& Stakeholders

Planetary Sciences

in Spain and Portugal




Europlanet Society


Ground Based Telescopes


Hub Activities



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.




Europlanet Science Congress 2021

Submit your abstract before 26 May 2021

Dear colleagues, 

We would like to remind you that the deadline for submiting your abstract to EPSC2021 is next week, on 26 May 2021, 13:00 CEST. This is a strict deadline and will not be extended.

EPSC2021 is the second EPSC to be held as a virtual meeting. While we look forward to face-to-face meeting in the future (2022 in Granada) we believe that virtual meetings are likely to play an increasingly important role in supporting our community, widening participation from under-represented groups and at the same time addressing the global challenge of climate change and reduce our carbon footprint. Building on the success and learning lessons from feedback on our first virtual meeting in 2020, EPSC2021 will have a hybrid format of live sessions and asynchronous scientific oral and poster presentations with an emphasis on live interactions and discussions. The ethos for EPSC2021 is to create a simple, flexible, and inclusive virtual meeting that provides multiple opportunities for interaction, scientific discussion, and networking.

The Scientific Organizing Committee of the EPSC2021 invites all planetary scientists to participate in the congress, submit contributions to the topical sessions and share their research with colleagues and friends.

The current list of sessions is organized around the following Programme Groups:

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

Detailed instructions on the abstract submission process can be found at:

The scientific programme and the abstract submission tool are accessible at:

Please browse the list of sessions and identify the session that most closely matches your area of interest; your abstract can be submitted directly to that session.

You may see all deadlines & milestones of the conference at the following website:

Please note that an abstract processing fee (APF) of €50 gross per abstract is levied and this is separate from any participation fees. The participation fees have been increased to cover the actual costs of organizing a virtual meeting (EPSC2020 ran at a deficit last year), but are still much lower than for past physical meetings, particularly when travel and accommodation are taken into account. Bursaries will be offered to support students, early career professionals, educators, outreach providers, amateur astronomers and researchers from under-represented states. For more details, see:

A separate online request form for splinter meetings & workshops, as well as tutorials and tools for the online presentations will be available soon on the meeting web site.

Please forward this message to colleagues who may be interested.
We look forward to welcoming you to the virtual EPSC2021 in September.

Call for Nominations of Paolo Farinella Prize 2021 now open

** DEADLINE: May 15, 2021, 23:59 UT **

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 one of the fields of interest of Paolo, which spanned from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularisation, security in space, weapons control and disarmament.

The prize was proposed during the ‘International Workshop on Paolo Farinella, the scientist and the man‘, held in Pisa in 2010, and the 2021 edition is supported by the Europlanet Society.

The eleventh Paolo Farinella Prize 2021 will be awarded to a young scientist with outstanding contributions in the field of planetary science concerning ‘Terrestrial Planets and Super-Earths’, including work on the physics, dynamics and observations of terrestrial planets inside or outside of our solar system. The award winner will be honoured during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021.


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 very happy to inform you that the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Communication working group is giving all Bachelor's, Master's and PhD students involved in planetary science the opportunity to showcase their research through a 4-minute video contest at this EPSC 2021 called #PlanetaryScience4All.

The deadline for submissions is the 1 August 2021. All the submitted videos will be shown during dedicated sessions during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021, which is being held as a virtual meeting from 13 to 24 September 2021. The winner will be announced at the end of the virtual conference.

#PlanetaryScience4All challenges students to explain their research project to a general public audience in just 4 minutes. The videos will be judged on scientific content, communication skills and creativity.

The winner of the competition will receive free registration for EPSC 2022, which will be held in Granada, Spain. The winning video will be also shared via the Europlanet website, newsletters and social media and will be used to inspire young people in future EPEC outreach activities.

Entries are welcome on all planetary science-related topics (atmosphere, surfaces, models, analogues, simulations etc) applied to any planetary bodies (planets, asteroids, comets, meteorites, exoplanets).

For further information on how to submit and related FAQs, please visit

If you have any questions about the #PlantaryScience4All video contest, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Looking forward to know your research via this contest ! 


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.


