ESO Science Outreach Network
The ESO education and Public Outreach Department has established a network of contacts in the ESO Member states and other countries. The goal of this ESO Science Outreach Network (ESON) is to act locally as ESO's media and outreach representative, in order to promote ESO's mission and achievements, and demonstrate the many inspirational aspects of astronomy. The ESON contacts can also serve as interface between the local scientists and the media. The communication between the member states (at the official and scientific levels) and ESO, takes place through ESO's governing bodies, and not through ESON, which deals only with outreach matters.
The ESON members are science communicators who know the national media and stake-holders, and regularly interact with them. They have a strong interest in promoting ESO, and provide regular inputs and ideas for how to best reach the target groups in their area. The ESON nodes are also in charge of translating the ESO material in their national language.
Below is the list of ESON members. If your country is not represented, and if you or your organisation would be interested in acting as ESO's local outreach contact, contact us at email@example.com.
|Non-Member States:||Host State:|
Dr Mariya Lyubenova
Mariya works as an astronomer at the ESO Headquarters in Garching, which means that she spends half of her time supporting the observatory and the other half on scientific research. Her functional work includes acting as a science liaison for ePOD, coordinating the astronomical image production team, and coordinating ESON.
Mariya holds a doctorate in astronomy from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet after pursuing 3 years of research at the Headquarters of ESO in Germany. In her work, she observes and uses the motions and chemical properties of stars in galaxies as fossil records to unravel the build-up and evolution of galaxies. Well before she started her university studies in her home country Bulgaria, she was already an active astronomy club member and editor of an astronomy magazine and a newspaper. After the completion of her PhD in 2009, she worked first as a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany and then at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
ESO Member States — Contacts and Biographies
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/austria/
Austrian Planetarium Society
Peter Habison studied Physics at the University of Technology in Vienna, Astronomy and the History of Sciences at the University of Vienna. From 1995–2011 he was director of Kuffner Observatory and from 2000–2011 director of Vienna Planetarium and Urania Observatory in Vienna. Since 2009 he has been managing the European Southern Observatory Network for Science Communication and Outreach in Austria and collaborates on national and international projects with ESA, NASA and the Austrian broadcasting cooperation ORF. International studies and work experience brought him to the University of Innsbruck, Université Libre at Brussels (Belgium) and the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias at Tenerife (Spain). He lectured at the University of Technology in Vienna, worked as tutor at the FFG Astrophysical Summer School Alpbach and gives regular lectures at planetaria, observatories and conferences worldwide on astronomical topics. He is an expert in the history of Kuffner Observatory and the Kuffner family, planetarium techniques, astronomy visualisation, communicating astronomy with the public and science communication. He is active in stimulating interest and enthusiasm amongst the young generation in astrophysics and natural sciences. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, the International Planetarium Society, Astronomische Gesellschaft, Österreichische Physikalische Gesellschaft, Gesellschaft deutschsprachiger Planetarien and Gesellschaft Österreichischer Planetarien.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/belgium/
Planetarium, Royal Observatory of Belgium
Rodrigo Alvarez holds a PhD in astrophysics, obtained in 1997 at the University Denis Diderot (Paris VII). His research field concerned long-period variable AGB stars. Since 2001, he has been in charge of the Planetarium of the Royal Observatory of Belgium. He has acted as the Belgian national node for several educational and/or outreach projects, such as ESERO (European Space Education Resource Office, an educational project pursued by ESA) and the Hands-on Universe (European Comenius project). As the Belgian Single Point of Contact during the International Year of Astronomy 2009, he coordinated the activities of dozens of participants and promoted the numerous events organised during the year in Belgium.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/czechrepublic/
PhD. Soňa Ehlerová
Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic
Soňa Ehlerová holds a PhD in astrophysics, obtained in 2000 at Charles University in Prague. Currently, she works at the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, where her research concerns the interstellar medium (especially in the Milky Way and local galaxies) and star formation. She enjoys the popularisation of astronomy, gives lectures to both the general public and children, and regularly participates in organising PR activities at the Astronomical Institute.
