2
Oct 19

Welcome to Catch a Star

School students around the world are invited to take part in the 2019 Catch a Star astronomy writing contest.

To participate, students should submit a written report on an astronomical topic of their choice — for example, an astronomical object, phenomenon, observation, scientific problem or theory. Reports must be written in English and be no more than 5000 words in length. They may be undertaken by groups of up to three students, plus a group leader who is not a student.

Each submission must be emailed as a PDF file to astro.edu@gmail.com. The deadline for all entries is 30 December 2019.

The five winners will each receive a mounted image of a fascinating astronomical object, courtesy of ESO. In addition, winner teams will also have the chance to hold a video conference with a professional astronomer.

Catch a Star is organised jointly by the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE) and ESO. Its aim is to encourage creativity and independent work amongst students, and to strengthen and expand their astronomical knowledge and skills.

Find out more about the competition on the Catch a Star website.

Links

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25
Jul 19

No global warming?

At a time when some delusional people, some with major responsabilities, continue to deny human major role on climate changes, Europe peaks to temperatures never known before since the beginning of temperature records. Learn more about this situation at ESA.

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20
Jul 19

50th anniversary of the first landing of men on the Moon

Video credits: Channel 4 News

Mankind celebrates the 50th aniversary of the first landing of men on the Moon. On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins concluded an adventure that had started seven years earlier when John Fitzgerald Kennedy stated at Rice University "We choose to go to the Moon...We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too."

Neil Armstrongs last sentence before he stepped down on lunar soil are as valid today as they were 50 years ago: "It's a small step for a man, but a giant leap for mankind".

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1
Dec 18

Catch a Star 2018 - Deadline approaching soon

School students from around the world are invited to take part in the 2018 Catch a Star contest. This is a European astronomical writing contest, with some prizes that will leave students starry-eyed!

To participate, students should submit a written report on an astronomical topic of their own choice — for example, an astronomical object, phenomenon, observation, scientific problem or theory. Reports must be written in English and be no more than 5000 words in length. Contestants may work in groups of up to three students, plus a group leader who is not a student.

The idea of the Catch a Star program is to encourage students to work together, to learn about astronomy and discover things for themselves by researching information on an astronomical object.

Each submission must be emailed as a PDF file to astro.edu@gmail.com. The deadline for all entries is 17:00 CET on December 14th, 2018.

There will be five lucky winners chosen in the Main Category that will have prizes like mounted pictures, video conference with a professional astronomer, and more.

Also a Special category has been created for students up to 15 years old. This category will also have Winner and Runner-Up prizes each of which will receive prizes like the main category.

The goal of the European Astronomy Contest Catch a Star is to stimulate the creativity and independent work of students from European secondary schools, to strengthen and expand their astronomical knowledge and skills, and to help the spread of information technologies in the educational process.

Catch a Star is a contest that has been held as a result of the collaboration between the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE) and European Southern Observatory (ESO).

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26
Nov 18

Exoplanet mission launch slot announced

Source: ESA

The Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, Cheops, will target 15 October to 14 November 2019 for launch.

Cheops will lift off on a Soyuz rocket operated by Arianespace from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, sharing the ride into space with a satellite that is part of the Italian Cosmo-SkyMed constellation. The two satellites will separate in turn into their own orbits soon after ascent, with Cheops operating in a low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 700 km.

The satellite will observe individual bright stars that are known to host exoplanets, in particular those in the Earth-to-Neptune size range. By targeting known planets, Cheops will know exactly when and where to point to catch the exoplanet as it transits across the disk of its host star. Its ability to observe multiple transits of each planet will enable scientists to achieve the high-precision transit signatures that are needed to measure the sizes of small planets. (learn more)

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22
Nov 18

From gamma rays to X-rays: new method pinpoints previously unnoticed pulsar emission

Source: ESA

Based on a new theoretical model, a team of scientists explored the rich data archive of ESA's XMM-Newton and NASA's Chandra space observatories to find pulsating X-ray emission from three sources. The discovery, relying on previous gamma-ray observations of the pulsars, provides a novel tool to investigate the mysterious mechanisms of pulsar emission, which will be important to understand these fascinating objects and use them for space navigation in the future.

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29
Nov 17

Don't forget about the Catch a Star 2017

CAS

School students from around the world are invited to take part in the 2017 Catch a Star contest. This is a European astronomical writing contest. To participate, students should submit a written report on an astronomical topic of their own choice — for example, an astronomical object, phenomenon, observation, scientific problem or theory. Reports must be written in English and be no more than 5000 words in length. Contestants may work in groups of up to three students, plus a group leader who is not a student.

Send your work now. The complete project must be received by December 20, 2017.

Detailed information – including a media kit and detailed instructions on how to submit an entry online – is available at http://www.eaae-astronomy.org/catchastar/.

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11
Jan 17

Catch a Star 2016 Contest Winners Announced

The winners of this year’s Catch a Star Contest have been announced.

