Get involved the Europlanet Northern Regional Hub Activities

Get involved the Europlanet Northern Regional Hub Activities

The Europlanet Northern Regional Hub will be at the Europlanet Research Infrastructure Meeting (ERIM) 2023 in Bratislava from 19-23 June.

The Europlanet Society Northern Hub (Left to right): Stefanus Schroder (Sweden), Erika Kaufmann (Sweden), Maria Hieta (Finland), Maria Genzer (Finland), Harri Haukka (Finland, Chair), Grazina Tautvaisiene (Lithuania, Vice Chair ), Veikko Makela (Finland), Jonathan P. Merrison (Denmark, former Chair)m Edita Stonkute (Lithuania), Heleri Ramler (Estonia), Stas Barabash (Sweden) and Yoshifumi Futaana (Sweden).

The Northern Europe Hub was established in 2019 to promote planetary science and related fields for the benefit of the Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Swedish and wider European community, within the Europlanet Society, however the pandemic situation suppressed activities very much.

The first face-to-face Europlanet Society Northern Europe Hub meeting took place on the 21st of September, 2022, during the Europlanet Science Congress in Granada.

Now, with the new Chair Harri Haukka (Finland) and Vice Chair Grazina Tautvaisiene (Lithuania) as well as with advises of the former Chair Jonathan P. Merrison (Denmark), the hub is organising an amateur training workshop in Spring of 2023 and other activities. New members are welcome to join the Europlanet Society and its Northern Europe Hub !

Asteroid Research Training Workshop (Hybrid)

Asteroid Research Training Workshop (Hybrid)

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project and the Tartu Observatory of the University of Tartu are pleased to announce the international training workshop “Asteroid Research”. The aim of the workshop is to give participants a thorough, multidisciplinary introduction to the ground-based and space observations of asteroids. Participants will be given hands-on experience in CCD photometry and spectroscopy of asteroids using the telescopes of the Tartu Observatory and in analysing the observational data. The hands-on sessions will be accompanied by lectures from leading astronomers. The participants will also be trained in writing and submitting observing proposals to different facilities of the Europlanet Telescope Network, mentorship possibilities between professional astronomers and amateurs will be introduced. 

The course is open to PhD and master students, early career scientists, and amateur astronomers from the Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Swedish, and wider European communities. Activities of professional astronomers and amateur astronomers will be merged in order to achieve more understanding between communities.

The deadline for applications for the full program is 1 June 2023 23:59:00 UTC.
The deadline for application for the remote part of the program (LECTURES ONLY) is 1 August 2023 23:59:00 UTC.
20 selected participants will be provided free accommodation (in Tartu), transportation between accommodation and Tartu Observatory, meals and travel reimbursement up to 360€.

ERIM / EPEC Annual Week 2023 – Registration Now Open

Europlanet Research Infrastructure Meeting (ERIM)/Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Annual Week 2023 – Registration Now Open

The first Europlanet Research Infrastructure Meeting (ERIM), co-hosted with the fifth Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Annual Week, will take place from 19-23 June 2023 in hybrid format at the Hotel Sorea / Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia and online. 

Registration is free and accommodation and travel support is available for participants. 

Registration is now open.

Deadline for on-site registration: 19 May 2023

Deadline for virtual registration: 16 June 2023

About ERIM

ERIM is a new kind of meeting to support European planetary science and associated communities. The format of ERIM 2023 is a series of interactive workshops related to the activities of the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project, research infrastructures in general, and the Europlanet Society. The meeting will be co-hosted with EPEC Annual Week 2023, the training school for the Europlanet Early Career Network. 

How will it Work?

Workshops will be organised under a series of programme tracks. You can dip in and out of programme tracks, workshops and even sessions during the week. The aim is to make new connections, brainstorm ideas, develop synergies, increase opportunities for collaboration and help us build a strong, thriving, sustainable community for planetary science in Europe.

You don’t have to be a member of the Europlanet Society or the Europlanet 2024 RI project to participate in ERIM. We are looking for new people to engage with Europlanet, so everyone is welcome. However, we will be offering free accommodation and travel grants to a limited number (~150) of participants. If we are over-subscribed in requests for support, priority will be given to Europlanet Society members. (Find out about other benefits of joining the Europlanet Society).

Programme 

Many different topics will be covered within the ERIM programme tracks and workshops, including:

For full details of the meeting and registration, see: https://www.europlanet-society.org/erim2023/

If you have any questions, contact us.

We hope to see you in Bratislava!

The ERIM 2023 Organising Committee

Europlanet Dinner Debate in the European Parliament

Europlanet Dinner Debate in the European Parliament

On 24 January 2023, Europlanet and Niklas Nienass, MEP, co-hosted a Dinner Debate in the European Parliament. The theme of the debate was “Promoting the importance of space policies and a European Space Strategy”.