Mgr. Viktor Votruba PhD
Viktor Votruba studied at the Masaryk University at Brno University in the Czech Republic. After receiving a Bachelor's degree in general physics, he moved to the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics at the same university. During his subsequent studies he focused mainly on nonlinear dynamics (for which he was awarded a Master's degree in 2000) and the hydrodynamics of the stellar wind from hot stars (obtaining his PhD on the topic in 2006). He was awarded the Dean's prize in the Faculty of Natural Science for his work on nonlinear dynamics.
Afterwards, he took up a post-doctoral position at the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Science, where he continued to work on stellar wind dynamics and nonlinear effects in stellar variability, and now works as a scientist. For his contributions to the study of the stellar wind from hot stars Viktor was awarded the Otto Wichterle Prize. He teaches a course in numerical methods in astrophysics and cosmology at Masaryk University and is an experienced supervisor of diploma and doctoral theses. He has been a member of the IAU since 2008.
Viktor Votruba has been popularising the natural sciences, and especially astronomy, for ten years, ever since he started as a lector at the public observatory in Brno. He teaches and informs students and the general public alike about new results in astronomy and about progress made in astrophysical research at an introductory level. He was also a co-organiser of the astronomical camp for young astronomers, which is hosted at the public observatory every summer. When not doing astronomy he is also a big volleyball fan.
Read Viktor's personal web page: http://physics.muni.cz/%7Evotruba/uvod.html
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/denmark/
Ole J. Knudsen
SAC/IDA, Institut for Fysik og Astronomi
Ole J. Knudsen has a B.Sc. in astronomy and physics from University of Aarhus, Denmark and parallel to his work as planetarium manager at the Steno Museum in Aarhus from 1993 to 2014 he served the Danish public and media on all things astronomical and related to science and space research. He is also an experienced lecturer, radio and TV consultant, space expert, populariser and science writer. Ole is a fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and the International Planetarium Society.
SAC/IDA, Institut for Fysik og Astronomi
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/finland/
Rami has a PhD in astronomy (University of Turku, Finland, 2007) and has worked in Tuorla Observatory since 1996. His primary research interest is in the Local Group of galaxies and the Local Volume. He has measured distances to other galaxies using Cepheid variable stars, surface brightness fluctuation method and planetary nebula luminosity function. He has also been involved in studies of galaxy masses and distribution in the Local Volume. His other research interests include astrobiology and asteroids. He has worked for seven months at the Nordic Optical Telescope NOT, La Palma, Spain, and used the NTT, and the ESO 3.6m and Danish 1.54m telescopes at La Silla for observations. Since 2007 Rami has been the NOT science school researcher, in charge of Finnish senior secondary school groups visiting the NOT for a wee moment of observations. He has been involved in the planning of Tuorla Planetarium and the forthcoming Tuorla Visitor Centre. He gives astronomy lectures and courses at schools and for organisations and companies, and maintains several astronomy related web sites. He is currently a board member of the Finnish national Ursa Astronomical Association, secretary of the professional astronomers' Tuorlan Astronomical Society, and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Besides astronomy Rami is interested in producing arts, writing fantasy fiction, hiking in the nature, and cooking.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/france/
Responsable de la communication
After a master’s degree in economics and additional studies in communication, Thierry’s interest in international cooperation took him to the French Ministry of Education and Research. He went on to work in the cooperation and international division of the Ministry, and subsequently for a new French agency called EduFrance (now named Campus France). In both cases he was in charge of promoting French higher education to foreign students. He specialised in Latin American countries, organising numerous events from Argentina to Mexico, via Brazil, Venezuela etc. After that, he decided to spend some years working in South America, taking a new professional direction as deputy director of the Alliance Française in Buenos Aires, which is not only an educational institution dedicated to teaching French, but also a cultural centre and an important media library, offering a large range of activities related to the French language and culture. He then chose once again to turn his knowledge in communication toward another field of activities and found a job at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in charge of the communication department of the Observatoire Astronomique de Marseille Provence. Here he manages many activities including outreach, press relations and public relations. A very exciting job.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/germany/
Dr Markus Pössel
Haus der Astronomie
Markus Pössel obtained his diploma in physics from Hamburg University in 1997, staying on for a PhD in quantum gravity, which he completed in 2003. Research for this PhD was carried out at the Max-Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), where Markus also started his slow slide into science outreach, writing several books, editing a popular science website on relativity theory called Einstein Online, and co-curating part of the Einstein exhibition in Berlin in 2005, among other activities. In 2007, he moved to New York as Senior Science Advisor to the newly-founded World Science Festival. In 2009, he returned to Germany, where he is now managing scientist of the Haus der Astronomie (literally the House of Astronomy), a newly-founded Centre for Astronomy Education and Outreach in Heidelberg. In 2010 he became the chief public relations officer at the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy.
