Call for a PostDoc Research Fellowship on the analysis of Mars Oxia Planum @INAF-IAPS (Rome)

The INAF-Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology (Rome, Italy) is seeking applicants for onePostdoctoral Research Fellowship” in the context of the research project “Analysis of Oxia Planum from remote sensing data and terrestrial laboratory analogs of Mars and Ceres”.

Deadline: 22 January 2021.

The grant is based on the project “EXOMARS Ma_MISS” and “DAWN” and will be carried out under the scientific supervision of dr. Maria Cristina De Sanctis and dr. Francesca Altieri.

The expected start date is April 2021, with a duration of 12 months and the potential of renewal for further two years.

The successful candidate is expected to work on the data analysis of the Oxia Planum site and on laboratory activities for the preparation and characterization of analogs of Ceres and Mars.

More information with the complete description of the position and the documents to fill out here.


The great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn: the Italian eye

A few days ago, on December 21st, the entire world has raised its eyes to the sky to admire the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, popularly and somewhat erroneously known as the “Christmas Star”. For this particular occasion, which will not occur until the year 2080, in Italy, some headquarters from the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) have joined forces and carried out live, on EduINAF‘s Facebook and YouTube channels, the event “Jupiter and Saturn: the meeting of the giants”.

What made last Monday a remarkable astronomical event was indeed the positions of these two planets: although being aligned in the sky about once every 20 years, it’s been nearly 400 years since Jupiter and Saturn passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since this alignment occurred at night, allowing nearly everyone around the world to see this “great conjunction”. The previous one was on July 16, 1623. However, on that occurrence the two planets were too close to the Sun to be easily observed. We must go back to the late Middle Ages, precisely to March 4, 1226, to find a celestial event of similar magnitude, potentially visible in the terrestrial skies.

During the italian streaming, aired on the 21st on EduINAF’s main social channels from 5pm to 7 pm, astronomers from the INAF guided the audience (of over 10000 people) through the live observations of the planetary conjunction seen by the various italian observatories involved (Roma, Trieste and Palermo) also showing images collected in the previous days both from Italy and other telescopes in the world. The experience was made even more interesting by the insights the astronomers gave about the most recent discoveries in the field of planetary physics and the relevance of this celestial event, exceptionally occurred on the day of the winter solstice.

An image taken from the Rapid Eye Mount Telescope (La Silla Observatory-Chile), used during the italian streaming to show the “Great Conjunction” event of Jupiter and Saturn in the sky on Dec. 21st.

If you missed it and you want to discover more and more about this fascinating encounter of giants, you can look to this gallery of images and watch the recording of the streaming (available in italian) here.

Italy Homeplate

Established in 2018

The Italy Hub was established in October 2018 to promote planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the Italian and European community, within the new Europlanet Society.

Italy is partner of the Europlanet Society collaborating with many different activities and also hosting the Italian Regional Hub of Europlanet.

Know more about the Europlanet Society>>

Italy participates as a beneficiary of the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project (here the Italian webpage related to the project) with different institutions:
INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica)
Universita Degli Studi Gabriele D’annunzio di Chieti-Pescara
Università di Bologna
University of Padova

Members of the Committee of the Italy Hub:

  • Chair: Maria Cristina De Sanctis (INAF)
  • Vice Chair: Stavro Ivanovski (INAF)
  • Advisor: Maria Teresa Capria (INAF)
  • Industry Officer: Laura Gatti (ALTEC / Thales Alenia Space Italia)
  • Outreach Officers: Livia Giacomini (INAF) and Federica Duras (INAF)
  • Diversity Officer: Valentina Galluzzi (INAF)
  • Early Career Officer: Alice Lucchetti (INAF)