Historic Note

The Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS) is one of the three research Institutes of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) which was the first research Institution of Greece founded in 1842.

The present structure of Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS) was established in March 2012, by the merging of two independent institutes of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA): The Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IAA) and the Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing (ISARS). IAA evolved from the old Astronomical Institute, which was founded as a discrete section of NOA in 1890, together with the Meteorological and Seismological institutes. It carried-on the tradition of ground-based observational astronomy that commenced with the construction of the Observatory of Athens in 1842, but also expanded it to modern research fields such as space observational astrophysics. ISARS had also evolved from the old Ionospheric Institute, which was founded in 1955.

The past history provides IAASARS with an extensive experience in both applied and basic research in space physics and astrophysics, as well as earth observation. The permanent staff of the institute consists of 22 researchers, 6 research support specialists, 10 adjunct researchers, 5 technicians and a secretary. In addition, 26 postdoctoral researchers and 23 support staff are on term contracts, making IAASARS the largest institute in its field in Greece. The scientists of the Institute have been successful in attracting ~1,8 MEuro per year in national and european competitive research grants. Even though the science topics addressed by the various groups are rather diverse, over the past few years close synergies have been established. In the process the personnel have developed expertise in sophisticated signal processing and data analysis techniques applying them to datasets produced by space-born and ground based facilities. This has enabled them to play a leading role in major international scientific collaborations in fields such as X-ray and Infrared astrophysics, solar physics, space weather and ionospheric physics. It should be stressed that the earth observation and remote sensing group of IAASARS is the most active in Greece and has a long record of delivering novel methodology and high data products to the community.

The Institute supports and operates a number of research facilities including ionospheric and remote sensing stations as well as a mobile Lidar and a network of magnetometers. The 2.3m Aristarchos telescope, the largest in Greece, is the major infrastructure of IAASARS. The Institute also has a solid record of nearly 20 years of a public outreach program. The recently renovated Visitor Center in Penteli has passed the 200,000 visitors mark in 2013. The Visitor Center at Thissio, with its historic building just across the Parthenon, is now regularly opening its doors - along with the dome of the first telescope of Greece - during the evening hours throughout the year. The experienced personnel of both Centers is excited to bring the wonders of the night sky of Athens a bit closer to the general public as well as to organized groups and schools from across Greece.

The Institute is supervised and supported by the General Secretariat of Research and Technology.

Directors of IAASARS & parent institutes


Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing
(2012 - present)
2013 - present Prof. Vassilis Charmandaris
2012 - 2013 Dr. Ioannis Daglis (acting director)
Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics
(1999 - 2012)
Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing
(1999 - 2012)
2007 - 2012 Prof. Christos Goudis 2010 - 2012 Dr. Ioannis Daglis
2001 - 2006 Prof. Christos Goudis 2006 - 2010 Dr. Ioannis Daglis
1999 - 2001 Dr. Dimitris P. Lalas (acting director) 2005 - 2006 Prof. Christos Zerefos (acting director)
1999 - 2004 Dr. Panayotis Mathiopoulos
Astronomical Institute[1]
(1942 - 1999)
Institute of Ionospheric and Space Physics
(1991 - 1999)
1994 - 1999 Dr. Evangelos Kontizas 1998 - 1999 Dr. Dimitris P. Lalas (acting director)
1983 - 1994
Dr. Constantin J. Macris
(acting director)
1996 - 1998 Dr. Dimitrios Dialetis
1975 - 1982 Prof. George Contopoulos 1991 - 1996 Prof. Emmanuel T. Sarris
1965 - 1974 Prof. Demetrios Kotsakis
1942 - 1964 Prof. Stavros Plakidis
Astronomy Department[2]
National Observatory of Athens
(1890 - 1942)
Ionospheric Institute
(1955 - 1991)
1935 - 1941 Prof. Stavros Plakidis 1989 - 1991 Dr. George Moraitis
1890 - 1934 Prof. Demetrios Eginitis 1977 - 1989 Prof. Constantin Caroubalos
1955 - 1977 Prof. Michael Anastassiades
Observatory of Athens
(1846 - 1890)
1890 - 1934 Prof. Demetrios Eginitis
1884 - 1890 Prof. Demetrios Kokkidis
1858 - 1884 Dr. Julius Schmidt
1855 - 1858 Prof. Ioannis Papadakis
1846 - 1855 Prof. George Bouris


[1] In 1942, a new legislation restructured the administration of NOA by creating the positions of three Directors for the corresponding Departments of Astronomy, Meteorology and Seismology. Head of NOA was the President of the Board of the Directors, a position rotating every two years among the three Directors. This system continued until 1983, when a separate position of President of NOA and Chair of the Board of Directors was created.

[2] A legislation which became effective on June 19 1890, transformed the Observatory of Athens to a national research institute, renaming it as National Observatory of Athens (NOA) and appointing Prof. Demetrios Eginitis as its first director. Furthermore, in addition to the existing Astronomy Department the legislation founded the new Departments of Meteorology and Seismology. This is the starting point of the Astronomical Institute as an independent unit within NOA.

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Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications & Remote Sensing
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