Hel.A.S. Newsletter 146 - April 2010

  1. Short News
  2. Upcoming Elections of the Governing Council of Hel.A.S.
  3. Telescope Time at Skinakas Observatory
  4. European Telescope Strategy Review
  5. Advanced Astrophysics and Space Physics Degrees in France
  6. Spitzer Space Telescope Call for Proposals
  7. CSO Call for Proposals
  8. Upcoming Astronomy Meetings in Greece
  9. About this Newsletter

We would like to congratulate Stavros Akras who recently obtained his PhD from the University of Patras under the supervision of Prof. Goudis, Dr. P. Boumis and Dr. E. Xilouris. The title of his dissertation was "Detection and Study of the Interstellar Media". Dr. Akras has accepted a postdoctoral researcher position at Instituto de Astronomia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM, Ensenada) and will be moving there in June 2010.

We would like to congratulate Dr. Spyros Basilakos who was recently promoted to Researcher B' at the Research Center for Astronomy and Applied Mathematics of the Academy of Athens.

We would like to congratulate Kosmas Lazaridis who recently obtained his PhD from the Max-Planck-Institute for Radioastronomy, Bonn and the University of Cologne with the title "Multi-Telescope Studies of Neutron Stars" under the supervision of Dr. Axel Jessner and Prof. Michael Kramer. Dr. Lazaridis is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the newly formed group of "Fundamental Physics in Radio Astronomy" at the same institute.


By the end of April all Ordinary and Junior members of Hel.A.S. must have received a letter from the Society. Please check your mailboxes! This will include the summary of the President on the activities of the current Governing Council during the 2008-2010 term, the agenda for the 28th General Assembly of Hel.A.S., as well as the ballots and instructions from the Secretary on the voting process. Please read those instructions carefully and mail your ballots early, as they have to arrive at the hands of the Secretary before the 20th of June 2010.

A document including the brief CVs of the candidates for the upcoming elections is available online as a PDF file.


Skinakas Observatory announces that ~20% of the total observing time this year will be available to Astrophysicists working in Greek Universities and Research Centers. For more information please check the Observatory website at:



The ASTRONET Science Vision and Infrastructures Roadmaps concluded that there is an urgent need to define a strategy for 2-4m telescopes at the European Level. Accordingly a panel had been set up to identify how Europe's medium sized telescopes can best contribute to the delivery of the Science Vision and to propose how a suite of existing telescopes can do so cost effectively. This panel, co-chaired by Janet Drew (Univ of Hertfordshire, UK) and Jacqueline Bergeron (IAP, Paris) has delivered their final report, and it is available at:


Comments on this report are welcome until May 1 2010.


A number of graduate programs in astrophysics in the area of Paris (France), welcome students from Universities around the world who are interested in pursuing advanced research degrees in Astrophysics and Space Science. Since these possibilities are not well understood, we use this opportunity to present in this newsletter a concise description of the different levels of entry in the French system.

The Master programs in France usually last 2 academic years, called “M1” and “M2” respectively. Students follow a number of advanced courses in astrophysics, physics, and mathematics, depending on the specific area. The “M1” corresponds to the 4th year of University studies in Greece. Since the duration of an undergraduate University degree in Greece is typically four years, students who have completed their undergraduate studies in a Greek University may directly enroll in the “M2” level. However, it is likely more helpful to enroll in the “M1” in order to have enough time to better adapt in the French academic system, especially for students not fluent in French.

Upon their successful completion of the “M2” year and depending on their grades, students have the opportunity to obtain a fellowship towards a PhD degree. Typical fellowships provide a net monthly stipend of ~1400 Euros (which can be incremented by ~300 Euros in case a student is eligible to become a teaching assistant) for the whole three year duration of the degree. Note that a student who cannot secure a fellowship is not allowed to enroll in a PhD program. Furthermore it is more difficult but still possible for a foreign student to be offered a PhD fellowship if she/he has not completed the “M2” level in France. Even though proficiency in French language is required for “M1” and “M2” since most courses and all exams are in French, a PhD thesis can be written in English. Admission in all three levels, “M1”, “M2” and a PhD are open to applicants depending on their background and academic scores.

  • In the Paris region a number of Universities and Institutes, such as the Observatoire de Paris, the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, the Université Paris Diderot, the Université Paris-Sud, as well as individual research laboratories are participating in a Master program entitled “Astronomie, Astrophysique et Ingénierie Spatiale”. Specific information on how to be admitted at the different levels follow:

    The application deadline for “M1” level is 1 June 2010 (see http://master-1.obspm.fr ).

    There are two different “M2” levels. An “M2 Recherche” which leads mainly to PhD studies, and an “M2 Professionnel” more oriented towards careers in space engineering. The application deadline for “M2 Recherche” is 15 June 2010 (see http://master-recherche.obspm.fr). The “M2 Professionnel” has a running application (see http://osae.obspm.fr).

    For graduate students who already hold a Master degree (M2), the deadline for application for a fellowship towards a PhD degree is 31 May 2010 (see http://ecole-doctorale.obspm.fr.

    For more information on the above please contact the Hel.A.S. members Prof. Christophe Sauty and Prof. Yannis Zouganelis.

  • A number of plasma physics laboratories and universities of the Paris region, including the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, the Université Paris-Sud, the Université Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, the Institut d’Optique and the Ecole Polytechnique participate in the challenging program of the “M2” level entitled “Physique des Plasmas” (see http://plasmas.master-omp.fr). This program deals with theoretical and experimental aspects of astrophysical and space plasmas (solar and magnetospheric physics, stellar evolution, interstellar plasmas), as well as thermonuclear fusion (tokamaks, ITER project) and cold plasmas. As explained above, after completion of this “M2” program, candidates may apply for a PhD fellowship. The "M2" application deadline is 1 June 2010.

    For more information please contact the Hel.A.S. member Prof. Yannis Zouganelis


The Spitzer Science Center (SSC) at Caltech is pleased to announce the release of the Cycle-7 Call for Proposals (CP). The Cycle-7 CP solicits 3,000 hours of observations. It is expected to select ~1500 hours of regular GO programs and ~1500 hours of Snapshot programs. Snapshot programs are new for Cycle-7. Programs are categorized as small (< 50 hours) and large (50-500 hours). Regular GO proposals can include science programs that are highly constrained, with the usual caveat that the more constrained the program the harder it is to schedule. The Snapshot programs are specifically solicited to provide a substantial number of hours of unconstrained science that can be easily scheduled to fill gaps in the schedule introduced by the existing highly constrained two-year Exploration Science programs selected in Cycle-6. Joint HST or Chandra observations can be proposed as part of a Spitzer Cycle-7 proposal. The proposal deadline is 23 April 2010, 5:00 PM PDT. For more information visit:



The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) encourages observing participation by astronomers from both U.S. and non-U.S. institutions. Applications will be reviewed by an outside peer group. Applications for observing time between 1 September 2010 through 31 January 2011 are due by 31 May 2010. For instructions on applying and for information about available instruments, including bolometer cameras, see:



The following meetings will take place in Greece. Please check the corresponding web page or contact the organizers by e-mail for more information.


This Newsletter was sent to all members of Hel.A.S. who have e-mail access. The next edition of the Newsletter will be mailed around May 1st 2010. Please send your announcements (e.g. appointments/departures, job openings, research opportunities, awards, conferences in Greece) or comments before April 25, 2010. If you do not wish to receive future issues of this Newsletter or the e-mail address to which it was sent is not your preferred one, please inform the Secretary of Hel.A.S.


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