I am currently working as a Research Professor of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the Spanish Scientific Research Council, at the IAC (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias), where I was the first Research Coordinator. Before that, I was the Head of the Molecular Astronomy Group at the Queen Mary College, and previously I had worked at the European Space Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, in Pasadena, and as a postdoc at the University of California's Lick Observatory. I have quite recently also been a Scientific Editor of Astronomy & Astrophysics. I am a Director of the NGO “Tecnologías en Desarrollo”, working in Bolivian villages installing renewable energy resources. As well as the “normal” scientific qualifications I have a D.Sc degree from Oxford University, and an Honorary Doctorate from the Universidad Mayor de San Simón, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, (an honour which I share with Fidel Castro!).  




I have authored and co-authored over 300 publications in refereed journals, and have over 600 publications cited in ADS. I have also been the editor of 7 conference proceedings. To view a list of the articles please click on the Publications link.





My areas of research are galactic structure and evolution, galactic kinematics and dynamics, the interstellar medium, and observational cosmology. I have actively promoted recent research in galactic kinematics by heading the project which put the GHaFaS Fabry-Perot spectrometer on the 4.2m William Herschel telescope at the IAC's La Palma observatory. Much of my effort is now directed at interpreting data from that instrument. I am particularly interested in the effects of gas inflow on the evolution of galaxies via the stimulation of the massive star formation rate in the disc and in the circumnuclear zones, and am tending to use interacting disc galaxies to explore this phenomenon.

The easiest way to present these fields is to present them in packets of my choice of the most interesting articles related to each topic.

      1. Galactic structure and kinematics

Comerón et al. 2010, “AINUR: Atlas of Images of Nuclear Rings”. MNRAS 402,2462

Fathi et al. 2009, “Pattern Speeds of Bars and Arms from Halpha velocity fields”, ApJ, 704, 1657

Comerón et al. 2009, “On the Curvature of Dust Lanes in Galactic Bars”, ApJ Letters, 706, L256

Azzollini et al. 2009, “Radial Distribution of near-UV flux in disc galaxies in the range 0 < z < 1”, A&A, 501, 119

Azzollini et al. 2008a, “Cosmic Evolution of Stellar Disk Truncations”, ApJ, 684, 1026 

Azzollini, R. et al. 2008b, “Color Profiles of Disk Galaxies since z = 1. Probing outer disk Formation scenarios”, ApJ Letters, 679L, 69

Comerón et al. 2008, “On the morphology of sigma drop galaxies”, A&A, 485, 695

Erwin, P.E. et al. 2008, “The Outer Disks of Early-Type Galaxies, I. Surface brightness profiles of Barred Galaxies”, AJ, 135, 20

Fathi, K. et al. 2008, “Spiral Inflow feeding the Nuclear Starburst in M83, observed in Halpha emission with the GHaFaS Fabry-Perot Interferometer”, ApJ Letters, 675, L17

Relaño, M. et al. 2007, “An Evolutionary Sequence of Expanding Hydrogen Shells in Galaxy Discs”, A&A, 467, 111

Erwin, P.E. et al. 2005, “Antitruncation of Disks in Early-Type Barred Galaxies”, ApJ Letters, 626, L81

2. Interstellar medium: The ionized interstellar medium in galaxies.

Blasco-Herrera et al. 2010, “An improved method for statistical studies of the internal kinematics of HII regions: the case of M83”, MNRAS, 408, 181

Santander-García et al. 2010, “The kinematics of the Quadrupolar Nebula M 1-75 and the identification of its central star”, A&A, 519, 54

Gutiérrez, L. & Beckman, J.E. 2010, “The Galaxy-wide distribution of Mean Electron Density in the HII regions of M51 and NGC 4449”, ApJ Letters, 710, L44

Haffner, L.M. et al. 2009, “The warm ionized medium in spiral galaxies”, Rev. Mod. Phys., 81, 969

Casuso, E. & Beckman, J.E. 2007 “Galactic Interstellar Gas Cloud Mass Functions: A Simple Qualitative Approach”, ApJ, 656, 897

Bradley, T. R. et al. 2006, “A composite HII region luminosity function in Halpha of unprecedented statistical weight”, A&A, Letters, 459, L13

Giammanco, C. et al. 2005, “Effects of photon escape on diagnostic diagrams for HII regions”, A&A, 438, 599

Giammanco, C. et al. 2004, “Propagation of ionizing radiation in HII regions: The effects of optically thick density fluctuations”, A&A, 424, 877

3. Instrumentation.

Hernandez, O. et al. 2008, “GHaFaS, Galaxy Halpha Fabry-Perot system for the William Herschel Telescope”, PASP, 120, 665

Carignan, C. et al. 2008, “GHaFaS: Galaxy Ha Fabry-Perot system for the WHT”, Proc. SPIE, 7014E, 188




Research Group 

The research group here at the IAC specifically involved in my project studies is now small, consisting of myself, Joan Font and Emilio Casuso, my postdocs and Javi Zaragoza, my graduate student. However we have constant working links with the following:

a)    Within the IAC. Johan Knapen and his student Santi Erroz. Begoña García Lorenzo, Jairo Mendez.

b)    At the University of Stockholm: Kambiz Fathi and Javi Blasco

c)    At the San Pedro Martyr Observatory of UNAM, (México). Leonel Gutiérrez

d)    At the Max Planck Institut fur Astrophysik, Garching: Peter Erwin

e)    At the Morelia Campus of UNAM, Valeria Buenrostro

f)      At the University of Granada: Almudena Zurita, Mónica Relaño, Isabel Pérez, Eduardo Battaner.





My job description is that of a researcher, with no formal requirement to teach. However I am currently teaching at the Universidad de La Laguna. My course is part of the Master's 

Degree in Astrophysics, and is designed to show students how to present documents relevant to astronomical research. This includes how to structure and write a research paper, how to prepare talks and posters for conferences, how to write proposals for funding for research projects, and proposals to request telescope time at major observatories, and how to structure and write a Curriculum Vitae.

Before coming to the IAC I taught courses in Astrophysics and also more generally in physics, as a staff member of the Physics Department at Queen Mary, London University.


Course Material will be posted soon... 



A&A overview

Astronomy & Astrophysics is an international Journal, created on the late 60s, published by EDP Sciences. It publishes papers on all aspects of astronomy and astrophysics, including theoretical, observational, and instrumental.



Bolivia: "Tecnologías en Desarrollo"

TECNOLOGÍAS EN DESARROLLO is an NGO, founded in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in the year 2000 by some of my ex-students in the Master's degree in Environmental Science I had organized during the 1990's at the Universidad Mayor de San Simon, under my guidance. The aim of the ONG is to foster development in rural areas of Bolivia by implementing devices which produce energy in a sustainable and affordable manner.


For a more detailed description please click on the Bolivia link.



Useful Links