Launch of the EAS e-Newsletter
The EAS is happy to announce the launch of a new medium. For many years, EAS news was communicated either through the paper Newsletter (which appeared twice per year) or via the short electronic e-News. EAS Council has considered the continuation of the paper Newsletter and has decided to move to another more flexible, modern and attractive way of communication with its members and beyond. Hence the birth of a new medium: an e-Newsletter that combines and replaces the short electronic e-News and the paper Newsletter. ▸ Read more
At the same time of this transition, there was also a change in editorship. Prof. Vassilis Charmandaris, currently Director of the IAASARS of the National Observatory of Athens, has been the EAS Newsletter editor for ten years, and he has fulfilled his duty with passion and expertise. In January 2016 I took over this responsibility. My first challenge was to lead the transition from the paper to the electronic newsletter. I am very thankful to Prof. Charmandaris for all the background information, help and suggestions provided to make this transition as smooth as possible. I consider it an honour that Council has given me the possibility to continue the work that Prof. Charmandaris has done for all these years, and I hope to be a worthy successor. I also specifically want to thank Dr. Marc Türler from the University of Geneva for all the technical assistance without which this new format would not have been possible.
This first issue of the e-Newsletter is largely dominated by the very successful EWASS meeting held in Athens past July. You can find the opening message from the President, and reports on most of the symposia and special sessions that were organised during the meeting. But there is more to be found in this issue: it contains news on the EAS Prizes awareded during EWASS 2016, on EWASS in coming years, on the EAS Facebook page, etc. Scroll up and down, and find out.
Message from the President
Report to the General Assembly
Council, Staff and our supporting company Kuoni spent a considerable amount of time and effort on the EWASS front. First came the preparation of the meeting we are having in Athens. This exercise was delicate at the beginning for a number of reasons, all having to do with the political and economic situation of Greece in the Summer of 2015. This, contrary to my expectations, created tensions between the in Greece and out of Greece partners. The lack of confidence of the economical establishment outside Greece went as far as imposing that EAS carries alone the risks of the prepayments to organise the event. When one knows that the budget of an EWASS meeting is 3-4 times the EAS annual budget this led to difficult decisions. Having had a very successful EWASS15, the EAS was in a position to take this risk and decided to go ahead. With time going the tensions eased one after the other, leading to a very constructive collaboration. All is well, the decision was right, many thanks to all involved. ▸ Read more
We also did progress on the establishment of a presence of the European astronomical community in Brussels. The strategy team leading this activity met in order to have a first cut at the activities that the person representing the EAS should develop. This was done in collaboration with a candidate, who, however, decided afterwards to give a new term to her carrier. We are therefore in the process of finding another candidate and are hopeful that we will be able to concretely start this activity in the coming few months.
Council had a discussion on the steps to let the EAS publication series evolve. Corinne Charbonnel had taken over from Jean-Paul Zahn some time ago. This was an opportunity to look at the direction this effort ought to take. After some thinking, council decided to interrupt the series. It was found that the only meaningful publication would be school proceedings, but then even those are moderately useful in terms of publications, major review journals being a preferred path for such proceedings. Related to this question is that of the whole communication of the EAS, a question that is on the table with the arrival of Maarten Baes as new newsletter editor.
A new set of elections took place this spring. We have the pleasure of welcoming Sofia Feltzing, Lex Kaper and Georges Meylan as new councilors, and Maarten Baes replaces Vassilis Charmandaris as Newsletter editor. Welcoming new members also means saying good bye to others. Eline Tolstoi and Mike Bode leave us. I am very thankful for their time, effort and support of the EAS activities during their mandate in Council. I am also very thankful for the work and energy that Vassilis invested in the Newsletter, an important vehicle of communication within our society.
Finally, Council decided to devolve financial means to the activities of its working groups. This should help to give professional support to make the best of the efforts of our working groups. On the front of the working groups, however, we did not progress as much as we wanted, due to the fact that we cancelled most of our discussions in January in Rolle following the death of Francesco Palla. This will now be re-activated. Let me stress in this frame that we definitely need to work on our professional work ethics. You probably are aware that a false claim of the detection of a gamma ray signal related to the detection of gravitational waves from a coalescing black hole system gave rise to a flood of theoretical explanations within days if not hours. This contributes to undermine the credibility of science in general: What is the value of the understanding we gain of real phenomena, if we can also "explain" any fluke in the data.
New EAS Council members
Sofia Feltzing, Lex Kaper and Georges Meylan
The President welcomes three new Council members: Sofia Feltzing, Lex Kaper and Georges Meylan. Their roles within the EAS Council will be the following: Sofia will liaise with the European Astronomical bodies such as ESO and ESA, Lex will be overseeing the EWASS organization and Georges will be in charge of the EAS prizes committee. We would also like to report that our President, Thierry Courvoisier, will be stepping down in July 2017 and will be replaced by Roger Davies (present vice-president of the EAS).
EAS policy regarding diversity and non-discrimination
The Council reminds all EAS members about the EAS policy on diversity and non-discrimination. In this policy, the EAS recognizes that diversity among astronomers brings diversity of ideas, methods and sensitivity, which is beneficial to astronomy. In addition, it is critical for the future of astronomy, and science in general, that young people can see evidence that scientists can succeed regardless of, e.g., gender, nationality, ethnic origin, or social origin. The full text of this document is available here.
European Week of Astronomy and Space Science 2016
This year's EWASS meeting was held in Athens, Greece, from 4 to 8 July, and was attended by 882 participants from all over the world. The EWASS hosting committee was chaired by Vassilis Charmandaris, supported by Alceste Bonanos, Manolis Georgoulis, Despina Hatzidimitriou, Nick Kylafis, Apostolos Mastichiadis, Panos Patsis and Nektarios Vlahakis. The logistics were in hands of Kuoni Congress, official partner of EWASS. The EAS strives at making the EWASS the yearly scientific meeting of European astronomy, with emphasis on a strong scientific program, on broadening the connections between individual astronomers, and on tightening the links with the national communities. ▸ Read more
The scientific organising committee, co-chaired by Susanne Aalto and Nick Kylafis, managed to produce an exciting scientific program with plenary sessions, parallel symposia, and the general assembly including the award of prestigious prizes. The Lodewijk Woltjer lecture was given by Thibault Damour, in honour of his work on General Relativity and in particular the prediction of gravitational waves produced by coalescing black-hole binaries such as recently observed. The Tycho Brahe Prize was awarded to Joachim Truemper, recognising his visionary development of X-ray instrumentation (such as the ROSAT satellite) and the discovery of cyclotron lines in neutron star spectra. A special plenary session was organised in memory of Francesco Palla, who passed away in the night of January 26, 2016, in Switzerland, where he was to attend a meeting of the EAS Council. In the presence of his wife and daughters, Filippo Mannucci, Thierry Courvoisier and Daniele Galli remembered him for his scientific work and personality.
