaxies in its violent history and shows the battle scars.


màxim Redefining Solar System's Edge 26 March
The solar system has a new most-distant family member. Scientists using ground based observatories have discovered an object that is believed to have the most distant orbit found beyond the known edge of our solar system. Named 2012 VP113, the observations of the object -- possibly a dwarf planet -- were obtained and analyzed with a grant from NASA. A dwarf planet is an object in orbit around the sun that is large enough to have its own gravity pull itself into a spherical, or nearly round, shape.

màxim First Ring System Around Asteroid 26 March
Observations at many sites in South America, including ESO’s La Silla Observatory, have made the surprise discovery that the remote asteroid Chariklo is surrounded by two dense and narrow rings. This is the smallest object by far found to have rings and only the fifth body in the Solar System — after the much larger planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — to have this feature. The origin of these rings remains a mystery, but they may be the result of a collision that created a disc of debris.

màxim VLT Spots Largest Yellow Hypergiant Star 12 March
ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer has revealed the largest yellow star — and one of the ten largest stars found so far. This hypergiant has been found to measure more than 1300 times the diameter of the Sun, and to be part of a double star system, with the second component so close that it is in contact with the main star. Observations spanning over sixty years, some from amateur observers, also indicate that this rare and remarkable object is changing very rapidly and has been caught during a very brief phase of its life.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid, which has fragmented into as many as ten smaller pieces. Although fragile comet nuclei have been seen to fall apart as they approach the Sun, nothing like the breakup of this asteroid, P/2013 R3, has ever been observed before in the asteroid belt.

màxim Star factory NGC 7538 3 March
The billowing clouds portrayed in this image from ESA’s Herschel observatory are part of NGC 7538, a stellar nursery for massive stars. Located around 9000 light-years away, this is one of the few regions of massive-star formation that are relatively close to us, allowing astronomers to investigate this process in great detail.


màxim Coming Around Again: Giant Sunspot Makes Third Trip Across the Sun, 28 February
A giant sunspot – a magnetically strong and complex region on the sun's surface – has just appeared over the sun's horizon. This is the third trip for this region across the face of the sun, which takes approximately 27 days to make a complete rotation.

màxim NASA's Kepler Mission Announces a Planet Bonanza, 715 New Worlds, 26 February
NASA's Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.

màxim NASA Spacecraft Get a 360-Degree View of Saturn's Auroras, 12 February
NASA trained several pairs of eyes on Saturn as the planet put on a dancing light show at its poles. While NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, orbiting around Earth, was able to observe the northern auroras in ultraviolet wavelengths, NASA's Cassini spacecraft, orbiting around Saturn, got complementary close-up views in infrared, visible-light and ultraviolet wavelengths. Cassini could also see northern and southern parts of Saturn that don't face Earth.

màxim Largest Solar System Moon Detailed in Geologic Map, 12 February
A group of scientists led by Geoffrey Collins of Wheaton College has produced the first global geologic map of Ganymede, Jupiter’s seventh moon. The map combines the best images obtained during flybys conducted by NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft (1979) and Galileo orbiter (1995 to 2003) and is now published by the U. S. Geological Survey as a global map. It technically illustrates the varied geologic character of Ganymede’s surface and is the first global, geologic map of this icy, outer-planet moon.

màxim Un mes a L2, 12 de febrer
Gaia ha estat en la seva òrbita operacional al voltant de L2 durant al voltant d'un mes. Es troba en un programa de proves molt rigorós abans de començar les seves principals observacions científiques. Igual que en moltes reubicacions, li pot portar el seu temps instal·lar-se, sobretot a un satèl·lit que exigeix \x{200b}\x{200b}condicions molt precises i estables per a un bon funcionament.

màxim A good year to find a comet, 12 February
A team of European astronomers has found a previously unknown comet, detected as a tiny blob of light orbiting our Sun deep in the Solar System.
Europe’s Teide Observatory Tenerife Asteroid Survey team has been credited with discovering comet P/2014 C1, named ‘TOTAS’ in recognition of the teamwork involved in the find.

màxim Gaia comes into focus, 6 February
ESA’s billion-star surveyor Gaia is slowly being brought into focus. This test image shows a dense cluster of stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way.
Once Gaia starts making routine measurements, it will generate truly enormous amounts of data. To maximise the key science of the mission, only small ‘cut-outs’ centred on each of the stars it detects will be sent back to Earth for analysis.
This test picture, taken as part of commissioning the mission to ‘fine tune’ the behaviour of the instruments, is one of the first proper ‘images’ to be seen from Gaia, but ironically, it will also be one of the last.
Before Gaia is ready to enter its five-year operational phase the telescopes must be aligned and focused, ad the instruments calibrated, a painstaking procedure that will take several months.


màxim The supernova found in M82 could have reached its peak of brightness, January 31
The supernova SN 2014 J was located in the Cigar Galaxy, last January 21, by a group of students and their teacher, S. Fossey, while doing practical astronomy at the observatory of the University of London. Press Release
The supernova continues continues to swell, becoming easier to see with small telescopes and even binoculars. Seems to be reaching a maximum of 10.6 V magnitude. The next few days with the crescent moon will be good opportunity to observe it. In the evening is up in the northeast: Right ascension 9h 55m 42.2s, declination +69° 40′ 26″.
Sky & Telescope
Artículo relacionado

màxim First Weather Map of Brown Dwarf, January 29
ESO's Very Large Telescope has been used to create the first ever map of the weather on the surface of the nearest brown dwarf to Earth. An international team has made a chart of the dark and light features on WISE J104915.57-531906.1B, which is informally known as Luhman 16B and is one of two recently discovered brown dwarfs forming a pair only six light-years from the Sun. The new results are being published in the 30 January 2014 issue of the journal Nature.

màxim Herschel discovers water vapour around dwarf planet Ceres, 22 January
ESA’s Herschel space observatory has discovered water vapour around Ceres, the first unambiguous detection of water vapour around an object in the asteroid belt.

màxim ESA/ESO Collaboration Successfully Tracks Its First Potentially Threatening Near-Earth Object, 21 January
The first Near-Earth Object (NEO) recovery campaign has been successfully carried out by a new collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and ESO. Up to now the asteroid 2009 FD had been ranked among the top five objects in a list of the most dangerous objects, but new observations with ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) have now shown that it is far less likely to hit the Earth than had been feared.



portada.jpg Gaia, successful launch,
The video of the launch
Gaia mission blasted off successfully on 19th
at 9:12:18 UT
Go to the serviastro Gaia mission page
or to the special page

màxim ,
Ison comet flew through the solar atmosphere but the encounter did not go well.
Just before reaching perihelion the comet appeared to disintegrate. But after that was seen that a portion of it had survived the encounter.
For the moment it is still not known what remains of the comet.

màxim Comet ISON is brightening rapidly as it plunges into the sun's atmosphere. At closest approach on Nov. 28th the comet will be little more than a million kilometers above the sun's fiery surface. Temperatures around ISON's icy nucleus could rise as high as 5000º F. No one knows if it can survive that kind of baking--but if it does, it could emerge as a splendid naked-eye comet in early December. Right now, the best views of the comet are coming from the.
Guia mensual del cometa al 2013


Observatori Solar y Heliosférico (SOHO)


4th Montsec Astronomy days

On November 16 starting at the Centre d'Observació de l'Univers the fourth Montsec Astronomy Days.
This year: "Astronomy in our day to day"


màxim *
Desember 20 at 09:08:14* UT is the new date and time set for the launching of satellite Gaia.
ESA decided to postpone the launch of Gaia mission after a technical issue was identified in another satellite already in orbit.Gaia shares some of the components involved in this technical issue and prompt notification of this problem has allowed engineers working on the final preparations for Gaia’s launch to take additional precautionary measures.

màxim * Weekend Solar Eclipse, 3rd November 2013
On Sunday morning, Nov. 3rd, the New Moon passed in front of the sun, producing a solar eclipse visible from the east Coast of North America to the western side of Africa.


màxim * , 18 October 2013
Ahead of its launch on 20 November 2013, Gaia has passed its critical sunshield deployment test. The sunshield has been fabricated by the Spanish company SENER. During the test at Europe's spaceport in Kourou the shield's twelve carbon fibre folding frames were opened successfully in the cleanroom. As the Deployable Sunshield assembly (DSA) was not designed to support its own weight in the one-g environment at Earth's surface, support cables and counterweights attached to the shield provided a realistic test environment. In space the 10.5 metre diameter sunshield will shade the spacecraft's telescope from the sun. It will also help to provide a stable and low temperature environment.


màxim * Preparing for comet ISON, 23 September 2013
ESA’s space missions are getting ready to observe an icy visitor to the inner Solar System: Comet ISON, which might also be visible in the night sky later this year as a naked eye object. The comet was discovered in images taken on 21 September 2012 by astronomers Artyom Novichonok and Vitali Nevski using a 40 cm-diameter telescope that is part of the International Scientific Optical Network, ISON.

màxim *Billion stars in the most accurate map of the Milky Way, September 3, 2013
El País Sociedad

màxim * Fly your experiment to the edge of the Space, September 2, 2013
The opportunity to fly experiments high into the stratosphere or even to the edge of space is now open again for university students. Up to 10 teams will be selected to fly a balloon experiment during autumn 2014 or a rocket experiment in spring 2015.


màxim * Waking up to a new year, 19 August 2013
In the time it takes you to complete a single workday, or get a full night’s sleep, a small fireball of a planet 700 light-years away has already completed an entire year.


màxim * Dance of the X -Rays, 29 July 2013
Like car tail lights streaking through a busy city at night, this unique image records over a thousand movements made by ESA’s XMM-Newton space telescope as it shifts its gaze from one X-ray object to another.

màxim * Starburst to Star Bust, 25 July 2013
New observations from the ALMA telescope in Chile have given astronomers the best view yet of how vigorous star formation can blast gas out of a galaxy and starve future generations of stars of the fuel they need to form and grow.

màxim * , 22nd July 2013
Two solar eruptions expand side-by-side into space in this movie, playing out in front of the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, SOHO, on 1–2 July 2013.

màxim * Ripped Apart by a Black Hole, 17th July 2013
New observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope show for the first time a gas cloud being ripped apart by the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. The cloud is now so stretched that its front part has passed the closest point and is travelling away from the black hole at more than 10 million km/h, whilst the tail is still falling towards it.

màxim * Fly through a canyon on Mars, 16th July 2013
Glide through part of the largest canyon on Mars, Valles Marineris, in this stunning colour movie from ESA’s Mars Express. Valles Marineris is not just the largest canyon on Mars, but at 4000 km long, 200 km wide and 10 km deep it is the largest in the entire Solar System.

màxim * World Premiere of IMAX® 3D Film Hidden Universe , July 1st 2013
The 3D production Hidden Universe has been released in IMAX® theatres and giant-screen cinemas around the globe, with world premieres on 28 June 2013 at Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, and on 29 June at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen, Denmark. The film shows state-of-the-art telescopes in high-resolution time-lapse, mesmerising 3D versions of celestial structures, and a 3D simulation of the evolution of the Universe.