Dr Carolin Liefke
Haus der Astronomie
Carolin has been an amateur astronomer since the impact of comet Shoemaker–Levi 9 on Jupiter in 1994, when she was thirteen years old. Two years later she bought her first real telescope, a three-inch refractor. Today she owns a total of four telescopes, the biggest one a 16-inch dobsonian. Carolin is a member of several astronomy associations and a moderator in the Astrotreff, one of the biggest German-speaking astronomy-related internet communities. Carolin studied physics at the University of Hamburg and worked on stellar activity and X-ray astronomy at the Hamburger Sternwarte for her PhD. Among the highlights of her scientific career were two visits to Paranal, where she observed flare stars with the UVES spectrograph at Kueyen, one of the VLT's 8-metre telescopes. For more than ten years, Carolin has been involved in astronomy education and outreach. In March 2010, she turned this passion into a profession and is now working at the Haus der Astronomie, the Centre for Astronomy Education and Outreach in Heidelberg, where she is responsible for teacher training in astronomy at the University of Heidelberg, astronomy-related projects for high-school students, and for the centre’s telescopes. Carolin is a big fan of science fiction and fantasy. In her spare time, she goes hiking and climbing in the Alps.
Dr Markus Nielbock
Haus der Astronomie
Markus Nielbock has been fascinated by outer space since his childhood. He studied physics in Bochum and received his doctorate in astrophysics in 2001. He then moved to Chile as an ESO fellow to work on the largest single dish telescope so far based at any of the ESO observatories, the SEST. In 2003 he returned to Germany to intensify his research in the field of star formation. In 2006 he moved to the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, where he worked for almost 10 years as an instrument scientist for the PACS camera of the Herschel Space Telescope. Since 2015 he has been involved in astronomical education and public outreach at the Haus der Astronomie. There he develops teaching materials, organises public events, gives lectures and workshops, supports the training of teachers and cultivates contacts to classical media such as the press, radio and television. He also acts as a contact person for topics relating to space flight. Since 2018 he has also been employed as a public information officer at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. For many years he has been enthusiastically involved in several astronomically oriented associations in Germany and Switzerland and has inspired people for space and astronomy. His passion is to bring the Universe closer to as many people as possible. Markus is a fan of Star Trek and Stanislaw Lem. His second major project is his daughter, who has been severely affected by an innate rare genetic defect. Through press activities and fundraising, he works to ensure that the disease BPAN becomes known and can be treated and finally cured through progress in medical research.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/italy/
Via Brera, 28
Anna Wolter is an astrophysicist, and has been working at the INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera in Milan, Italy since 1991. After a physics degree in Milan she began her scientific career at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. There she helped to construct one of the best-exploited surveys of X-ray sources, serendipitously found in the Einstein Observatory images, the Extended Medium Sensitivity Survey (EMSS). She has dealt with all kinds of X-ray emitters, from stars to clusters of galaxies, but her main interest was with the class of the highly luminous and variable galaxy nuclei called BL Lacs. More recently she has moved from the point-like sources at the centres of galaxies to the diffuse/unresolved emission within them. She now devotes much of her time to the study of ultraluminous X-ray sources, a puzzling class of sources in external galaxies, which probably harbour heavy black holes, intermediate in mass between the light stellar ones and the supermassive nuclei at the centre of galaxies. Part of the time she focuses on the statistical analysis of complete samples, deriving luminosity functions, and for the remainder she studies in detail a few selected and complex objects, like galaxies, which have many different components that contribute to the overall emission. The main wavelength of interest is always X-ray, but Anna believes that a multiwavelength approach is important for a complete insight into an astronomical problem and so has worked with almost every energy band accessible. She is Principal Investigator of optical, radio, X-ray and gamma-ray observations of various celestial sources. She is author and co-author of about a hundred papers in refereed journals and about as many contributions to International meetings. In the last ten years she has devoted a significant fraction of her time to both teaching and outreach activities. She delivers lectures on key topics as part of the astrophysics curriculum at the Milan universities, and tutors Laurea and post-Laurea students. She delivers conferences and lectures for the public and for high school and middle school classes on various astrophysical topics.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/netherlands/
