Recent Talks

List of all the talks in the archive, sorted by date.

Thursday November 19, 2020
Dr. Laurent Mahy
KU Leuven (Belgium)


Massive stars are often found to be in pairs. This configuration is both a blessing and a curse. From it, we can estimate their exact properties such as their masses but the interactions that result during their life considerably affect the way that the stars evolve.

Here, we provide an overview of progresses made through a number of medium and large surveys. These results provide new insights on the observed and intrinsic multiplicity properties of massive stars through a large range of masses and at different metallicities. Furthermore, to understand how the stars evolve when they are in pair and what are the effects of these interactions on the stellar properties, we undertook a large study of more than 60 massive binaries at Galactic and LMC metallicities using spectral disentangling, atmosphere modelling and light curve fitting to determine their stellar parameters, and surface abundances. This unique dataset is the largest sample of binaries composed of at least one O-type star to be studied in such a homogeneous way. It allows us to give strong observational constraints to test theoretical binary evolutionary tracks, to probe rotational and tidal mixings and mass transfer episodes.

Friday November 13, 2020
Dr. Ángel de Vicente
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias


Git is probably the most widely used Version Control System (software tools that help record changes to files (computer code, text files, etc.) by keeping track of modifications done through time). It can be used for any type of text files, though it is specially useful for programming code and it makes managing your projects, files, and changes made to them much easier and more intuitive.

But it is a big and complex system and people new to it can have a hard time mastering it. In this talk I will introduce the git version control system to people that have never used it before, so I will go over its basic concepts and functionalities from the ground-up. I will cover the most common commands, needed to use Git for your own individual projects. Once you properly understand how to use it on your own, it is much easier to understand how to collaborate with others (for example using GitHub), which will be covered in a follow-up talk: "Intermediate Git".

Thursday November 12, 2020
Dr. Gianluca Castignani


Galaxy clusters are the most massive gravitationally bound structures in the Universe. They are the sites where exceptional morphological transformations of galaxies occur, driven by their interactions within the complex cosmic web. Clusters are thus excellent laboratories to study galaxy evolution in extreme regimes. I will present the results of a large campaign based on IRAM facilities (30m and NOEMA) and targeting in mm different samples of galaxies in and around clusters. The final goal of the project is to evaluate the role of dense mega-parsec scale environments in processing cold gas of galaxies. The following samples of galaxies will be discussed. i) The largest sample of distant ~30 brightest cluster galaxies observed in CO, over a broad range of redshift (z~0.2-2.6). They are drawn from CLASH, COSMOS, SpARCS, and DES deep fields. ii) The largest sample of distant, intermediate redshift z~0.2-0.5, cluster LIRGs (luminous infrared galaxies), which have been observed in CO with the NOEMA interferometer and are drawn from the Herschel Lensing Survey (HLS) and the Local Cluster Substructure Survey (LoCuSS).  iii) I will also present ongoing results of a large campaign with the aim to evaluate the pre-processing of atomic (HI) and molecular (CO) gas of galaxies before they fall into the cluster core. The sample comprises 245 galaxies in cosmological filaments, up to 7 virial radii around Virgo, the benchmark cluster in the local Universe. The outlined studies reveal a complex scenario, where large-scale structures have a different impact in regulating the star formation fueling and mass assembly of the considered galaxies, depending on their morphological type, location with respect to the cluster core, and redshift.


Tuesday November 10, 2020
Dr. Mahmoudreza Oshagh


Stellar magnetic activity generates astrophysical noise on the collected data in the quest for what might be called Earth 2.0. This noise poses obstacles and difficulties in the detection and accurately determining small-sized exoplanets properties. Characterising the relation between stellar photometric variability and radial velocity jitter can help us to define optimal observational strategies, and also to better model and mitigate the activity noise. Moreover, stellar activity will remain as one of the biggest challenges in detecting and assessing the exoplanetary atmosphere’s signal, even in the era of upcoming missions. I will present the current view of the intricate relationship between exoplanets and activity, discuss some of the latest developments, and show some of our first results.


Friday November 6, 2020
Dr. Luis Fernando Rodríguez Ramos


An original method for measuring the atmospheric turbulence is described, capable of even measuring the tip-tilt, which normally requires a dedicated natural star and nowadays defines the practical limit of the adaptive optics technique. The method is based in the illumination of a wide area of the Sodium Layer, and to use their inhomogeneities as a reference. Sevaral analysis and simulation results will be presented.

