Polish astronomers take part in Europe's biggest observation network

Polish astronomers from the Mikolaj Kopernik University in Torun and the University of Warsaw have joined Europe's biggest network of coordinated astronomical research.

OPTICON-RadioNet Pilot(ORP), the network, is the result of the merger of the two main networks in Europe that were coordinating the cooperation of ground-based instruments. One was concerned with astronomical observations in the visual field (OPTICON) and the second in radio frequencies (RadioNet).

The new ORP network is intended to ensure European scientists access to wide-range telescopes and to support the development of young researchers. The project is financed to the tune of EUR 15 million within the Horizon 2020 programme.

The project is directed by France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the UK's Cambridge University and Germany's Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy with cooperation extending to 37 scientific institutes from 15 European countries as well as a Australia and South Africa. Scientists from the Mikolaj Kopernik University on Torun and the University of Warsaw will fly the Polish flag in the project.

In addition, a Polish scientist, Doctor Agnieszka Slowikowska, deputy director of the Institute of Astronomy at the Mikolaj Kopernik University, has been chosen as chair of the ORP Board, which coordinates the project and groups 37 representatives of all the institutes engaged in the network.