PRESIDENT of Andalucia Susana Diaz visited the Calar Alto astronomical observatory on the morning of Wednesday May 4, where she was received by Spanish government sub-delegate for Almeria, Andres Garcia Lorca, plus a number of other regional officials and local dignitaries.
The group was treated to a presentation regarding Carmenes, a revolutionary instrument with the ability to search for Earth-like planets, which is unique in the world in terms of precision and stability.
The instrument consists of two spectrographs able to analyse visible and infrared light emitted by celestial bodies, with both optimised for detection of planets orbiting stars. Although the project was initiated in 2009, it was October 2015 before construction of the instrument was complete, with the first data collected in early 2016.
The team managing the project comprises a consortium of 11 German and Spanish institutions, with overall management handled by the Andalucian Astrophysics Institute (IAA) and Spanish Research Council.
The observatory is owned and operated jointly by the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy, which has its headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany, and the IAA, and is located on the 2,168 metre high mountain Calar Alto in the Sierra de los Filabres.