Nederlandse Onderzoekschool voor Astronomie
Marieke studied at the universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam. She worked for the Dutch public broadcaster NOS from 1991–2003. After two years working as a freelancer writing on new media issues, she then switched her career to astronomy and communications. She has been a Public Information Officer and Head of Communication at the Dutch Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) since 2005. This top research school is a cooperation between the astronomical institutes of the universities of Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden and Nijmegen. The NOVA Information Centre communicates astronomy with the general public, press and schools in the Netherlands. The office is based at the University of Amsterdam and works with three staff members and seven freelancers. Educational outreach has been developing fast since 2010, and features a mobile planetarium, digiboard lessons, apps and exercises for school children. Marieke was the Dutch coordinator for the International Year of Astronomy 2009. She is also the editor of the Dutch astronomy website www.astronomie.nl.
Nederlandse Onderzoekschool voor Astronomie
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/poland/
Dr Krzysztof Czart
Krzysztof Czart is an astronomer and science journalist. He graduated in astronomy at the Nicolas Copernicus University in Toruń, the city where Nicolas Copernicus was born. His main scientific interests are stellar spectroscopy, variable stars, massive stars, Wolf–Rayet stars and OB associations. He is a member of the Polish Astronomical Society and the author of hundreds of news articles about astronomy, astronautics and space research on internet portals, as well as many popular articles about astronomy in printed magazines. He created the English–Polish and Polish–English Astronomical Dictionary used by many internet dictionaries (including Onet.pl) as well as the Astronomical Dictionary of the Polish Astronomical Society. He has also worked for television, preparing data and texts about astronomy that were broadcasted every day by the TVN Meteo channel. He is co-author of the "Astronarium" television series in the Polish Television (TVP).
He created Astronomia.pl — the Polish Astronomy Portal, which was the biggest and the most popular astronomical portal in Poland. He was Editor in Chief of the portal since its launch in 2001 until 2011. Krzysztof was also editor of the Kosmos – Tajemnice Wszechświata astronomy magazine. He collaborates with the science section of the Polish Press Agency and is editor of Urania – Postępy Astronomii astronomy magazine.
While his main specialisation is communicating astronomy through written text and over the internet, he has taken part in many other activities, including leading guided tours at an astronomical observatory, giving lectures for school students and amateur astronomers, participating in science festivals and bringing exciting international projects in education and the communication of astronomy to Poland.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/portugal/
Dr. Margarida Serote Roos
Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço
Margarida Serote holds a PhD in astrophysics (University of Paris 7, 1996). Her main research field concerned extragalactic astronomy, namely the study of active galactic nuclei in terms of their stellar populations. She has also worked on large-scale structures, trying to understand the effects of redshift and environment in clusters of galaxies. For almost 14 years Margarida worked as a scientist at the Paris–Meudon Observatory, France, and afterwards at the Lisbon Observatory, Portugal. She has been actively promoting astronomy to the public ever since she started her undergraduate studies in 1986, by giving talks, courses, leading planetarium shows and writing popular articles. For four years she edited a monthly publication of the Lisbon Observatory, distributed on a national level to all secondary schools and was a founding member of the Portuguese Astronomical Society. More recently she has started working as a film producer. Together with her husband, she runs a small film company called Lightcurve Films. They have produced over 35 films, mostly on topics related to astrophysics, often with an educational angle and aimed at younger students and a general audience. Margarida also translates scientific books.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/spain/