The evening started with an introduction by Mr Nienass and a video message from the Europlanet 2024 RI Coordinator and President of the Europlanet Society, Nigel Mason, who was unable to attend in person. Over dinner, a number of invited participants gave short keynote speeches, and this was followed by an open debate.

Agenda

Welcome:
Niklas Nienass, MEP, co-host
Nigel Mason/Barbara Cavalazzi, Europlanet, co-host

Short keynote note speeches
Marian-Jean Marinescu, MEP
Rodrigo da Costa, Head of EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA)
Josef Aschbacher, Director of European Space Agency (ESA)
Kai-Uwe Schrogl, President of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL)
Christoph Kutz, Head of DG DEFIS
Ann-Carine Vandaele, Vice President of Europlanet Society Executive Board
Charles Galland, Policy Manager, ASD-Eurospace

Debate (moderated by Niklas Nienass)

Details of the Dinner Debate: “Promoting the importance of space policies and a European Space Strategy”.

Europe’s capacities in the space sector are continuously growing; we have world-leading programmes covering all areas of space activities and the largest international community of planetary scientists. The importance of space endeavors slowly comes to overall public awareness and this is mirrored in increased private interest as well as governmental spending. As Europe, we have enormous potential going forward but currently, we are lacking a common policy framework, legislative basis and overall strategy. We need to keep building the coherent, well-networked and collaborative community we have and fully exploit the resources at our disposal. Europe is taking a leading role in challenging missions aiming at changing the space sector. 

This high-level event should bring decision-makers, academics and researchers together to discuss the importance of a European Space Strategy, status quo and common visions to go forward.

MEP Niklas Nienass is Member of the European Parliament for The Greens/EFA, where he is responsible for space policy. A strong supporter of the European new space economy, he is committed to establish a European space legislation and set international standards for space traffic management. He has a seat in the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), where he negotiates space related legislative files on behalf of the Greens/EFA group. In 2020 he graduated with a Master’s degree in Good Governance with a thesis on international space law.

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (Europlanet 2024 RI) is the culmination of a series of projects funded by successive European Union Framework Programmes (FP6 and FP7) to build a research infrastructure integrating planetary science across the European Research Area. Europlanet 2024 RI delivers access to virtual services and transnational access to the world’s largest collection of planetary simulation and analysis facilities. Europlanet is equally well placed within the Horizon Europe strategic objectives, focusing on industrial applications, development of digital technologies, EO services, AI and machine learning. The Europlanet Society, launched in 2018, is structured around 10 Regional Hubs and it aims to build sustainable capacity and cascade expertise in stakeholder engagement through the European planetary community. Europlanet focuses on evidence-based policy, informing policy makers on the scientific, industrial and socio-economic impacts of planetary science, at European and national level. They are also engaging with the planetary science community raising awareness and encouraging its engagement with policy makers and industry across Europe, in particular with SMEs.

Rocks from Space and Planetary Defence – Europlanet Workshop Series

Rocks from Space and Planetary Defence – Europlanet Workshop Series – Europlanet Workshop Series

Third workshop

Registration is now open for the workshop ‘Rocks from Space and Planetary Defence’, which will take place in hybrid format from 25-28 April 2023 at the Hôtel Club Val d’Anfa in Casablanca, Morocco, and online.

Register now before 31 March 2023. The workshop is free of charge but places are limited! Registration is compulsory and will close on 31/03/2023. You will receive via email confirmation of your acceptance. Only 25 people will be admitted in-person and up to 100 online. See the practical info for details. The Europlanet Workshop Series links travel grants to selected applicants who intend to attend the workshop. 

This third event in the Europlanet Workshop Series will bring together space tech specialists, scientists and graduated students to discuss current topics in this rapidly developing space field and especially in meteorites, meteoroids, comets, asteroids and impact craters. This workshop format is focusing on content, collaboration and targets in order to create an African network in planetary science.

The workshop is open to post-graduate students, researchers and professionals interested in planetary surfaces, impact craters and meteorites, and planetary defense.

This Europlanet Workshop Series aims to inspire and encourage planetary science and space technology development across borders in developed and developing countries and across the spectrum of academia, industry and civil society. 

Visit the website

Download the poster.

Europlanet WorkshopSeries is an initiative under the umbrella of the Global Collaboration and Integration Development program of Europlanet 2024 RI.

Report on 54th Conference on Variable Star Research

Report on 54th Conference on Variable Star Research

Meeting report by Felip Walter of the Variable Stars and Exoplanet Section of the Czech Astronomical Society.

The 54th Variable Star Conference took place from 25-27 November in hybrid-format in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and online. The meeting was very positively received by both national and international audiences. We had 50 in-person participants from the Czech Republic and five international guests. We also had 12 Czech and 18 international online participants from as far afield as India, Brazil, UK, Ukraine and Iceland, as well as and other, closer European countries, including our neighbour, Slovakia. 

