University of Alicante

Research group

What is our duty?

The Stellar Astrophysics Group of University of Alicante carries out intense research work in various fields of Astrophysics, as well as an important activity aimed at the dissemination of Astronomy in society, in which it collaborates with other groups from different universities such as the University of Valencia, or the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands.


Group members

  • Dra. Amparo Marco Tobarra

    Catedrática de Universidad (Astronomía y Astrofísica)

  • Dr. Ignacio Negueruela Díez

    Professor (Astronomy and Astrophysics)

  • Dr. Lee R. Patrick

    APOSTD2020 Fellow (GVA)

  • Dr. Diego de la Fuente

    Postdoctoral researcher APOSTD (GVA)

  • Dra. Sara Rodríguez Berlanas

    Post-Doc Researcher (MICINN)

  • Emilio Trigueros Páez

    Predoctoral Researcher (FPI-MICINN)

  • Dr.Klaus Rübke

    Post-Doc Researcher, Prometeo Project (GVA)

  • Pedro Pastor Seva

    Profesor Titular, Escuela Universitaria

Antiguos miembros.

  1. Francesc Vilardell Sallés (Institut de Ciències de l'Espai)

  2. Carlos González Fernández (Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad de Cambridge)

  3. Maria Monguió i Montells (Universidad de Hertfordshire)

  4. Hugo Tabernero Guzmán 

  5. Ricardo Dorda Laforet (Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias)

Lines of research

The study of Stellar Evolution aims to understand the processes that lead to changes in the observable appearance of stars throughout their lives and to understand the physics that govern them. Since stars live extraordinarily long lives, we cannot contemplate how a given star changes. We deduce the life trajectories of stars by observing many stars in various states of their lives.

Our group studies the evolution of high mass stars, those that are much more massive than the Sun. These objects begin their life as OB stars on the main sequence and then become supergiant, passing through different spectral types. Some give rise to red supergiants, the largest stars in the universe, while others become Wolf-Rayet stars, throwing much of their atmosphere into the interstellar medium. All of them end their lives in a supernova explosion. Many of the chemical elements that end up being part of the rocky planets and the living beings that inhabit them have been produced inside them. The natural laboratories that the Universe offers us for the study of Stellar Evolution are open clusters and binary systems. By studying their properties, we can understand how high mass stars evolve and how they have generated, over the course of millions of years, all the chemical wealth we observe on Earth.

  • Massive stars
  • Massive X-ray binaries
  • Young open clusters
  • The Be phenomenon
  • Galactic Structure
  • Fundamental properties. High mass eclipsing binaries.
  • Stellar evolution: position in evolutionary diagrams of supergiants, Wolf-Rayet stars, etc.
  • Identification of optical counterparts.
  • Orbit determination
  • Characterization of populations
  • Astrophysical parameters
  • Star formation zones
  • Massive young stars
  • Large young clusters
  • Be stars in the field and in clusters
  • BeX Binaries
  • Obscured clusters of red supergiants
  • Clusters on the Perseus arm
  • Clusters located in the Galactic anticentre


Nowadays, pure research rarely receives funding if it is not associated with the development of new technology. We astrophysicists get the funds we need to carry out our work by participating in public funding calls, in which we compete with our colleagues for the (generally scarce) available budget. Our team is involved in the following major instrumentation development or scientific collaboration projects


The IACOB, led by Sergio Simón Díaz, is a large library of high-resolution spectra of high-mass stars with early spectral types. Its IACOB-sweG extension, which we are coordinating from Alicante, extends the library to the range of the spectrograph carried by the satellite Gaia.

We are part of the Red Española para Gaia (REG) since its creation, as well as the European network GREAT. These networks have been formed by Spanish and European scientists to prepare for the scientific use of the satellite Gaia,one of the most ambitious projects of the European Space Agency. The REG Network is coordinated by Professor Francesca Figueras, and more than 100 professional astronomers and PhD students are part of it..

On the occasion of the launch of Gaia, the newspaper Información dedicated a report to us.

Miradas is a third generation instrument for the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC). It is a powerful multi-object spectrograph with medium-high resolution that operates in the infrared range. The project, led by Prof. Stephen Eikenberry, of the University of Florida, is currently under development. We have been part of the instrument's science team since its conception. In fact, the spectrograph is designed around four scientific reference cases, one of which is the study of high mass stars in the Milky Way.

WEAVE is an instrument being built for the William Herschel Telescope (WHT). When in operation, WEAVE will be the most powerful multi-object spectrograph ever built, being able to take intermediate resolution spectra in the optical range of almost 1000 stars simultaneously. WEAVE is a European project, supported by a large international scientific consortium.  The team members are part of the instrument's science team , and are involved in the conception and development of one of the large mapping projects to be carried out with it, Stellar, Circumstellar and Interstellar Physics (SCIP), led by Prof. Janet DrewUniversity of Hertfordshire.

The Gaia-ESO project is an ambitious observation programme, accepted by the Observatorio Europeo Australto carry out a spectroscopic exploration of the Milky Way. Our team has been involved in this project since its inception.

The CAFÉ-BEANS project , which we coordinate from Alicante in collaboration with Dr. Jesús Maíz Apellániz (CAB) is an international collaboration that seeks to characterize the properties of the most massive binary stars. It uses the CAFÉspectrograph, located at the 2.2 m telescope of Observatorio de Calar Alto.

Our group is part of the ISSISinstrument science group, which is being developed to fly on the WSO-UVspace telescope, an international project led by Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This project is led by Profesora Ana I. Gómez de CastroUniversidad Complutense de Madrid.

We have also been part of Consolider Ingenio 2010-GTC, a global project based on the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC), and financed by Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MICINN) within its CONSOLIDERprogram, to achieve cutting-edge science with data from GTC, the largest telescope in the world, which is located at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, on La Palma. This project was led by José Miguel Rodríguez Espinosa, from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias.


  • Formation and evolution of high mass stars in the Milky Way (AYA2012-39364-C02-02)
  • High mass stars in the infrared (AYA2010-21697-C05-05)
  • Multiplicity and evolution of massive stars (AYA2008-06166-C03-03)
  • Massive stars: birth and evolution (AYA2005-00095)
  • Massive star populations in the Local Group galaxies (AYA2002-00814)


Organised at least once a year with other DFISTS astronomers, the aim of the conference is to bring Alicante society closer to the latest advances in astronomy and astrophysics. To this end, we invite the most renowned Spanish (and sometimes foreign) experts in various areas to give lectures to the general public about their work.

Almost every year, the days are held at the end of October or beginning of November, although sometimes we can also organize a series of talks in the spring. Detailed information is provided through university newsletters, notices to astronomy associations and information posters. For example, the spring conferences in 2012, as presented in the local press, and a review of a recent conference, are part of the 2016 conferences.

Links of Interest

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    European journal of astronomy and astrophysics, publishing research articles by professional astrophysicists.
  • Calar Alto
    Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory
  • Isaac Newton Group
    La Palma Telescopes (currently a consortium between the UK, the Netherlands and Spain)
  • Observatorio Europeo Austral
    A European organization that operates observatories in the deserts of Chile. It has the best astronomical instruments in the world
  • Integral ISOC
    Scientific operations centre of the INTEGRAL high energy observatory
  • ESA
    European Space Agency
  • NASA
    US Space Agency
  • Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias
    The largest Spanish institute for astrophysical research, located on the island of Tenerife
  • SEA
    Spanish Astronomy Society
  • Trazas de Ginebra
    Tools for obtaining the Geneva Observatory's networks of stellar evolution models
  • CMD
    Tool to obtain the networks of stellar evolution models from the Padua Observatory