June 2013

màxim * Europe bids Gaia a safe journey
ESA's billion-star surveyor, Gaia, has completed final preparations in Europe and is ready to depart for its launch site in French Guiana, set to embark on a five-year mission to map the stars with unprecedented precision.

To explain all this information to the public, investigators from the Department of Astronomy and Meteorology from the University of Barcelona has produced the exhibition "Mil milions d'ulls per a mil milions d'estrelles" . It was presented at the Parc astronomic del Montsec the ast July 1st. The exhibition also can be seen in digital format: Mil milions d'ulls per a mil milions d'estrelles + info

màxim * Three Planets in Habitable Zone of Nearby Star , June 25th 2013
A team of astronomers has combined new observations of Gliese 667C with existing data from HARPS at ESO’s 3.6-metre telescope in Chile, to reveal a system with at least six planets. A record-breaking three of these planets are super-Earths lying in the zone around the star where liquid water could exist, making them possible candidates for the presence of life. This is the first system found with a fully packed habitable zone.
màxim * The port of Barcelona from space, June 21th 2013
The Japanese ALOS satellite has photographed from space Barcelona, in the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula.
màxim * First woman in Space, Valentina , June 16th 2013
After the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin, the selection of female cosmonaut trainees was authorised by the Soviet government, with the aim of ensuring the first woman in space was a Soviet citizen.
màxim * New Kind of Variable Star Discovered , June 12th 2013
Astronomers using the Swiss 1.2-metre Euler telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile have found a new type of variable star. The discovery was based on the detection of very tiny changes in brightness of stars in a cluster. The observations revealed previously unknown properties of these stars that defy current theories and raise questions about the origin of the variations.
màxim * Ten years at Mars; New global views plot the red planet's History , June 3rd, 2013
New global maps of Mars released on the 10th anniversary of the launch of ESA's Mars Express trace the history of water and volcanic activity on the Red Planet, and identify sites of special interest for the next generation of Mars explorers.

May 2013

màxim * On May 31, 2013, asteroid 1998 QE2, May 27th, 2013
Asteroid 1998 QE2 will sail serenely past Earth, getting no closer than about 3.6 million miles (5.8 million kilometers), or about 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon. And while QE2 is not of much interest to those astronomers and scientists on the lookout for hazardous asteroids, it is of interest to those who dabble in radar astronomy and have a 230-foot (70-meter) -- or larger -- radar telescope at their disposal.
màxim * ESO's Very Large Telescope Celebrates 15 Years of Success, May 23rd, 2013
This new picture celebrates an important anniversary for the Very Large Telescope – it is fifteen years since the first light on the first of its four Unit Telescopes, on 25 May 1998. Since then the four original giant telescopes have been joined by the four small Auxiliary Telescopes that form part of the VLT Interferometer (VLTI). The VLT is one of the most powerful and productive ground-based astronomical facilities in existence. In 2012 more than 600 refereed scientific papers based on data from the VLT and VLTI were published (ann13009).
màxim * Lunar Impact, May 17th, 2013
An object about the size of a small boulder has hit the lunar surface in Mare Imbrium. Anyone looking at the Moon at the moment of impact could have seen the explosion--no telescope required. For about one second, the impact site was glowing like a 4th magnitude star.
màxim * Solar activity surges, May 14th, mayo 2013
A sunspot on the sun's eastern limb is crackling with powerful X-class solar flares. Just-numbered AR1748 announced itself during the early hours of May 13th with an X1.7-class eruption (0217 UT), quickly followed by an X2.8-class flare (1609 UT) and an X3.2-class flare (0117 UT on May 14). These are the strongest flares of the year so far, and they signal a significant increase in solar activity. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of more X-flares during the next 24 hours.
Space Weather
màxim * No return trip to Mars, May 10th, 2013
Interview with Josep Manel Carrasco on "Migdia" of 8TV to discuss the project "Mars-One" that intends to send in 2023 four volunteers with no possibility of return to Earth.
Composició en la qual es veu una bona part del Sol, amb una gran taca irregular a la part inferior esquerra de la imatge i unes altres, una mica més petites i molt més redones, en la part superior dreta del Sol: el planeta Mercuri en diferents moments del trànsit

ServiAstro webcast its first live phenomenon 10 years ago. It was the Mercuri Transit on May 7, 2003.

Since then, ServiAstro have broadcast the most important astronomical phenomena visible from Catalonia, offering detailed information on both their nature and their observation conditions.
Our server has also wanted to cover other astronomical phenomena of special interest that were not visible from here, and to make it possible, some members of our department have moved to different parts of the world and they have webcast them live.

màxim * An Anarchic Region of Star Formation, May 2nd 2013
NGC 6559 is a cloud of gas and dust located at a distance of about 5000 light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer). The glowing region is a relatively small object, just a few light-years across, in contrast to the one hundred light-years and more spanned by its famous neighbour, the Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8, eso0936). Although it is usually overlooked in favour of its distinguished companion, NGC 6559 has the leading role in this new picture.

