Apply to host EPSC in 2026 and 2027!

Apply to host EPSC in 2026 and 2027!

We are delighted to announce the call to host the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) in 2026 or 2027. EPSC is the major European meeting on planetary science, regularly attracting 1000-1200 participants from around the world, and is the annual meeting of the Europlanet Society. 

Top level requirements: EPSC 2026 and 2027 should be hosted in a European city under the responsibility of a very motivated and very capable LOC (Local Organisation Committee) led by a research institute/research organisation with close links to the local planetary science community. The proposed venue should be able to accommodate 1200+ participants onsite and offer options to allow hybrid access for virtual participation.  

Facilities should include a large auditorium for 350-400 participants, a large lecture hall for 160-200 participants, 2-3 rooms for up to 100 participants, and 2-3 rooms for up to 70 participants, as well as several smaller rooms for splinters, workshops, press conferences etc. The venue should include areas for coffee breaks, seating and working spaces, as well as the capacity to display 300 posters (300 single sided or 150 double sided) and to accommodate 10-20 exhibition booths. All facilities, including venues for proposed social event(s), should be of high-quality and accessible to all attendees, including those with reduced mobility and wheelchair users.  

The venue should be in a safe and attractive location with excellent transport links (at both an international and local scale). Low-cost transportation and suitably priced accommodation for students should be available.  

Process: Candidate host Institutes/organisations are welcome to apply for either or both 2026 and 2027. The preferred timing for EPSC 2026 is early-mid September, avoiding holidays (e.g. Yom Kippur). The dates for EPSC 2027 should ideally be 19-24 September to allow for reciprocal joint hybrid activities with the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS), which will take place that week in Providence, RI, US. 

To respond to this call, please download the application pack from the call page on the Europlanet Society website: https://www.europlanet-society.org/epsc/call-for-hosting-epsc-2026-and-epsc-2027/. The application pack contains a detailed summary of the venue requirements, as well as a set of guidelines that draw on the experience of past EPSC hosts.  

Applicants should fill in the application form on the call page to submit: 

  • A document setting out your proposal in full, addressing all the areas listed in the venue requirements. 
  • A completed EPSC Proposal Budget Template (Excel spreadsheet in the application pack). 
  • A completed EPSC Room Requirements Template (Excel spreadsheet in the application pack). 

Tentative calendar:  

  • Deadline for applications: 19 April 2024 
  • Early site visit: May-early June, (to be confirmed) 
  • Proposal evaluation June/July 
  • Host selection: Announced at EPSC2024. 

Any questions should be addressed to epsc@europlanet-society.org. We look forward to receiving your proposals. 

Lena Noack, EPSC Executive Committee Chair
Anita Heward, EPSC Executive Committee Acting Vice Chair
Ann Carine Vandaele, President of the Europlanet Society and Europlanet Association
Didier Moreau, Treasurer of the Europlanet Society and Europlanet Association
Mario Ebel, Copernicus Meetings
 

Reminder – EPSC2024 Call for Sessions

Reminder – EPSC2024 Call for Sessions

The Europlanet Science Congress 2024 (EPSC2024) will take place from 8-13 September 2024 at the Henry Ford Building at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. 

The Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) is the annual meeting place of the Europlanet Society. With a track record of 18 years and regularly attracting around 1,000 participants, the Europlanet Science Congress is the largest planetary science meeting in Europe. It covers the entire range of planetary sciences.

The success of our meeting is founded on the excellence of the scientific sessions and as well as the session conveners. We therefore encourage you to submit session proposals through the conference website by 6 March 2024 at https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/epsc2024/provisionalprogramme

Session can be proposed for the following programme groups:

TP – Terrestrial Planets
OPS – Outer Planet Systems
MITM – Missions, Instrumentation, Techniques, Modelling
SB – Small Bodies (comets, KBOs, rings, asteroids, meteorites, dust)
EXOA – Exoplanets, Origins of Planetary Systems and Astrobiology
ODAA – Outreach, Diversity, Amateur Astronomy

We will support conveners in their role by giving clearly defined guidelines, tools, tutorials and training – which will soon be released. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us at epsc2024@copernicus.org in case of any questions or doubts.

Stavro Ivanovski and Akos Kereszturi
Scientific organizing committee Co-Chairs

Lena Noack
EPSC committee Chair

Key Deadlines and Milestones for EPSC2024

DateTask
16 Jan–06 Mar 2024Call-for-sessions
21 Mar 2024Call-for-abstracts
15 May 2024, 13:00 CESTAbstract submission deadline
05 June 2024Letter of acceptance email
03 July 2024Letter of schedule email
31 July 2024Deadline for presenter registration
31 July 2024Early registration deadline
08–13 Sep 2024Europlanet Science Congress 2024

All Deadlines and Milestones

2023 Farinella Prize Awarded to Federica Spoto and Diego Turrini

2023 Farinella Prize Awarded to Federica Spoto and Diego Turrini

Europlanet Society Press Release

Dr Federica Spoto, of the Minor Planet Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and Dr Diego Turrini, of the National Institute for Astrophysics – Turin Astrophysical Observatory (INAF-OATo) in Italy, have been awarded jointly the 2023 Paolo Farinella Prize for their outstanding contributions to the field “From superbolides to meteorites: physics and dynamics of small planetary impactors”. The award ceremony will take place during the 55th Annual Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) meeting joint with the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) in San Antonio, Texas, and online and will be followed by prize lectures by each of the winners.

The annual prize was established in 2010 to honour the memory of the Italian scientist Paolo Farinella (1953-2000). Each year, the prize acknowledges an outstanding researcher not older than 47 years (the age of Prof Farinella when he passed away) who has achieved important results in one of Prof Farinella’s fields of work. Each edition of the prize focuses on a different research area and, in 2023, the topic was chosen to highlight recent advances in knowledge about small-size Near-Earth Object (NEO) populations. The award is supported by the Europlanet Society.

Ettore Perozzi, Senior Scientist at the Science Directorate of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and Chair of the 2023 Paolo Farinella Committee, said on behalf of the Prize Committee: “The work of Diego Turrini has provided deep insights into the collisional processes occurring early in the history of planetary systems, while Federica Spoto has paved the way to quickly identify and reliably compute the orbit of imminent impactors of the Earth. That is the beginning and the end of the long journey of meteorites.”

Dr Spoto’s research focuses on advanced methods to determine the orbits of asteroids and
the age of asteroid families. She led an international team of experts responsible for the validation of the Gaia Solar System objects, a necessary step to ensure the quality of the data in every release. Throughout her career, Dr Spoto has tackled the challenge of efficiently determining the orbits of ‘imminent impactors’ – newly discovered objects approaching our planet that, depending on their size and composition, could result in meteorites reaching the ground and potentially causing significant damage.

“Federica’s outstanding contribution has been twofold: addressing from a theoretical point of view a highly complex chaotic orbit determination problem, and translating the results into practical algorithms for responding to the needs of the operational systems for planetary defence,” said Dr Perozzi.

Through theoretical work, modelling and observations, Dr Turrini has investigated the dynamical and collisional evolution of Solar System bodies, in particular during the early phases of planetary formation. His work highlights the role small planetary impactors play in shaping planetary bodies and their surfaces through collisional erosion and contaminating their chemical composition. He led the development of the ‘Jovian Early Bombardment’ scenario, which describes how the formation and migration of Jupiter triggered a primordial bombardment in the asteroid belt, and the search for its signatures in protoplanetary disks hosting newly formed giant planets. As a scientific team member of the visible and infrared imaging spectrometer (VIR) instrument on the Dawn mission, Dr Turrini combined impact contamination models with in-situ measurements of Vesta and meteoritic data to explain the abundance of dark, carbon-rich material, as well as the unexpected presence of water and olivine deposits, on the surface of Vesta, the second biggest asteroid in the Solar System. These methods developed to study the contamination of asteroids are now providing the basis for investigating how small impactors shape the atmospheric composition of giant exoplanets.

“Diego’s impressive list of participation in high-level committees, such as the ESA Solar System and Exploration Working Group (SSEWG), and his involvement in past, present and future space missions, including Dawn, Juno, Ariel, JUICE and BepiColombo, witness the appreciation of his work by the international astronomical and space science communities,” said Dr Perozzi.

Dr Spoto obtained her academic degrees in celestial mechanics at the Department of Mathematics of the University of Pisa, Italy. She then moved to France to take up post-doctoral positions at Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur and at the Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calcul des Éphémérides (IMCCE) in Paris. In February 2020, she joined the IAU Minor Planet Centre where she now holds the role of project scientist.

Dr Turrini obtained a Master’s degree in physics at the University of Milano Bicocca and a PhD in space science and technology at the Center of Studies and Activities for Space (CISAS) “Giuseppe Colombo” at the University of Padova, Italy. He then moved to INAF for his post-doctoral studies and is currently a researcher at INAF-OATo, on transfer from the INAF – Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology (INAF-IAPS) in Rome.

About the Paolo Farinella Prize

The Paolo Farinella Prize (https://www.europlanet-society.org/paolo-farinella-prize/) was established to honour the memory and the outstanding figure of Paolo Farinella (1953-2000), an extraordinary scientist and person. The prize is awarded in recognition of significant contributions given in the fields of interest of Farinella, which span from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularization, and security in space, weapons control and disarmament. The winner of the prize is selected each year on the basis of their overall research results in a chosen field. Candidates must participate in international and interdisciplinary collaborations, and be not older than 47 years, the age of Farinella when he passed away, at the date of 25 March 2000. The prize was first proposed during the ‘International Workshop on Paolo Farinella the scientist and the man’, held in Pisa in 2010 and supported by the University of Pisa, ISTI/CNR and by IAPS-INAF (Rome), and first awarded in 2011.

