Recent Talks

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

Thursday June 6, 2019
Prof. Jon Marcaide
University of Valencia


Supernova SN1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud offers an unprecedented opportunity to tackle fundamental issues of supernova explosions: dust and molecule formation, interaction with the circumstellar medium, particle acceleration, pulsar formation, etc. Since 2011, instruments like ALMA have been fundamental for such endeavor. Tomographic techniques have recently permitted to obtain 3D-images of the molecular emission. High-resolution images of dust emission have recently been obtained. All those results, compared with predictions from hydro-dynamical simulations, are paving the way to a better understanding of supernovae explosions. In the talk, the main results will be highlighted with emphasis on the advances produced since 2017 in the understanding of the structure of the inner ejecta or debris.

Friday May 24, 2019
Dr. Peter Hammersley


This talk looks at the challenges in developing instruments for extremely large telescopes.  It then discusses the impact of these on the ELT first light instruments and their current status.   The instruments are HARMONI, a visible - Near IR integral filed unit; MOARY/MICADO a multi-conjugate AO system and camera and METIS  a thermal IR spectrometer and camera.

Thursday May 23, 2019
Patricia Sánchez Blázquez
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid


The Time Inference with MUSE in Extragalactic Rings, TIMER, is a project dedicated to study the central regions
of 24 nearby galaxies with the integral field spectrograph MUSE. The spatial resolution of this instruments
allows the detailed study of the different structural components in these galaxies and, therefore, disentangle
their star formation histories, kinematics and dynamics of both, the gaseous and the stellar constituents.
In this talk, I will give an overview of the project as well as some details on  how the  dataset can be used for a plethora of scientific applications, like
understanding the stellar and AGN feedback, the role of primary and secondary bars, the dynamics of nuclear
spiral arms, barlenses, box/peanuts and bulges.

Tuesday April 16, 2019
Dr. Sydney A. Barnes
Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, AIP


The rotation rate of a cool star provides an additional method beyond the usual ones to characterize and 
understand its behavior. Increasingly large samples of rotation periods are now emerging from both ground- 
and space-based work. This talk will present some systematic behaviors of these rotation periods, including 
dependencies on age and mass, especially as probed by open cluster studies. The results suggest that it is 
often possible to derive an age for a cool star (and its planets) from such rotation period measurements, via 
a procedure called gyrochronology. This talk addresses the possibilities of this emerging area of work, and 
also certain complexities and cautions that should be considered in this Kepler, TESS, and soon, PLATO era.

Thursday April 11, 2019
Sara Cazzoli
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía


In this talk, I will present the highlights from our recent study of  22
local (z < 0.025) type-1 LINERs from the Palomar Survey, on the basis of
optical long-slit spectroscopic observations taken with TWIN/CAHA,
ALFOSC/NOT and HST/STIS (Cazzoli et al. 2018, MNRAS 480, 1106–1162).
In this study, we explored the AGN-nature of these type-1 LINERs by
studying the broad (BLR-originated) Hα component. Then, we derived
reliable interpretation for the different component of emission lines by
studying their kinematics and ionization mechanism. Finally, we studied
the neutral gas in the nuclei of these LINERs by modeling of the NaD

Tuesday April 9, 2019
Dr. Jose Sánchez Gallego
Univ. of Washington, Seattle


The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is one of the most successful and prolific projects in the history of Astronomy.
In its fifth iteration SDSS-V (2020-2025) will provide a more comprehensive, global picture of the local universe by
studying the interplay between galactic genesis, stellar and black hole processes, and the physics of the ISM. I will
review the main science goals of the project, the exciting new hardware being implemented (robot fibre positioner,
large IFU systems), and the operational challenges. As in its previous incarnations, SDSS-V remains committed to
providing high-quality data products for the astronomical and educational communities. I will discuss some of the
new ideas being developed for SDSS-V with regards to data reduction, release, archival, and visualisation.

