First light of the AROMA experimental set-up in Toulouse

The AROMA (Astrochemical Research of Organics using Molecular Analyzer) experimental set-up has seen the first light by showing nice peaks of C60 and its 13C isomers in Toulouse. The AROMA main purpose is to analyze the molecular content of cosmic dust particles, more specifically stardust analogues that will be produced in the Nanocosmos Stardust machine in Madrid.

See the NANOCOSMOS video on the start of the AROMA experimental set-up.

The AROMA experimental set-upThe central part of AROMA arrived from Greece at the University Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier (France) on September 18th 2015. The construction was performed by Fasmatech, a young Greek company, following requirements from the IRAP scientific team. It consists of a linear ion trap combined with a high-resolution time of flight mass spectrometer. After months of development, the setup was delivered on time in Toulouse at the laboratory LCAR. Only two days later, a first light could be obtained. The laser desorption ionization of fullerene showed nice peaks of C60 and its 13C isomers. Further optimization of the signal was performed on the next days and this will continue in the coming weeks. The IRAP team is also working on combining the two steps laser desorption laser ionization source to the instrument. The objective is to analyze the molecular organic phase at a micron scale.

NANOCOSMOS astronomers will map Orion with SOFIA

A legacy program to map the far-IR fine structure line of C+ at 158 microns with the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has been recently awarded to a small international team led by Prof. Tielens (Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands) and including 3 members of the NANOCOSMOS project, Dr. J. R. Goicoechea (ICMM-CSIC), Dr. O. Berné (IRAP, CNRS) and Prof. J. Cernicharo (ICMM-CSIC). The observing time to map the Orion molecular cloud will be more than 50 hours, which means several flights on board SOFIA!!

[CII] 158μm emission image taken by Herschel with the locations of famous regions in the cloud identified (Goicoechea et al. 2015)
[CII] 158μm emission image taken by Herschel with the locations of famous regions in the cloud identified (Goicoechea et al. 2015). SOFIA will map an area 20 times larger than the region covered by Herschel.

The ionized carbon emission dominates the gas cooling of the low density interstellar medium and it is the brightest emission line in the IR spectrum of galaxies. In the next 2 years, astronomers will use the instrument upGREAT flying on board SOFIA to map an area of more than 20 times the central region of Orion recently observed with the Herschel Space Telescope (Goicoechea et al. 2015, ApJ, 812, 75, see the publications section). This project will allow to uniquely determine the use of the C+ line as a star formation rate indicator, derive the amount of molecular cloud mass not measured by CO (so-called “CO-dark” gas), and semi-empirically determine the photo-electric heating efficiency on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and interstellar dust grains.

The Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a joint project between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) consisting of a custom-modified Boeing 747SP aircraft with an effective aperture of 2.5 m mounted in an open cavity towards the tail of the aircraft.

SOFIA air-to-air over the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Credit: NASA, USRA (Universities Space Research Association), and L-3 Communications Integrated Systems/Jim Ross)
SOFIA air-to-air over the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Credit: NASA, USRA (Universities Space Research Association), and L-3 Communications Integrated Systems/Jim Ross)

Nick Cox at The Physics of Evolved Stars (POE2015) conference


The Nanocosmos project was presented at The Physics of Evolved Stars (POE2015) conference by Nanocosmos astronomer Dr. Nick Cox on behalf of the three PIs. This international meeting, held from 8-12 June in Nice, France, was organised to honour Dr. Olivier Chesneau (Observatoire de Nice) who passed away in 2014. Presentations at the meeting covered the broad range of scientific interests of Olivier: from AGB stars, Planetary Nebulae, R CrB stars, Novae, Symbiotic systems, and many more. Many presentations at this meeting centred on understanding the formation and presence of dust and molecules in circumstellar environments of both low- and high-mass evolved stellar systems, topics of particular interest to Nanocosmos researchers.

Javier R. Goicoechea awarded for a study of the interstellar clouds

Composite image obtained from the emission of 12CO (blue), 13CO (green), and C18O (red) of the Orion B molecular cloud (IRAM 30m telescope). Credit: J. Pety.

Javier R. Goicoechea, astronomer at the ICMM-CSIC


The Société Française d’Astronomie et d’Astrophysique (SF2A) and the Sociedad Española de Astronomía (SEA) have awarded Javier R. Goicoechea (ICMM-CSIC) and Jérôme Pety (IRAM, France) with the SEA-SF2A 2015 prize for their outstanding achievements in the study of interstellar clouds illuminated by ultraviolet radiation from nearby massive stars, in a French-Spanish scientific research cooperation.

Congrats to both¡¡¡

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Blog de Consolider-Ingenio ASTROMOL

High-Resolution Submillimeter Spectroscopy of the Interstellar Medium and Star Forming Regions — From Herschel to ALMA and Beyond (Zakopane, Poland, May 12 – 16, 2015)

copyright © : Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)
copyright © : Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)

Two NANOCOSMOS members, Prof. José Cernicharo and Dr. Javier R. Goicoechea gave two invited talks at this workshop in Poland. José Cernicharo showed the NANOCOSMOS latests results from the ALMA observations of the archetypical AGB carbon-star IRC+10216. The NANOCOSMOS team has published 4 articles (see publications) on these results (including IRAM observations) and new exciting results are expected for the coming months. Javier R. Goicoechea talked about the velocity-resolved [CII] emission and [CII]/FIR mapping along Orion. The [CII] 158μm fine structure line is arising in gas irradiated by UV-photons from the Trapezium cluster and contributes significantly to the cooling of the cold neutral medium. These observations in combination with Far-Infrared photometric images of the dust emission and maps of the H41α hydrogen recombination and CO provide an unprecedented close view (0,16 light-years in resolution) of the Orion Cloud surrounding the Trapezium. Stay tuned¡

Dr. Goicoechea at the IRAM 30m Summerschool 2015 on Millimeter Astronomy

2015 IRAM SummerschoolFollowing the previous post on the IRAM 30m. Summerschool on Millimeter Astronomy, Dr. Javier R. Goicoechea will be one of the nine invited lecturers at the School. Our outstanding researcher will give a lecture on the Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium with a special enphasis on the prototypical regions: SgrB2 and Orion KL. These objects are the brightest Far-Infrared regions in the sky. SgrB2 is one of the most massive star-forming regions in the Galaxy and it is associated to a giant and dense molecular cloud in the Galaxy nucleus. Orion KL is the closest most active star-forming region in the galactic disc and it is also associated to a dense giant molecular cloud.

NANOCOSMOS at the recent ALMA / Herschel Archival Workshop (Garching, Germany)

alma_herschel_low_resFour NANOCOSMOS researchers gave their presentations at the ALMA/Herschel Archival Workshop held in Garching (Germany) at the ESO headquarters in April 15 -17, 2015. José Cernicharo (NANOCOSMOS Corresponding P.I.) talked about the synergies between the ALMA high resolution observations in the innermost zones of star-forming regions, AGB, post-AGBs stars and extragalactic objects and those of Herschel´s archive submillimeter and far-IR observations. Our postdoctoral researchers, Marcelino Agúndez, Guillermo Quintana-Lacaci and Belén Tercero talked about the following topics: Continue reading →

5-6 May, 2015 – NANOCOSMOS Kick-Off Meeting!

The NANOCOSMOS Kick-Off meeting will be held at the CSIC headquarters (C/ Serrano 113-123, Madrid) in May 5 and 6, 2015. NANOCOSMOS will gather all the major players of the project together. It is expected that synergy will evolve among the NANOCOSMOS partners and foster in-depth discussions in order to set an overall framework for the prospective research and technical tasks. More info here