Research

Press Releases

Below are some of the press releases relating to the research work done by the members of the MICMAC group:

October 21, 2019 : News about the formation of star molecules and dust

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A research team from Spanish and French laboratories recreated in the laboratory the conditions similar to those involved in the formation of carbonaceous star dust in the environment of the red giants. The experiments conducted show the presence of amorphous carbon nanograins and molecular compounds with very low aromatic content. The question of the formation of hydrogenated aromatic polycyclic molecules, an important component in the physical and chemical evolution of stellar and planetary formation regions, therefore remains open. Read the Press Release ...

October 9, 2019 : Success of the 3rd flight of the PILOT stratospheric balloon experiment

The third launch of the PILOT balloon took place on the morning of 24 September (5:36 Local time, 9:36 UT) from the tarmac at Timmins Airport, Ontario, Canada. After 3 hours of ascent, the instrument reached an altitude of ~38 km by day, and ~34 km by night. The flight lasted 25 hours, including one hour dedicated to instrument settings and 20 hours of scientific observations on the ceiling. Read the Press Release ...

January 7, 2019 : Massive stars make waves

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The Milky Way has about 100 billion stars, most of which were formed when our galaxy was half its current age. Over the time, the star formation rate has considerably slowed in our galaxy. CNRS researchers and their international colleagues1 provide a new explanation for this phenomenon by showing that stellar winds issued from massive stars disturb the gas clouds in which stars like the Sun form, slowing their formation. Using NASA's SOFIA observatory, scientists mapped the "footprint" left by stellar winds on the gas clouds of the Orion Nebula (see image). In particular, they were able to measure the amount of energy deposited in the cloud with an unprecedented accuracy. These results reveal that the influence of stellar winds is even greater than that of supernovae, which are considered to be the most violent phenomena in the universe. The study is published on January 7, 2019 in the journal Nature. Read the Press Release ...

December 13, 2018 : Benzylium and tropylium cations identified as the two stable isomers of C7H7+

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Experiments conducted by an international team involving the Institut de recherche en astrophysique et planétologie (IRAP, University of Toulouse/CNRS) and the Laboratoire de chimie et physique quantiques (LCPQ, University of Toulouse/CNRS), have identified the two stable isomers of the C7H7+ ion. Read the Press Release ...

June 20, 2018 : The PLANCK collaboration receives the 2018 cosmology prize from the Gruber Foundation (Yale University). IRAP's PLANCK team (Toulouse) is one of them!

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With the 2018 award of the Cosmology Prize of the Gruber Foundation to the entire PLANCK space project team (  https://gruber.yale.edu/cosmology/2018/planck-team), the PLANCK team of the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP: CNRS-UPS-CNES) in Toulouse is also honoured this year by a scientific prize of very high renown. Read the Press Release ...

May 25, 2018 : SPICA in the final run for the next ESA medium-size mission (M5)

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The SPICA infrared space telescope has just been pre-selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to participate in the final competition, which in September 2021 will see the choice of ESA's next medium-sized mission (mission M5). Read the Press Release ...

December 12, 2017 : JWST: a new look at the interstellar matter at the origin of planetary systems

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Often portrayed as the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be, once deployed, the largest telescope ever launched into space. Through its observations in the mid infrared, it will revolutionize our understanding of the Universe. Developed by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), in partnership with numerous laboratories around the world, its launch is scheduled to take place on an Ariane 5 rocket by spring 2019. Six months after launch, the astronomers from all around the world will have immediate access to the data issued from the first-ever observation programs. Read the Press Release ...

September 28, 2017 : PILOT maps the magnetic field at the core of the Milky Way

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The magnetic field in the dense twisted loop of gas and dust surrounding the black hole at the centre of our Galaxy has been revealed in a new image from the PILOT stratospheric balloon experiment. This is the first time that this unique region of the sky has been observed using the polarisation of dust emission at far-infrared wavelengths. Read the Press Release ...

July 6, 2017 : AROMA Setup First Results

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The new analytical experimental setup called AROMA (Astrochemistry Research of Organics with Molecular Analyzer) is now in operation at IRAP/LCAR. The main purpose of this setup is to study and identify, with micro-scale resolution, the molecular content of cosmic dust analogues, including the stardust analogues that will be produced in the Nanocosmos Stardust machine in Madrid. Read the Press Release ...