Preparing EWASS 2017 in Prague
EWASS 2017 is getting organised by the EHC (EWASS Hosting Committee) and SOC (Scientific Organising Committee) to be held on 26-30 June 2017 in Prague. The SOC received 50 proposals for organising EWASS sessions: 31 for Symposia and 19 for Special Sessions. ▸ Read more
SOC chair EWASS 2017 website
EWASS 2018 venue chosen
EWASS 2018 to be hosted in Liverpool
The council is happy to report that a venue for EWASS 2018 has been chosen. EWASS 2018 will be hosted in Liverpool, UK. The dates are 3-6 April 2018. The professional conference organizing company KUONI will again support the organization and will liaise with the national hosting committee, chaired by Mike Bode.
Call for nominations for the Tycho Brahe Prize 2017
The EAS Council now invites EAS members to nominate suitable candidates for The Tycho Brahe Prize 2017. The prize is awarded annually in recognition of the development or exploitation of European instruments, or major discoveries based largely on such instruments. ▸ Read more
The prize carries a monetary reward of 6000 Euro. Short biographies of previous years' awardees and full details regarding the prize are to be found on the EAS website. There are no restrictions to the nationality of the candidates nor to the country of origin or residence. Nominations are only accepted through a web form accessible for EAS members. The deadline for 2017 nominations is Wednesday, 30 November 2016.
Tycho Brahe Prize 2016 to Joachim Trümper
Tycho Brahe Prize awarded during the EWASS meeting in Athens
The 2016 Tycho Brahe Prize was awarded to Prof. Joachim Trümper in recognition of his visionary development of X-ray instrumentation, from balloon experiments and the discovery of cyclotron lines probing the magnetic field of neutron stars to his leadership and strong scientific involvement in the ROSAT mission. ▸ Read more
Joachim Ernst Trümper was born in 1933 in Haldensleben. He finished the high school in 1951 in Bernburg and spent a year in industry as an apprentice in electro-mechanics, since he was not admitted to an university in the GDR for political reasons. In 1952 he succeeded to enroll at Halle University to study physics. In 1955 he moved (illegally) to Hamburg and in 1957 to Kiel.
In his PhD work (1957-59) at the universities of Hamburg and Kiel, he developed the first triggered spark chamber and used such a device in 1960 to measure the spectrum of cosmic ray muons from the Zugspitze mountain. He continued to work on high-energy cosmic rays and initiated the Kiel extensive air shower experiment aiming at solving the problems of the chemical composition of cosmic rays in the "knee region". After the discovery of pulsars in 1967, J. Trümper turned his attention to this new field. In 1969-70, on sabbatical leave from Kiel, he visited the MPE in Garching and decided there to start a programme of observational X-ray astronomy in Germany. This materialised in 1971 when he became Director of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Tübingen (AIT) and started a competitive hard X-ray balloon programme. The stratospheric balloon observations continued even after his appointment in 1975 as Director of MPE, leading to unprecedented observations of the cataclysmic variable AM Herculis and the black hole binary Cygnus X-1. The most important discovery was, however, the detection of a cyclotron absorption line in Hercules X-1. At an energy of ~40 keV, the line indicates a magnetic field of ~ 5e12 Gauss, which was the first direct measure of the extreme magnetisation of neutron stars. As a follow-up to the balloon programme the MPE/AIT group turned to space projects with the development of the hard X-ray spectrometer HEXE operating from 1987 to 2001 aboard the Soviet/Russian Mir Station. HEXE discovered in particular delayed X-ray emission from the nearby supernova SN 1987A.
The preparatory work for the Röntgensatellit (ROSAT) was initiated by J. Trümper already in 1972 in collaboration with Carl Zeiss, with the goal to improve the mirror performance for large imaging X-ray telescopes. This led to two technological breakthroughs: the use of Zerodur for X-ray optics, and the reduction of the mirror roughness to only 2.5 A. Based on these achievements, he proposed an early version of ROSAT already in 1975, as an element of the German space programme. A few years later USA and UK became involved, but Germany kept the leadership of the project and built at MPE the two main detectors of ROSAT. MPE also built a powerful long X-ray test and calibration facility, which was not only used for ROSAT, but then also for all major European and US X-ray satellites, including EXOSAT, BeppoSAX, Chandra, XMM-Newton and Swift. ROSAT was launched in 1990 and operated until 1999 impacting strongly on many fields of astrophysics with about 4,300 refereed publications and around 160,000 citations. The ROSAT all-sky survey yielded an unprecedented detailed view of the diffuse soft X-ray emission from the Galaxy including many supernova remnants, and about 125,000 discrete sources.
Lodewijk Woltjer Lecture 2016 to Thibault Damour
Lodewijk Woltjer Lecture awarded during the EWASS meeting in Athens
The 2016 Lodewijk Woltjer Lecture was awarded to Prof. Thibault Damour for his outstanding career on theoretical implications of General Relativity and in particular on the prediction of the newly-observed gravitational wave signal of coalescing binary black holes. ▸ Read more
Thibault Damour was born in 1951 in Lyon. After studies at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de la rue d'Ulm (1970-1974), he obtained his Thèse de Doctorat de troisième cycle in 1974 (Université de Paris VI), and, later, his Thèse de Doctorat d'Etat en Sciences Physiques (Université de Paris VI, 10 January 1979). He started his career (1977-1989) as researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). Since 1989 he is permanent professor at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES).
Thibault Damour is a theoretical physicist working on consequences of Einstein's theory of General Relativity, and its String Theory extensions. He has made lasting contributions on: the theory of black holes, the dynamics and relativistic timing of binary pulsars, the generation of gravitational waves, the motion and coalescence of black holes, as well as several aspects of early cosmology. He has introduced in 2000 (with several collaborators) a new method for describing the motion and gravitational radiation of coalescing binary black holes, which gave the first prediction of the gravitational wave signal observed by LIGO in September 2015. His work was crucially used for interpreting the observed signal and measuring the masses and spins of the two coalescing black holes.