The 2023 Paolo Farinella Prize Committee:

Ettore Perozzi (ASI, Italy), Chair
Alceste Bonanos (National Observatory of Athens, Greece)
Daniele Gardiol (INAF – Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Italy)
Maria Hajdukova (Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences)
Robert Jedicke (University of Hawaii, USA)
Peter Jenniskens (SETI Institute, USA)

Paolo Farinella Prize winners:

2011: William Bottke (Physics and dynamics of small Solar System bodies)
2012: John Chambers (Formation and early evolution of the Solar System)
2013: Patrick Michel (Collisional processes in the Solar System)
2014: David Vokrouhlicky (Understanding of the dynamics and physics of Solar System, including how pressure from solar radiation affects the orbits of both asteroids and artificial satellites)
2015: Nicolas Biver (Molecular and isotopic composition of cometary volatiles by means of submillimetre and millimetre ground and space observations)
2016: Kleomenis Tsiganis (Studies of the applications of celestial mechanics to the dynamics of planetary systems, including the development of the Nice model)
2017: Simone Marchi (Understanding the complex problems related to the impact history and physical evolution of the inner Solar System, including the Moon)
2018: Francis Nimmo (Understanding of the internal structure and evolution of icy bodies in the Solar System and the resulting influence on their surface processes)
2019: Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo (Observational characterisation of the Kuiper belt and the Neptune-trojan population)
2020: Jonathan Fortney and Heather Knutson (Understanding of the structure, evolution and atmospheric dynamics of giant planets)
2021: Diana Valencia and Lena Noack (Understanding of the interior structure and dynamics of terrestrial and super-Earth exoplanets)
2022: Julie Castillo-Rogez and Martin Jutzi (Asteroids: Physics, Dynamics, Modelling and Observations)

Images

Farinella Prize winner 2023: Federica Spoto.
Dr Federica Spoto, joint winner of the Farinella Prize 2023. Credit: Jonathan Sullivan.

Download the full resolution image:
https://www.europlanet-society.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Federica_Spoto_Farinella_2023.jpg

Farinella Prize winner 2023: Diego Turrini.
Dr Diego Turrini, joint winner of the Farinella Prize 2023. Credit: Danae Polychroni

Download the full resolution image:
https://www.europlanet-society.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Diego_Turrini_Farinella_2023.jpg

Science Contacts

Dr Federica Spoto
Minor Planet Center
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
Cambridge (MA)
USA
Phone: +1 (617) 495-7170
federica.spoto@cfa.harvard.edu

Dr Diego Turrini
National Institute for Astrophysics
Turin Astrophysical Observatory (INAF-OATo)
Italy
Phone: +39 011 8101933
diego.turrini@inaf.it

Media Contact

Anita Heward
Press Officer
Europlanet Society
Phone: +44 7756 034243
a.heward@europlanet-society.org

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science.

The Europlanet Society (www.europlanet-society.org) promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Society’s aims are:
• To expand and support a diverse and inclusive planetary community across Europe through the activities of its 10 Regional Hubs.
• To build the profile of the sector through outreach, education and policy activities
• To underpin the key role Europe plays in planetary science through developing links at a national and international level.

DPS-EPSC Joint Meeting 1-6 October

DPS-EPSC Joint Meeting 1-6 October

The 55th Annual Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) meeting joint with the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) and hybrid online/virtual is taking place this week! Here is a round up of information about the meeting:

EUROPLANET AND EPEC STAND
The Europlanet Society and EPEC have a stand (#27/28) in the exhibition – stop by to say “Hi”, talk to us about any queries or suggestions you have for our activities, or find out how you can get involved with Europlanet! 

JOIN THE EUROPLANET SOCIETY DISCORD SERVER
To connect with the Europlanet Team and other Europlanet Society members, please join our Discord and navigate to the DPS-EPSC23 channel and forum! 

EPEC AT DPS-EPSC
Meeting Event: Early Career Happy Hour Get-together (In-person)
Thursday Oct 5, 7:00 pm Central 

Informal networking event for early career conference goers. Spend a fun evening and expand your network! Planned to be held near the conference center (bar or restaurant –  must pay for yourself but we will get tables together so people can chat).  More details will be announced here closer to the event date (registration NOT required). This event is co-hosted by the EuroplanetEarly Career Group.

Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) General Assembly (hybrid)
Tuesday Oct 3, 5:30 – 7:00 pm Central

All early careers are encouraged to participate in the EPEC general assembly! At this assembly there will be an introduction to how EPEC is organized, an update on the past year’s activities and the latest news. Join our friendly and inclusive community!

OPEN MIC NIGHT
We will be holding the 2023 DPS open mic night on Wednesday 4th October at the Witte Museum running from 6:00 to 10:00 pm

DPS-EPSC 2023 VIRTUAL & HYBRID PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNIITES
Our Virtual Organizing Committee has made extensive improvements to the planned quality of the DPS-EPSC 2023 Hybrid Meeting format, including:  two or more dedicated cameras in each oral session room (for viewing the speaker, audience, and session chairs), a Lightning poster Zoom-session within the exhibit hall to advertise all posters, the Slack workspaces, the Engagefully app for personal itineraries, a Gathertown room for virtual posters, and a dedicated block in the Thursday schedule for virtual poster engagement by in-person attendees. There is still time to register for virtual participation through 6 October.

DPS-EPSC 2023 WEBSITE TOOLS AND RESOURCES
The AAS meeting website has many answers to the questions you might be seeking. The PLAN YOUR TRIP page has details on Ground Transportation (including a google form for Rideshares; rental cars are discouraged), recommendations For Families, and many recommendations by the LOC for great restaurants and bars nearby under the Food & Drink top-tab.  Early career folks should be sure to read the PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT/EARLY CAREER page, including details on the Monday evening networking reception and the Wednesday lunch-time Women in Planetary Science (WiPS) Discussion Hour. The TOOLS & RESOURCES page has info on Poster Printing, LGBTQ+ Community Resources, Accessibility Resources, Reproductive Health Resources, and how to Contact Us.  Look for more timely information to come in the DPS-EPSC-2023 Slack channels #helpdesk and #aas_dps_announcements.  The Engagefully app is ready to download from your phone’s app store and link to our event, with more detailed instructions soon to follow on forming your own personalized itinerary.

DPS-EPSC 2023 MEETING APP: PLAN YOUR ITINERARY TODAY
All DPS-EPSC 2023 attendees received an unclear email titled “Log in to DPS- EPSC 2023” with a link to download the main meeting app (when clicking on their preferred device).  This email was indeed sent by our vendor for the app, RDMobile (no_reply@rd.com; check your Other/Spam folders).  Attendees may download the Engagefully app without clicking this link, but while starting the app the main thing to note is entering the email you used to register for the meeting.  Also note that we’ve contacted several people to be session chairs and found their emails to not be up to date within the AAS Membership system. Repeat the process for each device used, and note that the cross-links to Slack channels unfortunately only work on the web browser version.

Virtual Press Conferences at 2023 Meeting of Division for Planetary Sciences and Europlanet Science Congress

Virtual Press Conferences at 2023 Meeting of Division for Planetary Sciences and Europlanet Science Congress

The 55th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS), joint with the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC), is being held in San Antonio, Texas, and virtually Sunday, 1 October, through Friday, 6 October 2023. The AAS/DPS offers complimentary press registration to bona fide working journalists and public information officers (PIOs); see details below. We will hold press conferences via Zoom on Monday, 2 October, and Wednesday, 4 October, to showcase some of the most exciting discoveries being presented at the meeting. 

In addition to the briefings, the meeting features a rich science program, including plenary sessions with live panel discussions, oral presentations, a virtual poster session, and Q&A/discussions with presenters and fellow attendees via Slack. 

Nearly 900 planetary scientists, journalists, and others are already registered for the conference. The meeting hashtag is #DPSEPSC2023; you may also wish to follow @DPSMeeting and @AAS_Press on Twitter.

DPS-EPSC 2023 Meeting Links:

• Meeting Website

• Block Schedule

• Press Information

Press Registration 

To request complimentary press registration, first check our eligibility criteria, then send an email message to DPS Press Officer Teddy Kareta (tkareta@lowell.edu) with your name and media affiliation (or “freelance” if applicable). Upon confirming your eligibility, he’ll email you a special promotional code that you can use to register for the meeting the same way regular attendees do, i.e., via the DPS-EPSC 2023 registration page. For step-by-step instructions on what to do next, see the DPS 55 press information page

Please register as soon as possible. Note that if you are attempting to register after the meeting is under way, we may not be able to process your registration in time for you to attend that day’s events.

Press Conference Schedule, Topics & Speakers 

Press conferences will be conducted via Zoom for press registrants and any other meeting registrants wishing to attend. They’ll also be live-streamed on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel for other interested people who have not registered for the meeting. You will not be able to ask questions via YouTube — to do that, you need to register for the meeting and join the briefings via Zoom. The briefings will be archived on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel afterward. 

Following is the press-conference program, which remains subject to change. Corresponding abstract numbers are shown in [square brackets]. Briefings are scheduled as follows (all times are CDT = UTC – 5 hours); each briefing will last approximately 1 hour, including time for Q&A: 

  • Monday, 2 October, 12:15 pm CDT 
  • Wednesday, 4 October, 12:15 pm CDT 

All findings are embargoed until the time of presentation at the meeting. “Time of presentation” means the start time of the session in which the paper will be given, or the start time of the corresponding press conference (if any), whichever comes first. See the complete AAS/DPS embargo policy for more information. 

Note: All new discoveries are subject to confirmation by independent teams of scientists. Inclusion here does not imply endorsement by the American Astronomical Society or the Division for Planetary Sciences. The AAS and DPS do not endorse individual scientific results. 