April 18, 2017 : Pilot experiment : the interstellar dust studied from a balloon

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The Pilot astrophysics experiment will be launched in a few days under a stratospheric balloon from Alice Springs in central Australia. The aim is to observe the polarization of the emission of dust particles present in the interstellar medium of our Galaxy and of the nearby galaxies. With a mass of nearly one ton, Pilot uses the largest balloons launched by the CNES. It was developed by the Institut de recherche en astrophysique et planétologie (CNRS / CNES / Paul Sabatier University) and the Institut d'astrophysique spatiale (CNRS / Université Paris-Sud) and the Institut de recherche sur les lois fondamentales de l'univers (CEA-Irfu). Pilot has already flown a first time in September 2015 from Canada: it will therefore be its first flight under the sky of the southern hemisphere, richer in sources of interest for Pilot. Read the Press Release ...

February 22, 2017 : "SOFIA: a telescope operating from the stratosphere"

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The Orion nebula is an observational target since the earliest antiquity - first with the naked eye and then by means of ever more powerful telescopes, located for some on Earth (VLT, ALMA, IRAM), embarked for other on board satellites (Hubble, Herschel), and in different wavelength ranges: visible, infrared, radio. Read the Press Release ...

February 9, 2017 : "ALMA reveals the curious geometry of a proto-star"

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A team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe the almost edge-on system of the low-mass protostar L1527. This protostar is in a star forming region in the Taurus molecular cloud, about 450 light years away and has a spinning protoplanetary disk, almost edge-on to our view, embedded in a large envelope of molecules and dust. ALMA allowed the researchers to resolve for the first time the structure of this young stellar system. Read the Press Release ...

September 21, 2016 : "Zooming into the skin of the Orion hunter"

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Combining the information from the ALMA interferometer and the IRAM 30-meter single-dish, an international team of astronomers led by Javier Goicoechea (CSIC) obtained the most detailed image of the Orion Bar, the frontier between the atomic and molecular gas in the closest massive star forming region from the solar system. This image is of considerable interest for the study of the morphology and the activity of this fascinating region of the sky. Read the Press Release ...

November 5, 2015 : The IRAM 30-meters reveals the molecular richness of a prestellar core

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Located in the Taurus region at about 450 light years from Earth, L1544 is considered as a prototype of prestellar hearts. This heart is supposed to be a young stage, before gravitational collapse, before the formation of a solar-type protostar. A spectral survey was conducted by the 30 meters telescope IRAM, in the "Large Program" ASAI (Astrochemical Surveys at IRAM; Lefloch, 2015 Bachiller et al.) and revealed a large number of complex molecules, including oxygened organic species (COMs: Complex Organic Molecules). Read the Press Release ...

September 22, 2015 : CNES’s PILOT telescope completes first successful balloon flight over Canada

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Monday 21 September, CNES’s PILOT project accomplished its mission in the skies above Timmins in Canada. Its payload was able to measure submillimetre polarized emission from the dust that fills our galaxy, the Milky Way, in order to map its magnetic field and study its role in the cycle of matter. Read the Press Release ...

July 20, 2015 : A second catalog of compact sources delivered by Planck

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The Planck Collaboration has just put online a new catalog highly anticipated by the community. This second catalog uses the complete mission data to identify tens of thousands of compact sources. For the first time, the polarization information is also available for several hundreds of them. Thus this new catalog surpasses its predecessors in quantity but also in quality. Astronomers will be able to use it for a wide variety of studies. Read the Press Release ...

March 31, 2015 : Enigmatic high - redshift galaxies discovered by Planck and Herschel : a missing link of cosmology?

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Many new and enigmatic high redshift galaxies that are intensively forming stars have been discovered using ESA’s Planck and Herschel satellites . These galaxies occur in clumps – and could be the long-sought formation phase of galaxy clusters. Some appear very bright. and have been found to be gravitationally lensed galaxies. These rapidly star-forming galaxies could help solve a central problem in cosmology: how did the large scale structure of galaxies form? Read the Press Release ...

February 17, 2015 : Christine Joblin winner of the CNRS Silver Medal

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The CNRS Silver Medal honors a researcher for the originality, quality and importance of its work, recognized nationally and internationally. Portrait ...

February 5, 2015 : Planck unveils the dynamic side of the Universe

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The Planck collaboration, which involves in particular the CNRS, CEA, CNES, several universities and French institutions, today reveals data issued from the four years of observation of the Planck satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA). The Planck mission is dedicated to the study of the fossil radiation, the light echo of the Big Bang. The measurements, made in nine frequency bands, allow to build maps relating to the sky temperature as well as its polarisation, which gives us additional information on both the very young Universe (380,000 years old) and the magnetic field of our Galaxy. These data and the associated articles are submitted to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics and are available on the ESA website. These informations will lead to better know the material and energetic content of the universe, the time of birth of the first stars and the current rate of expansion of the universe. Read the Press Release ...

