Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021

Session programme


ODAA – Outreach, Diversity, Amateur Astronomy

Programme group coordinators: Harri Haukka, Petr Broz, Arianna Piccialli


The benefits of diversity and inclusiveness in the scientific community are incontrovertible. Following the success of previous years, this session aims to foster debate within the planetary sciences community about the reasons behind under-representation of different groups (gender, cultural, ethnic origin and national) and best practices to make the research environment more inclusive identifying and addressing barriers to equality.

We invite abstracts focusing on: under-representation (gender, cultural, ethnic origin and nationality biases) supported by statistics and data; outreach and education activities to reach broad and diverse audiences, best practices to support inclusiveness; and case studies on mentoring and bias-concerned activities. Data and initiatives related to COVID are strongly encouraged.

Convener: Arianna Piccialli | Co-conveners: Lena Noack, Andrea Opitz

Knowledge creation is a collaborative process including synergies between different disciplines, communities and stakeholders. The framework of open science is also connected to the involvement of people outside academia, such as amateur societies, school students, corporate partners etc. Open science has a variety of aspects and applications. What are the efforts done in the field of planetary sciences to establish and increase openness? To what degree planetary science researchers and practitioners endeavour accessibility within the various communities - academics and non-academics? During this session these and other relevant questions will be addressed through the presentation of open planetary science projects, tools, data and platforms. Furthermore, the current status and the potential for future efforts towards an open and public planetary science scheme will be discussed. Building upon the success of the session in EPSC2020, planetary scientists, researchers and other stakeholders are welcome to present new projects and the developments of previous ones, in the context of promoting open & public science. Moreover, the session will include a discussion on the establishment of an open science forum for planetary sciences.

Convener: Anastasia Kokori | Co-conveners: Angelos Tsiaras, Julie Nekola Novakova, Caterina Boccato, Andrea Brunello, Peter Fuchs, Henrik Hargitai, Attila Jeremias Kiraly

Amateur astronomy has evolved dramatically over recent years. A motivated amateur, with his/her backyard instrument and available software is nowadays capable of getting high-resolution planetary images in different wavelengths (better than many professional observatories could achieve 15 years ago). Topics well covered by amateur astronomers include: high-resolution imaging of solar system planets, high-precision photometry of stellar occultations by minor objects and giant planets' atmospheres, satellites' mutual phenomena and high-precision photometry of exoplanet transits. Additionally amateurs use dedicated all-sky cameras or radio-antennae to provide continuous meteor-detection coverage of the sky near their location and they start to contribute to spectroscopic studies of solar system objects.

Hundreds of regular observers are sharing their work providing very valuable data to professional astronomers. This is very valuable at a time when professional astronomers face increasing competition accessing observational resources. Additionally, networks of amateur observers can react at very short notice when triggered by a new event occurring on a solar system object requiring observations, or can contribute to a global observation campaign along with professional telescopes.

Moreover, some experienced amateur astronomers use advanced methods for analysing their data meeting the requirements of professional researchers, thereby facilitating regular and close collaboration with professionals. Often this leads to publication of results in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Examples include planetary meteorology of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune or Venus; meteoroid or bolide impacts on Jupiter; asteroid studies, cometary or exoplanet research.

Additionally, since July 2016, the NASA spacecraft Juno explores Jupiter's inner structure from a series of long elliptical orbits with close flybys of the planet. To understand the atmospheric dynamics of the planet at the time of Juno, NASA collaborates with amateur astronomers observing the Giant Planet. The collaborative effort between Juno and amateurs is linked to the visual camera onboard Juno: JunoCam. Juno showcases an exciting opportunity for amateurs to provide an unique dataset that is used to plan the high-resolution observations from JunoCam and that advances our knowledge of the atmospheric dynamics of the Giant planet Jupiter. Contribution of amateurs range from their own images to Junocam images processing and support on selecting by vote the feature to be observed during the flybys.