Small Bodies and Small Moons

Monday, 2 October, 12:15 pm CDT Evidence of (16) Psyche’s Metallic Nature Found with SOFIA
Anicia Arredondo (Southwest Research Institute)
[107.07] 
Photometric Properties of Phobos from Mars Express’s High Resolution Stereo Camera
Sonia Fornasier (LESIA-Université Paris Cité)
[217.08] 
Does Strength Help Pluto Capture Charon?
C. Adeene Denton (University of Arizona)[308.09]Exoplanets and Large MoonsWednesday, 4 October, 12:15 pm CDTCold Ocean Planets: Super-Earths or Super-Europas?
Lynnae Quick (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
[108.04]
Unraveling Planet Formation and Dynamics across the Vast Galactic Landscape
Jon Zink (Caltech)
[403.01] 
Ménec Fossae and Thrace Macula on Europa: Hints for Shallow Water Pockets and Identification of the Youngest Terrains
Pietro Matteoni (Freie Universität Berlin)
[210.02D] 
Ariel Data Challenge: What Can We Learn From Outsourcing Our Problems to the AI Community
Gordon Kai Hou Yip (University College London)[109.02]

Contacts: 

Dr. Theodore Kareta 

DPS Press Officer 

+1 617-671-5906
tkareta@lowell.edu

Dr. Susanna Kohler 

AAS Communications Manager & Press Officer 

+1 202-328-2010 x127 

susanna.kohler@aas.org 

The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS), founded in 1968, is the largest special-interest Division of the American Astronomical Society. Members of the DPS study the bodies of our own solar system, from planets and moons to comets and asteroids, and all other solar-system objects and processes. With the discovery that planets exist around other stars, the DPS has expanded its scope to include the study of extrasolar planetary systems as well. 

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established in 1899, is a major international organization of professional astronomers, astronomy educators, and amateur astronomers. Its membership of approximately 8,000 also includes physicists, geologists, engineers, and others whose interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising the astronomical sciences. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe as a diverse and inclusive astronomical community, which it achieves through publishing, meetings, science advocacy, education and outreach, and training and professional development.

The Europlanet Society was formed in 2018 to promote the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organizational members.

Call for Vice-Chair of EPSC Executive Committee

Call for Vice Chair of EPSC Executive Committee

Deadline: Thursday, 17 August 2023

We are looking for a volunteer to act as Vice-Chair of the EPSC Executive Committee for upcoming Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) meetings in 2024-2027.

If you would like to put yourself forward for this role, please fill in the application form.

For more information, please see the EPSC Executive Committee Terms of Reference and the Job Description for the EPSC Executive Committee Vice Chair. If you have any questions, please contact the Europlanet Society Executive Board.

Job Description

The EPSC Executive Committee Vice Chair is responsible for:

  • Serving as a member of the EPSC Executive Committee
  • Supporting the EPSC Executive Committee Chair in the commission of their duties
  • Standing in for the Chair where requested.

The EPSC Executive Committee Chair is responsible for:

  • Together with the Europlanet Society Executive Office (ESF), the Conference Organiser, and the EPSC Executive Committee, maintaining oversight of the budget for EPSC and ensuring that the conference does not operate at a loss.
  • Convening EPSC Executive Committee meetings and ensuring that appropriate records and actions are maintained and circulated.
  • Leading the EPSC Executive Committee in supporting the Scientific Organising Committee (SOC), Virtual Organising Committee (VOC), Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Conference Organiser in the practical delivery of EPSC meetings.
  • Extending invitations to high-level speakers and guests at EPSC.
  • Updating the Code of Conduct and guidelines for EPSC.
  • Disseminating information from the EPSC Executive Committee to the community.
  • Ensuring that EPSC overall upholds the Europlanet Society’s Commitment to Diversity 
  • Overseeing incident reporting procedures.
  • Preparing reports for the Europlanet Society Executive Board on EPSC (including collated summaries of activities by the SOC, VOC and LOC) and overseeing evaluation of feedback from EPSC participants.
  • Leading the EPSC Executive Committee and Conference Organiser in preparing calls for proposals of venues for future EPSC meetings and overseeing selection process.
  • Liaising with the Division of Planetary Sciences in preparation of join EPSC/DPS meetings.
  • Liaising with Europlanet Society Committees and groups (e.g. EPEC, Industry and Regional Hubs) in preparation for Europlanet Society events at EPSC.
  • Organising calls for any bursary schemes in collaboration with the Europlanet Society Executive Office (ESF). 

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Upcoming EPSC Meetings

  • EPSC2024 will take place at FU Berlin from 8-13 September 2024.
  • EPSC2025 will take place as a joint meeting with the DPS at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki from 7-12 September 2025
  • The call for venues for EPSC2026 and EPSC2027 will be issued in early 2024.

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Announcement of Changes to Venues for EPSC2024 and EPSC-DPS 2025 Joint Meeting

Announcement of Changes to Venues for EPSC2024 and EPSC-DPS 2025 Joint Meeting

Dear Colleagues,

We learned in January that the refurbishment of the venue for the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) in 2024, Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, has been subject to delays and that the facility will not be available in time for our scheduled meeting in September 2024.  

Over the past few weeks, we have reviewed various options, including alternative venues in Helsinki and elsewhere, that have been able to put together a quotation at very short notice. As well as the cost implications, we have also taken into consideration the commitment we made to the Helsinki LOC, whose agreement to host the meeting has already been postponed from 2021 due to the Covid pandemic and contractual obligations with the congress centre in Granada. 

We have reached the decision that the best option in terms of value and facilities for the community will be as follows: 

  • EPSC2024 will take place at FU Berlin from 8-14 September 2024 
  • The Joint EPSC-DPS 2025 Meeting will take place in the newly refurbished Finlandia Hall, Helsinki from 7-13 September 2025 

Before then, we look forward to seeing you at the DPS-EPSC2023 Joint Meeting in San Antonio, Texas (which will also take place as a hybrid meeting) from  

The call for EPSC2026 and EPSC2027 venues will be issued later this year. 

Yours sincerely, 

Nigel Mason 

President, Europlanet Society 

Lena Noack Awarded ERC Consolidator Grant

Planetary Scientist Professor Lena Noack to Receive Funding from the European Research Council with an ERC Consolidator Grant

Geoscientist at Freie Universität Berlin to receive almost two million euros to research rocky exoplanets

Professor Lena Noack from the Institute of Geological Sciences at Freie Universität Berlin has been selected for an ERC Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council.

The Europlanet Society would like to congratulate Lena, who is also the Chair of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC), for the well-deserved award and looks forward to the fascinating science that will be supported through the Grant.

Lena will receive over 1.99 million euros over the course of five years to carry out her research project “DIVerse Exoplanet Redox State Estimations – DIVERSE.” In her research she will address the diversity of rocky planets (the planetary siblings of Earth, Mars, and Venus) in other solar systems. The European Research Council awards ERC Consolidator Grants to promising scientists and scholars who completed their doctorates between seven and twelve years ago and now find themselves in the “consolidation phase” of their academic careers.

The James Webb Space Telescope and upcoming Ariel space telescope have opened up new exciting prospects in observational astronomy, making it possible to study exoplanetary atmospheres in greater depth. Planetary scientist Lena Noack is now planning on making use of the opportunities unlocked by these new technologies: “Many studies on exoplanets tend to focus on biosignatures. For example, the presence of specific atmospheric gases can only be explained by the existence of life on Earth. However, in order to prevent misinterpretations, we first have to gain a better understanding of the potential spectrum of abiotic atmospheres – which also includes evaluating the possibility that life could exist there some day. Not all planets resemble Earth. There could be completely different types of rocky planets out there,” Noack explains.

The “DIVERSE” project will focus on particularly unusual exoplanets (here referred to as “Class X planets”), which have a strongly reduced interior chemistry. The result would be an atmosphere that was formed by volcanic outgassing, but one which would look quite different to that of Earth or its neighboring planets. At least for some time, the atmosphere could be dominated by volatile hydrogen. In fact, these planets would then more closely resemble ice giants, like Neptune in our solar system, where atmospheres are formed from the accretion disc during the creation of planets and are thus dominated by hydrogen and helium. However, it is still very difficult to observe helium in exoplanet atmospheres, despite some progress made in recent years. The Class X planets postulated by Noack would find themselves in the group of planets that resemble Neptune.

“If we were able to discover an exoplanet whose atmosphere primarily consisted of hydrogen without a significant presence of helium, then we would be able to call this a Class X planet,” she adds. Being able to detect a planet of this type would have major ripple effects on the wider research community. The strongly reduced chemistry in the interior would indicate that – in contrast to the rocky planets in the solar system – metal and rock would not have separated into the core and the rocky mantle above it, but would instead have remained mixed for a long time. With the aid of theoretical models, Noack and her group will lay the essential groundwork for later identifying promising candidates for Class X planets for observation. “If we manage to detect several Class X planets, then this would provide us with a statistical understanding of which planetary masses and compositions could produce a planet similar to Earth, and which could result in quite different worlds that do not exist in the Solar System.”

Lena Noack has been a professor at Freie Universität Berlin since 2017. Her research focus is on the geodynamic modeling of planetary processes. Having studied mathematics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and completing her doctorate at the Institute of Planetary Research based at the German Aerospace Center, she moved to the Royal Observatory of Belgium in 2012, before returning to Berlin several years later and joining Freie Universität. She is primarily interested in exploring the link between planetary surfaces and their interiors as well as characterizing potential Earth-like exoplanets around our neighboring stars.

Picture available for download

Further Information

The Winners are… #InspiredByOtherWorlds Contest 2022

The Winners are… #InspiredByOtherWorlds Contest 2022

Many thanks to everyone that participated in the #InspiredByOtherWorlds Contest 2022. Congratulations to the winning entries!

