Services

Besides its research and educational activities, IAASARS provides a number of services to the scientific community, to public as well as private agencies, and the general public.

Astronomical Data

Regular services: The yearly Astronomical Almanac of the Institute is published and sold to specific publishing companies in Greece. It is also provided upon request and free of charge to government institutions and non-profit organizations.
Services by request: - issuing certificates for legal cases requiring astronomical data and preparing information on specific phenomena (e.g. sunset and sunrise times).

Online service: An almanac with all major astronomical events, rise and set times of the sun and the planets, visibility of stars, sky maps etc. is available online in a dedicated location of the web server of the institute.

Public outreach activities

The public outreach activities of the Institute mainly rely on its two Visitor Centers. The first has been operating in Penteli since 1995. Its purpose is science education and outreach aiming in particular at middle- and high school students. This is accomplished through special seminars, talks, and observations with the historic 62.5cm Newall refractor which is located in the original building of the Penteli Astronomical Station. More than 200.000 people and about 6.000 schools have visited the Center since it commenced its operations. The Visitor Center at Thissio became fully operational in 2013, it also accessible to schools/organised groups and the general public, but it focuses more on cultural aspects and the evolution of astronomy in Greece, via the first historic telescopes of the Observatory. Both Visitor Centers are open during working hours as well as for nearly 100 select evening visits every year.

The Observatory Goes to School

his public outreach activity of IAASARS and the National Observatory of Athens targets schools of the Athens metro area that can not bring their students to the Visitor Center of Penteli. It offers the possibility to host for a day in their school a small portable planetarium as well as researchers of the Institute with experience in science communication who will use the planetarium in order to present the wonders of the night sky to the students.

The FORecasting Solar Particle Events and Flares (FORSPEF) tool

The Space Research and Technology Group of IAASARS developed and operates the FORSPEF tool (http://tromos.space.noa.gr/forspef), that provides forecasting of solar eruptive events, such as solar flares with a projection to coronal mass ejections (CMEs) (occurrence and velocity) and the likelihood of occurrence of a solar energetic proton (SEP) event. The tool also provides nowcasting of SEP events based on actual solar flare and CME near real-time alerts, as well as SEP characteristics (peak flux, fluence, rise time, duration) per parent solar event. The forecasting scheme extends to 24 hours with a refresh rate of 3 hours while the respective warning time for the nowcasting scheme depends on the availability of the near real-time data and falls between 15-20 minutes. The development of FORSPEF tool has been supported through the ESA Contract No. 4000109641/13/NL/AK "Improvement of Solar Particle Events and Flare Prediction"

The Solar Energetic Proton Flux (SEPF) tool

The Space Research and Technology Group of IAASARS developed and operates the Solar Energetic Proton Flux (SEPF) tool, which is a European space weather asset. The tool provides solar energetic proton fluxes at various locations in space using the count-rate measurements of the ESA Standard Radiation Environment Monitor (SREM) units on-board INTEGRAL, Herschel, Planck, and Rosetta spacecraft. The SEPF tool downloads SREM data, calculates the differential proton fluxes and displays derived results from past and current SREM measurements. The tool is based on the application of a linear algorithm solver for the inverse problem of calculating fluxes from the SREM count-rate measurements. The inverse method has been developed by IAASARS and has been validated by comparing results of selected number of past solar energetic particle events with measurements from other proton monitors.

Real time monitoring of physical disasters

The Remote Sensing Group of IAASARS has developed operational Earth Observation (EO) based services, for wildfire disaster management at regional and national level. The delivered services fully comply with the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) standards. Based on the MSG/SEVIRI ground station, reliable information on the detection, monitoring and mapping of the occurring wildfires all over Greece is send in near-real time (every 5 minutes) to the public authorities and stakeholders involved in the management and suppression of wildfires, and to the citizens whose properties are threatened by on-going catastrophic fire events ( http://ocean.space.noa.gr/fires ). In addition, IAASARS has been providing since 2006 operational Burn Scar Mapping and Damage assessment services on a seasonal basis for the entire Greece at high to very high spatial resolution (1-10m spatial resolution). This information together with information on diachronic fires that have been reported over the Greek territory since 1984, that is since the first satellite image was ever received over Greece is found on http://ocean.space.noa.gr/bsm

The IAASARS/NOA Ground and EO based Natural Disaster Application Segments have been expanded in the framework of the BEYOND (Building a Center of Excellence for EO based Monitoring of Natural Disasters) project with the installation of an X-, and L-band satellite acquisition station for reception acquisition, and processing of the direct broadcast downlinks from a number satellite missions. Those Ground Segment facilities foster the development of a wide range of environmental monitoring services, such as: aerosol pollution indexes assessment, dust and volcanic ash alerts, smoke dispersion forecasts, wildfire detection and monitoring, geo-hazard activity monitoring and assessment ( earthquakes/ volcanoes/ landslides ), and urban heat Island mapping.

Nowcasting and forecasting ionospheric conditions over Europe

The Ionospheric Physics Group of IAASARS works systematically on making available data and products for the monitoring, specification, forecasting and long term prediction of the ionospheric conditions over Europe to academic and operational users. The added value services are the integrated result of the development and /or implementation of state-of-art models that are validated according to international standards and the continuous assessment of users' requirements. Data and products are available in local and regional scales.

Athens Digisonde (http://www.iono.noa.gr/) probes routinely the bottomside ionosphere from 80 km up to the height of the peak electron density over Athens to provide standardized output in terms of Doppler ionograms scaled automatically in real time and ionospheric drift measurements (drift velocities, sky maps and daily directograms). The Athens Digisonde observations drive ionospheric short term forecasts over Athens and estimates of the Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF) for specific transmission paths in Greece.

Regional services for the European sector are offered by the DIAS system (http://dias.space.noa.gr). Data streaming in real time from ground and space based assets to DIAS backend server triggers the generation of added value products for monitoring and forecasting the state of the ionosphere-plasmasphere domain over Europe. Indicative results include: real-time ionograms from DIAS stations in homogenized format; nowcasting, forecasting and long term prediction maps of critical ionospheric parameters (e.g. foF2, M(3000)F2, MUF); nowcasting maps of the electron density from 100 km up to GNSS heights; nowcasting maps of the Total Electron Content (TEC) and partial TEC; alerts for forthcoming ionospheric disturbances in the European region.

All data/products are available in real time 24/7 and they are updated every 15 min. They are accessible also retrospectively through historical archives. Data and products are provided in several graphical and numerical data file formats as a response to different users' requirements. The access to Athens Digisonde and DIAS services is open, login required and registration is free for all the users. Web access is the standard approach in service delivery, but specialized deliveries are also possible on demand. Selected sets of data and products are routinely transferred to NOAA, IZMIRAN and ESA SSA SWE (http://swe.ssa.esa.int/web/guest/dias-federated) service facilities.

 
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National Observatory of Athens
Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications & Remote Sensing
Vas. Pavlou & I. Metaxa, 15236 Penteli, Greece