MERAC Prizes 2016 to Maria Petropoulou, Yingjie Peng and Oliver Pfuhl
MERAC Prizes for the Best Doctoral Thesis awarded during the EWASS meeting in Athens
At the EWASS 2016 meeting in Athens, the 2016 MERAC Prizes for the Best Doctoral Thesis were awarded. The winner in the category Theoretical Astrophysics was Dr Maria Petropoulou for her thesis on radiative instabilities and particle acceleration in high-energy plasmas with applications to relativistic jets of active galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts. The prize in Observational Astrophysics was awarded to Dr Yingjie Peng for his thesis on the simplicity of the evolving galaxy population and the origin of the Schechter form of the galaxy stellar mass function. Finally, the laureate in the category New Technologies was Dr Oliver Pfuhl for his thesis on an innovative design of two subsystems for the VLTI instrument GRAVITY: the fibre coupler and the guiding system. ▸ Read more
The 2016 MERAC Prize for the Best Doctoral Thesis in Theoretical Astrophysics is awarded to Dr Maria Petropoulou for her thesis on radiative instabilities and particle acceleration in high-energy plasmas with applications to relativistic jets of active galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts. Maria Petropoulou's PhD thesis has a main focus on the theoretical study of plasma properties in compact energetic sources such as Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) and Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs). Such extremely luminous sources in remote galaxies emit gamma-rays originating in a relativistic jet powered by a black hole. While most studies consider only the electrons in the jet and neglect the influence of the protons, Maria Petropoulou developed equations for a full treatment of plasmas containing magnetic field, relativistic protons and electrons, and photons. She then solved these equations via both numerical and analytical methods to describe the radiative instabilities in the ejected plasmas, which exhibit a rich temporal behaviour of prey-predator type. As a final step, she confronted her model to observations of the archetypical gamma-ray emitting blazar 3C 279. A theoretical study of the spectral and timing emission of GRB afterglows complements her PhD work.
The PhD thesis of Maria Petropoulou was entirely conducted at the University of Athens, Greece, under the supervision of Prof. Apostolos Mastichiadis. She has been awarded the "Best PhD Thesis Prize 2015" from the Hellenic Astronomical Society. Just before her PhD thesis defence, she has been awarded the NASA Einstein Fellowship for postdoctoral research. She is now a postdoctoral Einstein Fellow at Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA.
The 2016 MERAC Prize for the Best Doctoral Thesis in Observational Astrophysics is awarded to Dr Yingjie Peng for his thesis on the simplicity of the evolving galaxy population and the origin of the Schechter form of the galaxy stellar mass function. Yingjie Peng's PhD thesis focused on the analysis of high quality data from large sky surveys both locally and at high redshift, and introduced a novel phenomenological, observationally-based approach to study the formation and evolution of the galaxy population. The goal was to use the observational material as directly as possible in order to identify the simplest empirical "laws" for the evolution of the population. This approach has successfully explained the origin of the Schechter form of the stellar mass function and reproduced many observed essential features of the evolving galaxy population over cosmic time. The associated papers (Peng et al. 2010 & 2012) describing this simple and innovative approach have become some of the most highly cited papers in galaxy formation and evolution.
The 2016 MERAC Prize for the Best Doctoral Thesis in New Technologies is awarded to Dr Oliver Pfuhl for his thesis on an innovative design of two subsystems for the VLTI instrument GRAVITY: the fibre coupler and the guiding system. Oliver Pfuhl started his PhD in 2008 on the GRAVITY project and contributed to the overall design of this new VLTI instrument. He developed two key-components, the fibre coupler and the guiding system, which are key for enabling waveguide based stellar interferometry and for achieving the required astrometric accuracy and stability. The fibre coupler he designed is unique for its compactness, elegance, and innovative use of modern technology. The unit offers all the functions necessary for precision control of the optical path, including tip/tilt-, pupil-, and piston control, field de-rotation, and polarisation control. He also made an innovative design for the guiding system, which actively corrects for tilt- and pupil errors resulting from numerous reflections over 100m of optical path between the telescopes and the instrument. The astrophysical part of Oliver Pfuhl's thesis is a spectroscopic study of more than 500 stars in the nuclear star cluster at the Galactic centre, which shows that this cluster formed most of its stars more than 5 billion years ago.
Milestone for EAS Facebook page
EAS Facebook page has reached 1000 followers
The EAS Facebook page has reached 1000 followers! We would like to thank those of you who already follow there our news about astronomy in Europe and the information we publish about the European Astronomical Society, EWASS, the EAS prizes, etc. The EAS facebook page is a great way to get immediate access to information. Stay connected and join us on Facebook !
On the threshold of 1st Gaia data: the GREAT Network Science Symposium
EWASS symposium 1
The GREAT (Gaia Research for European Astronomy Training) initiative is a pan-European research network involving over 500 researchers in 20+ countries with a common interest in aiming to maximise the science potential of Gaia. This 9th GREAT network annual plenary meeting was co-located at the EAS 2016 EWASS, constituted as Science Symposium 1. ▸ Read more
Session 1 contained invited presentations covering the Gaia project, in particular the upcoming first data release. Prusti presented the status of the Gaia mission, including examples of the data collected and an overview of the expected science performances. Brown presented a preview of the contents of Gaia DR1, showing some statistics on the contents of Gaia DR1 and explaining the known limitations of the first data release. The presentation by Brown was closed with the announcement that Gaia DR1 would take place on September 14 2016. The subsequent presentation by Arenou discussed in detail how the validation of the Gaia DR1 results was done. Walton closed the session with and overview of the GREAT networking activities, including the proposals that were submitted to obtain continued funding for GREAT (through for example the COST scheme).
Session 2 was dedicated to providing more details of the data processing that was done for Gaia DR1. An overview of the photometric processing and the expectations for photometry in future Gaia data releases was provided by Busso and Jordi, the latter noting how Gaia will become the reference photometric survey for future space and ground based surveys. Veljanoski presented a specific set of statistical tools used in the validation of Gaia DR1, while Clementini previewed the Cepheid and RR Lyrae data (light curves and characterization) that are part of Gaia DR1. Bellas-Velidis presented the expected performance of Gaia for unresolved external galaxies and Blomme provided a status update on the Gaia radial velocity spectrograph processing.
Session 4 was dedicated to science on transients with Gaia. Hodgkin presented the status of the Gaia photometric alerts effort, summarising the properties of the alerts published to date and showing the latest evolution of the alerts tools for users. Blagorodnova discussed in more detail the classification of transients based on Gaia's BP/RP spectra. Jonker discussed the prospects for discovering white dwarf tidal disruption events with Gaia, while Wyrzykowski discussed the possibility of Gaia discoveries of TDEs around supermassive black holes. Roelens provided insights into the way short time scale variables are identified and characterised in the DPAC pipelines and Tanga discussed the identification and processing of solar system objects by Gaia, including the option to alert on newly discovered near earth objects.
Session 5 contained presentations on the preparations for the scientific exploration of Gaia data. The possibilities for extragalactic science were discussed by Kontizas. Marchetti presented his machine learning algorithm for the search for hypervelocity stars in the Gaia data, which he plans to test extensively on Gaia DR1. The synergies between optical and radio astrometry were discussed by Forbrich. Vickers presented methods to determine stellar ages from the combination of Gaia and LAMOST data, and the session was closed by Poggio with a discussion on the study of the Galactic warp with Gaia data.