January 30, 2015 : Planck and BICEP2 / Keck collaborate and impose an upper limit on the intensity of primordial gravitational waves

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By combining their data, the Planck and BICEP2/Keck collaborations showed that the detection of primordial gravitational waves through the observation of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background has not yet occurred. This result provides the outcome to a scientific drama which held breathless both the cosmologists and the enthusiasts. The signal announced by the BICEP2 team in March 2014 can not be associated with the first moments of the Big Bang : it mainly comes from our galaxy and from gravitational distortions in its spread to us. These results have been submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters in late January 2015. The Planck collaboration of the European Space Agency (ESA) involves the CNRS, the CEA, the CNES and several French universities including the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse through the IRAP. Read the Press Release ...

December 1, 2014 : Planck illuminates dark matter and detects fossil neutrinos

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This Monday, December 1, the Planck collaboration to which IRAP researchers (Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse and CNRS) contribute reveals the results of four years of observation of the Planck satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA), dedicated to the study of the "background radiation" of the universe. For the first time, the oldest image of our universe is accurately measured by two parameters - light polarisation and intensity - over the whole sky. This primordial light reveals the most elusive traces, namely those of dark matter and fossil neutrinos.  Read the Press Release ...

September 23, 2014 : Planck reveals the screen of polarized dust in front of the CMB

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Nearly two years after the end of its mission, the ESA Planck satellite continues to deliver valuable information regarding the deep universe that it has observed during nearly three years, in the submillimeter and microwave fields. On September 22, the Planck consortium to which several IRAP researchers (Paul Sabatier University of Toulouse and CNRS) contribute published a new map of the level of polarized emission from the galactic dust towards the Galactic poles. It thus appears that the polarized emission coming from the dust in our Galaxy is large enough to contaminate significantly the polarized signal coming from the CMB, on the whole sky. This result thus cast doubt on the discovery of gravitational waves proclaimed by the BICEP2 team in March 2014. Read the Press Release ...

May 6, 2014 : Planck takes magnetic fingerprint of our galaxy

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Our Galaxy’s magnetic field is revealed in a new image from ESA’s Planck satellite. This image was compiled from the first all-sky observations of ‘polarised’ light emitted by interstellar dust in the Milky Way. Many researchers and engineers belonging to the CNRS, the CEA, the CNES and French Universities are involved in the Planck mission which continues his harvest results. These analyzes are to be submitted in four articles to the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. Read the Press Release ...

February 18, 2014 : A new start for the SPICA mission

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SPICA (the Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics) is the next large far-infrared astrophysics mission and will study the evolution of galaxies, stars and planetary systems. In answer to programmatic and technical challenges the SPICA mission is being restructured, with a launch date around 2025, and a larger European contribution in the context of the Cosmic Vision program of the European Space Agency. Read the Press Release ...

February 12, 2014 : A protostar reveals a new scenario for planetary formation

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An international team of astronomers, involving researchers of the IPAG-OSUG (CNRS / Université Joseph Fourier Grenoble I) and the IRAP-OMP (CNRS / Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III), observed for the first time the protostar L1527 at a very high spatial resolution using the interferometer ALMA. The researchers were able to demonstrate a chemical change in the composition of the protostar, challenging the planetary formation scenarios. These results appear on Feb. 13 in the journal Nature. Read the Press Release ...

December 20, 2013 : The European Research Council attributed a "Synergy grant" to the NANOCOSMOS project

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Spanish and French researchers, including Christine Joblin, research director at the CNRS, IRAP-OMP (CNRS / Université Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier) obtained a European contract within the context of the 2013 Synergy program launched by the European Reseach Council (ERC). The NANOCOSMOS project "Gas and Dust from the Stars to the Laboratory: Exploring the nano-cosmos" has caught the attention of the ERC for a funding close to 15 million € for six years. The objective of NANOCOSMOS is to better understand the physico-chemical process involved in the formation of cosmic dust. Read the Press Release ...

October 16, 2013 : First light for PILOT

The astronomical instrument that will fly under a huge stratospheric balloon of the CNES in the coming years has been tested at the Toulouse Space Centre. The results are remarkable. Read the Press Release ...