The top three prizes were awarded to: The Lost Planet, by Andrea Moral Suárez, Natalia Serrano López and Ana Sánchez Díez from Spain; Life on Mars, by Daniel Vilda Rodríguez, Daniel Sayad Pérez Peréz and Iván Rodríguez Lozano from Spain; and Dark Matter in the Classroom by Simona Stoyanova and Ognyan Simeonov from Bulgaria.

A complete list of the winners can be found on the Catch a Star website.

ESO is presenting a mounted astronomical image to each of the top five places and each winning team will also have the chance either to carry out remote observations at the National Astronomical Observatory “Rozhen”, Bulgaria, or to hold a video conference with a professional astronomer.

Secondary school students from around the world were invited to take part in the contest. To participate students had to submit a written report on an astronomical topic of their choice — for example an astronomical object, phenomenon, observation, scientific problem or theory.

Catch a Star is a contest organised as a collaboration between the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE) and ESO that has been running since 2002. Its goal is to stimulate the creativity and independent work of students, and to strengthen and expand their astronomical knowledge and skills. The programme encourages students to work together, to learn about astronomy and to discover things for themselves by researching information on an astronomical object.

Find out more about the competition on the Catch a Star website.

Links

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11
Dec 16

Winners of the Pioneers category 2016 present their work at a major Programming event in Portugal

 Carlota FERNANDES, Diogo GONCALVES and Nelson REBELO, the winners of the 2016 edition of the Odysseus II competition in the Pioneers category, accompanied by their teacher Cristina PINHO of the Sebastião e Silva Secondary School will be in the Pavilion of Knowledge (Lisbon, Portugal) in the first initiative of the Movement Portugal Code will take place in the on December 11, 2016. This presence will serve to give visibility to this amazing project. To know more about the event click here (in Portuguese).

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5
Dec 16

First Signs of Weird Quantum Property of Empty Space?

Source: ESO Science Release eso1641

This artist’s view shows how the light coming from the surface of a strongly magnetic neutron star (left) becomes linearly polarised as it travels through the vacuum of space close to the star on its way to the observer on Earth (right). The polarisation of the observed light in the extremely strong magnetic field suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence, a prediction of quantum electrodynamics (QED). This effect was predicted in the 1930s but has not been observed before. The magnetic and electric field directions of the light rays are shown by the red and blue lines. Model simulations by Roberto Taverna (University of Padua, Italy) and Denis Gonzalez Caniulef (UCL/MSSL, UK) show how these align along a preferred direction as the light passes through the region around the neutron star. As they become aligned the light becomes polarised, and this polarisation can be detected by sensitive instruments on Earth.
The polarisation of light emitted by a neutron star.
Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada

By studying the light emitted from an extraordinarily dense and strongly magnetised neutron star using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers may have found the first observational indications of a strange quantum effect, first predicted in the 1930s. The polarisation of the observed light suggests that the empty space around the neutron star is subject to a quantum effect known as vacuum birefringence.(read more)

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29
Nov 16

Catch a Star's deadline has been postponed to December 20th

 

Due to the requests of teachers all around Europe, the deadline for the submission of Catch a Star's works has been postponed to December 20th, 2016.

Teachers say that they have done the work with their students but in many cases have not been able to finish the translation of their work to English.

Since December 16th is the end of first term in many European countries EAAE has decided to extend the contest submissions deadline until December 20th. This will give students an opportunity to finish their works. It will also be an opportunity for more teachers to apply with works of their students.

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17
Nov 16

Odysseus Winners Witness Rocket Launch in French Guiana

photo_guiana_delegation

Winners of the 2015-2016 Odysseus space science contest have travelled to French Guiana to observe the successful launch of an Ariane 5 rocket. The trip is just part of their reward for earning top honours at the Odysseus international finals in July. Equally exciting opportunities await young Europeans in the 2016-2017 contest cycle.

Witnessing a rocket launch at the spaceport in French Guiana was an extraordinary experience for the Odysseus prizewinners. “It was amazing just to watch the transfer of the rocket to the launch pad”, says Alice Antonelli from Italy. She won first place in the Explorers category of competition for university undergraduates. For Nelson Rebelo the trip was nothing less than “a dream come true”. Nelson was part of the three-member team of high-school students from Portugal who submitted the most convincing project in the Pioneers category. Next year too, first-prize winners in both categories can look forward to visiting Europe’s spaceport in South America and to earning coveted internships in the space sector.

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1
Nov 16

Alice promotes space science and Odysseus Contest in Italian schools

Alice Antonelli, who won the first place in the Explorers Category of the 2016 Odysseus Contest, in parallel with her studies on Aerospace Engineering at the University of Pisa is actively mobilizing young pupils’ and students’ interest on space science. Alice who is European Youth Space Ambassador for 2016-2017 has been already invited by schools in Tuscany and in Rome to share her experiences from the contest and to talk to students about space science challenges.

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1
Sep 16

Space Science Contest Offers Exciting Opportunities for European Youth

International travel, high-value prizes and career-shaping internships – three excellent reasons to take part in the Odysseus space science contest. Registration for the next cycle (covering the 2016-2017 academic year) has just opened. Aimed at space enthusiasts aged 7 to 22, the contest provides a launchpad for young people to explore new horizons.

