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The Europlanet Iberian Hub is proud to announce the winners of the first planetary early-career prizes in Spain & Portugal: 

"Abraham Zacut" Award
Best Iberian PhD Thesis in Planetary Sciences & Exploration

  • Winner: Jennifer Huidobro

  • Thesis Title: ”Exploring Martian and Lunar Geochemistry through the study of meteorites, analogs, laboratory simulation, and mission data analysis”.
  • Directors: Juan Manuel Madariaga Mota & Julene Aramendia Gutiérrez
  • Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU)
 

"Pedro Nunes" Award
Best Iberian Master’s Thesis in Planetary Sciences & Exploration

  • Winner: Vasco Cardoso

  • Master's Thesis Title: "Collisional Evolution of Jupiter Trojans"
  • Tutors: Nuno Peixinho & Paula Benavidez
  • Universidade de Coimbra & Universidad de Alicante
   

These awards are named after historical astronomers from Spain and Portugal, who lived and worked in both countries, serving as role models of Iberian synergy and collaboration. Their astronomical and instrumental contributions played a key role in the maritime navigation era and enabled historical discoveries of planetary importance.

We thank all the candidates for their participation and for the high quality of the works presented in this competition, which we hope will serve as motivation for the new generation of planetary scientists and engineers in Spain and Portugal.


To honor 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 popularization, security in space, weapon control and disarmament. 

The call for nominations for the 13th edition is now open. The 13th Paolo Farinella Prize will be awarded to a young scientist with outstanding contributions in the field of planetary science concerning “From superbolides to meteorites: physics and dynamics of small planetary impactors” hence including also the study of meteor showers and of the cratering events on the solid bodies of the solar system: theoretical, modelling, experimental and observational work. The award winner will be honored during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2023, which will be held as a joint meeting with the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) in San Antonio (Texas, USA). 

For the 13th “Paolo Farinella” Prize, the terms and rules are as follows: 

1. A competition is announced to award the “Paolo Farinella” Prize for the year 2023. The prize consists of a plate, a certificate and the amount of 1500 €. The winner is expected to give a Prize lecture during EPSC 2023. 

2. The winner will be selected on the basis of his/her overall research results in the field of ” From superbolides to meteorites: physics and dynamics of small planetary impactors” – hence including also the study of meteor showers and of the cratering events on the solid bodies of the solar system. 

3. Nominations must be sent by email not later than May 10th to the following addresses: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., using the form downloadable from the following link: https://www.europlanet-society.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/CALL-Paolo-Farinella-Prize-2023.pdf

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 downloadable 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 May 1st, 2023. 

5. The winner of the prize will be selected before June 20 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. 

More about the Farinella Prize


 


Dear Europlanet members, dear researchers and science communicators,

To celebrate the launch of ESA’s JUICE mission, Europlanet is releasing a new collection of free educational resources themed around icy moons in our Solar System. We are excited to release this new set of resources and lessons. We encourage you to discover them and let us know what you thought of them.

Please see the announcement below and share it as much as possible.

It is important for the sustainability of our outreach activities that the Europlanet community uses and promotes the resources we create. We are counting on you to make this release a success :)

We hope that science communicators, educators and teachers will have the opportunity to use the resources and share their feedback with us!

Best,
Ulysse Pedreira-Segade
Education Officer for Europlanet

https://www.europlanet-society.org/outreach/educational-resources-the-icy-moons-collection/

https://www.europlanet-society.org/juices-adventure-begins/

https://www.europlanet-society.org/outreach/educational-resources/


 


A Golden Age of Collaborations

Join the webinar on 31st may 2022, 14:00 CEST

Astronomy is one of the few sciences where non-professional scientists equipped only with modest means can acquire data that opens new discoveries. In recent years professional astronomers have become more aware of the immense potential offered by professional and amateur collaborations, and a vast number of citizen science projects have flourished. These projects engage not only amateur astronomers, but also the general public who can actively participate in the scientific endeavour.