Centro de Astrobiología (CAB; CSIC-INTA)
Miguel has a PhD in astrophysics, with a special interest in the study of violent star-forming episodes in the Universe (massive starbursts), and their relation to active galactic nuclei. He completed his PhD under the supervision of Dr D. Kunth (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris) on the properties of starburst galaxies, combining population synthesis models with ultraviolet–optical–infrared observations. Recently his research has focused on the properties of Lyman-alpha emission in these galaxies, which is a powerful tool for unveiling the evolution of star formation through the history of the Universe. In parallel, he has participated in the development of space instrumentation for astronomy: as Principal Investigator for the Optical Monitoring Camera on the high energy ESA INTEGRAL observatory, and as Co-Investigator on the Spanish MINISAT-01-LEGRI gamma-ray imager and finally, on the Bepi Colombo MIXS X-ray imaging spectrometer. He is presently working on instruments for the ESA PLATO mission. Between 1991 and 2003 Miguel worked at the Spanish Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA), after some years at Madrid Complutense University (1986–1990) and a postdoctoral stay at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching (1990–1991). This stay marked his first direct interaction with ESO, which is located close to the MPE building. Since 2003 he has been a CSIC staff researcher at the Center for Astrobiology, a joint institute between the Spanish INTA and CSIC (the Spanish research council), which is also associated to the NASA Astrobiology Institute. He enjoys talking about astronomy to the general public and being responsible for the outreach activities of a Spanish consortium working for the 10.2-metre GTC telescope in La Palma. Apart from astronomy and astronautics, he likes skiing and hiking, frequently visiting the mountains close to Madrid.
Natalia Ruiz Zelmanovitch
Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB; CSIC-INTA)
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/sweden/
Onsala Space Observatory
Robert Cumming, 43, lives in Göteborg, Sweden. Born in Scotland, he studied in Edinburgh and London and moved to Stockholm in 1994. He is an astronomer at the Onsala Space Observatory, where he mostly works with outreach and information. When he gets a chance to do some research, he is interested in measuring the gas and stars in nearby galaxies that resemble the blue, energetic star factories that were common when the Universe was younger. Haro 11 is a favourite. He is also editor for the Swedish astronomy magazine Populär Astronomi and blogs about astronomy and space in Swedish at the magazine's page http://www.popularastronomi.se/. You can find him on Twitter as @maltesk, or out in the wilds with a pair of binoculars in his hands. At night for the stars, of course, or by day for birdwatching.
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
In 2005, Tobias Albertsson moved from his little home-town of Vargön to study astrophysics at Lund University. Early on in his studies, he became interested in research on stars and planets, which is still his primary research field.
After his MSc degree in 2010, he moved to Germany and began his PhD studies at Heidelberg University. In 2014 he defended his thesis in astrochemistry, in which he worked on theoretical models of molecules that contain deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen. These molecules are important tools for analysing the conditions in various astronomical environments, and can give us essential clues to many of the variables that control their physical and chemical evolution.
Based in Bonn from September 2014, Tobias is continuing his research on deuterium molecules, primarily in interstellar gas clouds. Many of these molecules are related to the evolution of life, such as water and several organic molecules, and this is where he focuses much of his interest right now.
Since 2009 he has written for the Swedish astronomical magazine Populär Astronomi. But when his mind is off astronomy and cosmic molecules, he spends his time either with his camera or his saxophone in his hands. You can find a selection of his best pictures on Flickr.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/switzerland/
Liceo di Lugano 2
