Since 2011 our observatory is a member of GLORIA (GLObal Robotic telescopes
Intelligent Array for e-Science) project - wide international collaboration
of 13 scientific institutions from 8 countries aiming at opening public
access to robotic telescopes, as well as propagating astronomy in general.
In particular, members of the project regularly organize events dedicated
to various interesting astronomical phenomena and events - solar and lunar
eclipses, transit of Venus, etc.
Contact - Karpov S.
The eleven years cycle of Sun's activity is approaching its maximum! From
August 24th to 29th a team of astronomers, engineers and astro-photographers
will travel to southern Greenland to observe the Northern Lights (Aurora
Borealis), a phenomenon expected to be particularly spectacular during this
period. The "Shelios 2013" expedition is coordinated by Miquel Serra-Ricart
(a researcher from IAC, the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary
Islands). Thanks to the European project
GLORIA, videos and pictures of the aurora from Greenland will be
broadcast live on the Internet.
Live footage will be broadcast from a black and white camera each evening,
between 00:30 and 1:30 Universal Time, providing video sequences showing the
movements of the aurora. The broadcast can be followed on
GLORIA portal or at sky-live.tv.
The portal will also
display updated information about the weather at the observing site and the
actual broadcasting schedule. Information will also be disseminated via
GLORIA's social networks. Moreover, during the live broadcasting, every
minute a pair of high resolution images - collected at the same time from
two different locations some 10 km apart - will be made available to
students to perform an educational activity: the calculation of the aurora
altitude using the parallax method.
The wonderful celestial spectacle of the aurora occurs when very energetic
particles from the Sun reach the Earth's atmosphere via the solar wind. The
entrance of these electrically charged particles (essentially electrons)
into the Earth's atmosphere is governed by the Earth's magnetic field. The
dipolar field channels these particles near the poles where they penetrate
the atmosphere. The collision of the particles with the atoms and molecules
of the atmosphere cause the light emission in regions around the North Pole
(Aurora Borealis) and the South Pole (Aurora Australis). Auroras can
sometimes appear as luminous curtains, which change quickly and show several
colours. The light emission takes place at altitudes between 100 and 400 km.
Collision of the particles with the oxygen atoms produce the greenish tones
whereas nitrogen molecules are the cause of the reddish tones. During 2011
and 2012 intense aurorae were detected coinciding with the current period of
increased solar activity.
GLORIA is a collaborative project which aims to take advantage of the
collective intelligence of the Internet community to perform astronomical
research. Users can already contribute to the calculation of solar activity
by obtaining and analysing images of the solar surface taken from
Observatory (Canary Islands) with the TAD telescope, one of the 17
robotic telescopes - spread over four continents - of the GLORIA network. New
developments and new means of collaboration will be added in the coming
months. People interested in GLORIA are encouraged to visit
the website of the project and
to join its
and social networks.
GLORIA is a three-year project financed by the Seventh Framework Program of
the European Union (FP7/2007-2012) under agreement number 283783 with a
budget of 2.5 million euro. The project, started in October 2011, involves
13 institutions from 8 countries. Please see
A collection of images from the past expeditions is available at
Aurora Borealis as seen over the Southern Greenland in late August 2012.
The pictures were taken during the Shelios 2012 expedition (see
J.C. Casado - starryearth.com)