April 2013

màxim * Herschel closes its eyes on the Universe, 29th April 2013
ESA’s Herschel space observatory has exhausted its supply of liquid helium coolant, ending more than three years of pioneering observations of the cool Universe.
The event was not unexpected: the mission began with over 2300 litres of liquid helium, which has been slowly evaporating since the final top-up the day before Herschel’s launch on 14 May 2009.
màxim * Arrels II School from Solsona wins the Soncube contest _ , 25th April 2013
Two students of this center will be responsible for designing and building the experiment that will be probed into the stratosphere.
Next September, SonCube probe driven by a helium balloon will take off for the second time since MónNatura Pyrenees (High Àneu, Lleida), following its goal to reach the public and especially to the younger the interest by experimentation and space sciences.
On this occasion, the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), the University of Barcelona (UB) and Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation participated in the contest organization "SonCube, experiences on the border of the space "that aims to enable a group of high school students with the most elaborate and original proposed design and build the main experiment that SonCube will carry
màxim * Discovery of the First Isolated Compact Elliptical (cE) Galaxy, 24th April 2013
Compact ellipticals (cEs) are a rare type of dwarf galaxy, possessing small effective radii and high central surface brightnesses. The best example is M32, a companion to the nearby Andromeda Galaxy. All of those found to date are close to massive galaxies, so many astronomers believe that their unusual features are the consequence of the tidal stripping of a much larger progenitor galaxy by the very massive host. Others, however, have argued that cEs are formed in the same manner as all elliptical galaxies, and are simply the rare low-mass examples.
màxim * A Whiff of Dark Matter on the ISS, 23rd April 2013
ESA’s Herschel space observatory has solved a long-standing mystery as to the origin of water in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, finding conclusive evidence that it was delivered by the dramatic impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in July 1994. During the spectacular week-long collision, a string of 21 comet fragments pounded into the southern hemisphere of Jupiter, leaving dark scars in the planet’s atmosphere that persisted for several weeks.
màxim * "UN PASEO POR EL ESPACIO", 23rd April 2013
"Un paseo por el espacio" approaches all publics the mills and space technologies, showing the benefits they bring to the quality of life of people.
The book is published by the Spanish space industry, represented in the Proespacio of TEDAE Comission, in collaboration with the European Space Agency. In addition to the paper version, the book can be viewed and downloaded for free from the website of TEDAE and ESA with the objective of expand its outreach to all ages

* Give the universe a blind child! "A Touch of The Universe" non-profit project aims to build 30 sets of tactile astronomy kits addressed to children with both normal or vision impairments. The kits will be distributed among educators and teachers in underdeveloped countries in Americas, Asia and Africa.

We need to raise funds to build 30 kits astronomy touch. To make a donation visit the project website:

"A Touch Of The Universe" is supported by the Astronomy Office for Development of International Astronomical Union, Astronomical Observatory of the Valencia University, Universe Awareness (UNAWE), Astronoms Without Borders (AWB), Galileo Teachers Training Program (GTTP), Galileo Mobile, NASA-CXO, and Astronomical Observatori of Padova / INAF.

màxim * A Dust-Obscured Massive Maximum-Starburst Galaxy in the Early Universe, 17th April 2013
Astronomers of the Herschel Multi-tiered Extragalactic Survey (HerMES) project announce in the journal Nature the discovery of an unusually massive, maximum-starburst galaxy at a redshift of 6.34, or when the Universe was only 880 million years old. Because current theories of galaxy formation and evolution predict smaller galaxies with slower rates of star production in the early Universe, the detection of such a galaxy is challenging.
màxim * A Whiff of Dark Matter on the ISS, 15th April 2013
On April 3rd, researchers led by Nobel Laureate Samuel Ting of MIT announced that the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a particle detector operating onboard the International Space Station since 2011, has counted more than 400,000 positrons, the antimatter equivalent of electrons. There’s no danger of an explosion, but the discovery is sending shock waves through the scientific community.
màxim * A Ghostly Green Bubble, 10th April 2013
Stars the size of the Sun end their lives as tiny and faint white dwarf stars. But as they make the final transition into retirement their atmospheres are blown away into space. For a few tens of thousands of years they are surrounded by the spectacular and colourful glowing clouds of ionised gas known as planetary nebulae.