- links of interest

- follow us on twitter

- Collaborating observatories

  • on-line broadcasts
    (provisional advance - information will be updated).

  • There will be a centralized session through the Zoom platform (12.21.2020 - 6:30 PM CET [5:30 PM UT]), with simultaneous connections to the different observatories.

  • You can follow the session on the FAAE YouTube channel.

  • You can also independently access the different channels of the related observatories.


- Planetario de Pamplona && Red Astronavarra Sarea
Observación y retransmisión en directo - Canal YouTube.

Al tiempo se proyectará sobre el edificio del planetario la noche del 21 de diciembre.
Contacto: Fernando Jáuregui <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Observatorio de Guirguillano (Navarra):
Observación y retransmisión. Canal YouTube
Contacto: Iñaki Ordóñez-Etxeberria <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Observatorio del Aula Espazio Gela (Bilbao):
Observación y transmisión en directo. Días previos y el 21D.

Telescopio reflector de 20" y refractor de 12".

Contacto: Santiago Pérez-Hoyos <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> y Ricardo Hueso <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Observatorio del Museo de las Ciencias de CLM && AstroCuenca (Cuenca)
Observación y transmisión en directo. Días previos y el 21D.
Telescopio 16" + CCD: QHY90A y QH5-III. Canal YouTube AstroCuenca - Canal YouTube MCCM.
Contacto: J. Álvaro <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Sociedad Malagueña de Astronomía (Málaga).
Observación y transmisión en directo. Canal YouTube.
Telescopio C11 && ZWO ASI224MC.
Contacto: Juan Carlos Aznar <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Observatorio Astronómico de la Hita (La Puebla de Almoradiel - Toledo).
Observación y transmisión en directo. Canal YouTube.
Contacto: Faustino Organero <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Complejo Astronómico Municipio de El Espinar -CAME - (Segovia) - Asoc. Hespérides
Observación y transmisión en directo. Canal de Youtube
Contacto: Juanjo García <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Astróbriga (Ciudad Rodrigo - Salamanca)
Observación y transmisión en directo. Canal de Youtube.
Telescopio C SCT 9.25 && ZWO ASI 290MC

Contacto: Óscar Corvo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Observatorio Astronómico de la Sagra - (Puebla de Don Fabrique - Granada)
Telescopio C14 (f/2.1) - QHY174. Canal YouTube
Contacto: Emilio J. García <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

- Observatorio Lago Alqueva (OLA) - Monsaraz (Portugal) - 17:30 h UT
Canal web

- Nayoro Observatory of Japan - 08:30 h UT
Transmisión en streaming. Canal YouTube.
Telescopio 1.600 mm DF 19.200 mm

- Nagoya City Science Museum of Japan - 08:15 h UT
Telescope and camera: 20-cm refracting telescope, F/10, EOS R
URL of broadcasting:

Koyama Astronomical Observatory of Kyoto Sangyo University - 08:30 UT
Telescope and camera: 12-cm refracting telescope, digital camera or CMOS camera
URL of broadcasting:

Akashi Municipal Planetarium - 08:30 UT
URL of broadcasting:

Minami-aso Luna Observatory - 08:30 UT
URL of broadcasting:

- Virtual Telescope Project of Italy - 16:30 h UT

- Observatorio Colegio San Antonio - (Puerto Rico) - 21:00 h UT
Telescopio Celestron Edge HD Schmidt-Cassegrain 280 mm && Orion Sky Quest XX 16" + ZWO ASI 120MC
Canal webinar/zoom
Contacto: Merry Manso <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>


  • If you have an observatory (amateur / professional), you are going to observe the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21st and you plan to broadcast the observation through an online channel, you can register your activity here and we will broadcast it in our centralized session of collaborating observatories, within our technical possibilities.


- Amateurs / Astrophotographers 

  • The joint vision of Jupiter and Saturn is an inspiring image, a true Gathering of Giants capable of raising our gaze towards the sky. We would 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 gallery of photographs that we are preparing.

  • We are especially interested in the 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 that moment. If you wish to send us your images, please send your photographs to J. Álvaro, <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>, together with your name and data of interest, including the date / time of capture, (we recommend also including an identifying watermark). The images will be available on this web page and, if they are very numerous, we will make a complete gallery and another of selected images. 


