Climate change influences carbon cycle

Satellite measurements of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere shed light on how climate change - taking the shape of for instance heavy rains, draughts and floods - in turn influences the carbon cycle at the Australian continent. The carbon cycle has a big impact on the greenhouse effect. The research results are presented today at the ESA Living Planet Symposium at Prague.        Read more (in dutch)

Loss of Hitomi great blow to international space research

After a perfect launch on 17 February and a few weeks of excellent operations the Japanese space telescope Hitomi was considered to be lost yesterday. A fault in the orientation of the satellite probably led to considerable damage to the space telescope. This is a great blow to international space research. In the few weeks that Hitomi was operational the space telescope produced spectacular observations.        Read more (in dutch)

Mark Rutte and Jet Bussemaker visit SRON stand at Hannover Messe

At the Hannover Messe 2016 prime-minister Mark Rutte and Science minister Jet Bussemaker (OCW) got aquainted today with SRON research. The members of government attended short, personal presentations on SRON's SPEX technology and the Athena mission.        Read more (in dutch)

HIFI project ends

Today the international HIFI project has come to a natural end. Since 1998, starting with a proposal to ESA, SRON and a great number of international partners have been working on the most complex instrument built so far by the institute. Over the years more than 300 people played an active role in the project; in the last month still 20 people worldwide were occupied with HIFI post-operations.         More

JAXA loses contact with Hitomi

On 26 March the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that a communications anomaly had occurred with its X-ray astronomical satellite Hitomi, known before launch as Astro-H. The cause of the communications anomaly is yet unknown.         More

In memoriam Roel Gathier (1953-2016)

Following a brief illness SRON director dr. Roel Gathier (1953) passed away on 14 March. As SRON's Managing Director, but also as chairman of ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC), he exerted a strong influence on both national and international space research. His untimely death has left a vacuum, which will be hard to fill.         More

NASA films SPEX Airborne test

In February, a team of SRON went to NASA (Palmdale, CA) to test the SPEX Airborne instrument on the ER-2 high altitude platform. NASA made a nice footage of this, which can be seen on Youtube         More


Envisat was an ESA satellite (2002-2012), devoted to environmental studies, notably in the areas of atmospheric chemistry and ocean, ice and landsurface studies. Up to now, it is the largest Earth Observation spacecraft ever built. It carried ten sophisticated optical and radar instruments to provide continuous observation and monitoring of the Earth's land, atmosphere, oceans and ice caps. Envisat data collectively provided a wealth of information on the workings of the Earth system, including insights into factors contributing to climate change.

One of the more than ten instruments onboard was the German-Dutch-Belgian SCIAMACHY instrument which was built to perform measurements of the Earth's atmosphere. Dutch industry and institutes were responsible for the development of the optical unit of SCIAMACHY including the detectors for ultraviolet up to short wave infrared (SWIR) radiation. SRON designed, constructed and tested the detector modules of the SCIAMACHY instrument. Based on the measurements with the SWIR modules SRON also delivered the scientific data products - carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4) and heavy water (HDO/H2O).

TROPOMI, SCIAMACHY'S successor, will be launched in 2015. After its launch onboard the ESA satellite Sentinel-5 Precursor TROPOMI will observe the Earth for more than seven years, at an altitude of 800 kilometers. By combining the high spatial resolution and wide coverage of predecessor OMI (still operational) with SCIAMACHY's big spectral range TROPOMI can collect an unprecedented amount of crucial information.