màxim * Collision Course? A Comet Heads for Mars, 27th March 2013
"There is a small but non-negligible chance that Comet 2013 A1 will strike Mars next year in October of 2014," says Don Yeomans of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program at JPL. "Current solutions put the odds of impact at 1 in 2000." The nucleus of the comet is probably 1 to 3 km in diameter, and it is coming in fast, around 56 km/s (125,000 mph).
màxim * Montsec, Starlight Tourist Destination, March 21 2013
Starlight Fundations, supported by UNESCO, gave the Certificate to Montsec for good conditions for star gazing
màxim * Planck unveils the cosmic microwaves backgrounds, 21 March 2013
Acquired by ESA’s Planck space telescope, the most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background – the relic radiation from the Big Bang – was released revealing the existence of features that challenge the foundations of our current understanding of the Universe.
màxim * ALMA Rewrites History of Universe's Stellar Baby Boom, 13th March 2013
Observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) show that the most vigorous bursts of star birth in the cosmos took place much earlier than previously thought.
màxim * PAN STARRS comet visible to the naked eye,7th March 2013
Comets visible to the naked eye are a rare delicacy in the celestial smorgasbord of objects in the nighttime sky. Scientists estimate that the opportunity to see one of these icy dirtballs advertising their cosmic presence so brilliantly they can be seen without the aid of a telescope or binoculars happens only once every five to 10 years. That said, there may be two naked-eye comets available for your viewing pleasure this year.
More information about visiblity at this link
and at this.
Comet Images.
màxim * Next March 13th, ALMA Inauguration (Atacama Large Millimeter Array), 6th March 2013
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile, is the largest astronomical project in existence. ALMA will be a single telescope of revolutionary design, composed initially of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile.
ESO will broadcast on streaming the inauguration. It can be seen in this link.
màxim * Cassini spies Venus from Saturn orbit, 4th March 2013
A distant world gleaming in sunlight, Venus shines like a bright beacon through Saturn’s rings in this image taken by the international Cassini spacecraft.



December 2012

màxim * Christmas Sky Show, 21st of december: The Moon and Jupiter are converging for a heavenly sky show on Christmas 2012. Got a telescope? Something is happening on Jupiter that makes it an extra-interesting target for backyard optics.
màxim * Saturn's Transit of Venus on Dec. 21, 2012: "On Friday, Dec. 21st, there will be a transit of Venus visible from Saturn, and we will be watching it using the Cassini spacecraft"
whitedwarf.jpg * How white dwarfs mimic black holes, 17 of december: A group of astronomers has revealed that bright X-ray flares in nearby galaxies, once assumed to indicate the presence of black holes, can in fact be produced by white dwarfs.
maya.jpg * Why the World Didn't End Yesterday, 14th of december: NASA is so sure the world won't come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, that they already released a video for the day after.
geminidsnorth.jpg * The Geminids, 13th of december:The annual Geminid meteor shower will peak on 13 and 14 December 2012. The show, which has its origin in an unusual "rock comet", could produce more than 100 meteors per hour during the dark hours before dawn on Thursday and Friday.
In the picture you can see where is the radiant of the shower.
Rock Comet Meteor Shower
Monografic about Meteor Showers (in catalan)
Titan s Nile River small.jpg * Cassini spots mini Nile River on Saturn Moon, 12th of December:
The international Cassini mission has spotted what appears to be a miniature extraterrestrial version of the Nile River: a river valley on Saturn’s moon Titan that stretches more than 400 km from its ‘headwaters’ to a large sea.
710733main Edgett-2-pia16469-673.jpg * NASA Mars Rover Fully Analyzes First Soil Samples , 3rd of Desember:
Mars Curiosity rover has used its full array of instruments to analyze Martian soil for the first time, and found a complex chemistry within the Martian soil. Water and sulfur and chlorine-containing substances, among other ingredients, showed up in samples Curiosity's arm delivered to an analytical laboratory inside the rover

November 2012

eso1248a.jpg * Even Brown Dwarfs May Grow Rocky Planets, 30th of November:
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have for the first time found that the outer region of a dusty disc encircling a brown dwarf contains millimetre-sized solid grains like those found in denser discs around newborn stars. The surprising finding challenges theories of how rocky, Earth-scale planets form, and suggests that rocky planets may be even more common in the Universe than expected.
eso1247a.jpg * Biggest Black Hole Blast Discovered, 28th November:
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) have discovered a quasar with the most energetic outflow ever seen, at least five times more powerful than any that have been observed to date. Quasars are extremely bright galactic centres powered by supermassive black holes. Many blast huge amounts of material out into their host galaxies, and these outflows play a key role in the evolution of galaxies. But, until now, observed quasar outflows weren’t as powerful as predicted by theorists.
708264main1 solarmin-max-670.jpg * Solar Minimum; Solar Maximum, 26th November:
The picture on the left shows a calm sun from Oct. 2010. The right side, from Oct. 2012, shows a much more active and varied solar atmosphere as the sun moves closer to peak solar activity, a peak known as solar maximum, predicted for 2013. Both images were captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) observing light emitted from the 1 million degree plasma, which is a good temperature for observing the quiet corona.
eso1246a.jpg * Dwarf Planet Makemake Lacks Atmosphere, 21st of november:
Astronomers have used three telescopes at ESO’s observatories in Chile to observe the dwarf planet Makemake as it drifted in front of a distant star and blocked its light. The new observations have allowed them to check for the first time whether Makemake is surrounded by an atmosphere. This chilly world has an orbit lying in the outer Solar System and was expected to have an atmosphere like Pluto (eso0908), but this is now shown not to be the case. The scientists also measured Makemake’s density for the first time.
eso1245a.jpg * Lost in Space: Rogue Planet Spotted?, 14 de novembre:
Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope have identified a body that is very probably a planet wandering through space without a parent star. This is the most exciting free-floating planet candidate so far and the closest such object to the Solar System at a distance of about 100 light-years. Its comparative proximity, and the absence of a bright star very close to it, has allowed the team to study its atmosphere in great detail. This object also gives astronomers a preview of the exoplanets that future instruments aim to image around stars other than the Sun.
DSC 02094.jpg * Proba-2 soaks up three solar eclipses, 14th November:
ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 satellite experienced three partial solar eclipses last night while lucky observers watching from northern Australia were treated to a total solar eclipse.
TSE2012PhilHart 6999 900px.jpg * Total Solar Eclipse, 13th of november:
A total eclipse of the Sun was visible from within a narrow corridor that traverses Earth's Southern Hemisphere. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow began in northern Australia and crossed the South Pacific Ocean with no other landfall. More information
7cdf43ff18ebe63050bbbbcf2a408d53.jpg * Scientists discover new super-Earth: Conditions on planet may be just right to support life, 8th november:
An international team of astronomers led by the Universities of Hertfordshire (Mikko Tuomi) and Göttingen (Guillem Anglada Escudé) has discovered a new super-Earth with conditions that may be just right to support life.
pia16296-640.jpg * NASA Radar Images Asteroid 2007 PA8, 5th November: Scientists working with NASA's 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif., have obtained several radar images depicting near-Earth asteroid 2007 PA8. The images were generated from data collected at Goldstone on Oct. 28, 29 and 30, 2012. The asteroid's distance from Earth on Oct. 28 was 6.5 million miles (10 million kilometers). The asteroid's distance to Earth was 5.6 million miles (9 million kilometers) on Oct. 30. The perspective in the images is analogous to seeing the asteroid from above its north pole. Each of the three images is shown at the same scale.
HENRIETTA.jpg * The Strange Case of Henrietta Leavitt, 5th November: New outreach videoblog of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia.
She worked at the observatory of Harvard and spent his days sitting in front of a photographic plate, counting stars. Her name was Henrietta Swan Leavitt and belonged to the so-called "Pickering's Harem", a group of women who were contracted, from 1877 to 1919, by the director of the Harvard Observatory, Edward Charles Pickering, in order to make systematic and laborious astronomical works , for the price of 25 cents an hour.