Nicolas studied physics at Geneva University, and specialised in astrophysics/astronomy at the Geneva Observatory. He graduated in 1993 and started a PhD with Professor P.T. de Zeeuw at Leiden University (The Netherlands). He worked on the construction of computer dynamical models for elliptical galaxies. Once this powerful tool was finished and tested, he applied it to several galaxies and showed that the observed stellar velocities could not be explained without the presence of dark matter, either in the form of supermassive central black holes (as for M32, the dwarf companion of the Andromeda Galaxy) or extended massive dark halos (as for NGC 2434). His main collaborators were H.-W. Rix, R.P. van der Marel and F. van den Bosch. After completing his PhD, he went to the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg in a post-doctoral position for two years. In 2001 he took up a fellowship at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Munich. In parallel to his ongoing research, Nicolas worked on a multi-fibre instrument for the VLT, Flames, which feeds two spectrographs, GIRAFFE and UVES. At the end of 2004, Nicolas moved to Lugano and became a high school physics teacher at the Liceo di Lugano 2. During his first year of teaching, he studied pedagogy in the Alta Scuola Pedagogica of Locarno and graduated in the summer of 2005. In his free time, Nicolas enjoys biking, reading books, including comic books, playing video games. He is also interested in global warming, astrobiology, human origins and debating.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/unitedkingdom/
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Science and Technology Facilities Council
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/brazil/
Dr Gustavo Rojas
Núcleo de Formação de Professores — Universidade Federal de São Carlos
Gustavo began his astronomy activities while he was a physics undergraduate at the University of São Paulo (USP). He then undertook postgraduate studies at USP, investigating young, low-mass stars, their chemical abundances and circumstellar environments. Since 2008 he has been a full-time astronomer at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), located 240 km northwest of São Paulo. He is in charge of a small observatory and works mainly on educational and outreach activities. Among the projects he is currently working on are the videocast, O Céu da Semana (The Weekly Sky) and the radio show Paideia. Both are produced in collaboration with the Open Laboratory for Interactivity (LAbI) at UFSCar. He is also an editor of the Latin American Journal of Astronomy Education (RELEA) and one of the Brazilian representatives in Galileo Teacher Training Program. His main interests in addition to astronomy are travelling, reading, photography and music.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/chile/
ESO Santiago Office
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/australia/
Dr. Stuart Ryder
Program Manager, Astronomy Australia Limited
Stuart Ryder is based in Sydney, Australia and works for Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL) as a Program Manager supporting Australia’s engagement with ESO. AAL is a not-for-profit company that aims to provide Australian astronomers with access to world-class national and international astronomy research infrastructure.
Stuart holds a PhD in astrophysics from the Australian National University. His research focuses on the discovery and evolution of core-collapse supernovae, as well as identifying their progenitor stars. Before joining AAL in 2018, Stuart managed the Australian Astronomical Observatory’s International Telescopes Support Office, coordinating Australian access to telescopes including Gemini, Magellan, Keck, and Subaru.
Stuart is also an Adjunct Fellow with Macquarie University. He regularly participates in outreach activities, and has led total solar eclipse viewing expeditions to Mexico, Chile, Mongolia, the Caribbean, Turkey, China, Australia, and the USA.
Dr. Tanya Hill
Melbourne Planetarium, Scienceworks
Public Phone Number: +61 400 130 675
Dr Tanya Hill has been the Astronomer for the Melbourne Planetarium since it opened at Scienceworks in 1999. She holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Sydney, where she searched for supermassive black holes within a sample of 25 galaxies. For her research, she has used a range of Australian telescopes including the Anglo-Australian Telescope, the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Radio Telescope, and NASA’s Tidbinbilla Radio Telescope located in the ACT. While studying for her PhD, Tanya also worked as a Guide Lecturer at Sydney Observatory, which ignited her passion for science communication. She has produced more than a dozen planetarium shows and Melbourne Planetarium productions can now be seen across 15 countries around the world. One of her favourites is Black Holes: Journey into the Unknown which draws together research from her postgraduate studies to bring to life all that is fascinating and extreme in the world black holes.
Dr. Mita Brierley
Project Officer, Astronomy Australia Limited
Mita Brierley is based in Melbourne, Australia and works for Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL) as their Project Officer. AAL is a not-for-profit company that aims to provide Australian astronomers with access to world-class national and international astronomy research infrastructure.