 

Brussels, Belgium – 31 August 2016

 

Odysseus challenges European youth to push the boundaries of their knowledge by discovering answers to fundamental questions on topics ranging from satellites and space probes to astrobiology and interplanetary travel. The ultimate goal to of the contest is to inspire young Europeans to get involved in space science and technology.

 

Wanted: young Europeans with a spirit of discovery and an interest in space science

Organized in multiple rounds (national, regional and international) the competition is open to participants from primary schools, secondary schools and universities. Teachers and professors are encouraged to get involved by organizing teams; access to professional mentoring is available upon request. Entries can be submitted in any of the EU’s 24 official languages.

 

Three academic levels are targeted, with separate competitions for:

 

  • Skywalkers - ages 7 to 13 (primary schools)
  • Pioneers - ages 14 to 19 (secondary schools)
  • Explorers - ages 17 to 22 (universities)

 

Register online now. Entries (complete projects) must be received by March 31, 2017.

 

Participants will compete first at national level with submissions addressing one of the contest’s broadly defined topics. Experienced judges will evaluate submissions on the basis of scientific knowledge, practical implementation, team work and creativity. Winners competing in regional and international finals (complete with activity programme) will enjoy expenses-paid travel and accommodation. Prizes include iPads, computerized telescopes, travel opportunities, internships at space agencies or aerospace companies and trips to the European spaceport in French Guiana (South America).

 

Detailed information – including a media kit and detailed instructions on how to submit an entry online – is available at www.odysseus-contest.eu

 

Background

The contest is organized by Odysseus II, a three-year project funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The project consortium consists of 14 partners and four supporting organizations from 11 European countries.

 

Contact

Terry Martin

Teltower Damm 283, 14167 Berlin, Germany

phone: +49/ (0) 30 857 41404

info@spia-europa.de

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25
Aug 16

Planet Found in Habitable Zone Around Nearest Star

Source: ESO Science Release eso1629

eso1629aArtist's impression of the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri.
Image credits: ESO/M. Kornmesser.

Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri. The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us — and it may also be the closest possible abode for life outside the Solar System. A paper describing this milestone finding will be published in the journal Nature on 25 August 2016. (learn more)

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23
Jul 16

Space... the final frontier

Source: ESA/Hubble Photo Release heic1615

heic1615aAbell S1063, the final frontier.
Image credits: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz (STScI)

Fifty years ago Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise began their journey into space — the final frontier. Now, as the newest Star Trek film hits cinemas, the NASA/ESA Hubble space telescope is also exploring new frontiers, observing distant galaxies in the galaxy cluster Abell S1063 as part of the Frontier Fields programme.(read more)

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19
Jul 16

Clandestine Black Hole May Represent New Population

Source: Chandra Space Telescope

VLA J2130+12.
Image credits:X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Alberta/B.Tetarenko et al;
Optical: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/AUI/NRAO/Curtin Univ./J. Miller-Jones.

Astronomers have identified the true nature of an unusual source in the Milky Way galaxy. As described in our latest press release, this discovery implies that there could be a much larger number of black holes in the Galaxy that have previously been unaccounted for.

The result was made by combining data from many different telescopes that detect various forms of light, each providing key pieces of information. These telescopes included NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, NSF's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), Green Bank Telescope, Arecibo Observatory, and the European Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network. (learn more)

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15
Jul 16

Stellar Outburst Brings Water Snow Line Into View

Source: ESO Science Release eso1626

eso1626aArtist’s impression of the water snowline around the young star V883 Orionis.
Image credits: A. Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF)/ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO).

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made the first ever resolved observation of a water snow line within a protoplanetary disc. This line marks where the temperature in the disc surrounding a young star drops sufficiently low for snow to form. A dramatic increase in the brightness of the young star V883 Orionis flash heated the inner portion of the disc, pushing the water snow line out to a far greater distance than is normal for a protostar, and making it possible to observe it for the first time. The results are published in the journal Nature on 14 July 2016. (learn more)

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13
Jul 16

Deepest Ever Look into Orion

Source: ESO Science Release eso1625

This spectacular image of the Orion Nebula star-formation region was obtained from multiple exposures using the HAWK-I infrared camera on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. This is the deepest view ever of this region and reveals more very faint planetary-mass objects than expected.

ESO’s HAWK-I infrared instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile has been used to peer deeper into the heart of Orion Nebula than ever before. The spectacular picture reveals about ten times as many brown dwarfs and isolated planetary-mass objects than were previously known. This discovery poses challenges for the widely accepted scenario for Orion’s star formation history.(learn more)

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8
Jul 16

A Surprising Planet with Three Suns

Source: ESO Science Release eso1624


Artist’s impression of planet in the HD 131399 system.
Image credits: ESO/L.Calçada.

A team of astronomers have used the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope to image the first planet ever found in a wide orbit inside a triple-star system. The orbit of such a planet had been expected to be unstable, probably resulting in the planet being quickly ejected from the system. But somehow this one survives. This unexpected observation suggests that such systems may actually be more common than previously thought. The results will be published online in the journal Science on 7 July 2016. (learn more)

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