National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
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Retrospective on 2023 public events

The year 2023 has been rich in events for the NCCR PlanetS. It was mainly the occasion to meet with the public, but also with specific groups, schools and students in first place. Here is a short recap of the year events.

US Ambassador visit

United States Ambassador Scott C. Miller visited the University of Bern in March, and in particular the Space Division of the Physics Institute. It was the occasion for the NCCR PlanetS to showcases its various collaboration with research and industries in the USA for a wide range of projects across all domains of planetary sciences. You can learn more about this visit in the following video.

JUICE satellite launch

The 14th of April 2023 at 14h14, the JUICE space probe of the European Space Agency (ESA) embarked on an 8 year journey to Jupiter’s moon. The University of Bern rejoiced and celebrated together this launch as the probe will bring several instruments built by the University of Bern, to Jupiter’s neighbourhood. You can find a picture gallery and more information (in German) about this event on this page.

The 1:10 scale model of the satellite during the launch event of JUICE. © Universität Bern

Fantasy Basel 2023

The NCCR PlanetS returned once again to the Fantasy Basel – The Swiss Comic Con with an exhibition bigger than ever. Ten experiments, two planetariums and over 40 scientists from the NCCR PlanetS relayed over the week to present the wonders of space to the public. We were joined in the Space Village by our long-term partner the Swiss Space Museum. The Swiss Space Museum coordinated the Space Village which hosted over 10 more partners, from institutes and research structures, to students projects, passing by astronomy related association from Switzerland or elsewhere in Europe!

You can discover photos from this event in the following two pictures galleries: Album 1, Album 2.

250th Anniversary – Observatory of Geneva

The Observatory of Geneva celebrated its 250th anniversary from June 2022 till June 2023, starting and ending with a week-end of Open Days at the Observatory, where people could meet with scientists, discover many experiment and visit the facilities such as the informatics cluster or the clean room and mechanical workshop. Learn more about this year of celebration in the dedicated article.

Scientifica 2023

The NCCR PlanetS was present at the ETH Zurich and University of Zurich open days: “Scientifica”, 1-3 September 2023. Between 20 000 and 30 000 visitors could learn more about meteorites, explore space in our inflatable planetarium and discover the 1:4 scale replica of the James Webb Space Telescope built by the Swiss Space Museum with the support of the NCCR PlanetS.

More impressions from this edition.

Launch of the Globi im Weltall book

Scientifica was also the opportunity to mark the official launch of the Globi im Weltall book. The successful Swiss children’s book character set up on a new adventure in space and across the universe, with the help of the NCCR PlanetS, which sponsored the book and gave the author Atlant Bieri an insight into the various areas. “Globi im Weltall – Von Planeten, Galaxien und der Raumfahrt” is now available in librairies (only in German). More information (in German).

Space Eye museum grand opening

After two years of construction, the Space Eye, the observatory for space and the environment near Bern, opened its doors to the public in September 2023. The Space Eye is a multimedia visitor center that communicates current research. It houses the largest public telescope in Switzerland, an 8K planetarium and an interactive exhibition. The NCCR PlanetS has contributed to the development of various content and will continue to support the Space Eye with both content and events in the future. Impressions from the opening.

The Space Eye feature many items linked to space. Credit: Guido Schwarz

MEME meets Bern

A meme is an image or video share and reused in an infinity of variations on internet, usually through social media or instant message applications, usually with a humorous tint. In 2020, a group of scientists created, in an office in Leiden, the MEME: the Massive Exoplanets Meme Exhibition. Over the years, they started to use this event (held online every year since) and the humorous content generated as an unconventional way to approach kids and students, and to propose an educative tour of the exhibition. In October 2023 at the University of Bern was the first in-person edition of this educational initiative proposed by Marit Mol Lous, which could count on the support of the Swiss Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and of the NCCR PlanetS.

Physics Olympiads 2023

In November 2023, the NCCR PlanetS went to meet with the high school kids studying for the Swiss Physics Olympiad. On top of their regular program filled with physics lectures, the participants enjoyed an evening at the discovery of the Solar system, exoplanets, the universe and its exploration in multi-colour, and gravity. You can find more information in a series of article about this topic, from the Physik Olympiad organisers:

The participants use the “gravity table” to visualise various phenomena in relation to gravity.


Stay tuned for 2024 as several events to meet with PlanetS are in preparation!

Categories: Events, External Newsletter, News, Outreach

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