Department of Astrophysics
and Planetary Sciences (APS)
4 main research lines
Stars, Planets and Meteorites
Stellar Explosions and nucleosynthesis
Astroparticles and Compact Objects
Experimental Research & Development
Since the creation of the institute, personnel from the department has been involved in several Space and Ground based experiments. The contribution from our department has been done in several directions. On the one hand, we have developed software solutions using artificial intelligence algorithms that are able to provide Control, Telescope Manager or Dynamic Scheduling solutions (e.g., SQT, OAdM, CTA, ARIEL, CARMENES). On the other hand, we have been involved in the research and development (R&D) of instrumentation, such as detectors for high-energies for X- and gamma-rays (e.g., eASTROGAM, eXTP), but the list is long and full details can be obtained in this web. Additionally, we have conceived the polarimetric radio occultation measurement concept to be proved with PAZ for detecting and quantifying heavy precipitation events and other de-polarizing atmospheric effects (e.g. cloud ice). And finally, we have been also involved in the mechanical aspect of IRAIT.
Examples of synergies among projects
Apart from the obvious interaction with the Advanced Engineering Unit, with which we have built up our technological portfolio, there are strong ties among the research encompassed by the Department. One such example could be the study of algorithms for scheduling the complex operations of telescopes or arrays. In this area, the groups participating in CTA (thus, high-energy astrophysics) and Carmenes (thus, planetary sciences) have an years long interaction, since the technological solutions found in one area are of impact to the other. In addition to the technological cross-over, the study of our own planet, or of our Sun as star, is of tremendous impact onto the study of exoplanets and exoplanetary systems. For instance, our research into the details of the standard solar models, such as its 1) constituent microphysics: equation of state, nuclear rates, radiative opacities; 2) constituent macrophysics: the physical processes impact the evolution of the Sun and its present-day structure, e.g. dynamical processes induced by rotation, presence of magnetic fields; 3) challenge the hypothesis that the young Sun was chemically homogeneous: the possible interaction of the young Sun with its protoplanetary disk, are of direct impact when looking for Sun-Earth analogs beyond the solar system.