Institute of Astrophysics of Canarias
Institute of Astrophysics of Canarias
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 3.61M | Year: 2017
Though Big Data has become common in many domains nowadays, the challenges to develop efficient and automated mining of the ever increasing data sets by new generations of data scientists are eminent. These challenges span wide swathes of society, business and research. Astronomers with their high-tech observatories are historically at the forefront of this field, but obviously, the impact in e.g. commercial applications, security, environmental monitoring and experimental research is immense. We aim to contribute to this general discussion by training a number of young scientists in the fields of computer science and astronomy, focussing on techniques of automated learning from large quantities of data to answer fundamental questions on the evolution of properties of galaxies. While these techniques will lead to major advances in our understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies, we will also promote, in collaboration with industry, much more general applications in society, e.g. in medical imaging or remote sensing. We have put together a team of astronomers and computer scientists, from academic and private sector partners, to develop techniques to detect and classify ultra-faint galaxies and galaxy remnants in a deep survey of the Fornax cluster, and use the results to study how galaxies evolve in the dense environment of galaxy clusters. With a team of young researchers we will develop novel computer science algorithms addressing fundamental topics in galaxy formation, such as the huge dark matter fractions inferred by theory, and the lack of detected angular momentum in galaxies. The collaboration is unique - it will develop a platform for deep symbiosis of two radically different strands of approaches: purely data-driven machine learning and specialist approaches based on techniques developed in astronomy. Young scientists trained with such skills are highly demanded both in research and business.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2012-1.1.25. | Award Amount: 10.98M | Year: 2013
Optical-infrared astronomy in Europe is in a state of transition and opportunity, with the goal of a viable structured European scale community in sight. A strong astronomical community requires access to state of the art infrastructures (telescopes), equipped with the best possible instrumentation, and with that access being open to all on a basis of competitive excellence. Further, the community needs training in optimal use of those facilities to be available to all, Critically, it needs a viable operational model, with long-term support from the national agencies, to operate those infrastructures. The most important need for most astronomers is to have open access to a viable set of medium aperture telescopes, with excellent facilities, complemented by superb instrumentation on the extant large telescopes, while working towards next generation instrumentation on the future flagship, the European Extremely Large Telescope. OPTICON has made a substantial contribution to preparing the realisation of that ambition. OPTICON supported R&D has, and is developing critical next-generation technology, to enhance future instrumentation on all telescopes. The big immediate challenge is to retain a viable set of well-equipped medium aperture telescopes. The present project is to make the proof of principle that such a situation is possible - a situation developed by OPTICON under its previous contracts, in collaboration with the EC supported strategy network ASTRONET - and set the stage for the step to full implementation.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRAIA-01-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 10.01M | Year: 2017
Europe has become a global leader in optical-near infrared astronomy through excellence in space and ground-based experimental and theoretical research. While the major infrastructures are delivered through major national and multi-national agencies (ESO, ESA) their continuing scientific competitiveness requires a strong community of scientists and technologists distributed across Europes nations. OPTICON has a proven record supporting European astrophysical excellence through development of new technologies, through training of new people, through delivering open access to the best infrastructures, and through strategic planning for future requirements in technology, innovative research methodologies, and trans-national coordination. Europes scientific excellence depends on continuing effort developing and supporting the distributed expertise across Europe - this is essential to develop and implement new technologies and ensure instrumentation and infrastructures remain cutting edge. Excellence depends on continuing effort to strengthen and broaden the community, through networking initiatives to include and then consolidate European communities with more limited science expertise. Excellence builds on training actions to qualify scientists from European communities which lack national access to state of the art research infrastructures to compete successfully for use of the best available facilities. Excellence depends on access programmes which enable all European scientists to access the best infrastructures needs-blind, purely on competitive merit. Global competitiveness and the future of the community require early planning of long-term sustainability, awareness of potentially disruptive technologies, and new approaches to the use of national-scale infrastructures under remote or robotic control. OPTICON will continue to promote this excellence, global competitiveness and long-term strategic planning.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: INFRADEV-02-2016 | Award Amount: 9.05M | Year: 2017