Youth Category:

Lara Estelle Montabone – Space Crossroad

Title: Space Crossroad. Artist: Lara Estelle Montabone. The story behind my artwork is the following. One day in the future, an astronaut leaves planet Earth to go to Jupiter and discovers that space is not at all empty. On the contrary, it is full of surprises, with the possibility of meeting other astronauts coming back to Earth, but also other travelling celestial bodies like comets. It is a busy three-dimensional crossroad where collisions are always possible! I took my inspiration from a book for children about space and from a pop-up card that I gave to my dad for his birthday. My dad helped me to translate my story in English.
Space Crossroad

About the Artist: Lara Estelle Montabone is an 8-year-old girl, living in France, who loves drawing. Her favourite themes are animals, space, and natural landscapes.

About the Artwork: The story behind Space Crossroad is the following: one day in the future, an astronaut leaves planet Earth to go to Jupiter and discovers that space is not at all empty. On the contrary, it is full of surprises, with the possibility of meeting other astronauts coming back to Earth, but also other travelling celestial bodies like comets. It is a busy three-dimensional crossroad where collisions are always possible!

Lara Estelle says: “I took my inspiration from a book for children about space and from a pop-up card that I gave to my dad for his birthday. My dad helped me to translate my story in English.

Schools Category:

Dimitra Armentzou and the 5th Grade Students of the 9th Primary School of Greece – Moondial 2022

About the Artist: Dimitra Armentzou is a teacher in the 9th Primary School of Greece. This year, she is teaching in the 5th grade.

About the Artwork: This stop-motion video is made with models and compositions by the 5th grade students in the 9th Primary School of Greece.

Dimitra says: “While working on Skill Labs my students and I were inspired by the the Moon and the Artemis Mission. We’re very excited to be coming out of the boundaries of our planet and trying to get to know our satellite as interactive as we can. The Moon, which has inspired so many and in so many different ways, waiting for us to explore. Moondial then… Let’s go!

Adult Category:

Elizabeth Tasker – Together, we are strong

About the Artist: Elizabeth Tasker is an astrophysics researcher and science writer at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Despite being a writer, she loves the ability of art to tell a story without words! As the pandemic closed in during 2020 and we were asked to stay inside, she started to learn ‘Blender’, a freely available 3D computer graphics software package. This entry is the product of that exploration! She really enjoys the ability to bring ideas to life, and the chance to reach new people with a design or animation.

About the Artwork: This computer graphics animation starts with a spacecraft like DART striking an asteroid. As rocks fly out from the collision site, they form the word ‘Together’. Physically unlikely (!) but a reflection on the international connections and involvement needed to go to space, and the worldwide importance of the science and engineering challenges being tackled.

Elizabeth says: “The aspect of space exploration I find most inspiring is the importance of international collaboration. Our missions such as NASA’s DART, ESA’s Comet Interceptor, and JAXA’s Hayabusa2, are led by different countries but all have strong participation from scientists around the world, and dedicated outreach programs to share this experience with everyone. The problems we tackle, from the origins of the Earth, to protecting the same planet from celestial impacts, affect us all and together, we are strong enough to take on even these momentous challenges. In a world that feels steadily more divided, space missions are the hope that we can all come together.

Welcome to New Chairs of Regional Hubs

Welcome to New Chairs of Regional Hubs

Some of the Europlanet Society Regional Hubs have new Chairs, who were announced at EPSC2022! We look forward to working with them and thank all the outgoing Hub Chairs for their work over the past few years.

Incoming Chair of Southeast Europe Regional Hub

Nick Sergis. Credit: Hellenic Space Center

Dr Nick Sergis is the incoming Chair of the Southeast Regional Hub, taking over from Prof Ioannis Daglis, who has served in the role since 2019. Nick is Chief Executive Officer of the Hellenic Space Center, which coordinates public entities and co-manages national programs in all space sectors in Greece. His research interests include space and planetary physics, magnetospheric data analysis with emphasis on the outer planets and their moons, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, and solar wind dynamics. He was a member of the Cassini Magnetosphere Imaging Instrument (MIMI) Scientific Team. Between 2006 and 2020 he worked at the Office of Space Research and Technology at the Academy of Athens in collaboration with JHU/APL. Since 2017, he has been an Adjunct Researcher at the National Observatory of Athens.


Incoming Chair of Spain-Portugal Regional Hub

DR. ALEJANDRO CARDESÍN MOINELO is chair of the Spain Portugal Regional Hub.
Alejandro Cardesín Moinelo is the new chair of the Spain Portugal Regional Hub. Credit: ESA.

Alejandro Cardesín Moinelo is a planetary scientist and science operations engineer working for the European Space Agency, specialising in Solar System missions. He is currently focused on Mars exploration as the manager of the Mars Express mission science ground segment, in coordination with ExoMars and other international projects. Since 2017, he has been the coordinator of the Spanish Planetary Science and Solar System Exploration Community, supporting and promoting the collaboration between research and technology institutions and industries in Spain. Alejandro is now taking on the role of Chair of the Spain & Portugal Regional Hub from the inaugural Chair, Miguel López-Valverde.


Incoming Chair of Italy Regional Hub

Stavro Ivanovski, Chair of the Italian Regional Hub and Co-Chair of EPSC SOC
Stavro Ivanovski. Credit: Europlanet/V Southgate

Stavro Ivanovski is a researcher at INAF-Trieste and an adjoint professor at the University of Trieste. His research focuses on small bodies and planetary magnetospheres in the Solar System. Stavro is involved in a number of planetary missions, including LICIACube, Rosetta and BepiColombo, Comet Interceptor, Hera, and Ariel. As a graduated actor with theatre experience, he has a strong commitment to public engagement and outreach. Since 2020, Stavro has acted as the Co-Chair of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) Scientific Organising Committee (SOC). He now takes on the role of Chair of the Italian Regional Hub from Maria Cristina De Sanctis.

The new Hub Chairs were announced during EPSC. You can find out more about the work of the Regional Hubs here.

Ann Carine Vandaele is the Europlanet Society’s new President Elect

Ann Carine Vandaele is the Europlanet Society’s new President Elect

Ann Carine Vandaele, Head of Planetary Atmospheres Research Unit at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, Brussels, was announced as the President-Elect of the Europlanet Society during the General Assembly on 22 September. Ann Carine will take over as the second President of the Europlanet Society in September 2023 when Nigel Mason‘s term of office comes to an end.

In her election Manifesto, Ann Carine explained her vision for the Europlanet Society:

After a PhD at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, I joined the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy where, today, I am head of the Planetary Atmospheres Division. My main scientific expertise lies in the development of remote sensing instruments, spectroscopy used by such instruments, and radiative transfer modelling through atmospheres. I am involved in several space missions (Mars and Venus Express, ExoMars TGO, JUICE, ARIEL, EnVision) and associations (the International Commission of Planetary Atmospheres and Evolution, a commission of IAMAS/IUGG; the IUGG Belgian National Committee of Geodesy and Geophysics; the Belgian National Committee on Space Research, YouSpace! ). I am the president of the Société Royale Belge d’Astronomie, de Météorologie et de Physique du Globe, whose members are academics, researchers but also amateur astronomers. I am currently the chair of the Benelux regional Hub of the Europlanet Society. 

My main driver is to promote collaboration and exchange between researchers in Planetary Sciences. For me, it is important to encourage relations between education, research and industry to increase the visibility and the impact of planetary science. The Europlanet Society has the potential to be that link. I believe that the Society needs to be present at all the stages of a researcher’s life, from the very beginning, i.e. at schools and university. It is fundamental to engage a wide variety of audiences and sectors of the society not usually interested in or even excluded from science, offering to the wider general public the possibility to take part in planetary sciences. The Society should also be an active interlocutor by engaging with decision makers, like the European Space Agency or the European Commission.

Find out more about the role of the President and the Executive Board of the Europlanet Society.

First Probable Impact Crater Discovered in Spain

First Probable Impact Crater Discovered in Spain

Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 Press Release

The first probable impact crater in Spain has been identified in the southern province of Almeria. The discovery was presented last week at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 by Juan Antonio Sánchez Garrido of the University of Almeria.

While around 200 impact structures have been identified around the world, the study is the first to identify signs of an impact crater on the Iberian Peninsula. The discovery is the result of 15 years of research by an international team of scientists from the University of Almeria, the Astrobiology Center of Madrid, the University of Lund and the University of Copenhagen.

Prof Sánchez Garrido said: “We believe that the impact event occurred around 8 million years ago. We have investigated numerous aspects of the geology, minerology, geochemistry and geomorphology of the region. The basins of Alhabia and Tabernas in the area are filled with sediments dating back between 5 and 23 million years, and they overlie older metamorphic rocks. Much of the impact structure is buried by more modern sediments, but erosion has exposed it and opened up the opportunity for studies.”

The crater itself is thought to be about 4 kilometres in diameter, and it is surrounded by a larger structure about 20 kilometres across where the impact caused the sedimentary strata to collapse.

Evidence for the impact crater includes several examples of ‘shocked’ quartz grains in breccia – a sedimentary rock type with large fragments cemented into a finer-grained matrix. The grains show signs of being deformed in the enormous pressures of the impact, which were between 10 and 30 gigapascals.

“If the crater discovery is confirmed, it would not only be exciting from a scientific perspective, but would also be a wonderful addition to the scientific and touristic attractions of the province of Almeria,” said Prof Sánchez Garrido.

EPSC2022, which took place last week in Granada, was attended by almost 1200 planetary scientists from around the world, making it one of the largest planetary science meetings to take place in Europe.

