Record breaking EAS 2021 as the start of a safe and successful summer
A word from the President
This is the very busy time of year that involves the organisation and marking of examinations that are, for so many of us, the prelude to a summer of research, conferences and vacation. I hope you are staying safe and that as many as possible of you are vaccinated so that you can enjoy as much of the summer as possible safely. ▸ Read more
Our annual meeting is approaching fast, 28 June to 2 July, but before that, on 11 June, the Society is hosting a presentation and discussion of the latest ASTRONET Roadmap (see later). These exercises, coordinated by funding agencies across Europe, have proved to be influential in the past and there is every reason to believe that this report will set the agenda for future large scale research investments in astronomy. I'd encourage everyone to attend and to participate actively. You can register here.
EAS 2021 Virtual in Leiden, 28 June - 2 July 2021
More than 2000 registered participants
At the end of this month, the EAS Annual Meeting 2021 will kick off. The meeting is organised by Leiden and, due to the COVID-19 situation, it has (again) been moved to a fully virtual meeting. The EAS 2021 programme covers all nearly aspects of astronomy, in the form of 16 Symposia, 33 Special Sessions, 5 Lunch Sessions, 8 Plenary Talks, and more. Early June, EAS 2021 crossed the magical number of 2000 registered participants, and the number is still growing every day. Registration remains open until 2 July 2021.
Preparation of future EAS Annual Meetings ongoing
MoU with Valencia signed for EAS 2022
Even though the EAS Annual Meeting 2021 hosted by Leiden still has to take place, the EAS is preparing for the organization of the coming EAS Annual Meetings. The EAS Annual Meeting 2022 will be hosted by Valencia, Spain, and will be a physical meeting again, assuming that the COVID-19 pandemic is over by then. The hosting team in Valencia, led by prof. Jose Carlos Guirado, has signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the EAS. The meeting will be held in the modern conference center Palau de Congressos de Valencia in the city center, from 27 June to 1 July 2022. ▸ Read more
The EAS has received four letters of intent to host the EAS Annual Meetings 2023 and 2024. The EAS has contacted the potential hosting teams. The final decision on the host of the EAS Annual Meeting 2023 will be taken by the EAS Council in October 2022.
EAS's commitment to development, sustainability, inclusion and welfare
Special Sessions and Lunch Sessions at EAS 2021
The prime goal of the European Astronomical Society is to promote and advance astronomy in Europe. During the EAS Annual Meeting 2021, Symposia and Special Sessions are organised in all fields of astronomy, ranging from the Solar System to the Epoch of Reionisation. As a society of individual professional astronomers, the EAS is also committed to other aspects important in the daily lives of our members, such as development, sustainability, inclusion and welfare. The EAS has set up dedicated Working Groups on Sustainability and on Diversity and Inclusion, and is organising a range of Special Sessions and Lunch Sessions devoted to these topics during the EAS 2021 meeting. ▸ Read more
We invite all EAS members to register for the EAS 2021 Annual Meeting and to participate in the following sessions dedicated to development, sustainability, inclusion and welfare:
WE Heraeus-EAS Young Researchers in Astronomy (HERA) workshops
A new EAS workshop series designed for young scientists
In order to promote the Society's engagement with young scientists and enhance their visibility, the EAS will start a new workshop series, funded by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation. European astronomy centres will be invited to organize a topical 5 day workshop, carefully designed for young scientists, affiliated to European academic or research institutions (~10 from local areas and ~20 from other European countries). The participants will be given plenty of time to present their research, discuss science, engage in social activities and to visit the centre and its labs. Five senior experts will also be invited for review lectures and interaction with the young scientists. ▸ Read more
In 2022 the EAS will organize a first pilot workshop. If successful, we will start the series with a call for two further workshops, covering the period 2023-2025. The aim will, as far as possible, be to host workshops in centres across the regions of Europe.
ČAS: a new EAS Organisational Member
Česká Astronomická Společnost: the Czech Astronomical Society
The Czech Astronomical Society (ČAS) was founded in Prague on December 8, 1917, which was an exceptional step during the WW I when the country still belonged to the Austrian Empire. Today ČAS is closely linked to Czech professional institutions and to Czech universities teaching astronomy and astrophysics. ČAS recently became an Organisational Member of the EAS. ▸ Read more
Shortly after the foundation of the ČAS, a handful of enthusiasts decided to build a public observatory in Prague. After the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918, the fulfilment of this dream was facilitated by the fact that one of the founders of the new state, Slovak politician and diplomat, and general of the French army, Dr. Milan Rastislav Štefánik, was an astronomer by his original profession, for several years working at the Meudon Observatory. The Štefánik Observatory on the Petřín hill in Prague was officially opened in 1928 and became the site of the ČAS. The observatory, among its public activities, always played an important role in the training of young generation of astronomers, and the same was true also at several other public observatories founded in Czechoslovakia after the WW II. Many current Czech professional astronomers, members of ČAS, grew-up at those observatories. Since 1920, the Society published its own journal Říše hvězd (Realm of Stars), bringing news on astronomy not only in the country but from all around the world. Branches of the ČAS were established in larger towns and big cities all over Czechoslovakia.
