No 44 – 23/01/2020

SGAA/SSAA News No 44 – 23/01/2020

1.   Registration online to the Society 
2.   Annual membership payment through the webpage
3.   Travel support SSAA – invitation to apply for grants (deadline for applications March 1rst 2020)
4.   Call for “Astronomy Outreach” projects (deadline for applications March 1rst 2020)
5.   Call for MERAC Funding and Travel Awards  (deadline for applications March 1rst 2020)
6.   Call for The Edith Alice Müller Award 2020 (deadline for applications May 1rst 2020)
7.   Saas-Fee lectures 2020
8.   Swiss edition of the ESA JWST Master Class Workshop (March 23-24 2020, Bern)
9.   Launch of Solar Orbiter
10.   Next GA of the SSAA in 2020
11.  NEW, job opportunities
12.  European Astronomical Society (EAS) MEMBERSHIP
13.  General information on the Society

1. Registration online to the Society

Each member of the SSAA is asked to register on the new website and to provide his/her contact details.

If you have changed your affiliation/e-mail please change the information accordingly. This will ensure that the SSAA has your correct contact information.

You can directly access the registration page here

Otherwise go to the web page

2.  Annual membership payment through the webpage

The 30 CHF annual SSAA membership payment for 2020 can be made online:

You can also set an automatic annual payment by clicking on the “Subscribe” button (but in that case you need to have a PayPal account).

Please pay any late membership fee as well. The SSAA secretary contacted you last year if you had forgotten to pay the 2018 and/or 2019 fees.


3. Travel support SSAA – invitation to apply for grants (total amount to distribute CHF 5000.-)

In 2020 the SSAA (Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy) will
have some money from the sc|nat available for travel money for young scientists.

The SSAA now invites applicants to apply until March 1rst 2020.

A form has to be filled here

The request should provide the date, place, and the reason for the
travel, as well as the cost to be covered by the SSAA. 

Travel money for young scientists is given preferentially to Ph.D.
students but also young Post-Docs, whereby the money may be used for
observing runs, visits to other institutions, conferences, research
schools etc. In the application it should be clarified in a few words
why this travel is important for the research project of the applicant.
Particularly encouraged to apply are young researchers who are in a
situation where it is not so easy to get the money from other


4. Call for “Astronomy Outreach” projects

In 2020, the SSAA offers financial support of up to 5000 CHF for
projects on Astronomy Outreach.

Funding is possible for diverse outreach projects, including support for
exhibitions, the preparation of material for schools, the organization
of events, and alike. Projects will be funded on a competitive basis.

Please send a brief project description and your budget request
to with copy

The deadline for the call is: March 1rst 2020.
Requests may also be supported outside this call, if funding permits.

5. Call for MERAC Funding and Travel Awards 

The SSAA is pleased to announce the 2020 call for MERAC awards.

Since 2013 the SSAA committee distributes Funding and Travel 
Awards (20’000 Euro in total) sponsored by Foundation MERAC (Mobilising 
European Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology), a nonprofit foundation 
in Switzerland to recognize, encourage and promote the research and 
mobility of young European Astrophysicists and Cosmologists.

The recipients of the MERAC awards are listed here:

The objectives of the grants are to cover travel costs, participation 
at international conferences, short stays abroad, costs for collaborations, 
or alike, to support the development of research projects by young 
astrophysicists. The grants do not cover expenses for scientific apparatus 
or equipment.

The grants are subject to the following conditions:
– The grantee must be employed by or affiliated with a Swiss research 
 institute or University.
– The grants must be used to cover project costs, not or only partially 
 covered by other institutions. 
– The grant has to be used within two years, after which unused funding 
 must be reimbursed to the SSAA.
– The grantee provides the SSAA with a financial report and short final 
 report on the use of the grant.  
– The grantee allows the MERAC Foundation to make his/her biography and 
 project summary public.

Applications will be received twice per year (March 1rst, and September 1rst). 
They must include 
1) a short biography, 
2) a research project description with a summary, 
3) and a budget estimate. 
4) In case of a multiple applications, the list of other solicited funds shall be given. 

The applications should be limited to a maximum of 5 pages, 
in a single pdf file, to be sent to 
to with copy


6. The Edith Alice Müller Award 2020

In order to celebrate, in 2018, the half-century of the Swiss Society of Astronomy
and Astrophysics (SSAA), the SSAA Committee decided to create a yearly
award rewarding one astronomer, author of an excellent PhD thesis.

It is named the Edith Alice Müller Award in recognition for the scientific
research done by Edith Alice Müller (1918-1995) on the composition of the Sun
and for her involvement in promoting Astrophysics at the international level.
She was the first woman to be appointed General Secretary of the International
Astronomical Union.

Students having presented a PhD thesis in Switzerland in 2019 (for the Award 2020).

To promote high quality astrophysical thesis in Switzerland and support the
access to this field of science for both female and male young researchers.

The awardee will receive a sum of CHF 1 000.– and a diploma.

Submission for the Edith Alice Müller Award must be sent to the following
address : before the third week of June 
(deadline for receiving applications in 2020 is May 1rst 2020).

Needed :

1. A letter of the thesis supervisor that describes the thesis
2. The thesis manuscript
3. A CV of the candidate
4. A list of publications of the candidate

The SSAA will contact the applicants during the third week of
September to give them the result of the evaluation process. 

The award will be officially delivered at the yearly General Assembly
of the Society.

The list of the awards in 2018 and 2019 can be found below


7. Saas-Fee lectures 2020

Dear Colleagues,

The 2020 Saas-Fee of the Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy course 
will take place in Saas-Fee (Swiss alps) from 15 to 20 March 2020.

The subject of the course is ‘Astronomy in the era of big data’, with three lecturers:

– Prof. Suzanne Aigrain (University of Oxford): Gaussian Processes for time series analysis
– Prof. Roberto Trotta (Imperial College London): Bayesian Statistics
– Prof. Marc Huertas-Company (Paris Observatory): Machine learning in Astronomy

There are still some slots free. Please contact as soon as possible Mrs Danielle Zemp (with copy too Prof. Yann Alibert

Note that attendance is limited to 70 participants, and admission will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis.

Yann Alibert


8. Swiss edition of the ESA JWST Master Class Workshop (March 23-24 2020, Bern)

Dear fellow Swiss-based astronomers,

This is a reminder about the Swiss edition of the ESA JWST Master Class Workshop to be held on the 23rd and 24th of March, 2020 in Bern. The registration deadline is approaching fast: 3 February, 2020. Full details and registration:

For NCCR PlanetS members and associates seeking to apply for the travel grant: the travel grant application deadline is 23 January, 2020. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Maria Drozdovskaya, Adrian Glauser, Monika Lendl, Sarah Kendrew (Organizing Committee)


9. Launch of Solar Obiter

The upcoming launch of Solar Orbiter is currently foreseen for 7 Feb, 2020, 23:15 EST (still to be confirmed). For details see e.g.

Go Solar Orbiter!


10. Next General Assembly of the SSAA in 2020

The next General Assembly will be held on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 October 2020 
in Saint-Luc, Val d’Anniviers where a public astronomical observatory, the
François-Xaxier Bagnoud Observatory will celebrate its 25 years of existence  


11. NEW: job opportunities

If you would like to make some job announcement in the next e-news (likely in April), 
please send an e-mail to
with the appropriate information.

12. European Astronomical Society (EAS) MEMBERSHIP

The EAS offers free membership to any member of the SSAA working as a researcher in astrophysics in Switzerland. You can opt in during the registration process to SSAA, or later in your profile interface. By ticking the box–> YES, I want  to be an EAS member via the SSAA–, you agree that the SSAA transmits your detailed information to the EAS Office, and you agree that the EAS will make use of these data for EAS-related matters only. The EAS will also publish your first and last names, institution, and country on its EAS website, behind a login. The EAS Office will send login details at the beginning of each year.

SSAA members that are currently ordinary members of the EAS need also to tick this box in the SSAA profile interface if they wish to have the free membership via the SSAA. Otherwise, they will be considered as EAS paying members (40 EUR).

The benefits of EAS membership can be found at:

In particular, EAS members profit from discount registration fees for the EAS annual meeting (formerly EWASS). The membership is, however, not immediate, so in case you plan to attend an EAS annual meeting please be sure to tick the box to accept the EAS membership well in advance of your registration to an EAS annual meeting.


13. General information on the Society

For more information concerning the SGAA/SSAA, astronomy in Switzerland, and related topics visit our Website

For any information and messages to be circulated via the SGAA/SSAA mailing list please e-mail your text to the secretary: in plain ASCII. Thank you !