Session 6 focused on the distance scale which is of course expected to undergo major improvements with future Gaia data releases. The expected improvements in the physics of Cepheids and RR Lyrae variables was discussed by Marconi, while Kervella focused on the synergy between Gaia measurements of Cepheids and optical interferometry of those stars. Anderson presented his efforts at cleaning up calibration samples for the Cepheid Period-Luminosity relation through the use of radial velocities to weed out binaries. The Cepheids and RR Lyrae in the Magellanic clouds were discussed by Ripepi and Muraveva, respectively. Ruiz Dern closed the session with a discussion on the future calibration of the Red Clump star luminosities with Gaia.
Session 7 contained presentations on synergies between Gaia and other surveys and on new astrometric instrument initiatives. Cellino discussed ground based observations that are needed to complement Gaia's observations of minor bodies in the solar system. Ranalli presented an in-depth study of the detection and characterisation of exoplanets with Gaia, noting the benefits of extending the Gaia mission for the study of long-period systems. Vallenari presented an overview of the synergies between ground and space for open clusters studies and provided a preview of the improvement in the study of internal cluster kinematics with Gaia, showing a comparison of Tycho-2 and Gaia DR1 proper motions. Athanassoula discussed N-body models for our Galaxy in the context of future Gaia data releases. Feltzing discussed ground based spectroscopy projects aimed at complementing Gaia, in particular 4MOST and WEAVE. The session was closed by a presentation from Leger on the proposed astrometry mission Theia, which aims at sub-microarcsecond differential astrometry.
During the closing remarks for Symposium 1, Walton summarised highlights from the symposium, noting that each GREAT symposium has attracted a larger number of talks and attendees. In addition to the main speaker programme, there were 21 short poster presentations. The next GREAT plenary would be proposed as a symposium at the 2017 EWASS in Prague, Czech Republic.
Future prospects for far-infrared space astrophysics
EWASS symposium 4
The far-infrared (FIR) spectral region enables studies of the thermal dust continuum emission and key atomic and molecular cooling lines, revealing the cold universe, hidden from view at UV or optical wavelengths. Over the past two decades, space missions such as the Infrared Space Observatory, Spitzer, Herschel, Planck, and Akari have revealed the intricate interactions between stars and the interstellar medium of the Milky Way and external galaxies. They have refined our understanding of star formation as a function of cosmic time and of the role of AGNs in galaxy evolution. The new ground-based and airborne submillimeter/FIR facilities, notably ALMA and SOFIA, will allow to continue these studies. However, it is now imperative to start planning the FIR space missions of the future. ▸ Read more
Up to 40-50 participants attended the eight symposium sessions during three days. The program consisted of 15 invited talks, 13 contributed talks, and 2 poster presentations. In conclusion, the science case for future FIR space missions is compelling. NASA has recently commissioned a study of the Origins Space Telescope, a possible flagship mission for the next decade, in which Europe may participate by contributing a heterodyne instrument. It is thus imperative that the European science interests are well formulated. Future EWASS meetings will provide an excellent platform for continuing this important discussion.
More info about this symposium may be found here.
Darek Lis (LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, France)
Maryvonne Gerin (LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, France)
Exploring the outskirts of galaxy clusters
EWASS symposium 6
One of the major scientific goal for Athena, the next-generation European X-ray telescope recently selected by ESA as second Large Mission of the Cosmic Vision program, is to determine how baryons assemble and dynamically evolve into galaxy clusters. The outskirts of galaxy clusters are the place where the connection between the highest peaks in the comic matter density and the large-scale structure is established. ▸ Read more
Eight invited, 21 contributing and 7 short talks were presented in front of an audience of about 70 researchers over the two days of the Symposium, covering several subjects, from the mass assembly and hierarchical structure formation processes to the processes responsible of the ICM heating and virialisation of accreting hot gas; from the non-thermal phenomena in cluster outskirts (radio relics, accretion shocks, turbulence) to the filaments and the quest of the missing baryons.
State-of-the-art research on the clusters' peripheries has been presented, both from multi-band (optical, radio, SZ, and X-ray) observations, and numerical simulations and theoretical models. An overview of the present limitations affecting the analysis of these regions has been given, and a discussion has been triggered on how these problems can be overcome with the next generation of instruments. The symposium has reached the goal of keeping the momentum high, and the discussion lively, on the physics and the problematics concerning the peripheries of the galaxy clusters.
More info about this symposium may be found here.
Dominique Eckert (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
Stefano Ettori (INAF-OA Bologna, Italy)
X-rays from AGN: looking into the central engine
EWASS symposium 7
Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are powered by accretion onto supermassive black holes. X-rays are produced in the innermost region of the flow provide a unique probe of the black hole environment all the way into the event horizon. The X-ray spectral and timing properties carry vital information regarding the space-time, the emission mechanisms for continuum and reprocessed radiation, the nature and dynamics of absorbing gas, and the geometry of the central source and accretion disc. ▸ Read more
Session 1 focused mainly on the theoretical and numerical modelling of the accretion flow in AGN. A. Sadowski presented a detailed review of the state of the art methods of simulating accretion flows on compact objects. G. Chartas described a new technique for measuring the inner edge of the accretion flow in thin discs using observations of microlensed AGN. A. Rozanska discussed the properties of warm dissipative and optically thick coronae on top of a standard accretion disc in AGN and the role of magnetic fields. B. Czerny presented results from a detailed study of RE J1034+396 where an optically thick Comptonising medium is present in the inner part of its accretion flow, while B.You discussed the role of winds on the accretion flow properties.
Session 2: What produces the X-ray continuum in Active Galactic Nuclei? This simple and fundamental question has been the subject of active research and debate since the first X-ray observations of AGN. P. O. Petrucci presented a comprehensive review of theoretical models of the so-called X-ray emitting ?corona?. The heating mechanism, temperature and geometry of this corona is difficult to probe observationally, but in recent years, we have begun to make new advancements. A. Marinucci and G. Lanzuisi presented the the hard X-ray view of AGN coronae as probed by NuSTAR. This high-energy bandpass has allowed for the first robust measurements of the temperature of the corona in AGN, allowing for new constraints on this component of the accretion flow. E. Behar presented the results from new X-ray and mm-wave observations of nearby Seyferts and discussed their consequences on the X-ray coronal properties, while S. Bianchi discussed the latest results regarding intrinsically weak BLRs in AGN, and their implications in the accretion physics.
Session 3: In recent years, X-ray reverberation has opened a new way to investigate the inner accretion flow around supermassive black holes. This session's talks addressed this topic, discussing observations and models of X-ray reverberation in AGN. E. Kara, in her review, discussed the latest XMM-Newton and NuSTAR observations of the high-frequency variability which have shown that the soft excess, broad iron K line and Compton hump lag behind the continuum emission, corresponding to light travel distances of a few gravitational radii. Beyond simply detecting reverberation, we are beginning to understand that spectral-timing observations of inner disc reverberation are necessary for modelling both the energy of the photon and its arrival time in order to maximise the information in a given observation (review by A. Young, and talk by M. D. Caballero-Garcia). M. Parker discussed the results of the application of the principal component analysis to the AGN X-ray variability, while D. Emmanoulopoulos presented a novel way to study X-ray reverberation with power-spectral analysis techniques.
