Expression of Interest

Contact Person/Scientist in Charge

  • Name and surname: Francisco Najarro de la Parra
  • Email:


Department / Institute / Centre

  • Name: Centro de Astrobiología
  • Address: Ctra. Torrejón a Ajalvir km 4, 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz
  • Province: Madrid

Research Area

  • Physics (PHY)

Brief description of the institution:

The Center of Astrobiology (CAB) is a mixed center formed by the Spanish Research Council CSIC and the National Institute of Technical Aerospace (INTA). CSIC is Spain’s largest public research institution, and ranks third among Europe’s largest research organization. In April 2000, CAB became the first Associate Member to NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). Is devoted to astrobiological interdisciplinary research and to develop space mission technology.CAB is a truly multi-disciplinary institute, hosting -200 scien¬tists specializing in a large range of topics (astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, ge¬netics, computer science, ecology, etc.). CAB also has several support units, such as a public outreach office, an administrative unit, and an extensive scientific library. Spain further participates in an impressive range of world-class observatories, including various ESO (VLT, ALMA, ELT, etc.) and ESA (GAIA, INTEGRAL, SPICA/SAFARI, etc.) facilities, as well as hosts some of the world's largest optical telescopes on La Palma and Calar Alto (e.g., the I0m Gran Telescopio Cana¬rias, GTC). CAB has access to all these facilities, and their capabilities will be fully availa¬ble to the researcher during the fellowship.
CAB will offer all necessary elements to ensure a successful development of the fellow's activities in a friendly and scientifically stimulating environment. CAB has broad experience in European projects management, and has coordinated and par¬ticipated in several European networks.

Brief description of the Centre/Research Group (including URL if applicable):

CAB is a multidisciplinary institute devoted to astrobiological research and technology development for space missions. It hosts about 200 scientists specialized in a broad range of topics. The “Massive Stars” team is enclosed in the "Stellar and sub-stellar formation and evolution" group of the Astrophysics Department. Our team consists on two staff members (F.Najarro and J.Maíz Apellániz), one postdoc (M.Garcia), two PhD students, and occasionally Master students from Madrid Autónoma and Complutense Universities. We work closely with the other Spanish massive star teams at Universidad de Alicante and Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, and have strong collaborations over the world including Joachim Puls (U. Observatory Munich, Germany), Don Figer (Rochester Institute of Technology, USA), Chris J. Evans (Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, UK),  Margaret Hanson (U. Cincinnaty, USA), Simon J. Clark (Open University, UK), Miguel Urbaneja (U. Innsbruck, Austria), John Hillier (U. Pittsburgh) , Daniel J. Lennon (ESAC, Spain) and former Marie S. Curie fellow Jon Sundqvist (U. Leuven). Our expertise is both observational, using extensively top-observatories (HST, VLT GTC), and theoretical, modeling the atmospheres of massive star with CMFGEN. We are also involved in the specification definition of new instrumentation (e.g. GTC-MEGARA and EMIR, WHT-WEAVE, that just saw or are about to see first light). We are part of the science team for SAFARI, the far-IR spectrometer for the future mission SPICA, for which F. Najarro is the national representative for Spain.

Project description:

With masses exceeding the mass of the Sun by more than a factor 8, massive stars are the most active agents of a galaxy: they inject vast amounts of ionizing flux, can trigger or destroy the formation of new generations of stars and planetary systems, and are responsible for the production of most Oxygen and Phosphorous in the Universe. Our group uses a wide variety of observing facilities, providing information from UV to far-IR wavelengths, to study massive single and binary stars in all their life-stages to ultimately account their feedback to the host galaxies. We pioneered the IR studies of dust-obscured populations of massive stars in the disk of the Milky Way and the galactic center, finding the most massive stars known in our galaxy and using them as beacons of its chemical composition. We are also leading the studies of massive stars in other galaxies with a smaller amount of metallic elements in their composition, that are currently our connection to the first stars of the Universe. Both lines are connected by the study of the atmospheres of massive stars that expand by the force of their own UV energy production, a phenomenon called radiaton-driven winds.


Please include cover letter, updated CV with publication list, and the contact details and email of 3 potential references. Please send the documentation by July 15th, 2018.

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