Concerning planetary sciences, there was a lecture about the DART mission given by Petr Scheirich, as well as lectures about HST and JSWT photometric and spectroscopic observation of exoplanets by Angelos Tsiaras, and a presentation by Günter Wuchterl (in person) and Petr Kabáth (online from newly opened La Silla  PLATOSpec telescope) about the ground component of the PLATO mission.

Yves Jongen, probably one of the most productive amateur observers of exoplanetary transits presented his work and received the very first Exoplanet Transit Prize from the Czech Astronomical Society ETD project. He has observed around 1500 individual transits during five years of activity. 

Seven students (both high school and university students) presented their work in the student section. Marko Mesarč from Masaryk University, Brno received the prize for the presentation of his work on exoplanetary candidates photometry. 

The meeting has surely supported pro-am and international collaboration, as everyone – and most importantly our young guests, the students of Czech high schools – used the opportunity to meet enthusiastic amateurs and professionals from the Czech Republic and abroad. 

54th Conference on Variable Star Research website

Athena Coustenis to be awarded EGU Cassini Medal

Athena Coustenis to be awarded EGU Cassini Medal

Athena Coustenis (Observatoire de Paris) is to be awarded EGU Cassini Medal in recognition of her exceptional achievements in planetary and space science.

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has named the 47 recipients of next year’s Union Medals and Awards, Division Medals, and Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Awards. These individuals are honoured for their important contributions to the Earth, planetary and space sciences. They will be celebrated during the EGU General Assembly 2023, which will be held from 23–28 April.

The Jean Dominique Cassini Medal & Honorary Membership of the EGU form one of the three equally ranked most prestigious awards made by the Union. They are bestowed to scientists who have achieved exceptional international standing in planetary and space sciences, defined in their widest senses, for their merit and their scientific achievements.

Many congratulations to Athena, and to all the winners.

Watch Athena talking about her career in this EPEC Motivational Journey interview:

Expert Exchange: Collaboration Between Brazilian Exoss and Romanian MOROI Networks

Expert Exchange: Collaboration Between Brazilian Exoss and Romanian MOROI Networks.

Europlanet 2024 RI’s Expert Exchange Programme aims to support the planetary community to share expertise and best practice, and to prepare new facilities and services. The programme provides funding for short visits (up to one week). 

Marcelo De Cicco, from INMETRO, Brazil visited Iharka Csillik at the Astronomical Observatory of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, from 1-10 July 2022.

The aim of the visit was to develop code to model grazing meteors, attend the International conference on ‘Theory, Observations and Data Processing in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space and Planetary Sciences’ and explore collaborations between the Brazilian EXOSS project, Romanian MOROI networks, FRIPON international network and a Hungarian meteor observations project.

This Expert Exchange visit came about through the Europlanet Mentorship programme, as Iharka is supporting Marcelo to develop skills in meteor science dynamics and publishing. The mentor-mentee pair were featured as a case study in a poster on the mentorship programme at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 (Stonkute et al. 2022).

Read the full report.

Expert Exchange Objectives covered by this visit: Early Career Support, Widening Participation.

Find out more about the Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme.

Next Call For Europlanet Expert Exchange Programme

The final call for the Europlanet 2024 RI Expert Exchange Programme closed on Wednesday 17 January 2024. Visits should take place between 1 February and 15 May 2024.

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.

54th meeting of Variable Star Research

54th meeting of Variable Star Research

25-27 November 2022

The Variable Stars Research meeting is the most important meeting organized by Variable Stars and Exoplanet Section of the Czech Astronomical Society. This year Planetarium Ostrava is a co-organizer providing its premises for this event.

This year meeting will assume hybrid form – both in person and online via ZOOM application, and will be held in Czech, Slovak and English languages. Friday there will be student section for high school and university students presenting their work, which will be organized as a contest where the best presenter will be recognized and receives price donated by the VSES CAS. 

Papers from the meeting will be published in Open European Journal on Varible Stars, a electronic open peer reviewed journal issued by VSES CAS in cooperation with Masaryk University Brno, with indexation in SIMBAD database and Smithsonian/NASA’s ADS. Recordings of the talks will be made public on YouTube channel of VSES CAS and presentation files will be accessible in meeting program.

Meeting website

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.

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.

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.  

2022 Farinella Prize Awarded to Julie Castillo-Rogez and Martin Jutzi

2022 Farinella Prize Awarded to Julie Castillo-Rogez and Martin Jutzi

Dr Julie Castillo-Rogez, a planetary scientist working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California (USA), and Dr Martin Jutzi, a physicist working at the Physics Institute of University of Bern (Switzerland), have been awarded jointly the 2022 Paolo Farinella Prize for their outstanding contributions to the field of “Asteroids: Physics, Dynamics, Modelling and Observations”. The award ceremony took place during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada, Spain, and was followed by a 15-minute prize lecture from each of the winners.