The activities and overall visibility of the ČAS were greatly enhanced after 1989 when it revived its international contacts and also became an Affiliated Society of the EAS. ČAS recently became an Organisational Member of the EAS. The Society co-organized the EWASS conference in Prague in 2017 when the Society celebrated its 100th anniversary. Today ČAS is closely linked to Czech professional institutions, namely the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (the official site of the ČAS is at the Ondřejov Observatory near Prague) and to Czech universities teaching astronomy and astrophysics. On the other hand, many ČAS members work at public observatories or are closely cooperating with them. Professional astronomy in the Czech Republic is governed by the Czech National Committee for Astronomy, the section of ČAS that coordinates its activities towards the IAU or EAS.
The Society also largely profits from the fact that our country became a member state of ESO (since 2007) and of ESA (since 2008). The Czech Republic is thus involved in large European projects such as ESO's observatories (VLT, ALMA, E-ELT), the European Solar Telescope (EST) to be built on Canary Islands, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), and key ESA's current and forthcoming space missions like Solar Orbiter, JUICE, Athena, and LISA.
Prof. Petr Heinzel
President of the ČAS
Defining a science vision and infrastructure roadmap for European Astronomy
ASTRONET Roadmap webinar hosted by EAS, 11 June 2021
As a next step in developing its science vision, ASTRONET is holding an open webinar to present current status and seek further advice from the European astronomical community via the European Astronomical Society (EAS). The webinar will include an overview of the process from the chair of the ASTRONET Board, with presentations from the panels who have been working on draft sections, and plenty of time for questions. The aim is for further consultation in the next few weeks, followed by production of the report and delivery to the ASTRONET Board before the end of 2021. Feedback on the current science vision document can be provided until 21 June 2021 through the Slack space for the webinar (see below for invitation link). ▸ Read more
ASTRONET is a consortium of European research funding bodies and national representatives purposed with developing a new science vision and roadmap, taking forward the pioneering and influential reports last updated around 2015. It includes as associates and observers ESA, ESO and the SKA and has close links to APPEC and the EAS.
The OPTICON-RadioNet Pilot
A new initiative under the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
Astronomers are naturally collaborative on all scales, from small teams to the huge international efforts to build our most powerful ground-based facilities and space missions. Over the last 20 years, European collaboration and access to a wide range of world-class facilities has been fostered and enabled by two EU-supported projects OPTICON and RadioNet in the optical/IR and radio domains respectively. These projects have brought together teams across Europe to develop new instrumentation, software and data processing techniques; have trained new generations of scientists and have opened up access to the best astronomical facilities in Europe. ▸ Read more
OPTICON and RadioNet have not only transformed the way European astronomers work together but also enabled key discoveries in recent years including imaging the environment of the black hole in M87 and the multi-wavelength follow-up of the neutron star merger GW170817. Building on that success, the European Commission (EC) invited OPTICON and RadioNet to join forces and bid for a new type of contract, alongside similar initiatives in atmospheric science and nano-technology, as "Pilot" programmes for Horizon Europe to show how EC support can open up access and realise these collaborative gains on an even larger thematic scale.
The ORP will develop a strategic vision to enable European astronomers to make the best use of current and new facilities over the next decades. It will engage the community across a wide range of stakeholders including funding agencies, international organisations, infrastructures and users. It will consider a range of options to access infrastructures at all scales and how the EC can help to widen this access further still. At the practical level, the ORP will develop new tools to enable astronomers throughout our community to use the telescopes which they need to accomplish their science goals, including new proposal tools, improved support systems and data processing frameworks designed to allow scientists to use and coordinate observations from multiple facilities across the electromagnetic spectrum. Cross-domain training schools will help to train the next generation of multi-wavelength astronomers. Finally, the ORP will investigate and improve instrument performance, including adaptive optics research, and ensure effective dissemination of these results to the entire community via workshops and schools. Further details of these activities will feature in future EAS newsletters.
Access to Europe's largest and most powerful radio telescopes and arrays, from sub-mm to metre wavelengths will be offered via a converging proposal process, with the ultimate aim that the same mechanism can be used to apply to all ORP facilities. These facilities include large single dishes (Effelsberg, SRT , 30m Pico Veleta and APEX) and powerful arrays at all wavelengths: the European VLBI Network, LOFAR, e-MERLIN, and NOEMA. Archive access will be enabled for the WSRT survey system Apertif, (ALTA) and the LOFAR Long Term Archive (LTA) through the virtual access process. The European ALMA users will be supported at all stages from conception of a scientific objective to publication of the results through transnational access to the European ARC network (ARC), including the visits at ARCs.
Time domain astronomy will benefit from virtual access to a large and growing suite of small and medium sized optical, infrared and potentially radio facilities combined with new tools to identify, prioritise and co-ordinate observations of transients and sources meriting long time monitoring. A key tool for this will be a Target Observation Manager which is an interface for viewing and sharing photometric and spectroscopic data of time-domain targets. A dedicated activity will offer transnational access to the CANARY adaptive optics testbed at the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope providing both telescope time and technical support to AO experiments needing on-sky testing to show proof of concepts for new ideas. Optical interferometry will be supported by both new tools for access to and data reduction for instruments such as the GRAVITY and Hi-5/Viking instruments at the VLTI. This will be complimented by training schools and a network of VLTI expertise centres modelled on the ALMA regional nodes.
ORP will also address the increasing threat to both optical and radio astronomy from new mega-constellations of low-orbit satellites designed to provide ubiquitous internet coverage. The work will include quantification and mitigation of the impact as well as policy issues in both the optical and radio domains.
You can learn more about the ORP by visiting its website or attending the session to take place at the virtual EAS Annual Meeting in June.
This project is funded under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004719.
The ORP Team
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