In this webinar, Ricardo Hueso will review some success stories in professional and amateur collaborations in planetary science including the ever-expanding field of exoplanets. A look forward to new missions and large telescopes in the next decade indicates that the golden age of Pro-Am collaborations in Solar System astronomy is far from its end, and that new projects will largely benefit from collaborations with the public. The Europlanet Society and Europlanet 2024 RI promote many of these collaborations through various of their different programs including the access to the Europlanet Telescope Network.

The webinar is led by Ricardo Hueso (Europlanet Society Executive Board)
Register for this event by completing your:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6Zn5zg8LQm6-1LeoabajeA


 


Pro-Am Comet Community (Hybrid) Workshop

First Announcement and Call for Applications and Abstracts

10 – 12 June 2022, Prague

PROGRAMME


 


 

1: Call for a Medium-size and a Fast mission opportunity in ESA's Science Programme

The ESA Director of Science solicits the scientific community in ESA's Member States for proposals for both a "Fast" mission opportunity (to be launched in the 2030-2031 timeframe) and for a Medium mission opportunity (to be launched around 2037).  The new long-term scientific plan - Voyage 2050 - for the Science Programme of the European Space Agency (ESA), has been issued in June 2021, following a broad consultation of the scientific community and a peer review process, with final recommendations issued by an independent scientific Senior Committee. The plan includes three Large (L) missions in selected science themes (Moons of the Giant Planets, From Temperate Exoplanets to the Milky Way, and New Physical Probes of the Early Universe) and a set of Medium (M) and Fast (F) missions. The definition of the F and M space missions is based on a competitive, peer-reviewed selection process. Even though the Voyage 2050 plan identifies a set of possible themes for the Medium missions, proposals in all fields of space science will be considered, with no prejudice.

Full details can be found at:  https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/call-for-missions-2021/
===========


2: Call for Membership in the Expert Committee for the Large mission covering the science theme “Moons of the Giant Planets”

The Director of Science at the European Space Agency (ESA) has issued a Call for Membership in the Expert Committee for the Large mission covering the science theme “Moons of the Giant Planets” that will support the initial definition of space mission concepts to fulfil the goals set for the “Moons of the Giant Planets” science theme.  This is the first scientific theme identified in the new long-term scientific plan (Voyage 2050) for the ESA Science Programme for the large mission following Athena and LISA. “Moons of the Giant Planets” addresses issues such as habitability, biosignatures, prebiotic chemistry, etc., to be implemented through a planetary probe to one of the moons of either Jupiter or Saturn.

Deadline for receipt of applications is 18 January 2022

Full details can be found at:  https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/call-for-expert-committee-for-moons-of-the-giant-planets/
===========

I would be grateful if you could bring these two Calls to the attention of the Spanish space science community. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have about these.


 



February 9 - 11, 2022
 

Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure project and the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy of Vilnius University are pleased to announce the international conference „Europlanet Telescope Network Science Workshop“. 

The Europlanet Telescope Network (EPN-TN), launched in 2020,  is a network of small telescope facilities to support planetary science observations by professional and amateur astronomers. The EPN-TN currently comprises 16 observatories with 46 telescopes ranging from 40 cm to 2 m in size. The network can be accessed free of charge to carry out projects on a wide variety of scientific studies about the Solar System and exoplanets, as well as related astronomical investigations. 

The goal of this workshop is to encourage community-led proposals and to highlight scientific results achieved with EPN-TN and other medium size and small telescopes. We invite interested astronomers and amateurs to participate, to learn more about  the instruments offered, their capabilities, and scientific potential.

The EPN-TN is operated by the EUROPLANET 2024 Research Infrastructure project which is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.

Sessions will be distributed over three half days. They will be dedicated accordingly: 

Day 1 -  Solar System planets
Day 2 -  Exoplanets
Day 3 -  Minor Solar System Bodies

The sessions will be followed by brainstorming meetings on the Discort platform. 

Registration free of charge and with no deadline. 

Participants are encouraged to submit a short abstract describing the science questions and topics they would like to address with EPN-TN. We anticipate a talk length of 12+3 min for contributed presentations and by 2-3 min for poster presentations. 