Section 4: While X-ray spectroscopy of AGN has been historically the primary tool to understand the nature of the central engine (review by A. L. Longinotti), coupling of spectroscopy and timing have recently opened a new window. The geometry of AGN outflows (accretion disk winds, "warm absorbers") is now pinpointed with unprecedented accuracy in systems exhibiting short (i.e.,hours; C. Silva), and long (i.e, days to months; M. Medhipour) time-scales thanks to advanced data analysis techniques (reverberation) and multi-wavelength campaigns. This contributes to a
Session 5 focused on X-ray missions, currently operating as well as the planned ones. The Project Scientist for XMM-Newton, N. Schartel, discussed the main scientific highlight results based on XMM-Newton observations of AGNs during the last 15 years. With about 300 refereed papers published each year, XMM-Newton is one of the most successful scientific missions of ESA ever. G. Dewangan introduced the recently launched India?s first multi-wavelength space astronomy mission, Astrosat. He presented a brief overview of instruments onboard Astrosat, results based on the first observations performed, and future plans for AGN science with this satellite. F. Muleri and G. Matt presented the case for X-ray polarimatric observation which have the potential to open up a new wealth of information that will help us better understand the X-ray emission from compact objects. They also presented a candidate for the first X-ray polarimetry satellite mission, XIPE, and its possible contribution to the science of AGN.
Interstellar dust and gas coupling: linking observations, models and laboratory astrophysics
EWASS symposium 8
In regions where stars are forming, about one percent of the mass is in the form of sub-micrometer sized dust particles. However small and insignificant these dust grains may seem, they are now recognised as powerful interstellar catalysts and are responsible for most of the production of the simplest (H2) to the most complex (pre-biotic) molecules observed in the Universe. In addition, since dust particles are interacting with the gas, the chemical composition and thermodynamics of a gas cloud forming stars depends on gas-dust interactions. ▸ Read more
The first day featured one session on laboratory astrophysics, presenting the latest results on different processes driving the interplay between gas and dust. In the second session, theoretical modelling that are used to model such processes were presented. In the last session, Astrophysical models and observations of Dark clouds and pre-stellar cores showed our current understanding of the gas and dust interplay in cold environments.
The second day was dedicated to astrophysical models and observations. The first sessions focused on gas and dust interplay in different environments. ranging from photo-dissociation regions, to disks, comets, and shocks. The last session featured several observational studies of the dust composition and properties in galactic and extragalactic environments.
Our original ambition in organising this Symposium was to bring together scientists from different backgrounds to determine how current astrochemical models do interpret observations and how well we understand the different processes involved in the interplay between gas and dust. The many discussions occurring during the two days Symposium highlighted the need for multidisciplinary studies to understand processes occurring in space. In addition, possible future observations or experiments that would be beneficial to our current understanding were discussed.
Gamma-ray bursts: recent theoretical models and observations
EWASS symposium 11
With over 10 years of observations the NASA Swift satellite has revolutionised the study of Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs), some of the most energetic events ever detected. However 40 years after their discovery their origin remains elusive. Research has focused on the emission mechanisms in an effort to understand all the characteristics of the light curves and the spectra of these bursts. ▸ Read more
The first day of our symposium was dedicated to recent progress in our understanding of the prompt gamma-ray emission and the central engine producing these enigmatic events. We had two very interesting review talks by Luciano Rezzolla and Omer Bromberg. Luciano discussed recent results on numerical modelling in full general relativity of the inspiral and merger of binary neutron stars and how it can be used to improve our understanding of the phenomenology of short gamma-ray bursts, particularly in light of the new observational window being opened up with the detection of Gravitational Waves. Omer reviewed the outflows of GRBs in particular discussing instabilities and energy dissipation in relativistic MHD jets and how GRBs are connected to superluminous supernovae. Other presenters discussed the emission mechanisms of the prompt emission phase and whether the emission could retain memory of the central engine, heavy element production and progenitor models such as magnetars. We also had an interesting talk related to the future mission THESEUS.
The symposium was well attendance with around 30-50 people attending at any one time. The presenters were from a broad range of European and international countries and several of these talks were presented by young researchers highlighting the continued interested in this area. The fact that there were symposia and special sessions on topics related to GRBs particularly made EWASS 2016 very productive for all. The organizers wish to thank all the speakers for making this symposium a great success. Particular thanks go to the organizers of the EWASS 2016 for having made this event possible.
More info about this symposium may be found here.
Ioannis Contopoulos (RCAAM, Academy of Athens, Greece)
Samantha R. Oates (University of Warwick, UK)
Dimitrios Giannios (Purdue University, USA)
Andrew Levan (University of Warwick, UK)
Massimiliano De Pasquale (MSSL-UCL, UK)
Alberto Castro-Tirado (IAA-CSIC, Spain)
Patricia Schady (MPE, Germany)
Myrto Symeonidis (MSSL-UCL, UK)
Antonios Nathanail (ITP, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany)
Stellar and AGN feedback in galaxies: a multi-wavelength perspective of outflows
EWASS symposium 12
Evidence for an intimate connection between the fuelling and growth of supermassive black holes (SMBH) and the evolution of galaxies is now compelling. Not only have SMBHs been found in many galaxies with significant bulge components, but correlations also exist between the black hole mass and bulge properties such as stellar mass and velocity dispersion. Even beyond that, there is now evidence of massive black holes in low mass galaxies. The physical processes underpinning this relationship are known collectively as feedback. Outflows induced by the nuclear activity might play a critical role as a feedback mechanism, since their energy output might regulate the growth of the black holes and their hosts at least for massive galaxies. ▸ Read more
The aim of the symposium was to bring together experts on the observational and theoretical studies of the outflow phenomenon in galaxies to establish the current status of the field, discuss the critical uncertainties to be dealt with and define the best strategies to achieve progress in our understanding of the feedback generally and its role on galaxy evolution. These goals were nicely achieved by our 7 invited speakers, and also by the presenters of the 18 contributed talks and 22 posters. Thanks to those presentations, we had the opportunity to see new observational results from ALMA, X-SHOOTER, MUSE, SINFONI, as well as the latest theoretical predictions from simulations.