The Chair of the Local Organising Committee, Luisa Lara of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucía-CSIC, said: “It was a lot of work to prepare for the meeting and we had to wait two years because of the pandemic. But the emotion of welcoming everyone to EPSC2022 in Granada has been worth everything – all the work is forgotten and the success of the meeting is a wonderful reward.”

Images

Location of the crater centre and 20 kilometre radius of the area affected by the impact in the Alhabia-Tabernas basin. Credit: Sánchez-Garrido et al 2022. Basemap: Instituto Geográfico Nacional (IGN). License: CC-BY 4.0.
Much of the impact structure is buried by the most recent sediments. The crater itself is 4 kilometres in diameter and is buried at a depth of 1000 m. The edge of the structure reaches a diameter of 20 kilometres. Credit: Sánchez-Garrido et al 2022.
Evidence for the impact crater includes several examples of ‘shocked’ quartz grains in breccia – a sedimentary rock type with large fragments cemented into a finer-grained matrix. The grains show signs of being deformed in the enormous pressures of the impact, which were between 10 and 30 Giga Pascals. Credit: Sánchez-Garrido et al 2022.
Thin sections showing deformations in three quartz grains, produced by shock effects, in an impact breccia at Tabernas. Credit: Sánchez-Garrido et al 2022.

MEDIA CONTACTS

EPSC2022 Press Office
+44 7756 034243
epsc-press@europlanet-society.org

FURTHER INFORMATION 

About the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 

The Europlanet Science Congress (https://www.epsc2022.eu/) formerly the European Planetary Science Congress, is the annual meeting of the Europlanet Society. With a track record of 16 years, and regularly attracting around 1000 participants, EPSC is the largest planetary science meeting in Europe. It covers the entire range of planetary sciences with an extensive mix of talks, workshops and poster sessions, as well as providing a unique space for networking and exchanges of experiences. In 2022, EPSC is held jointly with the European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA) annual meeting.

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia and using the hashtag #EPSC2022.

Details of media briefings and recordings can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press-briefings-at-epsc2022/

All Europlanet media releases can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press/

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet (www.europlanet-society.org) has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science. 

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Europlanet Society is the parent organisation of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC).

About EANA
The European Astrobiology Network Association (http://www.eana-net.eu), joins together people interested in the origins of life and the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System and beyond. This interdisciplinary domain involves scientists from multiple disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, geology, astronomy, and human sciences.  

JWST Sees Red with First Pictures of Mars

JWST Sees Red with First Pictures of Mars

By Sanje Fenkart

Up to now the newest space telescope, JWST, has impressed the astronomical world by taking images of the far-away Universe with unprecedented resolution and detail. Recently, NASA has shifted its focus to our next-door neighbour Mars.

Earth’s little brother is a rather photogenic fellow. It is observed by amateurs, public observatories, professional ground-based and space telescopes. Since 1964, there has been a constant trickle of probes, satellites, landers and rovers which explore the rust-covered world. While the robots send us close-ups from a familiar yet strange world, it’s worthwhile taking a look at the Red Planet with a telescope – even one in your back yard.

For JWST the Mars observation proved to be a little blinding. The telescope is designed to look primarily at faint objects such as exoplanets as well as the first (and hence oldest) stars and galaxies in space. In order for them to be captured, the JWST is equipped with very sensitive instruments and collects as much light as possible.

Mars, however, is close by and very bright – nearly too bright for JWST. Fortunately, a team from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center edited the collected data into valuable pictures. The NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) managed to take a snapshot of Mars’ surface at two different wavelengths/filters. The first is a zoomed-in picture that shows different surface features like craters, volcanic rocks and dust properties.

The second is a heat map of our neighbour. It marks colder and hotter regions, depending how much heat is given off. As expected, the polar regions are cold, just as the shadowed night side with the distinct terminator (border between day and night). Towards the equator the Sun shines full on (at 2 pm Martian time), heating the planet to an overly bright spot. Curiously, the hottest part exhibits a darker patch. It is an impact structure called “Hellas Basin” with a depth of over 7,000 m (>23,000 ft). There, the pressure changes considerably from top to bottom and consequently affects the atmosphere. And that’s what JWST sees.

First pictures of Mars, taken by the NIRCam instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope. Left panel: close-up of the Martian surface with different features and structures. Right panel: heat map, showing Mars’ thermal emission. The bright yellow patch is the day side, with a darker spot inside. This is an atmospheric pressure change in Hellas Basin. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, MARS JWST/GTO Team.

Switching instruments, the NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph) documented Mars’ atmospheric composition. It found quite the abundance of carbon dioxide (CO2), alongside water (H2O) and carbon monoxide (CO). Yet what scientists are really looking for is methane (CH4). On Earth, methane is one of the most prominent tracers for living organisms, a so-called biomarker. Organisms like us, microbes and plants produce methane. The planet itself can outgas methane if it has geological activity. Otherwise, methane can be brought to a planet by comets too. So far, methane has been found only in the slightest of traces on Mars, with its origin still under discussion. The current findings were obtained during guaranteed time observations (GTO) and they look promising.

JWST will look at Mars many times in the future, whenever an observation window opens. And while there no new results from the JWST spectra on the methane abundance, the spectrographs capability should be able to find even slightest whiffs of it. 

Spectrum of Mars’ atmosphere and its components, respectively taken by NIRSpec. It features a high abundance of carbon dioxide, some water and carbon monoxide. Future observations will try to look for methane which can be a powerful tracer for living organisms. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, MARS JWST/GTO Team.

Sanje Fenkart took part in the media internship programme at EPSC2022. The programme is supported through the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) Project, which has received funding European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.

Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement 2022 awarded to the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ Tactile Exhibition

Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement 2022 awarded to the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ Tactile Exhibition

Europlanet Press Release

The 2022 Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement has been awarded to Dr Kosmas Gazeas and the team behind the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ tactile exhibition.

‘Planets In Your Hand’ is an interactive, mobile set of models of planetary surfaces, constructed in square frames, that gives a multisensory impression of the wide variety of surface characteristics and environmental properties of the planets in our Solar System. 

The exhibition, although suitable for people of all ages, has been specifically designed for visually impaired audiences, and has travelled to schools, universities and private institutes and organisations, reaching thousands of visitors to date.

Dr Federica Duras, Chair of the Europlanet Outreach Jury, said: “Imagination and creativity has led to a stunning, original exhibition led by a passionate and committed team. Giving opportunities to ‘touch space’ with your own hands is one of the most effective ways of making science and astronomy accessible and inclusive. Congratulations to the whole team.”

The award was presented during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada on behalf of the team to Dimitrios Athanasopoulos, who gave a 20-minute prize lecture. The team will also receive a cash award of 1500 Euros. 

Eugenia Covernton, CEO of Lecturers Without Borders, who nominated the team for the Europlanet Prize, said: “Planets In Your Hand is an outstanding hands-on exhibition that is inclusive for people with visual impairments and is overall a great tool for the public to grasp concepts related to the different compositions of the planets”

Sophia Drakaki and Dimitris Blougouras, Founders of CityLab, a STEM center specialized in activities for children and young people, said: “The team wanted a real hands-on experience that lasts. And yes, they did it! The on-the-spot visitors can see, touch and feel the surface texture and temperature of the planets and ‘travel’ on them, with the assistance of experts in astrophysics and education that can answer the megabytes of questions that the kids generate!”

Evangelia Mavrikaki, professor of the Department of Primary Education at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), said: “The exhibition is portable, providing huge flexibility accessing schools and institutes in remote areas of Greece and all over the world. Science communication activities of such a kind are rare in remote places and away from large towns.”

Dr Gazeas, the team lead, who is a lecturer of observational astrophysics in the Department of Physics of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), said: “We are deeply honoured to receive the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement for our efforts in science communication and public outreach activities in the frame of the project Planets In Your Hand. The selection of our project by the judges acts like a confirmation to the team for the hard work that has been done since 2017 and especially during the past 3 years.”

Images

Federica Duras, Chair of the Europlanet Outreach Working Group, presenting the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement to Dimitrios Athanasopoulos on behalf of the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ team. Credit: Europlanet

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Dimitrios Athanasopoulos accepted the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement on behalf of the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ team. Credit: Europlanet

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Dimitrios Athanasopoulos giving the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement Lecture on behalf of the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ team. Credit: Europlanet

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Dimitrios Athanasopoulos giving the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement Lecture on behalf of the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ team. Credit: Europlanet

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The ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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The ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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The ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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The ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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The ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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A model from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition representing Mars. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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A model from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition representing Earth. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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A model from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition representing Neptune. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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A model from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition representing Mercury. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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Some of the squared models from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition and the planets that they represent. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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Some of the squared models from the ‘Planets In Your Hand’ exhibition. Credits: Kosmas Gazeas

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Science Contacts

Kosmas Gazeas
“Planets In Your Hand” team
Department of Physics
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Greece
+30 210 7276892 (office)
kgaze@phys.uoa.gr  /  kgaze@physics.auth.gr

MEDIA CONTACTS

EPSC2022 Press Office
+44 7756 034243>epsc-press@europlanet-society.org

FURTHER INFORMATION 

About the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 

The Europlanet Science Congress (https://www.epsc2022.eu/) formerly the European Planetary Science Congress, is the annual meeting of the Europlanet Society. With a track record of 16 years, and regularly attracting around 1000 participants, EPSC is the largest planetary science meeting in Europe. It covers the entire range of planetary sciences with an extensive mix of talks, workshops and poster sessions, as well as providing a unique space for networking and exchanges of experiences.

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia and using the hashtag #EPSC2022.

Details of media briefings and recordings can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press-briefings-at-epsc2022/

All Europlanet media releases can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press/

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet (www.europlanet-society.org) has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science. 