The annual Prize was established in 2010 to honour the memory of the Italian scientist Paolo Farinella (1953-2000). The Prize acknowledges an outstanding researcher not older than 47 years (the age of Farinella when he passed away) who has achieved important results in one of Farinella’s fields of work. Each year the Prize focuses on a different research area and, in 2022, the twelfth edition was devoted to asteroids, which in recent years have become an increasingly important area of interest for the scientific community.

Dr Castillo-Rogez has made significant contributions to our understanding of the physical and chemical evolutions of small and mid-sized Solar System bodies. Through modelling and synthesis of existing data, she has gleaned information about the origins and dynamical evolution of objects from the main belt, between Mars and Jupiter, to the trans-Neptunian region, i.e. the region that extends farther from the Sun than the planet Neptune. Her multi-disciplinary expertise, which embraces geology, geophysics and planetology, has allowed her to apply increasingly sophisticated tools to understand the geochemical evolution of objects potentially characterised by volatile elements. Dr Castillo-Rogez’s contribution was critical to the success of the Dawn mission at the dwarf planet Ceres: before the mission, her studies paved the way to understanding that Ceres likely had a subsurface ocean in its past, and might still harbour brines; after the mission, her analysis of Dawn’s data advanced the hypothesis that mid-sized cold bodies could be past or present ocean worlds.

Dr Jutzi has made outstanding contributions to the study of collisional processes involving bodies ranging from small asteroids to planetary scales. In particular, he developed a state-of-the-art Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamic (SPH) shock physics code specially suited to study the regimes of collisions among small bodies where the complex effects of material strength, friction, porosity as well as gravity determine the outcome concurrently. Dr Jutzi also succeeded in reproducing the evolution of the asteroid Vesta’s observed shape following two overlapping planet-scale collisions, and even provided maps of impact excavation and deposition of ejected materials. Recently, he contributed to the numerical modelling of the impact of NASA’s DART mission on the moon of the binary asteroid Didymos, which showed that the small moon Dimorphos may be entirely reshaped by the impact.

Overall, Dr Castillo-Rogez’s and Dr Jutzi’s work have led to a deeper understanding of the nature and evolution of asteroids, both from a theoretical and an observational point of view. 

Dr Castillo-Rogez received her MS in Geophysics and her PhD in Planetary Geophysics at University of Rennes (France). She is currently Associate Scientist for the Planetary Science Directorate at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (California, USA).

Dr Jutzi received his MS in Physics at University of Bern (Switzerland) and then his PhD in Physics at University of Bern and Nice Observatory (France). He now holds the position of Senior Researcher at University of Bern.

Before receiving the Prize, Dr Castillo-Rogez commented “I am honored to win this prize, especially as there are so many deserving colleagues out there. The bulk of my work is based on the observations returned by the Cassini-Huygens and Dawn mission, both built on highly successful international collaborations. Working with these teams has been an incredible experience and led to long-lasting friendships on both sides of the Atlantic. So this makes receiving this prize at EPSC 2022 very special. Unfortunately, I have never had the privilege to meet Dr. Farinella, although I have many times referred to his work.”

Dr Jutzi said: “I am very honoured to be awarded the Paolo Farinella Prize. For me this is an important recognition of my contribution to the understanding of asteroid physics, in particular the impact processes that determined the evolution and current state of these objects – some of them being explored by ongoing space missions as we speak. I am grateful to my scientific mentors and colleagues who have helped me achieve this.”

 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, in recognition of significant contributions given in the fields of interest of Farinella, which span from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularisation, and security in space, weapons control and disarmament. The winner of the prize is selected each year on the basis of his/her overall research results in a chosen field, among candidates with international and interdisciplinary collaborations, 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, supported by the University of Pisa, ISTI/CNR and by IAPS-INAF (Rome).

The first “Paolo Farinella Prize” was awarded in 2011 to William Bottke, for his contribution to the field of “physics and dynamics of small solar system bodies”. In 2012 the Prize went to John Chambers, for his contribution to the field of “formation and early evolution of the solar system”. In 2013, to Patrick Michel, for his work in the field of “collisional processes in the solar system.” In 2014, to David Vokrouhlicky for his contributions to “our understanding of the dynamics and physics of solar system, including how pressure from solar radiation affects the orbits of both asteroids and artificial satellites”, in 2015 to Nicolas Biver for his studies of “the molecular and isotopic composition of cometary volatiles by means of submillimetre and millimetre ground and space observations”, and in 2016 to Kleomenis Tsiganis for “his studies of the applications of celestial mechanics to the dynamics of planetary systems, including the development of the Nice model”. In 2017, to Simone Marchi for his contributions to “understanding the complex problems related to the impact history and physical evolution of the inner Solar System, including the Moon”. In 2018, to Francis Nimmo, for his contributions in our “understanding of the internal structure and evolution of icy bodies in the Solar System and the resulting influence on their surface processes”. In 2019, to Scott Sheppard and Chad Trujillo, for their outstanding collaborative work for the “observational characterisation of the Kuiper belt and the Neptune-trojan population”. In 2020, to Jonathan Fortney and Heather Knutson for their significant contribution in our “understanding of the structure, evolution and atmospheric dynamics of giant planets”. Finally, in 2021, to Diana Valencia and Lena Noack, for their significant contributions in “our understanding of the interior structure and dynamics of terrestrial and super-Earth exoplanets”.