This session will showcase results from amateur astronomers, working either by themselves or in collaboration with members of the professional community. In addition, members from both communities will be invited to share their experiences of pro-am partnerships and offer suggestions on how these should evolve in the future.
Oral and poster presentations are welcome.

Convener: Marc Delcroix | Co-conveners: Wolfgang Beisker, Ulyana Dyudina, Ricardo Hueso, John Rogers, Helen Usher, Stijn Calders

The African Union has developed a continental African Space Strategy (2017) that is based on the African Space Policy, which provides the principles for the establishment of a formal African space programme. This strategy is intended to support the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 and other relevant continental Strategies, such as the Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 2016-2025), and thus contribute to the achievement of Agenda 2063.
The African Space Strategy suggests that space science and technology can have an impact in combatting the serious challenges that African countries are facing in ensuring the adequate provision of basic necessities for their growing population.
Several large planetary and space science projects expected to start in the very near future in Africa, including the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) and the Botswana Satellite (Botswana Sat-1). The next generation of African scientists, leaders, and entrepreneurs will be part of a growing Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) labour market that currently has a skills shortage in the areas of remote sensing from space, planetary geology, astronomy, and astrophysics.
The Pan-Africa Planetary and Space Science Network (PAPSSN), launched in February, aims to improve access to high-quality STEM education, with a particular emphasis on planetary and space science. The Europlanet 2024 RI project also places a high priority on building collaboration with planetary science communities in Africa, and has recently published a strategy as a first step towards a community-led roadmap for global collaboration as part of Europlanet's future development as both a Research Infrastructure and as a Society

In this session, we invite members of the community to submit abstracts highlighting developments in planetary science and related fields in Africa, and opportunities for collaboration between Africa and Europe.

Conveners: Barbara Cavalazzi, Fulvio Franchi | Co-conveners: Anita Heward, Valentina Marcheselli, Nigel Mason

Responding to the claim that intelligent life must be commonplace throughout the universe, the physicist Enrico Fermi famously asked, “Where is everybody?” With this conundrum, Fermi called attention to the fact that a universe teeming with intelligence would likely be obvious to us. To explain this 'great silence', scientists have hypothesized that life must pass a crucial technological threshold to colonize interstellar space. Some aspects of societal advancement appear to be self-defeating, or at least highly perilous. Can the absence of extraterrestrial contact inform our response to existential threats on our own planet, such as anthropogenic climate change? In this talk, SETI Institute artist-in-residence Jonathon Keats will discuss his efforts to creatively engage Fermi's paradox through the creation of a Library of the Great Silence where humans can collectively assess global conditions from a cosmic perspective. Drawing on this experience, Keats will consider the potential for artists and philosophers to apply SETI and astrobiology for the practical benefit of society.

Co-organized by ODAA
Convener: Stavro Lambrov Ivanovski
Mon, 20 Sep, 17:30–18:00 (CEST)

Science communication and equal participation in scientific efforts is necessary to successfully connect science and society. In this presentation I will start with a historical overview of science communication models, and I will discuss how the evolution of these models led to the necessity of applying open science practices. Open science is an umbrella term which promotes democracy and transparency in research. It is vital that scientists, stakeholders, educators, students, and citizens, in general, collaborate to efficiently produce and disseminate scientific work. Open science enables widening participation where people from different levels and backgrounds can dynamically collaborate to enrich the results of a scientific project. Open science can provide a successful roadmap to bridge the gap between science and society. What are the different aspects of open science? How open can a scientific project be? What are the benefits and what are the challenges of performing open science in scientific research? The presentation will end with a discussion on strategies towards successful implementation of open science and emphasis will be given on planetary science related projects.

Public information:

Some useful links that Anastasia Kokori shared with us:




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You can contact me at:

Co-organized by ODAA
Convener: Arianna Piccialli
Thu, 23 Sep, 09:50–10:20 (CEST)