Dr. Josep Manel Carrasco is a researcher involved in Gaia calibration of photometric and spectrophotometric data (CU5 group in DPAC). He studied physics at the Universitat de Barcelona and obtained his PhD in 2006 on the design and characterization of all photometric filters proposed to fly with Gaia in the first mission design. Thanks to this work, the definition of current characteristics of the Gaia spectrophotometric instrument (BP/RP) could be done.
Currently involved in the internal calibration BP/RP data, modelling instrumental effects changing with time and position in the focal plane and defining a unique instrument to relate all observations.
In addition to contributing to the calibration, Josep Manel also contributes in assesing the status of the satellite (as part of the Payload Experts group) and creating the catalog of Gaia in CU9 coordination unit in the different releases of Gaia data produced until now (DR1 in September 2016, DR2 in April 2018 and EDR3 in December 2020).
Gaia data has been widely used for new and exciting discoveries. Gaia shares with Hubble Space Telescope the highest number of refereed publications per year among ESA's missions (more than 4300 until now) and it has already overcome (without finishing its mission) the total number publications at the end of the mission of other ESA missions as INTEGRAL, Mars Express or Planck, which had longer period of operations.
Using information from Gaia observations, Josep Manel contributes to ground-based observations of the Gaia science alerts using the Joan Oró telescope from the Montsec Observatory, objects with sudden light changes detected by the satellite, to classify them as supernovae, microlenses, variable starts, etc.
Dr Carrasco is also involved in PLATO (leading the working group WP-131-150 in charge of simulating Gaia stars as seen with PLATO) and Small-JASMINE mission.
In the last years he has been studying the white dwarf contents in Gaia catalogues and in the JPLUS survey. He is also member of the classification working group in the J-PLUS community and is studying the metallicity determination with JPLUS passbands for open clusters (in the JOCS project environment).
He has been teacher at the University of Barcelona for 'Space-based astronomy' subject in the 'Astrophysics, particle physics and cosmology' master courses, 'Observational Astronomy', 'Differential equations and vectorial calculus', 'Algebra' and 'Fundamentals of laboratory' subjects in Physics degree. He also teaches the Sun, stellar evolution and exoplanets in the astronomy courses for 'Universitat de l'Experiència' offered to people older than 55 years. He has also supervised several master and degree thesis final works using Gaia and JPLUS data.
He is deeply involved in outreach, being one of the usual contacts of the UB astronomy department with many press, radio and television media when some news on astronomy is on the news. He has also offered many outreach talks and prepare different material to explain Gaia and astronomy to the general public, schools, institutes, astronomical agroupations, ... He maintains a project called Miralcel, aiming to make outreach of astronomy and sharing visual resources to better understand astronomy related news and explain space exploration.
He is the author of the book "Cosmos: Una inmersión rápida", published in Tibidabo Editions.