Images

Julie Castillo-Rogez. Credit: J Castillo-Rogez

Martin Jutzi. Credit: M Jutzi

The Farinella Prize winners 2022, Julie Castillo-Rogez of JPL (left) and Martin Jutzi of the University of Bern (right). The prizes were presented by Alessandro Rossi, IFAC-CNR, Italy.

Science Contacts

Julie Castillo-Rogez
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
julie.c.castillo@jpl.nasa.gov

Martin Jutzi
University of Bern
Space Research & Planetary Sciences
+41 31 684 85 49
martin.jutzi@andre-gallispace-unibe-ch

Media Contacts

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

Notes for Editors

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.  

Earth-like exoplanets unlikely to be another ‘pale blue dot’

Earth-like exoplanets unlikely to be another ‘pale blue dot’

When searching for Earth-like worlds around other stars, instead of looking for the ‘pale blue dot’ described by Carl Sagan, new research suggests that a hunt for dry, cold ‘pale yellow dots’ might have a better chance of success. The near balance of land-to-water that has helped life flourish on Earth could be highly unusual, according to a Swiss-German study presented at the Europlanet Science Congress 2022 in Granada. 

Tilman Spohn and Dennis Höning studied how the evolution and cycles of continents and water could shape the development of terrestrial exoplanets. Results from their models suggest that planets have approximately an 80 percent probability of being mostly covered by land, with 20 percent likely to be mainly oceanic worlds. Barely one percent of the outcomes had an Earth-like distribution of land and water.

“We Earthlings enjoy the balance between land areas and oceans on our home planet. It is tempting to assume that a second Earth would be just like ours, but our modelling results suggest that this is not likely to be the case,” said Prof Spohn, Executive Director of the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland.

The team’s numerical models suggest that the average surface temperatures would not be too different, with perhaps a 5° Celsius variation, but that the land-to-ocean distribution would affect the planets’ climates. An ocean world, with less than 10 percent land, would likely be moist and warm, with a climate similar to the Earth in the tropic and subtropic epoch that followed the asteroid impact that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. 

The continental worlds, with less than 30 percent oceans, would feature colder, drier and harsher climates. Cool deserts might occupy in the inner parts of landmasses, and overall they would resemble our Earth sometime during the last Ice Age, when extensive glaciers and ice-sheets developed.

On Earth, the growth of continents by volcanic activity and their erosion by weathering is approximately balanced. Life based on photosynthesis thrives on land, where it has direct access to solar energy. The oceans provide a huge reservoir of water that enhances rainfall and prevent the present climate from becoming too dry. 

“In the engine of Earth’s plate tectonics, internal heat drives geologic activity, such as earthquakes, volcanoes and mountain building, and results in the growth of continents. The land’s erosion is part of a series of cycles that exchange water between the atmosphere and the interior. Our numerical models of how these cycles interact show that present-day Earth may be an exceptional planet, and that the equilibrium of landmass may be unstable over billions of years. While all the planets modelled could be considered habitable, their fauna and flora may be quite different,” said Prof Spohn.

Further information:

Spohn, T. and Hoening, D.: Land/Ocean Surface Diversity on Earth-like (Exo)planets: Implications for Habitability, Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-506, 2022. https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EPSC2022/EPSC2022-506.html

Images

Terrestrial planets can evolve in three scenarios of land/ocean distribution: covered by lands, oceans or an equal mix of both. The land-covered planet is the most probable scenario ( around 80%), while our “equal mix” Earth (<1% chance) is even more unique than previously thought.

Modelling shows that the probabilities of three very-different looking types of terrestrial planets  (covered with land, ocean or an equal mix of both) vary widely, while highly impacting their climate and thus their habitability.
Modelling shows that the probabilities of three very-different looking types of terrestrial planets (covered with land, ocean or an equal mix of both) vary widely, while highly impacting their climate and thus their habitability. Credit: Europlanet 2024 RI/T. Roger.

Image showing the Earth from a distance of 6 billion kilometres, taken by the NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1990. It has become iconic as the “pale blue dot”. The image was newly processed and released by NASA in 2020.  

Image showing the Earth from a distance of 6 billion kilometres, taken by the NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1990. It has become iconic as the “pale blue dot”.
Image showing the Earth from a distance of 6 billion kilometres, taken by the NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1990. It has become iconic as the “pale blue dot”. The image was newly processed and released by NASA in 2020. Credit:

Science Contacts

Prof. Tilman Spohn
International Space Science Institute
Bern, Switzerland 
tilman.spohn@issibern.ch

Media Contacts

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

Notes for Editors

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.  

