Research Lines

 Solar Physics

The main scientific interest of this line roots in solar spectropolarimetry and magnetic fields from all the three points of view: theoretical, observational, and instrumental. Investigations and developments are carried out on: (i) the radiative transfer equation (RTE) for polarized light in the presence of magnetic fields, in order to work out the sensitivities of the Stokes spectrum on the various physical quantities of the solar photosphere, (ii) the inversion of the RTE for its use on the interpretation of spectropolarimetric measurements in terms of the thermodynamic, magnetic, and dynamic parameters of the Sun, (iii) the structure and physical nature of photospheric magnetic structures like plage and network flux tubes, the umbra, the penumbra, and the moat of sunspots, and the internetwork magnetic fields, (iv) the design, development, and construction of solar instrumentation.
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Planets and Minor Bodies

Broadly speaking, this line aims to provide us with an integrated view of the Solar System making use of data obtained from ground and space together models developed by the members of the group. Regarding the data obtained from space, we are involved in 5 planetary missions from the scientific viewpoint as well as from the technical viewpoint. All of the technological challenges that we face are mostly devoted to electronics engineering, being developed until now by the members of the UDIT.

Three are the research areas comprising this line:


Atmospheres of the Terrestrial Planets

In this line of research we aim at improving our knowledge of the thermal structure, composition, dynamics, chemistry, radiation and energy budget of the atmospheres of the terrestrial planets (Earth, Mars, Venus and Titan) by analyzing the data supplied mainly by satellite instruments and by using numerical models.
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Plasmas in Planetary Atmospheres

The research carried out in this line is focused on studying plasmas and electrical discharges that occur within planetary atmospheres. Presently our research aims at understanding the nature of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) as, for instance, Sprites and Halos occurring in the Earth mesosphere, as well as their possible impact on the chemical and electrical properties of the atmosphere of the Earth.
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Stellar Physics

This research line aims at testing the details of the internal stellar structure using different observational approaches: Exploitation of seismic data from space satellites, ground support and follow-up of these space missions and also the study of binary stars in other galaxies.
To do this several theoretical tools have been developed, among them, numerical codes of stellar structures, numerical codes for non-adiabatic stellar pulsations and numerical codes for stellar rotation. We have also developed precise time series analysis to extract pulsation frequencies for truncated time series. This experience is being used to participate in the French-European mission COROT and in the future USA mission Kepler, in the ESA mission PLATO and in the proposed Spanish-BRITE nanosatellite. It is important to note the group responsible of this research line is co-leading the high resolution infrared spectrograph  CARMENES for the 3.5m CAHA telescope.
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Physics of the Interstellar Medium

This line of research is devoted to the study of the physical processes in the interstellar medium associated with the early and late stages of the stellar evolution. These are the phases of the stellar evolution where the
stars have the strongest interactions with the insterstellar/circumstellar medium trough stellar winds, outflows, and accretion of material. The main topics covered in this line are:

  • Early Stages of Star Formation More info
  • Late Stages of Stellar Evolution: Planetary Nebulae and Radio Supernovae More info

The early stages of star formation and radio supernovae are studied from a multiwavelength approach, making an intensive use of Radio Astronomy. That is, by sudying the radio emission from these objects both from an
observational and theoretical point of view. The formation of planetary nebulae and their evolution are investigated  using multiwavelength observations that cover the radio, infrared,  optical, ultraviolet and X-ray spectral ranges.


The Milky Way and the Local Group

Our research interests are centered on the study and analysis of the formation, evolution, and structure of the Milky Way and the galaxies populating the Local Volume. In particular, we address this task through the connection between the star formation processes and the spatial and kinematic structures of the hierarchy of stellar systems which form a galaxy. To this aim, we make use of a variety of theoretical and observational tools, and many international ground- and space-based telescopes.
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Relativistic Jets and Blazars

Relativistic jets are present in many different astrophysical scenarios, from active galactic nuclei, to gamma-ray bursts and microquasars. They are powered by the accretion of material onto very compact objects, like neutron stars or stellar-mass black holes in the case of microquasars and gamma-ray bursts, or billion solar masses black holes in the case of active galaxies. Multi-wavelength monitoring observations, and their comparison with computer numerical simulations, are used to obtain a better understanding of the nature of these objects, with emphasis on jets in active galactic nuclei (in general) and blazars (in particular).
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Astrophysical Transients

Variable phenomena are seen in all-time scales in the Universe, ranging from the Solar System (like bright fireballs across the sky) to the distant galaxies (with the furthermost gamma-ray burst found so far at a redshift a = 8.3). By means of robotic astronomical observatories and accessing other observatories worldwide and in space, we try to understand the underlying physics of these sources through a multi-wavelength approach.
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Galaxy Clustering and Physics of the Dark Universe

This research line is meant to address key aspects in Physical Cosmology and to contribute to its development through science driven projects. The research activity covers the following topics: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Clustering and Cosmic Evolution, and CMB Physics.
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Galaxies and Cosmology

The Galaxies and Cosmology Group at the IAA works on a great diversity of astrophysical problems from the mechanisms of star formation to the physics of distant quasars. The main interests of the group are focused on observational and theoretical studies related to galaxy evolution and cosmology, complemented with the involvement on instrumental projects and technological development.

In particular, the current research lines are

  Classical and Quantum Gravity in Black Hole Physics and Cosmology

We study the behaviour of gravity in its two most extreme situations: The formation and evolution of black holes and the origin and evolution of the Universe as a whole, the subject of cosmology. On the one hand, we investigate the classical and semiclassical behaviour of geometries containing, or in the verge of containing, horizons and singularities. On the other hand, we analyze different ways in which quantum physics could enter into the gravitational scenario modifying the classical behaviour.
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e-Science activities

Currently, science is performed in more and more collaborative environments, where international groups share not only databases but instruments as big telescopes, microscopes, etc, as well as interchange knowledge tools as e.g. access grid rooms. The e-Science (enhanced - Science) arises as the solution to the challenge that implies this new scenario. The e-Science is supported by e-Infrastructures, a new type of infrastructures that combines well known elements as internet network and computing resources in order to provide suitable services that allow the actual collaboration between researchers from different institutes and fields of research, with new ones, as scientific workflows, collaborative platforms or the Semantic Web.
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