The take-home message of the symposium was that although we have definitely advanced in our strategies to identify the signatures of galactic outflows (AGN- and starburst-driven) in galaxies at different redshifts, our ability to evaluate their potential impact on galaxy evolution is still limited. The lively debate on this regard during the workshop promoted enriching scientific discussions. Different approaches are being promoted to elucidate the controversy and will hopefully boost a substantial advance in the topic in the near future. For example, studies of the impact of the outflows on the different gas phases across different spatial scales, detailed studies of individual galaxies, statistical studies of large galaxy samples at different cosmic epochs, a more accurate characterisation of the geometry, size and physical properties (e.g. density) of the outflows and more realistic simulations adapted to account for the great complexity of the feedback phenomenon.
More than 100 people attended the symposium, and although the program was too tight for discussion sessions, there were plenty of questions and participation from the audience. The organizers would like to thank the SOC, all the speakers and participants for making the symposium a success, and the EWASS organizers for giving us the opportunity to hold it.
More info about this symposium may be found here.
Cristina Ramos Almeida (Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, Spain)
Montse Villar Martin (Centro de Astrobiologia, Spain)
High and very-high-energy gamma-ray astronomy: status and future
EWASS symposium 13
This symposium was intended as the first of a series of EWASS meetings aimed at increasing the level of awareness within the astronomy and astrophysics community about the activities and scientific achievements in the relatively young field of high- and very-high-energy gamma-ray astronomy, trigger new multi-wavelength collaborations and foster the usage of new facilities such as CTA. ▸ Read more
Exploration in the high- and very-high-energy bands pursues three major scientific goals, namely:
The symposium was divided in four blocks, namely: instrumentation, Galactic astrophysics, extragalactic astrophysics and fundamental physics. For each block we had one or several invited review talks by world experts, such as Brenda Dingus, Julie McEnery, Elisa Pueschel, Luigi Piro, Elena Orlando, Constantinos Kalapotharakos, Jerome Rodriguez, Jacco Vink, Savvas Koushipappas and Troy Porter. In addition, there were contributed talks and poster sessions presenting recent results in the field. The symposium was closed by a general review talk by Werner Hofmann.
For the next EWASS edition, we are proposing the second symposium of this series, with title "Radio/VHE Galactic Plane surveys: synergies between CTA and SKA". We are looking forward to meeting you in Prague!
More info about this symposium may be found here.
Javier Rico (Institut de Fisica d'Altes Energies, Barcelona, Spain)
Juergen Knoedlseder (Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie, Toulouse, France)
New classes and unique events in time domain astronomy
EWASS symposium 14
Modern time-domain optical surveys are discovering new types of transient phenomena that defy the traditional supernova (SN) classes: superluminous SNe (SLSNe) are very luminous explosions that, despite concentrated effort, remain mostly unexplained; rapidly evolving SNe pose serious challenges to traditional models; a newly discovered class of tidal disruption events (TDEs) has sparked a flurry of theoretical work to try and explain the observed properties. ▸ Read more
In this symposium, the program was divided in 6 blocks. Each block was dedicated to a different topic and the discussion was initiated by an invited speaker, followed by contributed talks and poster discussions. In total, we had 6 invited talks, 23 contributed talks and 6 poster presentations. The seminar room was nearly full with more than 60 colleagues attending at all times.
The symposium started with a session on gravitational waves. Marica Branchesi gave a review talk on the recent developments in this exciting field and on the prospects of detecting the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational waves in the near future. The next session was dedicated to FRBs, where the invited speaker was Evan Keane. We discussed all the exciting discoveries that took place during the last year, including the follow-up of FRBs, the discovery of a repeating FRB and FRB models. We then moved on TDEs with a review talk by Sterl Phinney. The contributed talks covered diverse aspects of TDEs such as their unusual host galaxies and various theoretical approaches.
The second day started with a session on ultra-long GRBs. Invited speaker Andrew Levan sparked the discussion, which continued with talks on the radio emission and the mechanisms powering ultra-long GRBs. The session also included talks on different surveys in the time domain, such as OGLE, Gaia and the Liverpool Telescope. We then moved on to rapidly evolving supernovae and a review of their different sub-classes by Stefano Valenti. The contributed speakers focused on various peculiar kinds of events, their environments and different proposed models. The final session was dedicated to SLSNe. Cosimo Inserra gave an overview talk on the current status of research and other speakers introduced recent discoveries, discussed new sub-classes and presented host galaxy studies.
More info about this symposium may be found here.
Giorgos Leloudas (Weizmann Institute of Science & Dark Cosmology Centre, Denmark)
Iair Arcavi (LCOGT & UC Santa Barbara, USA)
Exploring pulsar formation, evolution and magnetic field: from low mass X-ray binaries to magnetars
EWASS symposium 15
Recent observations of neutron stars in multiple wavelengths, both from space and ground-based observatories combined with ongoing monitoring have revealed their rich and diverse behaviour, ranging from the explosive magnetars to the steady rotation-powered pulsars and the accreting millisecond pulsars. It is now widely recognised that a key parameter behind this broad phenomenology is their magnetic field and a lot of effort has been put into modelling and simulating these systems. ▸ Read more
In this symposium we explored the many lives of pulsars through presentations from observers and theorists. The meeting took place on the 7th and 8th of July, it featured 26 talks and 10 poster presentations and was well attended.
The first two blocks of the symposium were devoted to isolated pulsars and magnetars, with special focus to their magnetic field structure and evolution from the core to the magnetosphere. Jose Pons reviewed recent observations of neutron stars and their magneto-thermal evolution. Ioannis Contopoulos reviewed magnetospheric models focusing on the dissipative pulsar magnetosphere. Simulation works studying the core, crust and the magnetosphere were presented by Andrea Passamonti, Konstantinos Gourgouliatos and Constantinos Kalapotharakos, respectively. Finally, talks about recent observations of magnetars revealing their magnetic fields, radiative and timing behaviour were given by Sebastian Guillot, Paul Scholz and Fabio Pintore.
The main topic of session 3 was the evolutionary paths from Low Mass X-ray Binaries to Millisecond Pulsars, which was reviewed by Francesca D'Antona. Chengmin Zhang showed simulation of how accretion transform NS into millisecond pulsars, while Diego F. Torres presented an observational review of the gamma-ray emission from accreting and transitional pulsars, redbacks, and black widows. The contributed talk by Jonay I. Gonzalez-Hernandez on spectroscopic optical observations of the orbital evolution in black hole X-ray binaries closed the session.
Session 4 started with Michiel van der Klis reviewing the timing properties of Low-Mass X-Ray Binaries and Accreting Millisecond Pulsars. The invited talks by Andrea Possenti and Domitilla De Martino highlighted the radio properties of transitional and radio millisecond pulsars. The session ended with the contributed talk by Andrea Sanna on the orbital evolution of the accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar SAX J1808.4-3658.
Present and Future X-ray missions are of fundamental importance for the study of spectral and timing properties of Low Mass X-ray Binaries. For this reason, Session 5 was devoted to this topic, where Giorgio Matt and Marco Feroci reported on future missions of X-ray polarimetry and the status and perspectives of several missions, namely LOFT, eXTP, LOFT-Probe, MVN-M2 and the possible advancements in our understanding of the compact objects systems and their physical conditions.
