Students from Groningen repeat Nobel prize experiment

On May 20 1964, Arno Allen Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson measured the afterglow of the Big Bang for the first time. They received the Nobel prize for this in 1978. On Thursday morning, July 2 2015, four bachelor students from the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, repeated this experiment at the balcony of their institute.         More

Important steps on the road to structural cooperation with China

SRON has taken important steps on the road to structural cooperation with Chinese space research organisations. SRON cooperates in this field with TNO, NSO, the Dutch government and other Dutch space organisations and institutes. Highlight is a CO2-mission funded by China.        Read more (in dutch)

Neutron star imitates black hole

An international team of astronomers - including SRON-researcher Peter Jonker - has found a neutron star which acts like a black hole in many ways. An extraordinary set of rings surrounding the neutron star system led to the conclusion that the neutron star is very bright at times and that it produces jets with at least 99.9% of the speed of light. Up until now this behavior was predominantly associated with black holes. The research results have appeared in the Astrophysical Journal today.           More

Solving the primeval dust puzzle

SRON researcher Elisa Costantini will receive a Vidi grant from Dutch science financier NWO. Costantini and her team will study the primaeval dust in the interstellar medium to shed new light on for instance star formation and the formation of planets. With the grant, which will add up to a maximum of 800.000 euros, Costantini will be able to set up her own new research line.         More

Willem Jellema defends thesis on optical performance HIFI

On Friday, May 1, SRON researcher Willem Jellema will defends his PhD thesis at the University of Groningen. In his thesis Optical Design and Performance Verification of Herschel-HIFI  Jellema treats the verification, description and calibration of the optical performance of the Dutch molecule hunter HIFI, one of the three instruments aboard the Herschel Space Telescope (ESA, 2009-2013). Jellema was responsible for several breakthroughs in this area.        Read more (in dutch)


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.