The deadlines for abstract submissions:

oral presentations  - 7 January 2022 23:59:00 UTC  (notification of acceptance by 14 January 2022)
poster presentations - 21 January 2022 23:59:00 UTC

For Application and registration form follow this link


 



On May 15, a virtual workshop on the Europlanet Telescope Network (ETN) and access to the network by amateur astronomers was held. The workshop was jointly organized by the Europlanet 2024 RI, the Europlanet Society Regional Hub of Spain and Portugal, the Spanish Astronomy Society (SEA) and the Federation of Astronomical Associations of Spain (FAAE) with the additional collaboration of Calar Alto Observatory in Spain. The workshop had the active participation of some 70 people from Spain, Portugal, France and also from Latin America.
 
The information sessions, dissemination, practical application writing workshop and colloquium, were completed with a night of live remote observation with one of the ETN telescopes, the 1.23m telescope at Calar Alto observatory, during which observations were counducted of two comets, (C2021A1 and C2017K2), the transit of the exoplanet WASP-14b, and Saturn and its satellites covering examples of different topics open to the ETN program within the Pro-Am framework.
 
 
(1) - ZIP file. If you have problems with the direct download, click the right mouse button and select 'download linked file'.
 

Saturn and moons. Single shot of 0.01 sec. close to sunrise on 05/16/2021 at 04:08:21 (UT)  

 
 
Recorded sessions

 

During the development of the night session, with observation objectives previously proposed by some of the participants, the raw data was shown, (without calibrating), as it was being generated which, in addition to its undoubted formative and didactic nature, has made this practical session much more enjoyable and highlights the potential of using telescopes, which are generally not available to amateur astronomers, when they become accessible to them.

Many amateur astronomers, who have extensive experience in astronomical data observations and analysis, can make valuable contributions to Pro-Am collaborations from telescopes in the ETN network.

 

   

Transit of the exoplanet WASP-14b. Images (not calibrated) treated with FotoDif by Mercè Correa (Sabadell Astronomical Association).

  

 

 

Comet C / 2021A1 astrometry, made from one of the images during the live session by Arnaud Leroy (Société Astronomique de France (SAF), Uranoscope de l'Ile de France).

 
However, one of the difficulties they may encounter is little or no experience in the subtleties of writing proposals for access to these resources. The main objective of this workshop has been to counteract this disadvantage and has dedicated the second of its sessions to this, in which the public information of the proposals approved so far has been analyzed and examples of studies that can be carried out by fans have been shown. with the telescopes of the network, highlighting the scientific contribution of these observations. Likewise, both the open call and the financing application form and the information that must be reflected in it under the appropriate approach to be accepted have been explained in detail.
 
 
A good example of the possibilities of the project are the results obtained during the practical session with the Calar Alto telescope, (in the picture above).
 
Comets C / 2017K2 (left) and C / 2021A1 (right). Data analyzed by Ramón Navés and Montse Campàs, (Obs. Montcabrer-MPC 213). The images stack 25 and 21 exposures of 2 minutes respectively, taken on the night of 05/16/2021 with the 1.23m and the CCD DLR-MKIII from Calar Alto during the workshop. The colored boxes represent the isophots in both cases.
 
 
 
 
Transit of the exoplanet WASP-14b based on 2-second exposures with filter I. Data analyzed and calibrated by Mercè Correa, Ramón Navés and Montse Campàs with the Hops software of the ExoClock project from the 1,189 shots taken during the workshop.
 

 

 


workshop in Spanish


Virtual Workshop on the use of the Europlanet Telescope Network for amateur astronomers.

The Europlanet 2024 RI project funds access to and use of a network of telescopes (the Europlanet Telescope Network) for the astronomical observation of Solar System objects and exoplanets. One of the objectives of this network is to train and support amateur astronomers in the observations of Solar System objects (planets, asteroids, comets ...), encouraging their participation in Pro-Am collaborations within the scientific fields of the Solar System and exoplanets research.

On May 15, 2021 (Saturday) we will organize an virtual workshop dedicated to the amateur community, which aims to demonstrate the use of the telescopes within the Europlanet Telescope nNetwork to amateur astronomers. The workshop will be held in Spanish and will use the Calar Alto 1.23m telescope for practical demonstrations showing its remote use.