Zoom link:

Enlace youtube:

Tuesday November 3, 2020
Drs. Paola Di Matteo
Observatoire de Paris


Reconstructing the past of the Milky Way depends on the study of its metal-poor stars, which either have been formed in the Galaxy itself in the first billion years, or have been accreted through mergers of satellite galaxies over time. These stars are usually found in what is known as the Milky Way halo, a light — in terms of total mass —  stellar component which is usually made of stars whose kinematics significantly deviates from that of the Galactic disc.
In this talk, I will discuss how it has been possible to use the astrometric and spectroscopic data delivered by Gaia and complementary surveys  to shed light on the past of our Galaxy, through the study of its halo. Besides the discovery of the possible last significant merger experienced by the Milky Way, the use of 6D phase space information and chemical abundances allowed to reconstruct the impact this merger had on the early Milky Way disc, and the time it occurred, as well as to discover that some of the most metal-poor stars in the Galaxy possibly formed in a disc.  This last finding would imply that the dissipative collapse that led to the formation of the old Galactic disc must have been extremely fast.


Thursday October 15, 2020
Dr. Karla Arellano


The emission line spectrum of H II regions provides information about the chemical composition of the present-day interstellar medium. The study as a function of their galactocentric distances helps to constrain chemical evolution models.  In this talk, I present a reanalysis of the abundance gradients of C, N, O, Ne, S, Cl, and Ar for a sample of 33 Galactic H II regions covering a range in Galactocentric Distances from 6-17 kpc. New values of the Galactocentric distances were calculated using Gaia DR2 parallaxes for some objects. We study in detail the different ICF schemes to improve the results of the total abundances in Galactic H II regions. We found that the re-evaluation of the distances using Gaia DR2 parallaxes produces an O gradient that discards a flattening of the gradient in the inner part of the GalaxyThe radial distribution of Ne/O, S/O, Cl/O and Ar/O are almost flat confirming a lockstep evolution of those elements respect to O. Our Galaxy also shows an almost flat N/O gradient respect to other nearby spiral galaxies. We compare our results with those from B type stars and cepheids, young planetary nebulae and those slopes using optical and infrared data for H II regions.

Tuesday October 6, 2020
Prof. Francisco Prada
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía CSIC


MAAT is a visitor mirror-slicer optical module that will allow the OSIRIS spectrograph on the 10.4-m Gran telescopio CANARIAS  (GTC) the capability to perform Integral-Field Spectroscopy (IFS)  over a seeing-limited FoV 14.20" × 10"  with a slice width of  0.303".  MAAT@GTC will enhance the resolution power of OSIRIS by 1.6  times as compared to its 0.6  wide long-slit. All the eleven OSIRIS  grisms and volume-phase holographic gratings will be available to  provide broad spectral coverage with moderate resolution (R=600 up  to 4100) in the 3600 − 10000 AA wavelength range. MAAT unique  observing capabilities will broaden its use to the needs of the  community to unveil the nature of most striking phenomena in the  universe well beyond time-domain astronomy. The GTC equipped with  OSIRIS+MAAT will also play a fundamental role in synergy with other  
facilities, some of them operating on the northern ORM at La Palma.  
I will present different aspects of MAAT@GTC - including scientific  and technical specifications, outstanding science cases, and an  outline of the instrument concept.

Tuesday September 29, 2020
Dr. Felipe Murgas


The formation and evolution of planets in general is closely linked to the life of their host star. What happens to the planetary systems at the end stages of the life cycle of their star has been one of the questions that have received attention from a theoretical point of view but has had a lack of real life examples to study. Among more than 4000 known exoplanets to date only a few of these objects have been found orbiting around pulsars, but so far we have found nothing that resembles what our own solar system will be like long after the Sun leaves the main sequence.

In this talk we will discuss the recent announcement by A. Vanderburg et al. of a giant planet candidate detected by the transit method orbiting around a white dwarf. The candidate was discovered using data from the space-based NASA mission TESS and confirmed using GTC, Spitzer, and other ground-based facilities. We will talk about the role that GTC played in this discovery, the peculiarity of this candidate system, and the possibility of detecting atmospheres in rocky planets orbiting around white dwarfs.

Zoom link:
Youtube link:

Thursday July 23, 2020
Dr. Mohammad Akhlaghi, Raúl Infante-Sainz
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias


In the previous SMACKs, basic operations on the command-line were reviewed in interactive mode: where you enter one command, wait for it to finish and enter the next command. The shell's interactive mode is good for small/fast tests, but is not scalable. For example when you know the commands and parameters work and want to apply them to hundreds/thousands of targets. Shell scripts are simply plain-text files that store all the various commands that you want to be executed in sequence. They are designed precisely for the easier management of operations that are more complex than a simple command. In fact many of the commands in the Unix-like operating systems are actually shell scripts! Here will review some basic intricacies with designing robust shell scripts and avoiding common pitfalls. Also, since shell scripts are simple plain-text files, we will also do a short review of simple plain-text editors like GNU Nano and more advanced editors like Vim and GNU Emacs. Advanced editors have many useful features to simplify programming in many languages (including shell programming) and don't need complex graphic environments and can be run in the raw command-line (a major advantage when scaling your project up to supercomputers that don't have a graphic environment). For newcomers to data-intensive astronomical research, we encourage you to select an advanced editor, and master it early to greatly simply your research (in any language).

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