Thursday March 28, 2019
Dr. Michalis Kourniotis
Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy


The advanced stages of high-mass stars are characterized by episodic mass loss shed during phases of instability. Key for assigning these stars a proper evolutionary state is to assess the composition and geometry of their ejecta alongside the stellar properties. I will speak about my work to increase the number of B[e] supergiants, Yellow Hypergiants and Luminous Blue variables in the Local Group by investigating circumstellar environments and exploring the evolutionary properties of high-luminous, dusty targets. By conducting and analyzing optical spectroscopy alongside fitting the spectral energy distribution, I derive stellar properties and infer the presence of circumstellar dust. In search of processed ejected material, modeling of the CO band heads in the K-band is further employed. Results of my work in M33 include the discovery of a strong Yellow Hypergiant candidate showing evidence of past eruption. Moreover, the insight into the surrounding molecular environment witnesses the presence of circumstellar/binary disks around post-supergiant/evolved stars. I highlight the importance of the infrared data to resolve the evolutionary status of massive stars and thus, to constrain the physics of the diverse pre-supernova stellar states. Finally, I will speak about my work at IAC regarding the photometric properties of OB stars in conjunction to the latest Gaia Data Release 2 and their possible link to the line-broadening status of the stars.

Thursday March 21, 2019
Dr. A. M. Varela
Starlight Foundation, IAC


Starlight principles and recommendations are brought together in the “Declaration in Defence of the Night Sky and the Right to Starlight” (“La Palma Declaration.” 2007), in which, in addition to the IAC, representatives of UNESCO, UNWTO, IAU, UNEP-CMS, CE, SCBD, COE, MAB and the Ramsar Convention all participated and launched Starlight as an international movement in defence of the sky by night and day and to treat it as a source of knowledge and culture that should be shared with society as a whole, promoting the dissemination of astronomy and sustainable, high-quality tourism in those places where the night sky is cared.  The Starlight Reserves, Tourist Destinations and other modalities are scenarios that incorporate the observation of the sky as part of the natural, scenic, cultural and scientific heritage and encourage “Star Tourism”, promoting infrastructure, products, activities and training of specialized guides in the field of sustainable tourism. The Starlight Foundation has been selected to lead the UNWTO Affiliate Member Working Group on Scientific Tourism. Updated Starlight certifications and current projects will be summarized in this presentation.

Thursday March 14, 2019
Prof. Jon Holtzman
Fundacion Jesus Serra


The SDSS Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution 
Experiment (APOGEE) has
collected high resolution near-IR spectra of several hundred thousand stars
across the Milky Way. I'll describe some observational results about the
spatial variation of chemical abundances as a function of Galactocentric
radius and distance from the midplane, discussing mean abundances, 
distribution function, and the variation of abundance ratios of multiple
elements. Additional information related to stellar ages can be obtained
from [C/N] for red giant stars. Several lines of evidence suggest that 
migration has had a significant impact on the Galactic disk. The 
observed patterns of
abundance ratios may provide observational constraints on 
nucleosynthetic yields.

Thursday February 28, 2019
Prof. Alex Fullerton
Space Telescope Science Institute


The growth of astrophysical understanding typically results fromthe constructive interplay between theoretical ideas andobservational insights, with each mode of exploration drivingprogress at different times. The result is invariably a morecomplicated but richer picture of the phenomenon than initiallyenvisaged, as well as deeper appreciation of the behavior ofcomplex systems.In this talk, I will use the development of our understanding ofthe structure of outflows from massive O- and B-type stars toillustrate this collaborative “dance”. Starting from the smooth,spherically symmetric models for radiatively driven windsdeveloped in the late 1960s, our view of these outflows hasevolved to include the growth of inhomogeneities on a variety ofspatial scales. Explanations for the origin of this structure havein turn prompted the realization that non-radiative processesmust also shape the emergence of the wind from the stellarphotosphere. Consequently, O- and B-type stars are morecomplicated – and interesting! – objects than often thought.While many fruitful avenues of research remain to be explored,the current paradigm provides a (mostly) self-consistent pictureof massive stars and their outflows.

Upcoming talks

More upcoming talks

Recent Colloquia