Institute of Astrophysics

 

A new Institute, the only one in Greece dedicated exclusively to Astrophysics, has been established at FORTH.

This Institute is the evolution of the very successful Astrophysics and Astronomy research activities that have been taking place in Crete for many years, in strong collaboration between the University of Crete and the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser of FORTH. Its aim is to promote research in terms of excellence and innovation and to become a critical parameter for equal participation of the country in the rapid development of this field internationally, as well as a pole of attraction for outstanding scholars from abroad.

Its core research facilities have been operating in Crete, at the Skinakas Observatory http://skinakas.physics.uoc.gr since 1986, when it was founded jointly by FORTH, the University of Crete and the Max-Planck Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik of Germany. It is located in Psiloritis, at an altitude of 1750 meters and is currently operated in collaboration between FORTH and the University of Crete. It is worth mentioning that the clarity of the atmosphere at Skinakas is the best that has so far been measured in Europe, making it ideal for high-level astronomical observations. The 1.3 meter main telescope is equipped with the latest astronomical instruments, such as RoboPol (http://robopol.physics.uoc.gr ), a specialized photopolarimeter designed specifically for this telescope, which has been installed and operating since the spring of 2013.

The Astrophysics Group of Crete constitutes the main body of the Institute. It consists of five professors of the University of Crete and a FORTH researcher. The team has an impressive record of academic achievements in Greece and in Europe.

The establishment of the Institute of Astrophysics will be a catalyst for successful funding applications from the European Space Agency (ESA) as well as from National and European Competitive Programs.