The final session dealt with the spectral properties and reflection features of Low Mass X-ray Binaries. Edward Cackett provided a detailed review on spectral studies of Low Mass X-ray Binaries and Accreting Millisecond Pulsars. Mariano Mendez presented an interesting evidence of a resonance mechanism leading to the formation of kHz QPOs. Teo Munoz-Darias suggested a common accretion state scheme for both neutron star and black hole systems. Subsequent contributed talks by Tiziana Di Salvo (Alessandro Riggio), Nikolaos Kylafis, Enrico Bozzo, and Carlo Ferrigno on observational spectral analysis and modelling of Low Mass X-ray Binaries closed the session.
More info about this symposium may be found here.
Konstantinos Gourgouliatos (Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Leeds, UK)
Alessandro Riggio (University of Cagliari, Italy)
Magnetic helicity in Sun and stars: from dynamo action to eruptive phenomena
EWASS symposium 17
The intriguing topic of magnetic helicity in the Sun and magnetically active stars was the overarching theme of this two-day Symposium. The sheer energy of magnetic fields in the atmospheres of stellar objects was once thought to be solely responsible for major stellar eruptions, from solar flares to orders-of-magnitude stronger gamma-ray bursts in flare stars, pulsars, and magnetars. ▸ Read more
The list of invited speakers included helicity pioneer thinkers, theorists, modellers and observers from the solar and stellar communities. In the theoretical front, the magnetic field decomposition giving rise to relatively helical (i.e., toroidal) and non-helical (i.e., poloidal) magnetic fields was discussed along with helicity decomposition into twist and writhe and the strong efficiency of magnetic helicity conservation in solar and stellar conditions.
For magnetically active stars, the topics of fully vs. partially convective dynamos were discussed along with the production of helical toroidal fields and primordial stellar "fossil" fields playing a major role in stellar dynamos. It was also emphasised that magnetic maps of numerous Sun-like stars are now available for study and, indeed, that these maps have been used in existing studies. With the Sun apparently producing no net helicity effects, the validity of this assessment in other stars remains unclear.
Focusing on the Sun, the wealth of existing observations allows studies of helical magnetic flux emergence that stand out as a stunning showcase of solar magnetic complexity. The importance of global solar dynamo studies was amply underlined, along with resulting helicity manifestations in the solar atmosphere, giving rise to global hemispheric effects and further enhancing the observed complexity.
Solar-terrestrial coupling and space weather: state-of-the-art and future prospects
EWASS special session 2
The Sun-Earth Connection (SEC) is a fundamental research topic and its understanding represents a major challenge of space physics, with significant socio-economic implications via the impact of space weather. The Sun influences the terrestrial and other planetary magnetospheres with continuous as well as transient magnetised plasma flows, in the form of solar wind and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) respectively, and with radiations, transient in terms of solar flares, and otherwise. ▸ Read more
18 oral presentations (invited, contributed and poster), covering a multitude of solar, interplanetary, and magnetospheric observational and theoretical topics were made during SS2. Despite the tight schedule, significant time was allocated to discussions between the participants.
Viggo Hansteen presented a review of the latest results on the unresolved fine structure in the solar transition region from the latest solar mission (IRIS) and from advanced MHD modelling. Ward Manchester presented MHD simulations of how magnetic energy accumulates in solar active regions from photospheric shear flows driven by the Lorentz force. Loukas Vlahos presented a Fermi model for turbulent reconnection and applied it to the problem of coronal energisation and heating. Manolis Georgoulis presented theoretical and observational results on a sequence of physical processes occurring in certain active regions prior to eruption. Irantzu Santamaria presented MHD modelling results on the high-frequency jet phenomena occurring in the presence of a magnetic null point. Emilia Kilpua presented a review of the latest observational and modelling results on CME propagation in the interplanetary space, as well as specific CME properties and physical mechanisms that could affect their geo-effectiveness. Anastasios Anastasiadis presented a statistical study connecting the properties of Solar Energetic Particle (SEP) events with these of the associated flares and CMEs.
Georgios Balasis presented applications of various tools used in complex system sciences to geo-space observations related to SEC and space weather. Michael Gedalin presented theoretical results on the collisionless relaxation of ion oscillations in shock fronts. Juha-Pekka Luntama presented a review of the European efforts and projects on geospace weather nowcasting and forecasting. Iannis Dandouras presented recent results from the CLUSTER mission on various plasma sources in the terrestrial magnetosphere as a function of the solar forcing. Maria Antonietta Barucci presented observational and laboratory results on the impact of space weather on asteroid's surfaces. Anastasios Anastasiadis presented an operational prediction system for solar flares and SEPs.Ivan Dorotovic presented an observational study of the magnetic induction at the footpoints of coronal loops. Anna Milillo presented a project aiming to observe Energetic Neutral Atoms from the International Space Station. Konstantinos Karampelas presented MHD modelling results of coronal heating and dynamics in simulated coronal loops due to resonant absorption of Alfven waves. Stavros Sklavenitis presented a statistical study of the Kronian magnetic field from Cassini data and investigated the impact of the solar wind pressure. Spiros Patsourakos presented an analysis of SDO data of the accumulated magnetic flux associated with transient brightenings prior to a major CME.
The life and times of the Milky Way bulge
EWASS special session 6
The Galactic bulge is key to understanding the structure, evolution and birth of our galaxy. From an initial overdensity of gas and dark matter, our infant galaxy grew into what we see around us today. By analysing the Galactic bulge we can probe the origins of our galaxy, but also the important role it plays in shaping the state of the Milky Way today. ▸ Read more
Our session addressed these issues with three distinct themes. We started off with a review by Isabel Perez (Universidad de Granada) who placed the Milky Way in a cosmological context, comparing it to the galaxies around us. We then focussed on the chemistry and structure of the Milky Way bulge, featuring a review by Manuela Zoccali (PUC Chile). The final part, which focussed on dynamics, was kicked off with a review by Ortwin Gerhard (MPE). Each session had a number of interesting talks, including new results both observational (e.g. the study of the Milky Way analogue NGC4710 by Oscar Gonzalez and the APOGEE work of Melissa Ness) and theoretical (e.g. the new bulge formation simulations of Victor Debattista and the mass modelling of Chris Wegg). Given the timing of the meeting, on the cusp of the first Gaia data release, it was especially interesting to hear about the prospects of Gaia for studying the bulge, which was given by Laura Ruiz Dern on behalf of Carine Babusiaux (Observatoire de Paris).
More info about this special session may be found here.