Mita holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, where her research focused on determining global properties of extra-galactic globular clusters, which can be used as tracers for galactic evolution. Mita has been interested in astronomy and astronomy outreach from a very young age. Her first job during high-school was as a planetarium presenter and telescope operator at the Carter Observatory in Wellington, New Zealand. Throughout her undergraduate and graduate years, she was heavily involved in a wide range of outreach activities: from running public telescope-viewing sessions, to giving talks and running activity sessions at primary and secondary schools, to presenting public lectures to general audiences. After completing her PhD, she continued at the University of Canterbury as a lecturer in undergraduate physics and astronomy until her move to Australia in 2011.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/hungary/
Róbert Szabó studied at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. He earned his PhD in astronomy in 2004 on the topic of numerical modelling of stellar pulsation. He worked at the Physics Department of the University of Florida in 2005-2007 as a postdoc, working on numerical hydrocodes. His research interests span a wide range: variable stars, stellar pulsations, exoplanets and recently Solar System objects. In recent years he specialized in space photometry and worked with a fleet of space telescopes (CoRoT, MOST, Kepler and K2). He leads the RR Lyrae and Cepheids Working Groups of the Kepler and TESS Asteroseismic Science Consortia. He founded the Hungarian Kepler research group, and serves as a Board member of PLATO (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars), the European Space Agency’s next exoplanet finder mission. In 2016 became the Deputy Director of the Konkoly Observatory, the largest astronomical institute in Hungary. Róbert Szabó regularly teaches astronomy and astrophysics at Hungarian universities. As a former amateur astronomer he is keen on popularizing astronomy to a wide range of audiences, from primary school to senior citizens, frequently appearing in journals, TV and radio shows. In 2008 he completed the Science Communication and Research Management course at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/iceland/
Sævar Helgi Bragason
Center for Astrophysics and Cosmology
Sævar was born on 17 April 1984 in Reykjavik, Iceland. Fascinated by astronomy for as long as he can remember, he became hooked when he saw Saturn through a telescope for the first time at a very young age. Sævar did not head straight to university after he finished high school, but became a high school teacher in physics and astronomy for two years. After that, he started undergraduate studies in geology at the University of Iceland, with the aim of becoming a planetary geologist, but he soon discovered that his heart belonged to astrophysics. Therefore, he decided to start studying astrophysics in Denmark in late 2011. He is mostly fascinated by observational astrophysics, and the search for exoplanets in particular. Along with his studies, Sævar works as a science communicator/Public Information Officer for the Centre of Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Iceland. He is also an editor of the Icelandic astronomy website http://www.stjornuskodun.is and chairman of the Amateur Astronomical Society. He runs a small company called Sjónaukar.is which specialises in selling telescopes and other equipment for stargazers. Other interests involve hiking, travelling, playing and watching football (a passionate Liverpool fan), photography and relaxing in front of his HDTV. He loves seeing the Universe with his own eyes, but his greatest joy is watching his son growing up. 31 December 2010 was the best day of his life — when he witnessed his fiancée give birth to their son.
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/ireland/
Clair was born in Limerick, Ireland and has many years experience in cross-cultural event and facilities management with related positions in Ireland, Jamaica, Germany and San Francisco, USA. She graduated from University College Galway with an Honours BA in Arts and Languages in 1992 and has postgraduate diplomas in tourism and communications.
Clair is the only non-scientist in a work team of six scientists; this allows for varied and complementary skill sets to create agendas and programmes that showcase both the interactive astronomy exhibit and the outreach which manifests from Cosmos at the Castle, the research at BCO Labs and the facility’s global astronomy links. This includes work with her position as ESON representative in Ireland, projects with ESERO (European Space Education Resource Office) Ireland, spearheading local and national IYA2009 events and Beyond, UNAWE projects, Cork Science Café, Cork Skeptics at the Castle, high profile events such as an on-orbit live link to the ISS, international affiliations — EarthHour, Globe at Night, GAM, pan-global observatory links and locally, a host of Cork festivals that have found that astronomy really IS everywhere!
Clair’s position as ESON representative in Ireland has both generated an enhanced BCO audience and a greater awareness of the work of ESO in Ireland. Her work with ESERO in Ireland has created new opportunities for developing space as a theme to engage STEM learning in the classroom.
Clair managed a highly successful programme of astronomy related activities for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 including orchestrating the theme of the Cork St Patrick’s Day Parade, UNAWE projects and lecture tours with the Vatican Astronomer, Br Guy Consolmagno and Carolyn Porco, Imaging Director for the Cassini Huygens mission to Saturn. She has also organised the Earth Hour action in Cork city.
Cork Institute of Technology
ESO min-site: http://www.eso.org/public/norway/
University of Oslo
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/russia/
Dr. Kirill Maslennikov
The Central (Pulkovo) Astronomical Observatory of Russian Academy of Sciences
ESO mini-site: http://www.eso.org/public/usa/
Dr. Paola Rebusco
ESO Science Outreach Network