Earth Observation Techniques and Data Analysis – Europlanet WorkshopSeries

Earth Observation Techniques and Data Analysis – Europlanet WorkshopSeries

Second workshop

Registration is now open for the workshop ‘Earth Observation Techniques and Data Analysis’, which will take place from 13-16 December 2022 at the Italian Cultural Institute, Belay Zelleke Street, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Register now before 4 November 2022. The workshop is free of charge but it requires a pre-registration (for practical organisation) which also includes all coffee and lunch breaks.

This second event in the Europlanet WorkshopSeries will bring together space tech specialists, scientists and graduated students to discuss current topics in this rapidly developing space field and especially in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This workshop format is focusing on content and collaboration, and aims to create an African network in planetary science.

The workshop is open to postgraduate students, researchers and professionals interested in the field Earth Observation. It is an in-person event.

Europlanet WorkshopSeries aims to inspire and encourage planetary science and space technology development across borders in developed and developing countries and across the spectrum of academia, industry and civil society. 

Visit the website

Download the brochure.

Europlanet WorkshopSeries is an initiative under the umbrella of the Global Collaboration and Integration Development program of Europlanet 2024 RI.

Outreach and Public Engagement after Covid Session at EAS 2022

Outreach and Public Engagement after Covid Session at EAS 2022

The impact of Covid-19 led to a dramatic change in the landscape of public engagement, which overnight transformed from “hands on” to entirely virtual delivery. Appreciation of astronomy briefly enjoyed a higher profile, with views of the sky connecting us to the wider universe while confined to our homes. Virtual access has enabled the astronomy community to reach audiences that could not normally attend “face to face” outreach sessions, but it has simultaneously widened the gap for disadvantaged communities without access to the technology needed for online engagement.

At the European Astronomical Society (EAS) 2022 Annual Meeting in Valencia from 27 June – 1 July, the astronomy outreach community took the opportunity to come together and discuss some of these issues.

In particular, participants were asked to consider for public engagement in the years ahead:

  • Is the increase in virtual outreach initiatives “the new normal”, or is “face to face” vital for engaging marginalised communities on the wrong side of the digital divide?
  • What does this mean for collaboration across Europe and further afield? 
  • How has public perception of science changed during the pandemic and what does this mean for the outreach community?

Over a lunch session on Monday 27 June attended by around 60 participants, we heard from a number of speakers and then had an open discussion of our experiences over the past two and a half years. While the general consensus in the room was that face-to-face interaction is very important for outreach and public engagement and that the return to in-person events is very positive, the impact of Covid remains an ongoing issue – not least in that several of the scheduled speakers were unfortunately unable to take part in the session due to positive tests. The benefits of hybrid meetings for sustainability and inclusion were also a topic of much discussion at EAS 2022 in the wider context of conferences and events.

If you missed the session, some of the presentations and virtual posters are provided here with kind permission of the authors:

Astro-lògos: stories of the history of the Universe. A science-art project inspired by Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics, Claudia Mignone


Increasing the science outreach in Romania during the pandemic, Sandor Kruk


Communicating science worldwide with the International Day of LightGeethu Paulose


AstroEDU, IAU open-access platform for peer-reviewed Educational ActivitiesLivia Giacomini

Inspiring the Next Generation of Space and Planetary Scientists: The 2022 EXPLORE Junior Lunar Data ChallengeDaniel Le Corre

Planets In A Room and how hands-on activities has been forced to switch to onlineFederica Duras

Bringing the night sky to Italian living rooms via livestream eventsClaudia Mignone

Anny-Chantal Levasseur-Regourd, 1945-2022

Anny-Chantal Levasseur-Regourd, 1945-2022

We are deeply saddened to hear that the astrophysicist and valued member of our community, Anny-Chantal Levasseur-Regourd, has passed away.  

Anny-Chantal Levasseur-Regourd pursued her research career at the Service d’Aéronomie (LATMOS institute since 2009) and her teaching as an assistant professor to Jacques Blamont at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). She was appointed professor of astronomy and space physics in 1985 and became professor emeritus in 2013.

After her studies at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Cachan, she defended her PhD in Physical Sciences in 1976 under the supervision of Jacques Blamont. She analysed the atmospheric and astronomical observations made by the D2A satellite with a contribution to the study of the zodiacal light. In 1977, she applied to the ESA astronaut selection campaign and was the only woman selected amongst the final participants.

After her PhD, she collaborated with René Dumont on studies of the interplanetary medium and zodiacal light. These observations gave the first global map in intensity and polarisation of the zodiacal light and provided constraints on the local physical properties of the interplanetary dust particles.