© Giorgia Hofer

Conjunction video (Maarten Roos - VOC for the EPSC 2021)


  • Observation of Jupiter and Saturn with binoculars and telescope.

In this document.pdf you will be able to find useful information for observing the two planets and their satellites, as well as useful tips for recording observations and a file to record them. It is also recommended to attend the workshops and talks that have been organized to celebrate the event.

  • Tips for observing Jupiter and Saturn with the naked eye.

From the end of November to the end of December 2020, it is very easy to locate these two giant planets of the Solar System. Looking at sunset towards the southwest, where the Sun has set on the horizon ... (read more)

Jupiter and Saturn closer than Algedi and Dabih in Capricorn. They will get as close as the double Algedi optics, whose two stars are 6.6 arc minutes apart, just wait until December 21. (Click on the image to enlarge).



- WorkShops - (View recorded sessions - in Spanish)

  • Friday, December 11 - 18:00 h
    • planetary drawing workshop, by Leonor Ana Hernández (AstroHita)

Intended for all beginners and advanced astronomers of all ages. Its purpose is to help improve as observers and obtain a personal record of these bodies in the Solar System. In this workshop we will learn how to organize an optimal observation of the planets to make the most of the night, we will see the necessary materials for their registration by hand and the most used techniques to ensure that our final work is faithful to what we observe.

How to optimize the night of observation? What materials are essential? What details to look at? We will learn how we should apply the pencil or use the eraser, as well as we will know some tools to get the fine details. The important thing is to bring us an unforgettable visual memory and put what we have observed on paper. The result is always surprising.

  • Monday, December 14 - 18:00 h 
    • planetary astrophotography

 "The observation of the giant planets and the conjunction of 21D", by Santiago Pérez-Hoyos (UPV/EHU)

In this workshop we will interactively review some essential tools for observing and processing images of the giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn, in order to prepare for the next conjunction on December 21

"The Great Conjunction", by Carolina Clavijo (ApEA)

From today until next December 21, 2020, we are going to study the great conjunction. We will see how the planets move in the sky, and specifically how Jupiter "approaches" Saturn. This will not happen again for 60 years.



- Outreach - [View recorded session - in Spanish] 

  • Friday, December 18 - 18:00 h  
    • conferences

"Giants of the Solar System: Exotic and immense sculptors of our planetary system", by Ricardo Hueso Alonso (UPV/EHU)

"On the hunt for the space Snark. On Exploring the Planetary Oceans with Empty Maps", by Olga Prieto Ballesteros (CAB-INTA-CSIC)

    • round table and debate

Miguel Ángel López Valverde - IAA
Amelia Ortiz Gil - IAU
Ricardo Hueso Alonso - UPV/EHU
Olga Prieto Ballesteros - CAB-INTA-CSIC
modera: Mabel Angulo


- Poster and Resources


  • If you participate or collaborate with activities of the event and want to use the poster designed for the occasion, you can download it by clicking on the image.

-   December 21, 2020 - 18:27 (UTC)   -

The last months of 2020 Jupiter and Saturn have dominated the night sky, being an unmistakable visual reference. Now, as the year ends and as their positions approach twilight, they will end up offering a final show: the Great Conjunction, a "Gathering of Giants." Their closest apparent approach, on the line of visual projection from Earth, will occur on December 21 at 18:27 (UTC), at which time the angular separation of these gas giants will be only 6.11 minutes arc. The image that we will have in the sky will be the one contemplated by the simulation of the attached figure (click on the image to enlarge), with an unprecedented dance of satellites in this reduced visual field.

A conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is not exceptional, but it is unusual. It can occur 4 or 5 times every 100 years. This time it is really special because his lineup is very close. As can be seen in the attached image, (which collects approximations for 2 centuries), another similar conjunction will not occur until the year 2080. The previous one of these characteristics took place on July 16, 1623.

But not only December 21 can be of interest to astrophotographers, amateurs and astronomers in general. The observations of days before and immediately afterwards will also be interesting, in which both planets will combine their approach until reaching the maximum. (See also next image).