March 21, 2013 : Planck reveals an almost perfect universe

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Launched in 2009, Planck, a satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) dedicated to the study of the cosmic microwave book today the results of its first fifteen months of observations. They provide a wealth of information on the history and composition of the Universe: the most accurate map ever obtained of the CMB, which highlights an effect predicted by the models of inflation, a downward revision of the expansion rate of the universe, a new assessment of the composition of the Universe. Many of these data were obtained from the main Planck instrument, HFI, designed and built under the direction of the Institut d’astrophysique spatiale (CNRS/Université Paris - Sud) with funding from the CNES and the CNRS. Read the Press Release ...

February 7, 2013 :  Studying interstellar grains in laboratory through an electrostatic storage ring

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Physicists have developed an electrostatic storage ring, whose size is only a few tens of centimeters, in order to study in laboratory the properties of interstellar grains or large carbon molecules. This mechanism keeps the particles long enough to reproduce the extreme vacuum and low temperature conditions which prevail in astrophysical environments. Read the Press Release ...

January 28, 2013 : Formamide, a key molecule in the development of life, detected in the vicinity of a sun in formation

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A team made of researchers of the IPAG and the IRAP has announced the presence of formamide in the gas surrounding IRAS 16293-2422, a star similar to our Sun, in formation in the nebula of Rho Ophiuchi. This discovery, published on January 16, 2013 in the International Astrophysical Journal Letter, could be an important step in the understanding of the origin of life on Earth after the formation of our solar system. Read the Press Release ...

January 22, 2013 : Large carbon molecules travel in the interstellar medium

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A team of IRAP astronomers with their collaborator from the Observatory of Cagliari (Italy) has demonstrated that close to stars, the fullerene molecule, or C60, is ionized into C60+. This confirms the presence of C60+ in the interstellar medium and proves that these species are in the gas phase and do not lay on dust grains. For about 30 years, astronomers have considered, following the PAH hypothesis, that large carbon molecules in the gas phase play a major role in the chemistry and physics of cosmic environments. This new work on C60+ provides direct evidence of the validity of this hypothesis and are published on Jan. 22 in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. Read the Press Release ...

November 20, 2012 : Planck discovers filament of hot gas linking two galaxy clusters

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Modern cosmological theories state that the universe is mainly composed of dark matter and dark energy. Baryonic matter makes up the stars and planets. In this form it represents only 5% of the total matter content in the universe. This material is also present in the form of hot gas between the galaxies. However, to date, astronomers have identified about half of the baryonic matter present in the local universe. Numerical simulations of the forming of large cosmic structures (galaxies and galaxy clusters) suggest that the other half of the baryonic matter would be in the form of a warm gas, called WHIM (Warm Hot Intergalactic Medium) distributed within the cosmic web, the filament network that  structures of dark and baryonic matters form in the Universe. Read the Press Release ...

April 2, 2012 : The Herschel telescope tracks water in our nearby universe

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After more than thirty months of operation of the European Herschel satellite, the symposium "From Atoms to pebbles: Herschel's view of Star and Planet formation", organized jointly by CNES and IPAG (CNRS / Université Grenoble 1) from March 20 to 23 at Grenoble, summarized the contributions of the mission in our understanding of the mechanisms of formation of planetary systems. A major discovery is the omnipresence of water in the regions of formation of stars and planets, thus suggesting the spatial origin of water on Earth. Read the Press Release ...

February 15, 2012 : A strange bar in the centre of the Milky Way

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Through a very detailed analysis of a large stellar survey in the infrared (2MASS), a team from the OSU-THETA Franche-Comte, UTINAM Institute was able to study in detail the central regions of the Milky Way.By comparing a model of the Galaxy, that takes into account the distribution of absorbing dust and is able to simulate the observations by making hypothesis on the formation history of stars in the disk and the bar, the researchers showed that the Milky Way contains both a flattened spheroidal bulge and a long bar.  Read the Press Release ...

February 14, 2012 : PLANCK steps closer to the cosmic blueprint

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ESA’s Planck mission has revealed that our galaxy contains previously undiscovered islands of cold gas and a mysterious haze of microwaves. These results give scientists new treasure to mine and take them closer to revealing the blueprint of cosmic structure. The new results are being presented this week at an international conference in Bologna, Italy, where astronomers from around the world are discussing the mission’s intermediate results. Read the Press Release ...

January 17, 2012 : Planck's HFI completes its survey of early Universe

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After 30 months of an  exemplary working, the high frequency instrument of the Planck satellite of the European Space Agency is off. For nearly 1000 days, its detectors have been the coldest objects of the extraterrestrial universe, with a final lifetime twice longer than expected. The Planck mission sees a very high participation of French laboratories linked with the CNRS and the CEA, supported by the CNES. Read the Press Release ...

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