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Europlanet Society is the parent organisation of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC).

About EANA
The European Astrobiology Network Association (http://www.eana-net.eu), joins together people interested in the origins of life and the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System and beyond. This interdisciplinary domain involves scientists from multiple disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, geology, astronomy, and human sciences.  

The Europlanet Media Centre issues media releases on the activities of Europlanet Society, the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure, the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) and results from planetary science partner organisations. If you do not wish to receive press releases from the Europlanet Media Centre, please unsubscribe by replying to this message or sending an email to aheward@europlanet-society.org. Anita Heward, Europlanet Communications Officer, +44 7756 034243.

Join the Challenge to Explore the Moon!

Join the Challenge to Explore the Moon!

Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 Press Release

Lunar enthusiasts of all ages are challenged to help identify features on the Moon that might pose a hazard to rovers or astronauts exploring the surface. 

The 2022 EXPLORE Lunar Data Challenge is focused on the Archytas Dome region, close to the Apollo 17 landing site where the last humans set foot on the Moon 50 years ago this December. 

The Machine Learning Lunar Data Challenge is open to students, researchers and professionals in areas related to planetary sciences, but also to anyone with expertise in data processing. There is also a Public Lunar Data Challenge to plot the safe traverse of a lunar rover across the surface of the Moon, open to anyone who wants to ‘have a go’, as well as a Classroom Lunar Data Challenge for schools, with hands-on activities about lunar exploration and machine learning.

Announcing the EXPLORE Machine Learning Lunar Data Challenge during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada, Spain, this week Giacomo Nodjoumi said: “The Challenge uses data of the Archytas Dome taken by the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission. This area of the Moon is packed craters of different ages, boulders, mounds, and a long, sinuous depression, or rille. The wide variety of features in this zone makes it a very interesting area for exploration and the perfect scenario for this Data Challenge.”

The Machine Learning Lunar Data Challenge is in three steps: firstly, participants should train and test a model capable of recognising craters and boulders on the lunar surface. Secondly, they should use their model to label craters and boulders in a set of images of the Archytas zone. Finally, they should use the outputs of their models to create a map of an optimal traverse across the lunar surface to visit defined sites of scientific interest and avoid hazards, such as heavily cratered zones.

The public and schools are also invited to use lunar images to identify features and plot a journey for a rover. Prizes for the challenges include vouchers totalling 1500 Euros, as well as pieces of real Moon rock from lunar meteorites.

The EXPLORE project, which is funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme, gathers experts from different fields of science and technical expertise to develop new tools that will promote the exploitation of space science data. 

“Through the EXPLORE Data Challenges, we aim to raise awareness of the scientific tools that we are developing, improve their accuracy by bringing in expertise from other communities, and involve schools and the public in space science research,” said Nick Cox, the Coordinator of the EXPLORE project.  

The deadline for entries closes on 21 November 2022 and winners will be announced in mid-December on the anniversaries of the Apollo 17 mission milestones. 

The 2022 EXPLORE Data Challenges can be found at: https://exploredatachallenges.space

Link to press release:    

Images

The Archytas Dome region of the lunar surface is the target area for the EXPLORE Lunar Data Challenges 2022. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University/EXPLORE/Jacobs University.

https://exploredatachallenges.space/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Archytas2.png

The Public Lunar Challenge asks participants to identify hazards on the Moon, visit areas of scientific interest and plot a journey for a rover. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University/EXPLORE

https://exploredatachallenges.space/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Features-labelling.png

Science Contacts

Giacomo Nodjoum
Jacobs University
Bremen, Germany

g.nodjoumi@jacobs-university.de

Nick Cox
Coordinator, EXPLORE Project
ACRI-ST
nick.cox@acri-st.fr

Media Contacts

EPSC2022 Press Office
+44 7756 034243

epsc-press@europlanet-society.org

Further Information

About EXPLORE

The EXPLORE project gathers experts from different science domains and technological expertises to develop new tools that will enable and promote the exploitation of space science data. Through EXPLORE, we are creating a series of scientific data applications (Apps) that support users who interact with the large space science data archives maintained by space agencies, observatories and other facilities (e.g. ESA Datalabs or ESCAPE SAP). Our applications will equip researchers with state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) and visual analytics to enhance science return and discovery from ‘big data’, initially focusing on data from the Gaia mission (investigating the Milky Way galaxy and stars) and from various missions to explore the Moon. The EXPLORE Data Challenges aim to raise awareness of the Apps produced by the EXPLORE project, and to improve the accuracy of the Apps by harnessing expertise from other data analysis fields. 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.  https://explore-platform.eu

About the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 

The Europlanet Science Congress (https://www.epsc2022.eu/) formerly the European Planetary Science Congress, is the annual meeting of the Europlanet Society. With a track record of 16 years, and regularly attracting around 1000 participants, EPSC is the largest planetary science meeting in Europe. It covers the entire range of planetary sciences with an extensive mix of talks, workshops and poster sessions, as well as providing a unique space for networking and exchanges of experiences. In 2022, EPSC is held jointly with the European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA) annual meeting.

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia and using the hashtag #EPSC2022.

Details of media briefings and recordings can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press-briefings-at-epsc2022/

All Europlanet media releases can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press/

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet (www.europlanet-society.org) has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science. 

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Europlanet Society is the parent organisation of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC).

About EANA
The European Astrobiology Network Association (http://www.eana-net.eu), joins together people interested in the origins of life and the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System and beyond. This interdisciplinary domain involves scientists from multiple disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, geology, astronomy, and human sciences.  

Planetary-scale ‘heat wave’ discovered in Jupiter’s atmosphere

Planetary-scale ‘heat wave’ discovered in Jupiter’s atmosphere

Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 Press Release

An unexpected ‘heat wave’ of 700 degrees Celsius, extending 130,000 kilometres (10 Earth diameters) in Jupiter’s atmosphere, has been discovered. James O’Donoghue, of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has presented the results this week at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada.  

Jupiter’s atmosphere, famous for its characteristic multicoloured vortices, is also unexpectedly hot: in fact, it is hundreds of degrees hotter than models predict. Due to its orbital distance millions of kilometres from the Sun, the giant planet receives under 4% of the amount of sunlight compared to Earth, and its upper atmosphere should theoretically be a frigid -70 degrees Celsius. Instead, its cloud tops are measured everywhere at over 400 degrees Celsius.

“Last year we produced – and presented at EPSC2021 – the first maps of Jupiter’s upper atmosphere capable of identifying the dominant heat sources,” said Dr O’Donoghue. “Thanks to these maps, we demonstrated that Jupiter’s auroras were a possible mechanism that could explain these temperatures.”

Just like the Earth, Jupiter experiences auroras around its poles as an effect of the solar wind. However, while Earth’s auroras are transient and only occur when solar activity is intense, auroras at Jupiter are permanent and have a variable intensity. The powerful auroras can heat the region around the poles to over 700 degrees Celsius, and global winds can redistribute the heat globally around Jupiter.

Looking more deeply through their data, Dr O’Donoghue and his team discovered the spectacular ‘heat wave’ just below the northern aurora, and found that it was travelling towards the equator at a speed of thousands of kilometres per hour. 

The heat wave was probably triggered by a pulse of enhanced solar wind plasma impacting Jupiter’s magnetic field, which boosted auroral heating and forced hot gases to expand and spill out towards the equator.

“While the auroras continuously deliver heat to the rest of the planet, these heat wave ‘events’ represent an additional, significant energy source,” added Dr O’Donoghue. “These findings add to our knowledge of Jupiter’s upper-atmospheric weather and climate, and are a great help in trying to solve the ‘energy crisis’ problem that plagues research into the giant planets.”

Images and videos

A panning-view of Jupiter’s upper atmospheric temperatures, 1000 kilometers above the cloud tops. Jupiter is shown on top of a visible image for context. In this snapshot, the auroral region (near the northern pole, in yellow/white) appears to have shed a massive, planetary-scale wave of heating towards the equator. The feature is over 130,000 kilometers long, or 10-Earth diameters, and is hundreds of degrees warmer than the background. Visible Jupiter image is from Hubble / NASA / ESA / A. Simon (NASA GSFC) / J. Schmidt. Credit: James O’Donoghue

https://youtu.be/gWT0QwSoVls

Further information

O’Donoghue, J., Moore, L., Bhakyapaibul, T., Johnson, R., Melin, H., and Stallard, T.: A planetary-scale heat wave in Jupiter’s mid-latitude upper atmosphere, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-373, 2022.

https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EPSC2022/EPSC2022-373.html

Science contacts

James O’Donoghue
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
jameso@ac.jaxa.jp
Web: https://jamesodonoghue.wixsite.com/home
Twitter: @physicsJ

MEDIA CONTACTS

EPSC2022 Press Office
+44 7756 034243
epsc-press@europlanet-society.org

FURTHER INFORMATION 

About the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 

The Europlanet Science Congress (https://www.epsc2022.eu/) formerly the European Planetary Science Congress, is the annual meeting of the Europlanet Society. With a track record of 16 years, and regularly attracting around 1000 participants, EPSC is the largest planetary science meeting in Europe. It covers the entire range of planetary sciences with an extensive mix of talks, workshops and poster sessions, as well as providing a unique space for networking and exchanges of experiences.

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia and using the hashtag #EPSC2022.

Details of media briefings and recordings can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press-briefings-at-epsc2022/

All Europlanet media releases can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press/

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet (www.europlanet-society.org) has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science. 

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Europlanet Society is the parent organisation of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC).

About EANA
The European Astrobiology Network Association (http://www.eana-net.eu), joins together people interested in the origins of life and the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System and beyond. This interdisciplinary domain involves scientists from multiple disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, geology, astronomy, and human sciences.  

ExoClock Counts Down Ariel Exoplanet Targets 

ExoClock Counts Down Ariel Exoplanet Targets 

Details of the orbits of 450 candidate exoplanet targets of the European Space Agency’s Ariel space mission have been presented this week at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022, and submitted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. The study, coordinated by the ExoClock (www.exoclock.space) project, has been co-authored by 217 professional and amateur astronomers, as well as university and high school students.

“The ethos of ExoClock can be described in three key words: inclusive, interactive, and integrated. It is open to everyone and accepts contributions from amateur astronomers, students, schools and public citizens,” said Anastasia Kokori, ExoClock project coordinator. “This is the third paper produced by the ExoClock team. The majority of the authors are amateur observers – around 160 – and this significant number highlights the interest and the value of the amateur community in contributing to space research.”

Ariel will study a population of more than 1000 exoplanets to characterise their atmospheres. The ExoClock project, which launched in September 2019, aims to support the long-term monitoring of exoplanets through regular observations using small and medium scale telescopes. 

Participants submit measurements known as ‘light curves’, which show the drop in intensity as a planet ‘transits’ or passes in front of its host star and blocks some of the light. When Ariel launches in 2029, it will need to have precise knowledge of the expected transit time of each exoplanet that it observes, in order to maximise the mission’s efficiency and impact.

“The new study showed that over 40% of ephemerides for proposed Ariel targets needed to be updated. This highlights the important role that the ExoClock community can play in monitoring the Ariel targets frequently,” said Tsiaras. 

ExoClock participants schedule and carry out observations, analyse the data and submit their results for review and feedback from members of the science team. This interactive process helps maintain consistency in results, and enriches the experience of the participants who learn through dialogue.

The results show that small and medium sized telescopes can successfully observe ephemerides for the large majority of the Ariel candidate targets. They also show how observations by amateur astronomers using their own telescopes can contribute to real science and have a high impact for a mission. The project helps to integrate Ariel with other space missions, ground-based telescopes, literature data and wider society, making best use of all available resources.

Kokori said: “Science is for everyone, and we are very happy that through the project everyone can be part of a real space mission. Our observers come from more than 35 countries and have different backgrounds. It is wonderful to see so many people willing to learn and work together in a collaborative spirit. Our team keeps growing daily with participants from all over the world.” 

Images

Artist’s impression of the Ariel mission.

Small telescope. Credit: ExoClock
Small telescope typical of those used by amateurs participating in the ExoClock programme. Credit: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki 
Lightcurve example from ExoClock Project
Example of scientific data produced by amateur astronomers. Credit: ExoClock

Further information

The project is part of the Ariel ephemerides working group, aiming to refine the ephemerides of Ariel targets. 

The updated ephemerides were produced as a result of a combination of around 18000 data points: 2911 observations from the ExoClock network, 12633 light curves from space telescopes, 2442 mid-time points from the literature and 184 observations provided by the Exoplanet Transit Database (ETD). 

The pre-print of the publication is available at: https://arxiv.org/abs/2209.09673

The database is accessible at OSF: https://osf.io/p298n/

Science Contacts

Anastasia Kokori
UCL
London, UK
anastasia.kokori.19@ucl.ac.uk

Angelos Tsiaras 
Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory – INAF
Florence, Italy
angelos.tsiaras@inaf.it

MEDIA CONTACTS

EPSC2022 Press Office
+44 7756 034243
epsc-press@europlanet-society.org

FURTHER INFORMATION 

About the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 

The Europlanet Science Congress (https://www.epsc2022.eu/) formerly the European Planetary Science Congress, is the annual meeting of the Europlanet Society. With a track record of 16 years, and regularly attracting around 1000 participants, EPSC is the largest planetary science meeting in Europe. It covers the entire range of planetary sciences with an extensive mix of talks, workshops and poster sessions, as well as providing a unique space for networking and exchanges of experiences.

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia and using the hashtag #EPSC2022.

Details of media briefings and recordings can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press-briefings-at-epsc2022/

All Europlanet media releases can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press/

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet (www.europlanet-society.org) has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science.  In 2022, EPSC is held jointly with the European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA) annual meeting.

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Europlanet Society is the parent organisation of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC).

About EANA
The European Astrobiology Network Association (http://www.eana-net.eu), joins together people interested in the origins of life and the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System and beyond. This interdisciplinary domain involves scientists from multiple disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, geology, astronomy, and human sciences.  

Winner of the #PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC Video Contest 2022

The winner of the #PlanetaryScience4All EPEC-EPSC Video Contest 2022 is ’29P & Comet Chasers’ by Cai Stoddard-Jones.

Hi, I’m Cai, a first year PhD student at Cardiff University. I’m from North Wales originally, but made the trek down south in 2017 to start my MPhys. I like to listen to and make music in my free time either singing or playing my guitar. I’m researching comet 29P’s unusual activity, it’s the most observed comet ever yet, we know very little about it. I aim to characterise the comet. In addition, I develop resources and experiments for a project called ‘Comet Chasers’ in Wales. We teach kids about cometary science and giving them LCO telescope time to take their own images. If their images are used by researchers, their schools are credited.

Find out more about #PlanetaryScience4All

More about EPEC

Big planets get a head start in pancake-thin nurseries

Big planets get a head start in pancake-thin nurseries

Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 Press Release

Super-thin planet nurseries have a boosted chance of forming big planets, according to a study announced this week at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada, Spain. An international team, led by Dr Marion Villenave of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), observed a remarkably thin disc of dust and gas around a young star, and found that its structure accelerated the process of grains clumping together to form planets. 

“Planets only have a limited opportunity to form before the disc of gas and dust, their nursery, is dissipated by radiation from their parent star. The initial micron-sized particles composing the disc must grow rapidly to larger millimetre-sized grains, the building blocks of planets. In this thin disc, we can see that the large particles have settled into a dense midplane, due to the combined effect of stellar gravity and interaction with the gas, creating conditions that are extremely favourable for planetary growth,” explained Dr Villenave.

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, the team obtained very high resolution images of the proto-planetary disc Oph163131, located in a nearby star-forming region called Ophiuchus. Their observations showed that, while disc is twice the diameter of our Solar System, at its outer edge the bulk of the dust is concentrated vertically in a layer only half the distance from Earth to the Sun. This makes it one of the thinnest planetary nurseries observed to date.

“Looking at proto-planetary discs edge-on gives a clear view of the vertical and radial dimensions, so that we can disentangle the dust evolution processes at work,” said Villenave. “ALMA gave us our first look at the distribution of millimetre-sized grains in this disc. Their concentration into such a thin layer was a surprise, as previous Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations of finer, micron-sized particles showed a region extending almost 20 times higher.”

Simulations by the team based on the observations show that the seeds of gas-giant planets, which must be at least 10 Earth-masses, can form in the outer part of the disc in less than 10 million years. This is within the typical lifetime of a planetary nursery before it dissipates.  

“Thin planet nurseries appear to be favourable for forming big planets, and may even facilitate planets forming at large distance from the central star,” said Villenave. “Finding further examples of these thin discs might help provide more insights into the dominant mechanisms for how wide-orbit planets form, a field of research where there are still many open questions.”

Images

Images of the Oph163131 disc as seen by ALMA (left) and HST (right). The limits of the millimetre-sized particles in the disc observed by ALMA are outlined in white. They are concentrated in a much narrower layer than the finer (micron-sized) dust observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) /Hubble/NASA/ESA /M. Villenave
Images of the Oph163131 disc as seen by ALMA (left) and HST (right). The limits of the millimetre-sized particles in the disc observed by ALMA are outlined in white. They are concentrated in a much narrower layer than the finer (micron-sized) dust observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) /Hubble/NASA/ESA /M. Villenave

https://www.europlanet-society.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/PR-Marion-Villenave-BigPlanetsHeadStartFormation5483.png

Contacts

Marion Villenave
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena
California, USA
marion.f.villenave@jpl.nasa.gov

MEDIA CONTACTS

EPSC2022 Press Office
+44 7756 034243
epsc-press@europlanet-society.org

FURTHER INFORMATION 

About the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 

The Europlanet Science Congress (https://www.epsc2022.eu/) formerly the European Planetary Science Congress, is the annual meeting of the Europlanet Society. With a track record of 16 years, and regularly attracting around 1000 participants, EPSC is the largest planetary science meeting in Europe. It covers the entire range of planetary sciences with an extensive mix of talks, workshops and poster sessions, as well as providing a unique space for networking and exchanges of experiences.

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia and using the hashtag #EPSC2022.

Details of media briefings and recordings can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press-briefings-at-epsc2022/

All Europlanet media releases can be found at: https://www.europlanet-society.org/press/

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet (www.europlanet-society.org) has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science. 

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Europlanet Society is the parent organisation of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC).

About EANA
The European Astrobiology Network Association (http://www.eana-net.eu), joins together people interested in the origins of life and the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System and beyond. This interdisciplinary domain involves scientists from multiple disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, geology, astronomy, and human sciences.  

Women in Astronomy: still a long way to go

Women in Astronomy: still a long way to go

It has been known for decades: women are under-represented in Astronomy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields due to various factors suppressing their careers, and the recent global surveys do not show promising trends. 

For this reason, the IAU (International Astronomical Union) strategic plan from 2020-2030 aims to address the challenges faced by Women in Astronomy, foster inclusiveness, and facilitate the advancement of the next generation of astronomers in order to improve ‘gender balance’ and ‘equal opportunity’ in the workplace by adapting effective policies and action plans. 

The situation, in fact, is still dramatic. While there have been global efforts in the past to address these issues and achieve the gender balance in Astronomy, somehow, it has been marginally successful due to ineffective action plans. And the participation of the Astronomy community in inclusiveness, advancement of next-generation astronomers, and gender balance activities is still too low.  

The data collected in 2021 are quite worrying” says Mamta Pandey-Pommier of the LUMP/CNRS, Université de Montpellier (France), chair of the IAU working group. “Among the total IAU members, only 21.2% are female, and an astonishingly low (1.6%) participation of members from both the genders is seen in the Women in Astronomy working group. And of those, only 11.4% is male, indicating that these issues are not yet seen as issues that should concern everyone”.

A possible reason can be found in the lack of funds to support women in astronomy at every career stage. “For example, most of the gender balance-related work is being carried out on a volunteering (unpaid) basis as no funds are provided to address these issues by funding agencies and institutions.” adds Mamta.

In order to raise awareness and participation on the topic, take stock of the situation and analyse possible solutions, the IAU Women in Astronomy Working Group activities and their survey results were presented at EPSC2022 in Granada this week by Mamta and Arianna Piccialli of the Royal Belgium Institute of Space Aeronomy (Belgium) on behalf of the entire Working Group. 

Further information:
Pandey-Pommier, M. and Piccialli, A. and the IAU WiA WG members: IAU Women in Astronomy Working Group activities and survey results, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1175, 2022.
https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EPSC2022/EPSC2022-1175.html

How global warming affects astronomical observations

How global warming affects astronomical observations

Astronomical observations from ground-based telescopes are sensitive to local atmospheric conditions. Anthropogenic climate change will negatively affect some of these conditions at observation sites around the globe, as a team of researchers led by the University of Bern and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS report.

The quality of ground-based astronomical observations delicately depends on the clarity of the atmosphere above the location from which they are made. Sites for telescopes are therefore very carefully selected. They are often high above sea level, so that less atmosphere stands between them and their targets. Many telescopes are also built in deserts, as clouds and even water vapour hinder a clear view of the night sky.

A team of researchers led by the University of Bern and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS shows in a study, published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics and presented at the Europlanet Science Congress 2022 in Granada, how one of the major challenges of our time – anthropogenic climate change – now even affects our view of the cosmos.

A blind spot in the selection process

Even though telescopes usually have a lifetime of several decades, site selection processes only consider the atmospheric conditions over a short timeframe. Usually over the past five years – too short to capture long-term trends, let alone future changes caused by global warming,” Caroline Haslebacher, lead author of the study and researcher at the NCCR PlanetS at the University of Bern, points out. The team of researchers from the University of Bern and the NCCR PlanetS, ETH Zurich, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) as well as the University of Reading in the UK therefore took it upon themselves to show the long-term perspective.

Worsening conditions around the globe

Their analysis of future climate trends, based on high resolution global climate models, shows that major astronomical observatories from Hawaii to the Canary Islands, Chile, Mexico, South Africa and Australia will likely experience an increase in temperature and atmospheric water content by 2050.  This, in turn, could mean a loss in observing time as well as a loss of quality in the observations.

Nowadays, astronomical observatories are designed to work under the current site conditions and only have a few possibilities for adaptation. Potential consequences of the climatic conditions for telescopes therefore include a higher risk of condensation due to an increased dew point or malfunctioning cooling systems, which can lead to more air turbulence in the telescope dome,” Haslebacher says.

The fact that the effects of climate change on observatories had not been taken into account before was not an oversight, as study co-author Marie-Estelle Demory says, but was not least due to the state of the art: “This is the first time that such a study has been possible. Thanks to the higher resolution of the global climate models developed through the Horizon 2020 PRIMAVERA project, we were able to examine the conditions at various locations of the globe with great fidelity – something that we were unable to do with conventional models. These models are valuable tools for the work we do at the Wyss Academy,” says the senior scientist at the University of Bern and member of the Wyss Academy for Nature.

This now allows us to say with certainty that anthropogenic climate change must be taken into account in the site selection for next-generation telescopes, and in the construction and maintenance of astronomical facilities,” says Haslebacher.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE PUBLICATION

Haslebacher et al.: Impact of climate change on site characteristics of eight major astronomical observatories, Astronomy & Astrophysics, https://www.aanda.org/10.1051/0004-6361/202142493
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202142493

IMAGES

The VLT’s Laser Guide Star: A laser beam launched from VLT´s 8.2-metre Yepun telescope crosses the majestic southern sky and creates an artificial star at 90 km altitude in the high Earth´s mesosphere. The Laser Guide Star (LGS) is part of the VLT´s Adaptive Optics system and it is used as reference to correct images from the blurring effect of the atmosphere. © ESO / G. Hüdepohl
Caroline Haslebacher,
Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) and NCCR PlanetS, University of Bern
© Courtesy of Caroline Haslebacher
Dr. Marie-Estelle Demory, Wyss Academy for Nature, University of Bern
© Courtesy of Marie-Estelle Demory

SCIENCE CONTACTS

Caroline Haslebacher
Center for Space and Habitability (CSH), Department of Space Research & Planetary Sciences (WP) and NCCR PlanetS, University of Bern
Phone: +41 31 684 36 21
E-Mail: caroline.haslebacher@unibe.ch

Dr. Marie-Estelle Demory
Wyss Academy for Nature, University of Bern
E-Mail: marie-estelle.demory@wyssacademy.org

CONTACTS

EPSC2022 Press Office
+44 7756 034243
epsc-press@europlanet-society.org

FURTHER INFORMATION 

About Wyss Academy for Nature

The Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern is a place of innovation, where research, business, policymakers and communities come together to co-design solutions for sustainable futures. The Wyss Academy’s mission is to turn scientific knowledge into action. Combining ambitious, innovative goals with a transformative approach, it was founded to develop innovative long-term pathways that strengthen and reconcile biodiversity conservation, human well-being and the sustainable use of natural resources in a variety of landscapes throughout the world. We co-design and implement concrete projects across a swathe of regions and countries. This global structure facilitates the replication of successes and learning. The Wyss Academy for Nature currently operates Hubs in Central Europe (Bern, Switzerland), Southeast Asia, East Africa and South America.

In December 2019, the Wyss Foundation, the University of Bern, and the Canton of Bern signed the tripartite framework agreement for the Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern. In

May 2020, the Wyss Academy was founded as an independent foundation, the foundation Board of Trustees was appointed and the Director was elected. The Wyss Foundation donates within the framework of the Wyss Campaign for Nature a contribution of 100 million Swiss francs. The canton and the University of Bern contribute 50 million francs each.More information: www.wyssacademy.org

About Center for Space and Habitability (CSH)

The mission of the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) is to foster dialogue and interactions between the various scientific disciplines interested in the formation, detection and characterization of other worlds within and beyond the Solar System, the search for life elsewhere in the Universe, and its implications for disciplines outside of the sciences. The members, affiliates and collaborators include astronomers, astrophysicists and astrochemists, atmospheric, climate and planetary scientists, geologists and geophysicists, biochemists and philosophers. The CSH is home to the CSH and Bernoulli Fellowships, which host young, dynamic and talented researchers from all over the world to conduct independent research. It actively run a series of programs to stimulate interdisciplinary research within the University of Bern including collaborations and/or open dialogue with Medicine, Philosophy and Theology. More information: https://www.csh.unibe.ch/

Bernese space exploration: With the world’s elite since the first moon landing

When the second man, “Buzz” Aldrin, stepped out of the lunar module on July 21, 1969, the first task he did was to set up the Bernese Solar Wind Composition experiment (SWC) also known as the “solar wind sail” by planting it in the ground of the moon, even before the American flag. This experiment, which was planned, built and the results analysed by Prof. Dr. Johannes Geiss and his team from the Physics Institute of the University of Bern, was the first great highlight in the history of Bernese space exploration.

Ever since Bernese space exploration has been among the world’s elite. The University of Bern has been participating in space missions of the major space organizations, such as ESA, NASA and JAXA. It is currently co-leading the European Space Agency’s (ESA) CHEOPS mission with the University of Geneva. In addition, Bernese researchers are among the world leaders when it comes to models and simulations of the formation and development of planets.The successful work of the Department of Space Research and Planetary Sciences (WP) from the Physics Institute of the University of Bern was consolidated by the foundation of a university competence center, the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH). The Swiss National Science Foundation also awarded the University of Bern the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS, which it manages together with the University of Geneva.

About the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 

The Europlanet Science Congress (https://www.epsc2022.eu/) formerly the European Planetary Science Congress, is the annual meeting of the Europlanet Society. With a track record of 16 years, and regularly attracting around 1000 participants, EPSC is the largest planetary science meeting in Europe. It covers the entire range of planetary sciences with an extensive mix of talks, workshops and poster sessions, as well as providing a unique space for networking and exchanges of experiences.

Follow on Twitter via @europlanetmedia and using the hashtag #EPSC2022.

About Europlanet

Since 2005, Europlanet (www.europlanet-society.org) has provided Europe’s planetary science community with a platform to exchange ideas and personnel, share research tools, data and facilities, define key science goals for the future, and engage stakeholders, policy makers and European citizens with planetary science. 

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149 to provide access to state-of-the-art research facilities and a mechanism to coordinate Europe’s planetary science community. 

The Europlanet Society promotes the advancement of European planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the community and is open to individual and organisational members. The Europlanet Society is the parent organisation of the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC).

About EANA

The European Astrobiology Network Association (http://www.eana-net.eu), joins together people interested in the origins of life and the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System and beyond. This interdisciplinary domain involves scientists from multiple disciplines such as chemistry, physics, biology, geology, astronomy, and human sciences.  

Новости Омутнинск Любовь и семья Общество Люди и события Красота и здоровье Дети Диета Кулинария Полезные советы Шоу-бизнес Огород Гороскопы Авто Интерьер Домашние животные Технологии Рекорды и антирекорды