A new report sets the course for the future of European astronomy


A new report sets the course for the future of European astronomy

Artist’s impression of the Very Large Telescope – one of the projects supported in the 2008 ASTRONET Astronomy Roadmap. It is currently under construction. Credit: ESO

The ASTRONET Science Vision and Infrastructure Roadmap 2022 to 2035 is the latest comprehensive roadmap produced by the ASTRONET network of European funding agencies and research institutions. The network includes the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

ASTRONET is an independent consortium that aims to create a common scientific vision for all European astronomy by bringing together diverse groups to ask some of the biggest questions in science.

Professor Amelie Saintunge (UCL Physics & Astronomy), lead editor of the report, said, “The technology behind the facilities that allow groundbreaking astronomical discoveries often take decades to mature. This is why it is essential to take a long and global view of our scientific priorities, as well. We do on the ASTRONET Science and Infrastructure Roadmap.”

“The roadmap highlights the need for a balanced and integrated infrastructure where large major observatories are complemented by smaller rapid response facilities, computational and data centres, as well as laboratory facilities and infrastructures for technology development.

“Another growing priority for the community is that astronomical research be conducted in a sustainable and fair manner, which also fulfills our roles as educators and responsible citizens. The report highlights the importance of including these considerations in the early moments of decision-making.”

Committees of more than 100 scientists from across Europe presented the report, and a series of public consultations were held to ensure it reflects the breadth of views in astronomy.

These set major priorities, such as understanding the origin of the universe and the evolution of planets in our solar system, as well as making recommendations on the facilities and resources needed to meet these priorities.

In making its recommendations, the report looks at recently published insights from the European Space Agency, NASA and advisory bodies such as the Astrophysical Particle Consortium.

The goal of the report is to create an openly accessible resource for policymakers and science leaders to support informed decisions that guide scientific discovery more effectively and efficiently.

ASTRONET’s previous Science Vision and Infrastructure Roadmap (published in 2007 and revised in 2015) included recommendations that feed into project proposals such as:

  • European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope in Chile
  • Square Kilometer Array Observatory, headquartered in Jodrell Bank, near Manchester

These and other recommended initiatives have continued to receive significant support and participation from the United Kingdom.

Through recommendations like these, the ASTRONET Roadmap has become a valuable source of information for the benefit of the entire research community.

The recommendations of the latest report include:

  • Build the Cherenkov Telescope Array in time to detect high-energy gamma rays from black holes and other extreme phenomena
  • Adoption of the European Space Agency’s Athena and Laser Interferometer Space Antenna Missions for the study black holesAccurate detection and measurement gravitational waves From astronomical sources and more
  • Development of second-generation instruments to enhance the capability of ESO’s Very Large Telescope
  • Provide more robust environmental footprint assessments for astronomical research And pay greater attention to how to reduce the environmental impact of space science
  • Investing in people to ensure our ability to advance scientific and technological advances in astronomy

Researchers at UCL Physics & Astronomy as well as UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory play a key role in many of the initiatives and facilities discussed in the roadmap.

“Astronomy is necessarily an international field, and therefore, while it is important for individual countries to set their own priorities, a shared vision is essential to enable world-class European-led programs and capabilities,” said Dr.

“We live in an incredibly exciting time for science with game-changing space missions like the James Webb Space Telescope redefining our understanding of our place in the universe.

“It is essential that we build on this momentum by taking a strategic view of how we can join forces across Europe and the world to continue to push the frontiers of our knowledge.”

more information:
ASTRONET Roadmap, 2022-2035: www.astronet-eu.org/?page_id=521

the quote: New Report Sets Course for the Future of European Astronomy (2023, May 10), Retrieved May 10, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-future-european-astronomy.html

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