Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics
Faculty of Science
Masaryk University

Czechia will become for 11 days the meeting point of top astronomers with students

Brno, 31 August 2015

Summer School entitled "ESO / OPTICON / IAU summer school on modern instruments, their science case, and practical data reduction", being held from 1st to 11th September in Brno, will be a unique international event of its kind. The main task is to educate young Czech astronomers, mostly Ph.D students of astronomy, who will work alongside their foreign collegues on the latest projects in astronomy, under the guidance of top instructors of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which Czecha is a member since 2007. The enrichment is the participation of foreign students from over 14 countries. At the same time, this meeting is an opportunity for representatives of Czech companies to establish contacts and to clarify the conditions for technology-intensive contracts of ESO.

Press release of Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Organized by the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, Masaryk University (MU), OPTICON organizations and the International Astronomical Union in the University Campus in Brno Bohunice.

Besides students work on projects in astronomy, such as determining the age of galaxies, describing the development of hot stars, monitoring black holes at the center of the galaxy and many other contemporary issues, also lectures by leading Czech and European scientists will be held. Summer school offers the opportunity to learn the procedures for observation with modern world telescopes, eg. European Southern Observatory in Chile. Last but not least aim is that young astronomers established contacts with experts and Czechia to fully exploit the potential of its membership in the European Southern Observatory.

Professor Vladimir Karas, director of the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Republic, says: "I have recently arrived from the observatory at Paranal in Chile, where we observed with the giant telescopes of the European Southern Observatory. We explore the center of our galaxy and processes associated with the supermassive black hole in its center. We participate on astronomical research with the help of high technology. We want to show to the students that we are motivated and enthusiastic. Czech astronomy holds an excellent position in the world and we are known for quantities of our results. "

"Eighty students are studying astrophysics at Masaryk University, which is the highest number in Czechia. Masaryk University is thus one of the leading educational institutions in the field of astrophysics in the country, and therefore it is logical that the summer school, which will be held in Czechia for the first time, will take place in Brno "said Professor Jiří Krtička from the Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics of the Faculty of Science, MU. "One of the main organizers of the school is also Austrian astrophysicist Ernst Paunzen that is now working on the project SoMoPro at Masaryk University," said Krtička.

Dr. Petr Kabáth of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences and the chief organizer of the event said: "Nearly six years with ESO was for me a great experience because I learned to use some of the largest telescopes in the world and could contribute to the detection of the latest discoveries in astronomy. I want that the experience from this summer school will help to open the door mainly for Czech students and young scientists and to learn how to work in international teams, which is today one of the most important prerequisites for successful astronomical research. "

The event will be attend by known Czech astronomers, for example, Prof. Vladimir Karas (director of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences), Prof. Jan Palouš (ESO Council member for the Czech Republic, the emeritus director of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences and the current head of the Department of galaxies and planetary systems), prof. Jiří Krtička (Deputy Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, MU) and Dr. Ernst Paunzen (Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics MU). Among foreign scientists: Dr. Bruno Leibundgut (ESO team member of Professor. B. Schmidt group, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011 ), Dr. Suzanne Ramsay (ESO), Dr. Michel Dennefeld (IAP), Dr. David Jones (IAC), prof. Gerald Handler (Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center Warszawa), prof. Martin Ward (Durham University), Dr. Ivo Saviano (ESO), Dr. Norbert Werner (Stanford University), Prof. Heike Rauer (DLR Berlin). These names are a guarantee that students will be introduced to topics ranging from cosmology through the formation and evolution of galaxies to extrasolar planets.

Web of the summer school: Awareness 2015

Pavel Suchan, PR manager of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences, e-mail:

ESO, the European Southern Observatory is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world's most productive astronomical observatory. ESO provides state-of-the-art research facilities to astronomers and is supported by Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. Several other countries have expressed an interest in membership.

Author: Yuri Beletsky