October, 2012

eso1243a.jpg * Stars Ancient and Modern?, 31th October: Globular star clusters are among the oldest objects in the Universe, and NGC 6362 cannot hide its age in this picture. The many yellowish stars in the cluster have already run through much of their lives and become red giant stars. .
ngc4178 525 roll.jpg * NGC 4178: Revealing a Mini-Supermassive Black Hole, 24th October:
One of the lowest mass supermassive black holes ever observed in the middle of a galaxy has been identified, thanks to NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and several other observatories.
valles 3d H large0.jpg * The Solar System’s grandest canyon, 22th October:
Earth’s Grand Canyon inspires awe for anyone who casts eyes upon the vast river-cut valley, but it would seem nothing more than a scratch next to the cavernous scar of Valles Marineris that marks the face of Mars.
GAIA Cam01 2 M1.jpg * The ESA presents the Gaia mission in which participate 30 UB researchers, 30th October: The Gaia mission begins its countdown. In one year, it will take place the launch of this satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) that will map more than a thousand million stars throughout our Galaxy with an unparalleled precision, and will test the theories of formation and evolution of our Galaxy. The main object of this mission is to create the most accurate galactic census of the Milky Way. More than 400 scientists collaborate in this project, and thirty researchers and technicians from the Department of Astronomy and Meteorology of the University of Barcelona have performed a really important role in the conception and design of the instrument and in processing and simulating the mission's data.
Gaia Video (available in english, catalan and spanish)
For media
eso1241a.jpg * Planet Found in Nearest Star System to Earth, 16th October: European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system — the nearest to Earth. It is also the lightest exoplanet ever discovered around a star like the Sun. The planet was detected using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile..
eso1239a.jpg * Surprising Spiral Structure Spotted by ALMA, 10th October: Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have discovered a totally unexpected spiral structure in the material around the old star R Sculptoris. This is the first time that such a structure, along with an outer spherical shell, has been found around a red giant star. It is also the first time that astronomers could get full three-dimensional information about such a spiral. The strange shape was probably created by a hidden companion star orbiting the red giant. .
Finkelstein Img1.jpg * CANDELS team discovers dusty galaxies at ancient epoch with Hubble Space Telescope; tracks build-up of star- and planet-forming material, 9 October 2012: Dust is an annoyance in everyday life, but an important building block of stars and planets. As such, astronomers need to understand how cosmic dust forms over time — it's an integral step in figuring out the evolution of galaxies, and the stars and planets within them.
694432main newblackhole-466.jpg * NASA's Swift Satellite Discovers a New Black Hole in our Galaxy, 5th October: NASA's Swift satellite recently detected a rising tide of high-energy X-rays from a source toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The outburst, produced by a rare X-ray nova, announced the presence of a previously unknown stellar-mass black hole.
olivine L.jpg * Comet crystals found in a nearby planetary system, 3th October: Pristine material that matches comets in our own Solar System have been found in a dust belt around the young star Beta Pictoris by ESA’s Herschel space observatory.
20121003-pic1-vera.jpg * Mass of Dark Matter Revealed by Precise Measurements of the Galaxy , 3rd October: A research team has succeeded in precisely determining the astronomical yardstick for the Galaxy based upon the precise distance measurements with advanced radio telescopes.The new findings are that the distance from the Sun to the Galactic center is 26,100 light-years, and that the Galactic rotation velocity in the Solar System is 240km/s.
msl20110602 PIA14175-br.jpg * Following Curiosity

September, 2012

C2012S1 2012Sep22 H06--644x362.jpg * BIG SUN-DIVING COMET DISCOVERED:, 21 september 2012:
Astronomy forums are buzzing with speculation about newly-discovered Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON). Currently located beyond the orbit of Jupiter, Comet ISON is heading for a very close encounter with the sun next year. In Nov. 2013, it will pass less than 0.012 AU (1.8 million km) from the solar surface. The fierce heating it experiences then could turn the comet into a bright naked-eye object.

April, 2012

  • Uranus auroras glimpsed from Earth, 25th of april:
    for the first time, scientists have captured images of auroras above the giant ice planet Uranus, finding further evidence of just how peculiar a world that distant planet is. Detected by means of carefully scheduled observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, the newly witnessed Uranian light show consisted of short-lived, faint, glowing dots – a world of difference from the colorful curtains of light that often ring Earth's poles.

  • Herschel spots comet massacre around nearby star,13 de abril:
    ESA's Herschel Space Observatory has studied the dusty belt around the nearby star Fomalhaut. The dust appears to be coming from collisions that destroy up to thousands of icy comets every day.

March, 2012

  • Space Observations of Mercury Transits Yield Precise Solar Radius, 20th of march:
    a group of scientists from Hawaii, Brazil and California has measured the diameter of the Sun with unprecedented accuracy by using a spacecraft to time the transits of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun in 2003 and 2006. They measured the Sun’s radius as 696,342 km (432,687 miles) with an uncertainty of only 65 km (40 miles). This was achieved by using the solar telescope aboard a NASA satellite, thereby bypassing the blurring caused by Earth’s atmosphere that occurs when observations are made from the ground.

  • Powerhouse in the Crab Nebula, March 30:
    the pulsar at the centre of the famous Crab Nebula is a veritable bundle of energy. This was now confirmed by the two MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma-Ray Imaging Cherenkov) Telescopes on the Canary island of La Palma. They observed the pulsar in the area of very high energy gamma radiation from 25 up to 400 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), a region that was previously difficult to access with high energy instruments, and discovered that it actually emits pulses with the maximum energy of up to 400 GeV -- 50 to 100 times higher than theorists thought possible.

February, 2012

  • New super-Earth detected within the habitable zone of a nearby star, 2 de febrero:
    A team of astronomers led by Guillem Anglada-Escudé y Paul Butler has discovered a super-Earth orbiting in the habitable zone (where there may be liquid water) of a system of three stars.

  • NASA Mission Returns First Video From Moon's Far Side, 1 february:
    A camera aboard one of NASA's twin Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar spacecraft has returned its first unique view of the far side of the moon.

  • A Pocket of Star Formation, 1 february:
    This new view shows a stellar nursery called NGC 3324. It was taken using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.

  • BEX: Glimpses of the Interstellar Material Beyond our Solar System, 1 february
    A great magnetic bubble surrounds the solar system as it cruises through the galaxy. The sun pumps the inside of the bubble full of solar particles that stream out to the edge until they collide with the material that fills the rest of the galaxy, at a complex boundary called the heliosheath. On the other side of the boundary, electrically charged particles from the galactic wind blow by, but rebound off the heliosheath, never to enter the solar system. Neutral particles, on the other hand, are a different story. They saunter across the boundary as if it weren't there, continuing on another 7.5 billion miles for 30 years until they get caught by the sun's gravity, and sling shot around the star.

January, 2012

  • NASA's Kepler Announces 11 Planetary Systems Hosting 26 Planets, 26 January:
    These discoveries nearly double the number of verified Kepler planets and triple the number of stars known to have more than one planet that transits, or passes in front of, its host star. Such systems will help astronomers better understand how planets form.

  • The Wild Early Lives of Today's Most Massive Galaxies, 25 January:
    Using the APEX telescope, a team of astronomers has found the strongest link so far between the most powerful bursts of star formation in the early Universe, and the most massive galaxies found today.

  • Solar storm hits the Earth, 25 de gener:
    A large solar flare, at 03:59 GMT on Monday, triggered a coronal mass ejection (CME) travelling at 1400 km/s that reached the Earth in the afternoon of 24 January.

  • The Helix in New Colours, 19 January: ESO’s VISTA telescope, at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, has captured a striking new image of the Helix Nebula. This picture, taken in infrared light, reveals strands of cold nebular gas that are invisible in images taken in visible light, as well as bringing to light a rich background of stars and galaxies.

  • The International Telecommunication Union postponed for 3 years the decision about the leap second. This seconds are occasionally added to the world’s atomic clocks (UTC) to keep them synchronized with Earth’s rotational cycles (UT1).
    International Earth Rotation & Referrence Systems Service.
    In thel New York Times

    This year the second will be added on 30 of june at 23h 60 m 60s.

  • Kepler Discovers a Tiny Solar System, January 11, 2012:
    Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler mission have discovered the three smallest planets yet detected orbiting a star beyond our sun. The planets orbit a single star, called KOI-961, and are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times the radius of Earth. The smallest is about the size of Mars.

  • Planets around stars are the rule rather than the exception,11 January 2012:
    An international team, including three astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO), has used the technique of gravitational microlensing to measure how common planets are in the Milky Way. After a six-year search that surveyed millions of stars, the team concludes that planets around stars are the rule rather than the exception. The results will appear in the journal Nature on 12 January 2012.

