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Open doors at Aeronomy Institute: Space for Climate

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During the last weekend of September 2022, the Space Pole (the Royal Observatory of Belgium, the Royal Meteorological Institute and the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy) opened its doors to the public. This year's theme, "Space for Climate", was an opportunity to highlight climate-related research, without forgetting the other research conducted at our institute. BIRA-IASB staff welcomed visitors of all ages, sharing their knowledge and motivation for Earth and Space sciences. During the open doors, one of our scientists, Noel C. Baker, created a live painting, featured on the cover of this report.
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Putting the citizen at the heart of our research

As the BIRA-IASB premises were too small to accommodate the large number of visitors announced - 8,500 people came to visit us during the weekend – the institute presented itself for the largest part in a tent erected on the lawns of the Space Pole.

The BIRA-IASB space was intended to be interactive and fun, with the aim to put the citizen at the heart of our research by sharing with them some of the aspects of the research we do on a daily basis. 

From paintings and scale models to virtual reality

In addition to posters presenting our activities in an accessible way, visitors could immerse themselves in space thanks to several programmes available on our virtual reality headsets or participate in a workshop about spectroscopy or space weather.

Various scale models were also on display, including the models of:

These scale models and many other objects served as a prompt for visitors to discuss these missions with the many researchers involved. This was a unique opportunity to learn more about the space projects we are working on, as well as past and future projects, and especially to meet the teams of scientists and engineers.

The topics presented in our area ranged from air quality to climate, ozone, planetary aeronomy, engineering, solar radiation and space physics, as well as the presentation of the Europlanet society and support services.

From cloud and aurora chambers to Belgium's mini Houston

In addition to the tented area, there were numerous lectures and demonstrations, such as the formation of an aurora and the presentation of a cloud chamber, a device for studying the functioning of elementary particles. On the third floor of our building, visitors could also see the B.USOC, Belgium's mini Houston, for themselves.

During the weekend, visitors were also able to discover the watercolour paintings of our colleague, 'Ward Neefs', which illustrated how much this institute, our institute, is a part of us.

These open doors were organised with the support of the Belgian Federal Science Policy (Belspo).

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The painting entitled "Orbital Perspective", created during the open doors by our colleague Noel Baker.
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Virtual reality at the Mars booth.
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