Thirteenth European Space Weather Week (ESWW13)

November 14-18, 2016, Oostende (Kursaal), Belgium
From November 14 to November 18, the 13th European Space Weather Week (ESWW) will be held at Oostende (Kursaal) in Belgium. The ESWW is the international conference par excellence when it comes to space weather. Already for the 11th time, its organisation is in the hands of the Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence (STCE). Once again, [...]

ExoMars 2016 arrives at destination

10 October 2016 – The first mission of the ExoMars programme, launched successfully on the 14th of March this year, is about to arrive at Mars. ExoMars 2016 consists of two components: the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Entry, descent and landing Demonstrator Module (EDM), also known as Schiaparelli. The main objectives of this mission are to search for [...]

Saturn’s moon Dione harbors a subsurface ocean

A subsurface ocean lies deep within Saturn’s moon Dione, according to new data from the Cassini mission to Saturn. Two other moons of Saturn, Titan and Enceladus, are already known to hide global oceans beneath their icy crusts, but a new study suggests an ocean exists on Dione as well.
In this study, researchers of the Royal Observatory of Belgium show [...]

Gravity variations induced by the transpiration of the trees

A Belgian-French study has evidenced variations of gravity induced by the transpiration of the trees. During sunny summer days, each tree transpires a few hundred litres of water into the atmosphere. Assessing the evapotranspiration of ecosystems remains a key challenge in hydrology.
The authors found that the water mass loss can be directly inferred from continuous gravity measurements: as water evaporates [...]

Homage to the Corresponding Astronomers of the Royal Observatory of Belgium on September 19, 2016

The Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) wishes to pay homage to some of its highly estimated external collaborators. Hence the ROB proposes to award them the title of “Corrresponding Astronomer”. In the past, this honor was already given to Dr R.J. Anderle, Prof. C. De Jager, Sir H. Jeffreys, Prof. J. Kovalevsky, Prof. P. Ledoux, Prof. H. Moritz and in [...]

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 [...]