Anny-Chantal participated in the international campaign of Halley’s comet return in 1986 both with observations from the ground and as the Principal Investigator (PI) of the OPE experiment on-board the European Giotto spacecraft, which observed the linear polarisation in the inner coma of Halley. Results showed the presence of low-density solid particles and light scattering mostly by large particles. Her work helped define a classification of comets based on their polarization phase curves, a result still discussed in the astronomical community today. She also studied the internal regions of cometary coma by polarimetric imaging.

She continued her work on the study of light scattering by irregular particles by developing facilities in the laboratory and in microgravity (such as PROGRA2, CODAG and ICAPS-LSU) to study simultaneously the intensity and polarization phase curves of aggregating particles under microgravity. A reduced version of the ICAPS experiment will soon fly on-board a TEXUS rocket.

Anny-Chantal Levasseur-Regourd speaking at the forum “The year viewed by… sciences” organised by France Culture on 14 February 2015. Credit: Pamputt/CC BY-SA 4.0

Anny-Chantal’s participation in the Rosetta mission was focused on determining the physical properties of the cometary nucleus and the ejected dust particles. These particles were demonstrated to present fractal structures down to nanometer scales with a composition dominated by organic material. Anny-Chantal was also the PI of the EyeSat student nanosatellite launched by the CNES in 2019. Finally, she actively participated in the development of the EnVisS camera, a multiwavelength polarimetric imager of the ESA Comet Interceptor spacecraft due to be launched in 2029 and dedicated to observing a fresh or interstellar comet.

In summary, Anny-Chantal combined in her work ground-based and space-based observations together with laboratory and numerical simulations to better understand the physical properties of solid dust particles ejected from comets. The object of her studies were mostly linked to the small bodies of the Solar System, comets and asteroids with their similarities and differences, the solid particles they eject, and the interplanetary dust medium that results from their interactions.

She supervised seven PhD students. A dedicated teacher, she never hesitated to motivate her students to give their best, and helped advance their growth as researchers. She pushed forward their work at international conferences and also encouraged them to present their own work. She was particularly enthusiastic about supporting the recognition and advancement of her female colleagues.

Outside of her advising work, she developed numerous national and international collaborations in all the domains of study of the solar system small bodies and light scattering by solid particles which lead to 179 refereed papers (241 conference abstracts).

Anny-Chantal loved to share her passion and she participated in the writing of public outreach books on astronomy (5 books) and to television lectures (for example on canal-U). She delivered numerous public outreach conferences and animations of the astronomical community. She was most notably the President of the French Committee for the organization of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. The asteroid 6170 is named Levasseur in her honor. In recognition of her scientific work, she was appointed Officier de la Légion d’honneur in 2013 and was awarded the following prizes: prix Thorlet de l’Académie des sciences (1976), prix Glaxo de vulgarisation scientifique (1982), prix des Dames de la Société Astronomique de France (1986).

She will be dearly missed by the whole scientific community in France and worldwide.

Farinella Prize 2022 – deadline extended

Extended deadline for 12th ‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize, 2022

The DEADLINE for nominations for this year’s Farinella Prize is extended to May 15th 2022.

The 12th Paolo Farinella Prize will be awarded to a young scientist with outstanding contributions in the field of planetary science concerning ‘Asteroids: Physics, Dynamics, Modelling and Observations‘, including theoretical, modelling, experimental and observational work on asteroids. The award winner will be honoured during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada (Spain).

For the 12th ‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize the terms and rules are as follows:

  1. A competition is announced to award the ‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize for the year 2022. The Prize consists of a plate, a certificate and the amount of 1500 €. The winner is expected to give a Prize lecture during EPSC2022.
  2. The winner will be selected on the basis of their overall research results in the field of ‘Asteroids: Physics, Dynamics, Modelling and Observations‘. 
  3. Nominations must be sent by email not later than May 1st to the following addresses: michelp@oa.eu, acb@ua.es and david.lucchesi@inaf.it, using the downloadable form.
  4. The nominations for the ‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize can be made by any researcher that works in the field of planetary sciences following the indications in the attached form. Self-nominations are acceptable. The candidates should have international and interdisciplinary collaborations and should be not older than the age of Paolo when he passed away, 47 years, as of 1 May 2022. 
  5. The winner of the Prize will be selected before 20 June 2022 by the ‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize Committee composed of outstanding scientists in planetary sciences, with specific experience in the field. 
  6. The Prize Committee will consider all the nominations, but it will be entitled to autonomously consider other candidates.

To honour the memory and the outstanding figure of Paolo Farinella (1953-2000), an extraordinary scientist and person, a Prize has been established in recognition of significant contributions in the fields of interest of Paolo, which spanned from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularisation, security in space, weapon control and disarmament.

The Prize has been proposed during the ‘International Workshop on Paolo Farinella, the scientist and the man‘, held in Pisa in 2010.

Previous recipients of the ‘Paolo Farinella Prize’ were:

‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize homepage.