The European Solar Telescope (EST) will be a revolutionary Research Infrastructure that will play a major role in answering key questions in modern Solar Physics. This 4-meter class solar telescope, to be located in the Canary Islands, will provide solar physicists with the most advanced state-of-the-art observing tools to transform our understanding of the complex phenomena that drive the solar magnetic activity. The principal objective of the present Preparatory Phase is to provide both the EST international consortium and the funding agencies with a detailed plan regarding the implementation of EST. The specific objectives of the proposed preparatory phase are: (1) to explore possible legal frameworks and related governance schemes that can be used by agencies to jointly establish, construct and operate EST as a new research infrastructure, with the implementation of an intermediate temporary organisational structure, as a previous step for future phases of the project; (2) to explore funding schemes and funding sources for EST, including a proposal of financial models to make possible the combination of direct financial and in-kind contributions towards the construction and operation of EST; (3) to compare the two possible sites for EST in the Canary Islands Astronomical Observatories and prepare final site agreements; (4) to engage funding agencies and policy makers for a long-term commitment which guarantees the construction and operation phases of the Telescope; (5) to involve industry in the design of EST key elements to the required level of definition and validation for their final production; (6) to enhance and intensify outreach activities and strategic links with national agencies and the user communities of EST. To accomplish the aforementioned goals, this 4-year project, promoted by the European Association for Solar Telescopes (EAST) and the PRE-EST consortium, encompassing 23 research institutions from 16 countries, will set up the Project Office
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-10-2015 | Award Amount: 1.97M | Year: 2016
WHY: 2015 has been named by the United Nations as the International Year of Light (light2015.org). Light has had many obvious benefits for human mankind, but it also poses some relevant threats: the everyday-increasing excess of light thrown by humans to the sky seriously threatens to remove forever one of humanitys natural wonders, the view of our universe. More importantly, it has also an adverse impact on our environment and economy (energy wasted to the sky costs 2 billion US$ per year in the USA and 6,3 billion per year in Europe) and on the health of hundreds of species, including pathologies in human beings (e.g., stress, insomnia). Many professional and amateur scientists are already fighting against light pollution. However, it is necessary to increase social awareness about the importance of preserving the darkness of our cities and environment. WHAT: STARS4ALL will create an Light Pollution Initiative (LPI) incubation platform that will allow generating (and maintaining) customizable on-demand domain-focused LPIs (e.g., a light pollution working group in Brussels). The platform will be self-sustainable: it will integrate a crowdfunding tool to obtain funding for the LPIs; it will consider incentives that motivate citizens to participate in LPIs, as well as policies to handle those incentives; and it will provide innovations in data acquisition from sensors deployed by citizens and in games with a purpose. HOW: STARS4ALL will initially deploy 10 LPIs, which will be available by the end of the 1st semester of project execution, and will be operating and creating collective awareness during the rest of the project. At that moment we pave the way the creation of other LPIs by citizens, specially in other disciplines such as Energy Saving, Biodiversity, and Human Health, and will organize open competitions among them.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: GERI-4-2014 | Award Amount: 3.39M | Year: 2015
With the main goal to address gender equality in Research & Innovation the proposing GENERA (Gender Equality Network in the European Research Area) consortium has been formed to apply a bottom-up approach to enhance gender equality in the field of physics research as a benchmark for other sciences. Physics is a research field with a low representation of female researchers and a masculine image, so this field as such being represented by different actors will be the basis for GENERA analysis and interventions. GENERA comprises a starting set of organisations active in the field of physics, which are committed to the implementation of the project and to the achievement of its milestones. The consortium proposing the project will be extended to involve other interested major physics research organisations in European countries as associate partners. The GENERA consortium requests funding to support research organisations in implementing gender equality plans and proposes the following coordination and support actions with a focus on physics research and a keen eye on cultural differences throughout Europe by the following steps: 1. Assess the status of gender issues in the partner organisations. 2. Identify gaps in existing Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) and determine specific needs or actions to enhance gender equality and women careers in physics. 3. Monitor and evaluate the existing activities of the involved organisations (partners and associates). 4. Formulate customized GEPs for all implementing organizations and create a roadmap for their implementation in physics with the potential of application in other research fields. 5. Support involved organisations in implementing customized GEPs. 6. Create a network of RPOs, HEIs and RFOs to promote gender equality in physics. 7. Set up a long-term monitoring system allowing RPOs and RFOs monitoring the impact of their GEPs in physics with the potential of application in other research fields.