To facilitate and channel the desirable activities on the occasion of this particular event, the entities listed on the right bank have joined forces in order to join forces and offer means, carry out actions, including dissemination, and encourage the participation of professionals and amateurs in the same. It is intended that these pages collect and be a reference for these activities, in addition to serving as a communication channel between all Pro-Am who can and wish to participate in this "Giants Meeting".


Access to recorded sessions

One of the most significant events of the Europlanet Society is its Annual Congress (EPSC), which usually gathers over 1,000 participants in each edition. This year, 2020, the venue should have been Granada, at the end of September. But the exceptional circumstances caused by Covid-19 have determined that the development of EPSC2020 will be carried out under the virtual modality format. EPSC2020 is the first time EPSC has been held as a virtual meeting. We believe that virtual meetings are likely to play an increasingly important role in supporting our community, broadening the participation of underrepresented groups, and addressing the global challenge of climate change. EPSC2020 is an opportunity for us to be creative in developing innovative and complementary ways for our community to interact.

The programmatic content of the EPSC will be developed based on two types of events: sessions in real time, "live", distributed in short blocks (maximum of 2 hours) in the morning and afternoon, and video presentations with pre-recorded audiovisual narration. The first ones will take place during the week of September 28 to October 2, (dates initially planned for the congress in its face-to-face format), while the pre-recorded presentations and poster sessions will run from September 21 to October 9.

EPSC meetings span the entire planetary science domain and are distinctively interactive in style, with a wide mix of talks, workshops, and posters, intended to provide a stimulating environment for the community to come together.

For the first time, the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2020 opens its doors to schools and will give students an insight into how contemporary science is done. Teachers and students are invited to join us virtually with their classroom or educational institute (suggested age range 12-18 years or older).

The Diversity Committee of the Europlanet Society, in collaboration with Women in Red and WikiDonne, is organizing an Edit-a-thon during EPSC2020 to highlight diversity within the planetary scientific community.

The 2020 Europlanet Society Congress (# EPSC2020) is inviting schools and space enthusiasts of all ages to get creative and share their otherworldly inspired artwork and performances in a contest called #InspiredByOtherWorlds.

The Europlanet Society Conference (EPSC) has a long tradition of bringing amateur and professional astronomers together with sessions dedicated to amateur astronomy and Pro-Am collaborations. This year the opportunity to have both communities together in the same city is lost, (Granada would have been the case and it will return to it in person in 2022), discussing exciting observations and sharing personal experiences. However, the meeting organizers, along with amateur astronomers deeply involved in the last EPSC meeting, have worked to have the most comprehensive amateur astronomy program ever produced at this meeting.

A list of events is presented here with the invitation to join them to all those interested in planetary sciences from the amateur group. Splinter sessions do not require prior registration and will be organized primarily through the Zoom platform. The keynotes will be available, also open, as lectures on Vímeo after the conference.

To highlight topics such as exoplanets, the Europlanet Telescope Network or the keynote address by Marc Delcroix, which will cover the wide spectrum of Pro-Am collaborations in solar system astronomy.

Events index:

1.- SMW2: Amateur astronomers' ground support for the Juno mission - (This event does not require prior registration)

The Juno mission has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016. Its JunoCam instrument provides the highest resolution images ever obtained of the planet. To understand the temporal and spatial context of these images and the details of Jovian meteorology, Juno relies on global ground support from professional and amateur astronomers. This collaboration has been essential to the interpretation of these outstanding data. Hobbyist astronomers provide images that are used to plan JunoCam high-resolution observations, and citizen scientists process many of the astonishing high-resolution JunoCam images that contribute to mission success. The session will contain talks, questions, and a small panel discussion at the end and is open to Juno scientists, amateur astronomers, and citizen scientists collaborating with the Juno mission. The session will be recorded and available online after the conference.

Session program:

- Jupiter image processing. Christopher Go
- Recent weather events on Jupiter. John H. Rogers (BAA)
- The Juno mission. Glenn S. Orton (JPL)
- JunoCam in Juno. Candice Hansen (PSI)
- Junocam image processing. Kevin M. Gill
- The long-term value of Jupiter data. Arrate Antunano (University of Leicester)

Time: 21 sep 2020 - 18:00 (CEST) | Estimated duration: 1h45 min.

