First data release of the ESA satellite Gaia

The ESA satellite Gaia released its first results based on observations collected by the satellite between 25 July 2014 and 16 September 2015. Gaia measures the positions, distances, space motions and many physical characteristics of more than one billion objects in our Galaxy and beyond. In this release, positions on the sky (α, δ) and magnitudes for more than 1 billion [...]

Science and culture at the Royal Palace 2016


As each year, the Royal Palace in Brussels opens its doors to the public in summer: from 22 July to 4 September 2016. The public will be able to discover the exposition Cartographiae showing maps and cartography throughout the centuries.
In order to bring the intriguing and little-known world of cartography closer to the public, the 10 federal scientific institutions of Belgium [...]

Rob research in the spotlight: exoplanet study highlighted by Nature Physics and New Scientist

Exoplanets that can have liquid water at their surface are in the focus of the search for life outside of Earth. These planets, located in the so-called habitable zone, are ideal candidates for hosting alien life.An international research team led by Lena Noack and including Attilio Rivoldini and Tim Van Hoolst of the ROB examined the habitability of water-rich planets [...]

A reappraisal of the origin of Mars’ moons

The planet Mars has two small moons, Phobos and Deimos. They have long been thought to be asteroids captured by Mars. Yet the shape and orientation of their orbit seem to rule out this hypothesis.
A team of Belgian, French, and Japanese scientists, led by Dr Pascal Rosenblatt at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, suggests that Phobos and Deimos formed by [...]

Mercury Transit Observation Campaign

On Monday 9 May, between 13:12:19 and 20:40:33 local time, a Mercury transit across the solar disk will be visible in its entirety from Belgium. This event will not be visible with the naked eye. A (small) telescope with solar filter will be required.

Solar telescopes in Uccle will closely monitor this spectacle. Solar satellites will also be on the look [...]


Every now and then large Sun storms strike the Earth where they cause auroras and, in rare cases, also perturbations in communication, navigation, power supply or other technology based applications . These events are, however, nothing compared to the apocalyptic destructions we would experience if the Earth is struck by a superflare, as observed in other stars.

An international research team [...]

Mystery Yellow Hypergiant HR 5171 solved

An international team of astronomers, including Alex Lobel, astrophysicist of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, have discovered the origin of mysterious blue light near the Yellow Hypergiant HR 5171A.

The light was accidentally observed in the early 1970ies by a team member, but without providing a good explanation for it. More than 40 years later the team’s research reveals the light [...]

Space Weather – Belgian wins an award

Since 2013, space weather medals are awarded at the annual European Space Weather Week conference. This year Dr. David Berghmans, a Belgian scientist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, won the Marcel Nicolet medaille for his efforts to structure the space weather community at an international level. [...]