Martin C. Smith (Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, China)
Melissa Ness (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany)
Victor Debattista (University of Central Lancashire, UK)
The effects of solar and stellar magnetic activity on planets
EWASS special session 7
This Special Session brought together observers/theoreticians whose diverse research interests are linked with solar and stellar activity and its effect on orbiting planets. The magnetic activity of cool stars (flares, winds and coronal mass ejections) have a direct impact on planets. This activity varies with the mass, age and rotation rate of the star and can be damaging for life, even in the case of a fairly inactive star like the Sun. ▸ Read more
The meeting was organised during one day and it consisted of three sessions: solar and stellar magnetic activity, effect of the activity on (exo)planets, and long term evolution of activity and its effect on habitability. The first session consisted of invited talks on the solar dynamo (Simoniello) and the stellar magnetic activity (Hussain), and two contributed talks discussing observational and theoretical aspects of stellar activity. The second session was dedicated to the effect stellar and solar activity has on planets. It kicked off with an invited talk (Bourrier) followed by four contributed talks discussing the activity effects both on bodies in our Solar System and on exoplanets. The last session was started with an invited talk (Ribas) on long-term evolution of stellar activity and continued with three contributed talks and a short poster presentation. The talks were all of high quality and provoked many questions and comments from the audience.
The relatively small, but still a good sized audience of some 30 scientist, created a nice informal atmosphere that enabled very lively discussions. On the whole the meeting more than full-filled our expectations. The organisers would like to thank all the speakers and participants for making this a very fruitful Special Session. In addition, we would like to thank EWASS for making this meeting possible.
More info about this special session may be found here.
Heidi Korhonen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Aline Vidotto (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
Episodic accretion in star formation
EWASS special session 9
The EWASS 2016 special session 9 took place on Monday, July 4th 2016 to address the topic of episodic accretion, which has gained significant interest in the star formation community. Episodic accretion is now viewed as a common, though still poorly understood, phenomenon in low-mass star formation. ▸ Read more
The special session was dedicated to present and discuss our contemporary understanding of episodic accretion from the theoretical, numerical, and observational points of view, and to determine the most promising directions for this field of star formation in the near- and long-term. The special session featured 6 invited speakers (Shantana Basu, Neal J. Evans, Eduard Vorobyov, Caroline d'Angelo, Agnes Kosapl, Marc Audard) who gave overviews of the topic, and 6 additional contributed talks (Ruobing Dong, Patrick Hennebelle, Ben MacFarlane, Teresa Giannini, Christian Rab, Carlos Contreras). In addition, 6 short 3-min presentations were made by some participants of the session (Evgeni Semkov, Lionel Haemmerlé, Simone Antoniucci, Yuya Sakurai, Anthony Mercer, Peter Abraham). About 30-40 participants from many different countries attended the session.
The organizers warmly thank all speakers and participants for the successful meeting, and the EWASS 2016 organizers for the selection of this special session.
More info about this special session may be found here.
Marc Audard (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
Peter Abraham (Konkoly Observatory, Hungary)
Michael Dunham (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA)
Joel Green (Space Telescope Science Institute, USA)
Nicolas Grosso (Observatoire de Strasbourg, France)
Kenji Hamaguchi (NASA/GSFC and University of Maryland Baltimore County, USA)
Joel Kastner (Rochester Institute of Technology, USA)
Agnes Kospal (Konkoly Observatory, Hungary)
Giuseppe Lodato (University of Milano, Italy)
Marina Romanova (Cornell University, USA)
Stephen L. Skinner (University of Colorado, Boulder, USA)
Eduard Vorobyov (University of Vienna, Austria)
Zhaohuan Zhu (Princeton University, USA)
Nanoradians on the sky: VLBI across the Mediterranean and beyond
EWASS special session 10
The main goal of the special session was to highlight some of the science areas that benefit from the very high angular resolution of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI), especially those topics that may be the focus of Key Science Programmes for VLBI studies with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA-VLBI). ▸ Read more
The three 1.5h sessions each consisted of an invited review, three contributed talks, and 15 minutes discussion. The three main topics were SKA-VLBI astrometry, Active Galactic Nuclei and wide field-of-view VLBI surveys, and explosive phenomena/transients. The number of participants of these sessions varied between 20-30, not bad considering the late timing of the SS10. We actually had lively discussion on the following three topics: the progress in VLBI astrometry and prospects for the SKA era, the role VLBI may play in SKA KSPs, and transient use cases for SKA-VLBI/triggering observations using SKA.
A highlight result that was presented during our special session was the stringent constraint on the proper motion of the first jetted tidal disruption event, from observations by the European VLBI Network (EVN). This was highlighted by the review speaker Imma Donnarumma (INAF); the actual work was done by Jun Yang et al. (Onsala Space Observatory), who could not be present in person. A press release can be found at the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC webpage.
More info about this special session may be found here.
Zsolt Paragi (JIVE, Netherlands)
Cormac Reynolds (CSIRO, Australia)
Maria Rioja (ICRAR-CSIRO, Australia and OAN, Spain)
Mar Mezcua (Harvard, USA)
Huib van Langevelde (JIVE and Leiden University, Netherlands)
Leonid Gurvits (JIVE and Delft University, Netherlands)
Anna Bartkiewicz (Torun Centre for Astronomy, Poland)
The interplay between turbulence and micro-physical processes
EWASS special session 11
The topic of turbulence was chosen for a special session at EWASS because turbulence is omnipresent in the interstellar medium. With the advent of large spectroscopic mapping capabilities probing the kinematics of the neutral and ionised phases, it is now possible to probe the gas turbulence over a broad range of densities and temperature. ▸ Read more
The invited and contributed presentations discussed the physics of turbulence in the interstellar medium in the Galaxy as well as in external galaxies, and the relation with the star formation rate at small and large scales. New observations of the bistable nature of the atomic gas were presented that highlight the need for a deep understanding of the heating processes. The couplings of the physical structure of the matter with the small scale processes was presented, with the emphasis put on the impact of turbulence on the formation and spatial distribution of the simple molecules CO and H2. The reactive ion CH+ was the focus of another presentation because this ion is one of the best tracers of the dissipation regions of the turbulence. The new perspectives on the structure and intensity of the magnetic field gained from the Planck Surveyor mission were presented. Individual contributions discussed the properties of the field in specific regions of the sky as probed by ground based polarimetry observations, and the information on the field fluctuations accessible from large scale surveys of the polarised synchrotron emission.
Molecular line intensities can be used as diagnostics of the physical processes. One key parameter for the coupling of the matter with the magnetic field is the ionisation fraction. Therefore, a presentation was dedicated to state of the art chemical models and the diagnostics of the cosmic ray ionisation rate from molecular ions abundances. Such diagnostics will soon be applicable to large scale maps of the interstellar medium, given the available sensitivity and instantaneous bandwidth. The presentation of the OrionB survey highlighted both the jump in information provided by such surveys, and the need for developing new analysis methods fitted to the combined spatial and spectral information.
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