Martinez Pillet V.,Institute of Astrophysics of Canarias
Space Science Reviews | Year: 2013
Various aspects of the magnetism of the quiet sun are reviewed. The suggestion that a small scale dynamo acting at granular scales generates what we call the quiet sun fields is studied in some detail. Although dynamo action has been proved numerically, it is argued that current simulations are still far from achieving the complexity that might be present on the Sun. We based this statement not so much on the low magnetic Reynolds numbers used in the simulations but, above all, in the smallness of the kinetic Reynolds numbers employed by them. It is argued that the low magnetic Prandtl number at the solar surface may pose unexpected problems for the identification of the observed internetwork fields with dynamo action at granular scales. Some form of turbulent dynamo at bigger (and deeper) scales is favored. The comparison between the internetwork fields observed by Hinode and the magnetism inferred from Hanle measurements are converging towards a similar description. They are both described as randomly oriented, largely transverse fields in the several hecto-Gauss range. These similarities are ever making more natural to assume that they are the same. However, and because of the large voids of magnetic flux observed in the spatial distribution of the internetwork fields, it is argued that they are not likely to be generated by dynamo action in the intergranular lanes. It is concluded that if a dynamo is acting at granular scales, the end product might have not been observed yet at current spatial resolutions and sensitivities with the Zeeman effect. Thus an effort to increase these resolutions and polarimetric sensitivities must be made. New ground- and space-based telescopes are needed. The opportunity offered by the Solar Orbiter mission to observe the Quiet Sun dynamics at the poles is seen as one of the most important tests for confirming the existence, or otherwise, of a granularly driven surface dynamo. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: COMPET-05-2015 | Award Amount: 2.18M | Year: 2016
Understanding the Physics of Inflation is one of the key questions in present-day fundamental cosmology. For this purpose, the study of the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) anisotropies provide a unique probe to the early Universe. However, it is well-known that foreground signals, and in particular emission from our Galaxy, will be the major limiting factor of the possible constraints on the existence of B-modes. This proposal will make use of ESAs PLANCK satellite mission (30-857 GHz), in combination with the ground-based observations provided by the QUIJOTE experiment (10-20 GHz) and other ancillary radio maps, to address the still open problem of the detailed physical modelling of the radio foregrounds in polarization. This project will provide: a) state-of-the-art legacy maps of the synchrotron and the anomalous microwave emission (AME) in the Northern sky; b) a detailed characterization of the synchrotron spectral index, and the implications for cosmic-rays electron physics; c) a model of the large-scale properties of the Galactic magnetic field; d) a detailed characterization of the AME, including its contribution in polarization; and e) the best complete and statistically significant multi-frequency catalogue (from 10 to 217 GHz) of radio sources in both temperature and polarization. The combination of PLANCK and QUIJOTE will provide reference data products which will be an asset for other sub-orbital experiments, as well as in the preparation of future space missions. Finally, we will also provide specific software tools for a more efficient exploitation of our data products, with functionalities far beyond of the existing ones. These tools will not only allow an advanced visualization, but also they will allow the possibility of carrying out specific predictions/simulations for the design of future B-mode experiments, which we expect it will be widely used by the Cosmology and Astrophysics community.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-IF-EF-ST | Phase: MSCA-IF-2014-EF | Award Amount: 158.12K | Year: 2016
Anomalous Microwave Emission (AME) is potentially polarized in the frequency range [1-100] GHz. The polarization properties of this astrophysical signal have to be characterized and understood completely for one willing to remove Galactic foregrounds in order to detect B-mode polarization for cosmology. The characterization of AME polarization properties is also fundamental in term of Galactic Astrophysics to understand the mechanisms producing the AME. The PolAME project aims to use the QUIJOTE-CMB experiment and its two instruments (the MFI and the TGI) for measuring the degree of polarization of the AME in the domain range [10-30] GHz on a sample of selected sources. This new data, in addition to new C-BASS data and the WMAP and PLANCK maps and ancillary data will be compared to theory and state-of-the-art modelling results. The Galactic science community will greatly benefit the new advances that will be provided by the PolAME project. The main outcome of this project will lead to a stronger characterization of the Galactic Polarized Foregrounds which is fundamental for cosmology. Knew knowledge will be produced about our understanding of the nature of the AME and dust grain evolution processes in our Galaxy.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRADEV-1-2014 | Award Amount: 3.96M | Year: 2015
The present project is intended to take the European Solar Telescope (EST) to the next level of development by undertaking crucial activities to improve the performance of current state-of-the-art instrumentation. Legal, industrial and socio-economic issues will also be addressed, as key questions for the attainment of EST. The particular developments and strategic tasks proposed here can be summarised in the following specific objectives: (i) Boosting new generation detectors, with the development of two prototype sensors, one for large-format imaging and a the other for high-precision polarimetry, the evaluation of an existing large format wavefront sensing camera is also addressed; (ii) Development of a capacitance-stabilised Fabry-Perot prototype for a high quality control of the parallelism of the etalon plates; (iii) new techniques for 2D solar spectro-polarimetry; with integral field units based on multi-slit image slicers or a microlens-fed spectrograph; (iv) development of large format liquid-crystal modulators, required for the large-format sensors that will be needed for the new generation large aperture telescopes ; (v) evaluation of the performance of the EST-MCAO deformable mirrors to improve the design and performance of this system; and (vi) strategic work to covering industrial, financial and legal issues related the future construction and operation of EST. The following issues will be addressed: Elaboration of a census of the European solar physics community Analysis of the technological expertise of European companies in the different countries and their potential expertise related with the construction needs of EST Revision and update of the construction budget of EST Stimulation of a discussion of all these aspects within the consortium EAST With all these elements in hand, the project will be in the condition to present a definite proposal for detailed design, construction, managing and operation of EST.