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Research and public service in the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere of the Earth and other planets, and of outer space.

Peer-reviewed research conducted by many independent parties worldwide, including the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, has presented firm evidence that mankind’s activities are the main cause of currently observed rapid climate changes. The IPCC published a new synthesis of this evidence, highlighting again the urgency of this message.

Sunday, 28th of November 2021 is Science Day in Flanders and Brussels, a dazzling day full of discovery, experimentation and fun ! Find all possible activities (online only) via www.dagvandewetenschap.be.
As is the case every year, our Institute will participate as well, with four different activities, available in Dutch.

For the first time since 1971, the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain) started to erupt on 19 September 2021 at 13:10 UTC, more than a month ago. Together with the outflowing lava, the volcano emits ash and several gases, amongst these sulphur dioxide (SO2). Volcanic ash and SO2 are dangerous to public health and aviation (damage to engine due to ash melting and sulphidation). Therefore, tracking and monitoring volcanic plumes and their constituents is very important. For this reason, since 2009 the Support to Aviation Control Service (SACS) system uses satellite observations from UV-vis (UV and visible light) and IR (infrared) hyperspectral sensors to detect ash and SO2 emissions. In case of exceptionally high concentrations of SO2 or ash, the system sends out a warning to stakeholders.

World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition. The United Nations General Assembly declared in 1999 that World Space Week will be held each year from October 4-10. These dates commemorate two events:

Each day, we get up and try to live our best lives. Besides going to work and making time for our family and friends, we also have to make efforts to keep our bodies and minds healthy. Unfortunately, there is one factor which affects our health, but which we have little control over as an individual: air pollution. The United Nations Environment Programme has chosen September 7 to be the International Day of Clean Air for blue skies in order to emphasise the need to tackle this specific global problem, which costs 7 million human lives per year.

-Article from NASA-
By combining observations from three international spacecraft at Mars (including BIRA-IASB's NOMAD instrument), scientists were able to show that regional dust storms play a huge role in drying out the Red Planet.