Light up the sky of the world – Expo in Dubai

Light up the sky of the world – Expo in Dubai

On March 16, 2022Let’s light up the skies of the world took place in the Italian Pavillion of the 2020 EXPO in Dubai. The event, organised by OAE Center Italy and INAF, was constituted by two different moments: a hands-on laboratory for the pupils of local schools, and a roundtable on the topic Astronomy for Teaching: from theory to practice, which took place both in person and in live streaming.

The team organizing the event was composed by Caterina BoccatoStefano SandrelliAlessandra Zanazzi and Livia Giacomini, with the support of the staff of the Italian Pavillion, led by Lorenzo Micheli. The INAF team was also supported by Marcos Valdes, CEO of VIS (Virtual Immersions in Science), who, in the course of event, presented Moon Landing VR, a virtual-reality 360° video to live the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

In the teaching lab, called Let’s light up the skies of the world, about twenty girls from the GEMS Al Khaleej International School, an International school based in Dubai, lit up the stars with LEDs and paper circuits, inventing their own constellations and connecting them to the legends and myths of different cultures of the world. They were led, in addition to the INAF team, by two teachers – Ruba Tarabay, STEAM Coordinator and Responsible for junior secondary classes, and Mohammed Kheder, Astronomy teacher.

In this laboratory, we reason on the fact that constellations do not exist, because they are formed by stars which are not connected to each other,’ Alessandra Zanazzi say. ‘However, constellations are important from the practical point of view, as a reference in order to measure both time and seasons. They also have an important cultural meaning, because all peoples of the world have always observed the sky and connected the dots of the stars to form drawings of what was important for their culture. In the laboratory, we started building a paper circuit, so as to light up a constellation made of LEDs, taking inspiration from a teaching proposal developed by the INAF Play Group. Then, based on the intercultural activities “Cieli del mondo” [World Skies] who inspired several proposals of EduINAF, each participant was free to give vent to their own creativity, overlaying on “official” constellations, the ones coming from different cultural traditions, or of their own design. Here in Dubai, we saw dromedaries, butterflies, and desert oasis being drawn…’

In the second part of the morning, a roundtable took place with Markus Poessel, Responsible for the IAU-OAE Office, Stefano Sandrelli and Sara Ricciardi of the OAE Center Italy, Hamid Al-Naimiy and Ilias Fernini of SAASST (Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Sciences & Technology) and Pedro Russo of Leiden University/Ciência Viva.

Stefano Sandrelli, Director of the new OAE Center Italy says: ‘We are happy to be here today, because the theme of the Dubai EXPO is sustainability. The world can only be sustainable if it has at its heart a culture based on hospitality, on the mutual respect for differences and on true and profound dialogue. That is why the main issue of the roundtable is the codesign, which OAE Center Italy is carrying out with all the countries bordering the Mediterranean. In this project, each country proposes activities addressed to primary school pupils, which are later discussed and modified together. All this will result in a teacher training course which is going to be organized in the island of Lampedusa next summer.

Enjoy the photo-gallery of the event and the voices of the protagonists.

Light up the skies!

Banner image credit: INAF

Call for Farinella Prize 2022

Call for 12th ‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize, 2022

To honour the memory and the outstanding figure of Paolo Farinella (1953-2000), an extraordinary scientist and person, a Prize has been established in recognition of significant contributions in the fields of interest of Paolo, which spanned from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularisation, security in space, weapon control and disarmament.

The Prize has been proposed during the ‘International Workshop on Paolo Farinella, the scientist and the man‘, held in Pisa in 2010.

Previous recipients of the ‘Paolo Farinella Prize’ were:

The 12th Paolo Farinella Prize will be awarded to a young scientist with outstanding contributions in the field of planetary science concerning ‘Asteroids: Physics, Dynamics, Modelling and Observations‘, including theoretical, modelling, experimental and observational work on asteroids. The award winner will be honoured during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada (Spain).

For the 12th ‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize the terms and rules are as follows:

  1. A competition is announced to award the ‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize for the year 2022. The Prize consists of a plate, a certificate and the amount of 1500 €. The winner is expected to give a Prize lecture during EPSC2022.
  2. The winner will be selected on the basis of their overall research results in the field of ‘Asteroids: Physics, Dynamics, Modelling and Observations‘. 
  3. Nominations must be sent by email not later than May 1st to the following addresses: michelp@oa.eu, acb@ua.es and david.lucchesi@inaf.it, using the downloadable form.
  4. The nominations for the ‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize can be made by any researcher that works in the field of planetary sciences following the indications in the attached form. Self-nominations are acceptable. The candidates should have international and interdisciplinary collaborations and should be not older than the age of Paolo when he passed away, 47 years, as of 1 May 2022. 
  5. The winner of the Prize will be selected before 20 June 2022 by the ‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize Committee composed of outstanding scientists in planetary sciences, with specific experience in the field. 
  6. The Prize Committee will consider all the nominations, but it will be entitled to autonomously consider other candidates.

‘Paolo Farinella’ Prize homepage.