It is necessary to make prior registration.  Contacts:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 



 


We are Astróbriga, the astronomical group of Ciudad Rodrigo.

We have a dream: to build the first model of the solar system in three dimensions and to scale in Spain. Where? In the region of Ciudad Rodrigo.

We are talking about a solar system so large that Pluto will be on the border with Portugal. We are also talking about a comprehensive project, capable of providing economic alternatives in the area, stimulating the intellectual curiosity of youth and creating new vocations.

A project that will be the pride of the entire region.

  • The project consists of establishing a reproduction of the solar system, to scale, in the Ciudad Rodrigo region.
  • The model will not be an end in itself, but a tool to carry out activities aimed at promoting the region on a tourist level and developing educational and scientific dissemination activities in the area.
  • Not only will it be the first permanent model, in three dimensions and to scale in Spain, but it will also be, without a doubt, one of the most ambitious and complete in the world.

 

 

 

The Sun - With a diameter of 4.80m and composed of about 2000 brass hands, the Sun will be located in the Rotunda of the Fat Tree, and Pluto will be located about 25 kilometers away. To give you an idea, the diameter of the Sun of most of the scale models of solar systems that you can find in the world rotates between 1 and 2 meters.

The planets and their moons (15 in total) will float on monoliths made up of a Corten steel base topped by an armored glass cube. Each element of the system will be accompanied by an informative poster and a signage that will show where the other elements of the model are. The monoliths will be equipped with an internal lighting system that will allow you to visit the system at night.

 

A project with a pedagogical vocation

Education is one of the priority elements of the project. In fact, several teachers are actively engaged in the project.Within this framework, educational tools are being developed that educational centers will be able to use, relating astronomy to other disciplines such as physics, mathematics, visual arts, biology, history, etc ... Three educational centers in the region are officially supporting the project: the IES Fray Diego Tadeo, CEIP Miróbriga, and IESO Las Batuecas (La Alberca). Also, the Association of Tourist Guides of Ciudad Rodrigo will propose specific visits for educational centers.

 

 

Support from the scientific community

Astróbriga has the valuable support of Javier Rodriguez-Pacheco Martín (Universidad de Alcalá), Antonia Varela, (researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and director of the Starlight Foundation), Sebastián Sánchez Prieto (Universidad de Alcalá), Fernando Buitrago (Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço de Lisboa), as well Laura Delgado Martín, Diego Corrochano Fernández, Pablo Herrero Teijón, Santiago Andrés Sánchez y Camilo Ruiz Méndez, all members of the Departamento de Didáctica de la Matemática y de las Ciencias Experimentales de la Universidad de Salamanca, they have also expressed their willingness to do outreach work within the framework of the project.

Support from other institutions

We also have the support of the Museo de Ciencias de Valladolid, la Federación Asociaciones Astronómicas de España, la Revista Astronomía, la Fundación Starlight, as well the Asociación para la Enseñanza de la Astronomía, la Organización Salmantina de Astronáutica y del Espacio or the Asociación Estudiantil de Astronomía Supernova. In addition to the Heritage Commission of the Province of Salamanca, the Ayuntamiento de Ciudad Rodrigo, FECYT, GMV and a variety of local and private companies and businesses that you can join.


Dear observers:

During these days at the end of the year, a unique astronomical event is taking place with the great conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn that will reach a relative distance of just over 6 arc minutes on the night of December 21. This very close planetary conjunction has not occurred with this closeness since 1623 and the next comparable conjunction will be in 2080. Even with a modest telescope it will be possible to see both planets, the rings of Saturn and the main satellites of both planets in the same visual field. As you know, both planets are low in our night skies at a maximum height of less than 30º and visible at the beginning of the night towards the West.

From the Spanish-Portuguese node of the Europlanet Society, the Spanish Astronomy Society, the Federation of Astronomical Associations of Spain and Astronomers without Borders we are organizing a set of activities to celebrate this astronomical event and the pleasure of night observation. We think that the joint vision of Jupiter and Saturn is an inspiring image, a true meeting of giants capable of raising our gaze towards the sky. We would very much like to have your observation of both planets. Whether you are a fan of deep sky astrophotography, or if you prefer planetary photography or even night landscapes, we invite you to observe these planets during the next few nights and send us your observations to the photo gallery that we are preparing.