  • El Gordo — A “Fat” Distant Galaxy Cluster, 10 January 2012:
    An extremely hot, massive young galaxy cluster — the largest ever seen in the distant Universe — has been studied by an international team using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the Atacama Desert in Chile along with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope. The new results are being announced on 10 January 2012 at the 219th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas.



  • Space Mountain Produces Terrestrial Meteorites, Dec. 30, 2011:
    When NASA's Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around giant asteroid Vesta in July, scientists fully expected the probe to reveal some surprising sights. But no one expected a 13-mile high mountain, two and a half times higher than Mount Everest, to be one of them.

  • VLT founds a star with a record speed rotation. 05/12/2011.
    The ESO Very Large Telescope at Cerro Paranal (Chile), detected the star with fastest rotation known. This young, massive and bright star is situated in our neighboring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 160 000 light years from Earth. Astronomers believe that could have a violent past and would have been ejected from a binary star system after the explosion of his companion.

  • NASA's Voyager Hits New Region at Solar System Edge, 05/12/2011. NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region between our solar system and interstellar space. Data obtained from Voyager over the last year reveal this new region to be a kind of cosmic purgatory. In it, the wind of charged particles streaming out from our sun has calmed, our solar system's magnetic field is piled up, and higher-energy particles from inside our solar system appear to be leaking out into interstellar space. NASA's Kepler Mission Confirms Its First Planet in Habitable Zone of Sun-like Star

  • NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the "habitable zone,"05/12/2011 NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the "habitable zone," the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. Kepler also has discovered more than 1,000 new planet candidates, nearly doubling its previously known count. Ten of these candidates are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of their host star. Candidates require follow-up observations to verify they are actual planets

  • Study: Giant Super-Earths made of diamond are possible, 05/12/2011. A planet made of diamonds may sound lovely, but you wouldn’t want to live there.A new study suggests that some stars in the Milky Way could harbor “carbon super-Earths” – giant terrestrial planets that contain up to 50 percent diamond. But if they exist, those planets are likely devoid of life as we know it.

October, 2011

  • NASA's Spitzer Detects Comet Storm In Nearby Solar System: The NASA Espace Telescope Spitzer, has detected signs of ice masses that fall as rain in an alien solar system. This rain of comets is similar to what possibly occurred in our own solar system several billion years ago, during a period known as "Late Heavy Bombardment."

September, 2011

  • Young Stars Take a Turn in the Spotlight, 07/09/2011: ESO's New Technology Telescope (NTT) has captured a striking image of the open cluster NGC 2100.

  • Neutrinos: Ghostly Particles with Unstable Egos, 06/09/2011: So far it is unknown which rules neutrinos follow when they alter their identity. A study has now revealed that even the last of the three parameters, which describe the oscillation of neutrinos is most likely to be greater than zero.

  • NASA Spacecraft Images Offer Sharper Views Of Apollo Landing Sites, 06/09/2011: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) captured the sharpest images ever taken from space of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites. Images show the twists and turns of the paths made when the astronauts explored the lunar surface.
  • Stellar Pulsations, discussed in Granada, 05/09/2011: The "Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía" (IAA), belonging to the "Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas" (CSIC), organises the 20th Stellar Pulsation Conference Series in Granada (Spain).

  • Rare martian lake delta spotted by Mars Express, 02/09/2011: ESA’s Mars Express has spotted a rare case of a crater once filled by a lake, revealed by the presence of a delta.

  • Eclipse total de Luna, 02/12/2011. Despertar antes de la salida del Sol puede ser difícil, especialmente durante el fin de semana. El sábado 10 de diciembre, posiblemente le de gusto haberlo hecho. Durante las primeras horas de la mañana, en el Oeste de América del Norte, se podrá ver un eclipse total de Luna. El evento se iniciará alrededor de las 4:45 de la madrugada (hora oficial del Pacífico), cuando la gran sombra roja de la Tierra caiga sobre el disco lunar. Hacia las 6:05 de la mañana (hora oficial del Pacífico), la Luna estará completamente envuelta en luz roja. Este evento (el último eclipse total de Luna hasta el año 2014) será visible desde el lado del Pacífico de América del Norte, a través de todo el Océano Pacífico, hasta Asia y Europa Oriental.


The Phoenix Lander arrives near the north pole of Mars

Globe at Night (Not available in english)

Research in action in Montsec observatory (Not available in english)

MESSENGER's first Mercury flyby, the first since more than 30 years ago
Today, 14th January 2008, the MESSENGER spacecraft will fly by Mercury, obtaining new and important data and images of the smallest planet in the Solar System.
Unexpected appearance of the comet 17P/Holmes
In the early morning of 24th October 2007, the astronomer Juan Antonio Henríquez, in Tenerife, discovered an unexpected increase of luminosity of the comet 17P/Holmes, of magnitude 16.5 only some days before.
Detection of an Earth-like planet at a planetary system 20.5 light-years far away.
A team of european astronomers working at the ESO has just made public the first detection of an Earth-like planet very likely remaining inside the habitable zone of its system
Appearance of a bright comet in the sky, the C/2006 P1 (McNaught)
The comet is visible as of today, 9th January 2007, to the naked eye in the sky at the sunset.
New definition of planet
In August 2006 at Prague, took place a meeting of the IAU which had a main goal: reorganize the nomenclature for the objects of the Solar System. It was at this meeting that Pluto was proposed and decided to be a "dwarf planet".
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