Archive for October, 2018

XXXth General Assembly of IAU – week 2

Posted October 31, 2018 By grigoris

The second week of the XXXth GA started very early actually as they were actually 3 plenary talks of the IAU 346 Symposium on “High-mass X-ray binaries: illuminating the passage from massive binaries to merging compact objects” (which actually deserves a post of its own, if I ever manage to make…). After that, we had the second day of the Division Days where I had a talk (in Division G) on the B[e] Supergiants (see for more the post on my contributions to this GA).

Apart from the scientific part there were again a lot of people (with an important percentage being different from the first week) going around the exhibition and the various happenings. One of them was of course the General Assembly itself.

The booth of Officina Stellare.

Display of a telescope system from PlaneWave Instruments.

The booths of ESA, ESO, and of the IAU’s Office of Astronomy for Development (2nd week).

Exhibition “boxes” for the 100 years of the IAU.

Before any official discussion engagement at the General Assembly, there was a musical performance:

One of the key issues to discuss in this assembly was the suggestion to rename the Hubble law to Hubble-Lemaitre law. There was actually a lively discussion with arguments from both sides. An indicative voting was made but the final decision will be based on a more detailed poll sent to all members of the IAU.

Although not formally decided, the revised Hubble-Lemaitre law was presented.

Presenting the resolution for renaming the Hubble law to Hubble-Lemaitre law (during the IAU GA 2018, in Viena)

The, indicative, voting process for the Hubble-Lemaitre law.

Then, the assembly proceed with more bureaucratic issues (among which was also the approval of new members, such myself!). Last but not least, there was the announcement for the organizer of the IAU GA of 2024 (as for 2021 is Korea) which is South Africa (after a strong competition with Mexico). The GA resolved with some folklore dance and music.

Another voting process during the IAU General Assembly of 2018.

At the very end of the GA, kids and adults (mainly from the IAU’s Office of Astronomy for Development) were playing with this giant Earth-like balloon.

The final day ended a bit earlier than others allowing us a bit more more time to relax. After all it was almost two weeks of many conferences and meetings in parallel that had developed considerable tiredness. I was more than happy to return home the next day and rest a bit more over the weekend, and enjoy some of the promotional stuff (see below!).

A small collection of various promotional stuff (pins, stickers, etc) and my badge from the IAU GA 2018 (and I have actually forgotten to put some more…!).

Various stuff from the IAU GA. I actually won this t-shirt at the lottery of the Korean booth (!).

Dinner time during IAU2018

Conferences feed the brain … but the body needs fuel too! Enjoying some local Viennese cuisine and wine.

A FOSSCOMM talk on Openess in Astronomy

Posted October 22, 2018 By grigoris

On the previous weekend (October 13-14, 2018) the 11th Free and Open Source Software Communities Meeting was held in Heraklion of Crete (Greece). This is the Greek conference of the communities that develop free and open source software (such as Mozilla, Fegora, etc.). Although the meeting focuses on programmers and students it is open to all parties with a strong interest in open processes including other areas beyond just the software, such as hardware, society, economy, etc. Starting in 2008, it has been organized in 6 different cities so far (but not in Heraklion!), gathering a few hundred participants each time.

With such a diverse and different audience we (myself, Antonis Manousakis, and Eva Ntormousi) thought that it would be a great opportunity to present our (relatively biased) collected experience of these processed and applications from the modern research in Astronomy. So the title and the corresponding abstract was:

“Examples of openess in Astronomy”

Grigoris Maravelias, Antonis Manousakis, Eva Ntormousi

Traditionally Astronomy is a collaborative science in the sense that many researchers collaborate to observe a phenomenon, and they share their observations for further analysis and interpretation. Building upon this tradition many observatories today make available their observations so that modern astronomers have access to large datasets. Additionally, the technological advance of the instruments allows the observation of the Universe almost at the entire electromagnetic spectrum, even at the very recently confirmed gravitational waves. Thus, the modern astronomers are not only required to understand the Astrophysics behind these huge datasets but often they are called to develop the own necessary tools to conduct their research. Given the knowledge and the vast volume of data available today the collaborations are, more than ever, vital (especially with the forthcoming large projects that are currently built, e.g. 30m telescopes). In the framework of modern Astronomy we are going to present successful examples of how open approach has been applied.

While presenting openess in Astronomy, during the Free and Open Source Software Community Meeting of 2018 in Heraklion, Greece.

While presenting openess in Astronomy, during the Free and Open Source Software Community Meeting of 2018 in Heraklion, Greece. [Copyright 2018 Pierros Papadeas, CC BY-SA-NC]

Openess in Astronomy v1.0 (FOSSCOMM talk in pdf, in Greek)

This particular talk is released under the CC-BY-SA license, so we are going to provide all necessary material along with the presentation. Although in Greek, most probably an english version will become also available in the future.


UPDATE 2019/06/24:
– After some time  I managed to put all the material of this talk under a github repository: This will the place where I will put everything related with this subject in an effort to promote more Openness in Astronomy. Although this talk is actually in Greek, I will updated with an English version also.

– The video from the talk itself (in Greek though…) is available now here: