Spain

Activities in Spain

Several activities have taken place in Spain since the last eNews.

Science

The conference Galaxy Clusters 2017. Theory, observations & future developments held in July in Santander, counted with the participation of Robert Braun.

In September, a meeting on Fundamental Cosmology took place in Teruel. Mario G. Santos (UWV, SA) gave a talk about “Cosmology with the SKA”.

In October, Laura Tolós (IEEC-CSIC) participated in the organisation of the workshop “New perspectives on Neutron Star Interiors” held in Trento (Italy), where Jeff Wagg (SKAO) talked about SKA.

On the 6th-7th November, a conference entitled: “Physics opportunities with a new universe’s view: the SKA radio telescope” was held in the Instituto de Física Corpuscular (IFIC-CSIC/UV) in Valencia (sponsored by the Spanish Network of Astronomy Infrastructures, the IFIC Severo Ochoa Excellence Programme and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, IAA-CSIC). It gathered about 50 participants from 16 Spanish and 6 international institutions who worked on maximising the interplay between the SKA Science and the Particle, Astroparticle, Planetary Sciences, Astrobiology and the Cosmology Spanish communities, going beyond radio astronomers and even astronomers.

The conference was opened by the Secretary of State of Research, Development and Innovation (MINECO), Carmen Vela, the President of CSIC, Emilio Lora-Tamayo, the Coordinator of the Spanish Participation in the SKA (IAA-CSIC), Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro, the Rector of the University of Valencia, Esteban Morcillo, IFIC/CSIC-UV Director, Juan José Hernández and the RIA Coordinator (Observatori Astronòmic, UV), Vicent Martínez. Afterwards, the SKA Director-General Phil Diamond gave an overview about the current stage of the SKA project and Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro presented the Spanish participation in the SKA including a summary of the activities performed in the areas of science, engineering and outreach during the last years. Topics covered included the formation of stars and their planets, astrobiology or our solar system as part of the cradle of life area, different aspects of galaxy formation and evolution, as atomic gas studies, magnetic fields or star formation history of the Universe, the transient universe, pulsars or cosmology studies, including the Epoch of Reionization. It is to emphasise that this conference showed the potential for synergies that SKA generates, extending the Spanish scientific community interested in SKA exploitation to a new community: The Particle Physics one. As a sign of the incorporation of this new community to the SKA-Spain initiative, topics like astroparticles or neutrinos within the SKA context were covered, as well as synergies with future key facilities as CTA and Athena.

IFIC (CSIC-Universitat de València). Opening of the conference “Physics opportunities with a new universe’s view: the SKA radio telescope”. From left to right: Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro (Coordinator of the Spanish Participation in the SKA (IAA-CSIC)), Emilio Lora-Tamayo (President of CSIC), Esteban Morcillo (Rector of the University of Valencia), Carmen Vela (Secretary of State of Research, Development and Innovation (MINECO)), Juan José Hernández (IFIC-CSIC/UV Director) and Vicent Martínez (RIA Coordinator (Observatori Astronòmic, UV)).

Picture of the participants of the conference.

Regarding the Spanish participants in the SKAO, we are very happy that another Spanish scientist has joined the Organisation: Cristina García Miró, as a VLBI scientist. Congratulations, Cristina!

Also in the renewal of roles of the SKA Science Working Groups (SWGs), Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro (IAA-CSIC) has become a co-chair of the HI Galaxy Science Group.

Engineering

In October, a series of activities related to the SKA Regional Centres (SRCs) were held at the IAA-CSIC (Granada), scheduled around the first AENEAS All-hands meeting. These activities were:

  • A Meeting of the SKA Regional Centre Coordination Group (SRCCG).
  • A colloquium in which the AENEAS IP (Michael Wise) gave a talk on how SRCs network will constitute a platform to carry out SKA science and astronomy. In addition, the head of computer network of the LHC (IanBird) gave a talk about the recent collaboration agreement signed between SKA and CERN. The audience of these talks were mostly astronomers and engineers from IAA.
  • An SKA-Link project meeting: SKA-Link project is CSIC’s i-Link that IAA coordinates, setting up a collaboration with teams involved in the SKA Science Data Processor, SKAO and European experts in e-Science. They are working on a document with a set of best practices aiming to contribute to make of SKA a reference in scientific methodology. The SRCCG will incorporate to its deliverables the SKA-link documents.
  • AENEAS plenary meeting, attended by more than 40 people.

Picture of the participants of the first AENEAS All-hands meeting celebrated at the IAA-CSIC, Granada, Spain.

  • To conclude the week, there was an Open forum to discuss some aspects related to the design of future e-Science infrastructures

Miguel Andrés Sánchez Carrasco (IAA-CSIC) has been invited to participate in the Dish Band 2 Feed system CDR review panel, as a mechanical engineer expert in cryogenics.

Outreach

The Spanish SKA mini-site keeps growing. We have now included a section where Spanish participants in Science Working Groups can explain their scientific interests on SKA.

In September, Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro was interviewed for a Documentary called “Buscando vida” (Looking for life), a project formed by 3 individual documentaries that will give a broad perspective of the work that is currently being performed to find other types of life out of our planet. These documentaries are produced by two Spanish production companies: Planeta 9 and Synopsis 103.

The European Researchers’ Night: on the 29th of September, for the second time in a row, Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro gave an outreach talk about SKA in the stand that IAA-CSIC set for the event. About 10 000 people visited the tents.

Picture taken during Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro’s talk in the European Researchers’ Night celebrated in Granada.

On the evening of the 6th of November, Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro gave an outreach talk in the City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia, with more than 180 people registered to attend it.

We have translated into Spanish the little leaflet about SKA, to hand it out in the outreach activities. Valencia was the first place where we offered them and people loved it.

Cover in Spanish of the SKA leaflet.


Report provided by Marina Fernández-Peña Mollá (IAA-CSIC)