Night CAT members

The “Comisión de Asignación de Tiempos nocturnos” (CAT) is constituted by well-known astrophysicists. During the meeting held by the Consejo Rector at La Palma on 12/06/2006, it was proposed to change the composition and functioning of the Night-Time CAT. The President of CAT still represents the Director of the IAC and there is a CAT Vice-president to aid with the CAT management.

The Night-Time CAT is now composed by three panels, each of which represents a specific field of Astrophysics: Galaxies & Cosmology (GACOS), The Galaxy & Stars (GAES), and Stars & Planets (ESPLA). Each panel is formed by a Commissioner, a Vice-commissioner and three additional members (a total of five members per panel). The representative of the International Scientific Committee (CCI) is part of one of the panels. The panels meet during two days in order to study the proposals corresponding to their field of research and produce a scientific report which will presented by the Commissioners and Vice-commissioners to the President and Vice-president on the third day of the CAT meeting. The CAT President, Vice-president, Commissioners and Vice-commissioners (eight people in total) meet on the third and fourth days for allocating CAT time according to the scientific ranking of the proposals.

The present composition (2024B) of the Spanish Night-Time CAT is as follows:

  • President: María Rosa Zapatero Osorio (CAB, CSIC-INTA)
  • Vice-president: Ignacio Trujillo (IAC)

A) Panel I: Galaxies & Cosmology (GACOS)

Comissioner: Sara Cazzoli (IAA)
Vice-commissioner: Rubén Sánchez Janssen (UKATC, UK)
Members: Pavel Mancera Piña (Leiden Obs)
  Anna Ferre Mateu (IAC)
  Mónica Vázquez (IAC)

B) Panel II; The Galaxy & Stars (GAES)

Commissioner: Daniele Viganó (ICE, CSIC)
Vice-commissioner: Lee Patrick (CAB, CSIC-INTA)
Members: Ana Escorza Santos (IAC)
  David Aguado (IAC)
  Josep Miquel Girart (ICE-CSIC)

C) Panel III: Stars & Planets (ESPLA)

Commissioner: Alejandro Suárez Mascareño (IAC)
Vice-commissioner: María Cruz Gálvez Ortiz (CAB, CSIC-INTA)
Members: Víctor J. Sánchez Béjar (IAC)
  José A. Caballero (CAB, CSIC-INTA)
  Paula Benavídez (Univ. Alicante)






The list of previous Night-Time CAT members is also provided.


Members of the Spanish Night-Time Allocation Committee (CAT) are chosen from the national and international communities according to a set of criteria that encompass scientific excellence, and the organisational needs of the CAT itself and of its panels. Candidates are proposed by the CAT President and nominated by the Director of the the IAC. All must have at least 15 articles published in international peer-reviewed journals, or five such articles published in the last six years. Although the majority are tenured or Ramón y Cajal researchers, this criterion is not applied in an exclusive manner.

A maximum of about 40% of the CAT membership is chosen from among researchers at the IAC, or from associated centres such as the ING or the GTC. One member is nominated by the CCI to represent the international community that operates within the observatories and is usually a scientist of international standing with a knowledge of Spanish. The remaining membership (about 60%), including the Vice-President and President, is selected from among the Spanish astronomical community.

On meeting the criterion of scientific excellence, candidates from the national community are selected on an equitable basis (geographical distribution, parity, etc.) and, above all, according to the need to fulfil the organizational and functional requirements of the time allocation committee. The main goal is to cover, as far as is practicable, all the specializations and subspecializations of each of the panels. The CAT President has now gathered, through various channels, information on possible candidates, taking into account the unanimous recommendations of previous CAT panels. The task of selecting new candidates is not always easy since many members of the astronomical community refuse the invitation, so that a continous and revision and updating of the list of possible candidates is necessary. Any researcher that complies with the above conditions and is willing to serve in any of the CAT panels can send a message to catiac [at] or can contact by any means to the CAT President directly.

CAT members, with the exception of its President, who acts as a delegate of the Director of the IAC (the “de jure” President of the CAT), hold office for four semesters (two years) and then become ineligible for membership for the next five years, which, given the limited size of the Spanish astronomical community, sets a limit on the CAT’s selective capacity and, in a certain sense, guarantees medium-term rotation for the majority of its members.

Page updated on 17 May 2024