Toward a new picture of cosmic structure formation history

SRON astronomer Hiroki Akamatsu will receive a Veni grant from NWO (250 thousand euros) to establish a new picture of structure formation history. To achieve this Akamatsu will make use of observations with the Japanese space telescope Astro-H. He will also participate in the development of a novel imaging spectrometer for its big successor, the space telescope Athena (ESA).         More

ARIEL mission to unravel exoplanet atmospheres

An ambitious European mission is being planned to answer fundamental questions about how planetary systems form and evolve. ARIEL will investigate the atmospheres of several hundreds planets orbiting distant stars. It is one of three candidate missions selected last month by the European Space Agency (ESA) for its next medium class science mission, due for launch in 2026. The ARIEL mission concept has been developed by a consortium of more than 50 institutes from 12 countries including the Netherlands. The mission will be presented today at the Pathways 2015 conference in Bern, Switzerland.           More

The Netherlands delivers Earth observation instrument Tropomi

After a succesful building and development phase the Dutch Earth observation instrument Tropomi has been integrated with the Sentinel 5 Precursor satellite. The completion of the integration in the cleanroom of Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, Engeland, is a milestone in the European Earth observation mission, which will gather data globally on our climate and air quality. The results of many months with calibration tests confirm that the space instrument will deliver very accurate measurements of the Earth's atmosphere.        Read more (in dutch)

Student lays technology foundation for balloon mission camera

Last week TU Delft student XuXiang Liu obtained his Msc degree in Electrical Engineering. XuXiang, who graduated with cum laude, was the very first student in Electrical Engineering who did his graduation project at SRON. At SRON he laid a solid technology foundation for the proposed cameras of the NASA balloon borne observatory GUSTO.                         More

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


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.