The activities of this gathering of giants are avalaible here and include events to disseminate on the internet, retransmission of the conjunction by different telescopes on key days, and a gallery of images that we hope to fill with content thanks to your collaboration.

We are especially interested in photographs that show the conjunction on different dates as both planets gradually get closer to each other until they end only 6 minutes apart on December 21 to progressively move away from then on. If you wish to send us your images, please send your photographs to Joaquin Alvaro <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> along with your name. The images will be available on this website and if they are very numerous we will make a complete gallery and a gallery of selected images.

A cordial greeting.

Miguel Ángel López Valverde, Joaquín Álvaro y Ricardo Hueso Alonso (Sociedad Europlanet)
Blanca Troughton (Federación de Asociaciones Astronómicas de España)
Iñaki Ordóñez-Etxeberria (Sociedad Española de Astronomía)
Victoriano Canales Cerdá (Astronomers without Borders)
Ana Ulla (Sociedad Española de Astronomía)
Amelia Ortiz Gil (Nodo de divulgación de la Unión Astronómica Internacional)

 


 

 


What is a planetary conjunction?

A conjunction is an astronomical event that occurs when two stars have a very small apparent distance between them when they are observed from Earth. The conjunctions occur between the planets, the Moon and the Sun, because they are objects that gradually change their position in the sky, either by their own movement or by the movement of the Earth. Conjunctions are relatively frequent phenomena because all objects in the Solar System follow movements apparently along a line in the sky, the same for all, which we call "ecliptic." This is because all the planets and objects in the Solar System are approximately in one plane, as a consequence of their formation process, about 4,500 million years ago, when the nebula of dust and gas that gave us origin contracted by gravity. In the case of planetary conjunctions it is necessary that the Earth and the two planets that are part of the conjunction are aligned.


Does the fact that they look very close together in the sky mean that they also get closer to each other?

No. The approximation between objects in conjunction is a visual phenomenon and does not imply that both objects are close to each other. In this conjunction the physical distance between Jupiter and Saturn reached its minimum distance on October 12, 2020, with a separation of almost 730 million kilometers. However, the greatest visual proximity between the two planets will occur on December 21. This is because not only the movements of Jupiter and Saturn come into play, but also the translational movement of the Earth and its alignment with the other two planets.


When was this conjunction last seen, and when will it be seen again?

The conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn is periodic, and occurs approximately every 20 years. However, the last time there was a chance to see such a close conjunction between the two planets was in 1623. To see a conjunction at such a short distance again, we will have to wait until 2080.

- relative positions from December 15 to December 27 -

How can I observe the conjunction?

Jupiter and Saturn are bright planets that can be seen as bright stars without the need for optical instruments. The days leading up to December 21, the two planets can be observed with the naked eye in a very close position in the sky. On December 21 it will be convenient to use binoculars to distinguish them from each other. If you have a simple telescope, you will be able to distinguish, in addition to the planets, the rings of Saturn and the largest of the moons of both planets.

Where do I have to look?

The conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn will be visible at dusk with both objects at elevations of about 20 degrees above the horizon at the beginning of the night. Looking west, both planets can be seen as two very close bright stars or a single, very bright point. With binoculars, the distance between both objects will be observed well and some of their satellites can be seen.

And if it's cloudy, will I be able to see it before or after December 21?

Yes, the conjunction can be observed the days before and after, although the distance between Jupiter and Saturn will not be so small. In any case, if atmospheric conditions do not allow us to observe the conjunction from our location, we can resort to online observation of the event. For this, from this same page we will facilitate the transmission of the conjunction from different professional and amateur observatories.

I am Pisces, can this planetary alignment affect me in any way?

Yes. If you observe the conjunction with binoculars you will see how celestial mechanics works live, and you will see in detail this special and beautiful event that astronomy gives us. You will also observe that the firmament is already wonderful enough that it is totally unnecessary to invent or believe in unfounded astrological ideas. It also works if you are a Sagittarius.

 

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