To join the Zoom meeting:

Meeting ID: 849 2433 6526
Access code: 915045

2.- ODAA3: Professional-hobbyist collaborations on small bodies, terrestrial and giant planets, exoplanets, and ground support for space missions.

Brief summary of talks and abstracts on amateur astronomy presentations (16) sent to the conference. This event is part of the meeting and requires to be a registered participant in the meeting. The talks and posters pertaining to this session will be available to registered participants on the meeting website.

Time: 24 sep 2020 - 11:20-11:40 (CEST)

3.- Keynote Lecture: The Growing Reach of Amateur and Professional Collaborations in Planetary Sciences - Marc Delcroix

This will be a live presentation as part of the EPSC plenary program with questions and answers at the end of the talk.
This keynote will be recorded and publicly available on the EPSC Vimeo channel after the meeting.

Time: 29 sep 2020 - 17:00-17:20 (CEST)

4.- SMW4: The Europlanet Telescope Network.

This event does not require registration.

As part of the recently launched Europlanet 2024 research infrastructure, a new collaboration has been initiated between telescopes around the world to provide coordinated observations and rapid responses in support of space missions and in tracking new events. The so-called Europlanet Telescopio Network will thus provide professional scientists and amateur astronomers access to an initial set of 16 telescope installations. Scientists and hobbyists can now apply to visit these facilities. The Europlanet Telescope Network also plans to support the integration of amateur astronomers in planetary sciences, as their observations can be of crucial importance for various scientific areas.

The session will provide an overview of the network, the telescope facilities involved, and discuss support for amateur astronomers in Europe and beyond. The meeting is open to everyone interested in the Europlanet Telescope Network.

Time: 30 sep 2020 - 14:00-16:00 (CEST)

5.- SMW12: The Ariel mission for exoplanets and the support of amateurs.

This event does not require registration.

So far more than 4,000 exoplanets have been discovered, and this number continues to grow rapidly! However, we know very little about them: what are they made of? What are the conditions there? How were they formed and how did they evolve? ESA's M4 mission Ariel will spectroscopically observe around 1,000 exoplanets to further characterize their atmospheres and try to answer these questions.

Exoplanets are one of the few fields in which amateur astronomers and the public can contribute significantly, with observations with small and medium-scale telescopes. In the case of Ariel, small and medium-sized telescopes are valuable for planning observations in the most efficient way possible. To achieve this, a good knowledge of the ephemeris of the planets is needed prior to the launch of Ariel in 2028. While the ephemeris of some planets are being refined on a case-by-case basis, an organized effort to collectively verify or update them when necessary does not exist.

This session will present the Ariel mission and the ExoClock project, an open, integrated and interactive platform for the purpose of producing a confirmed list of ephemeris for the planets that will be observed by Ariel. The project has been developed in such a way as to take full advantage of all available resources: observations reported in the literature, observations from space instruments and, mainly, observations from ground-based telescopes, including professional and amateur observatories. To facilitate inexperienced observers and at the same time achieve homogeneity in the results, we created data collection and validation protocols, educational material and user-friendly interfaces, open to all. ExoClock launched in September 2019 and now has more than 160 participants, mostly amateur astronomers, who have already observed 1,200 transits for 170 exoplanets.

The session will begin with Giovanna Tinetti from UCL, the Ariel Mission Principal Investigator, who will introduce the mission concept and goals and will continue with Athanasia Nikolaou from Sapienza, who will present Ariel's perspectives for small planets. Following this, Anastasia Kokori from UCL, ExoClock Project Coordinator, will share the scope and principles of Project ExoClock, while Martin Crow, an active ExoClock observer from the British Astronomical Association, will share his experience observing exoplanets and participating in ExoClock. . Finally, Angelos Tsiaras from UCL, coordinator of the ExoClock project, will demonstrate how to analyze observations of exoplanets with the specific and easy-to-use tools developed for the project.

The ExoClock project website:
Educational material can be found at:

Time: 28 sep 2020 - 18:00-20:00 (CEST)