Europlanet Society




Hub Activities


Ground Based Telescopes

Panetary Sciences

in Spain and Portugal


Europlanet Society







The Planetary Sciences and Solar System Exploration community is made up of leading professionals in the areas of science, engineering and communication. The common goal is to improve knowledge about the solar system, develop new space exploration missions, and enhance visibility among society for greater relevance and scientific sensitivity.

This interdisciplinary community encompasses not only research on planets, moons, rings, asteroids, comets and other features of our solar system, but also other broader aspects such as astrobiology, the search for new exo-planets or the formation and dynamics of systems. planetariums.

In the technological and engineering area, our community includes several first-rate international instrumentation laboratories and representatives of the Spanish aerospace industry with a presence in practically all the missions of the European (ESA) and American (NASA) space agencies, both in the development of instrumentation and flight components as in the area of ​​ground segment, data processing and operations.

We want to highlight the collaboration of communication professionals and scientific dissemination as main elements of the community to ensure the visibility of planetary sciences in all areas of society, from presence in the media to inclusion in programs education at all levels to improve knowledge of planetary sciences and social and institutional sensitivity.

An important role in this task corresponds to the amateur community, both for their decisive work in the dissemination of planetary sciences through the organization of local events and direct contact with the public, as well as for their capacities for collaboration in Pro-Am projects.

Notice - Request for collaboration - The purpose of this section is to offer as complete a list as possible of the groups, collectives and institutions that, from any of the fields listed above, participate in the development of planetary sciences in Spain and Portugal. We know that the inventory presented below is manifestly incomplete and that this section will therefore be permanently under construction.

To achieve the objective outlined here, it is important to have the help of all those who consider themselves with sufficient reasons to be represented on this website, which is why we request your collaboration by reporting the relevant information to this end. For this purpose, we provide a form model to be completed so that the information and published content are consistent and homogeneous.


Investigation Groups

Internal structure of asteroids and comets.
Collisional evolution of the asteroid belt and the trans-Neptunian belt.
Crater formation in asteroids with microgravity.
Regolith movement in small bodies of the solar system

He develops his main research activity in the observational and theoretical study of the dynamics, meteorology and clouds of planetary atmospheres with special interest in those of the gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) and that of the planet Venus.

He has participated in the analysis of data supplied by different space missions (Voyager 1 & 2, Galileo, Cassini, New Horizons, Hubble Space Telescope) and from numerous observatories on the ground.

Currently participating in the VIRTIS instrument in the European space mission Venus Express. Recently, the GCP has started the development of instrumentation with the design and manufacture together with the IDOM company of PlanetCam-UPV / EHU, a high speed planetary camera for use in telescopes of the 1-2 m class. In addition, he participates in different proposals for the JUICE mission and is also involved in other proposals for space missions.

The group also coordinates the IOPW (International Outer Planets Watch) observation network for which the PVOL (Planetary Virtual Observatory & Laboratory) software tool has been developed to help in the search and selection of planetary observations made by amateur astronomers.

Finally, the GCP has been the promoter of the Master in Science and Space Technology of the UPV / EHU and the Aula EspaZio Gela whose IP is currently its director. The EspaZio Gela Classroom is in charge of the Astronomical Observatory located in the Higher Technical School of Engineering of Bilbao, and the team members are involved in its activities. In the same, practices of various subjects of the Master, Final Master Projects, instrumentation test and observational support for doctoral theses are carried out, in addition to carrying out activities of an informative nature among students and the general public.

We are a group of scientists who work at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, a research center of the Spanish Research Center (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC).

Our main line of research is the study of the atmospheres of the planets of the Solar System in non-LTE conditions. We focus our studies on the atmospheres of Earth, Mars, Venus, Titan and, more recently, exo-atmospheres. We have several collaborations with other research groups and institutions, working with data from international satellite missions.

In our group we work on observations from both Earth and space of the smaller bodies of the Solar System, Trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), asteroids and comets.

The observational work is complemented with the theoretical development of the states of rotation of minor bodies, their interiors, geometry, mass and density. All of this has strong implications for the study of the origin and evolution of the Solar System.

The space mission in which we are currently involved from a scientific point of view is the Rosetta mission (ESA). The scientific exploitation of this mission is aimed at having a better knowledge of the nature of the nucleus and cometary coma. Of the 21 instruments on board Rosetta, members of this subline have participated in the technical development and scientific exploitation of data from OSIRIS (camera) and GIADA (dust detector).

It is a research group dedicated to the study of thermal flux, lithospheric structure and tectonic evolution of terrestrial planets and frozen satellites of the outer Solar System. The study of the thermal and mechanical structure of the lithosphere of a planetary body provides information on how the outer and relatively rigid layers of a planet or satellite respond to the forces to which they are subjected. It also provides information on thermal evolution, and on the changes in global dynamics experienced throughout its evolution. On the other hand, the study of the deformations registered on the surfaces of planetary bodies allows us to know how the internal geodynamic processes are in these bodies and what their evolution has been throughout their geological history. The stress fields that give rise to tectonic deformations have their origin in internal geodynamic processes, that is, they are generated by the processes that govern the loss of internal heat in these bodies. Although the terrestrial planets and many satellites of the outer Solar System, and even many asteroids, have tectonic structures on their surfaces, the processes that created them are still the subject of intense scientific debate.

The next generation of lander missions for the science of the Martian atmosphere.

This research group works on the characterization and analysis of all types of meteorites, with particular emphasis on the most primitive ones (chondrites) that allow us to delve into the initial phases of planetary formation and also on the physical-chemical processes that occurred during the evolution of their parent bodies.

This research group at the University of Huelva focuses mainly on the study of the physicochemical properties of meteoroids and the objects in the Solar System from which these particles of interplanetary matter come. For this, different techniques are used, a good part of which are based on the analysis of the behavior of meteoroids when they impact against planetary atmospheres.

The group's field of research is the study of the physical properties of minor bodies in the Solar System. In particular we have strong experience in studying the surface properties of TNOs and primitive asteroids using reflection and emission spectroscopy and spectrometry over a wide range of wavelengths, using both ground and space telescopes. We also have extensive experience in the use of different data analysis methods (eg. Scttering and thermophysical models).

The team in IA is presently recognized as an international player in this field. The strong built expertise is based on state-of-the-art research in the field of Planetary Systems science, and is focused on the following research lines:

- The characterization of Solar-System atmospheres: In this context the team focuses on the problem of understanding the atmospheric circulation and climate systems, both from the point of view of planetary evolution and using Venus and Jupiter as model atmospheres for Earth-like and gas giant exoplanets. These studies will allow to use the Solar System models as a proxy for the characterization of exoplanet atmospheres (see below).

- The detection of exoplanets: this line is supported by our participation in state-of-the-art projects and missions (ESO and ESA) having the goal of finding planets orbiting nearby stars. Particular focus is given to the low mass/radius planet domain. In this context, the study if the best data reduction and analysis methods is addressed (e.g. the effects of stellar noise). Statistical studies of the discovered population of planets are also allowing to better understand the formation and evolution of planetary systems.

- The characterization of exoplanetary systems, including their internal structure, atmospheres, and host stars: this line includes the study of exoplanet internal structure and atmospheres, as well as of host star properties. This latter is fundamental for the correct characterization of the orbiting planets (e.g. for the determination of precise planet masses and radii).

Solar System mechanics and planet formation.

ESAC is the official site of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Madrid, devoted to the science operations and data archiving for ESA's science missions. In addition to the management and engineering activities, the ESAC Science Faculty hosts various active research groups for solar system and astronomy.

Research topics: Planetary surfaces and atmospheres (Mercury, Venus, Mars, ...), Small Bodies, Ices, ...

Missions/Projects: Venus Express, Rosetta, Cassini-Huygens, Mars Express, ExoMars, Bepi Colombo, JUICE, Envision, HERA, Gaia, JWST, PLATO,  ...