You are here: Home / Infrastructures / Res. Infrastructure
Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications & Remote Sensing (National Observatory Of Athens) (IAASARS-NOA)
Hosting Legal Entity
Self-standing RI
Vas. Pavlou & I. Metaxa, Institute of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications & Remote Sensing, Penteli, PO: GR-15 236 (Greece)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 2012
Scientific Description
The Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS) is one of the three institutes of the National Observatory of Athens, the oldest research institution in Greece. The main activities of the Institute involve basic and applied research in a number of topics in astrophysics, from distant galaxies to the solar neighborhood, as well as ground based and space-borne remote sensing, earth observation and signal processing. The institute is also committed to outreach and science dissemination for the general public and operates two very popular visitor centers at Penteli and Thissio.

RI Keywords
Astrophysics, Space research, Ionospheric activity, Signal processing, Remote sensing
RI Category
Atmospheric Measurement Facilities
Astro-particle and neutrino detectors and observatories
Earth Observation satellites
Scientific Domain
Physics, Astronomy, Astrophysics and Mathematics
ESFRI Domain
Physical Sciences and Engineering
The FORecasting Solar Particle Events and Flares (FORSPEF) tool

The Space Research and Technology Group of IAASARS developed and operates the FORSPEF tool (, that provides forecasting of solar eruptive events, such as solar flares with a projection to coronal mass ejections (CMEs) (occurrence and velocity) and the likelihood of occurrence of a solar energetic proton (SEP) event. The tool also provides nowcasting of SEP events based on actual solar flare and CME near real-time alerts, as well as SEP characteristics (peak flux, fluence, rise time, duration) per parent solar event. The forecasting scheme extends to 24 hours with a refresh rate of 3 hours while the respective warning time for the nowcasting scheme depends on the availability of the near real-time data and falls between 15-20 minutes. The development of FORSPEF tool has been supported through the ESA Contract No. 4000109641/13/NL/AK "Improvement of Solar Particle Events and Flare Prediction"

Real time monitoring of physical disasters

The Remote Sensing Group of IAASARS has developed operational Earth Observation (EO) based services, for wildfire disaster management at regional and national level. The delivered services fully comply with the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) standards. Based on the MSG/SEVIRI ground station, reliable information on the detection, monitoring and mapping of the occurring wildfires all over Greece is send in near-real time (every 5 minutes) to the public authorities and stakeholders involved in the management and suppression of wildfires, and to the citizens whose properties are threatened by on-going catastrophic fire events ( ). In addition, IAASARS has been providing since 2006 operational Burn Scar Mapping and Damage assessment services on a seasonal basis for the entire Greece at high to very high spatial resolution (1-10m spatial resolution). This information together with information on diachronic fires that have been reported over the Greek territory since 1984, that is since the first satellite image was ever received over Greece is found on

The Solar Energetic Proton Flux (SEPF) tool

The Space Research and Technology Group of IAASARS developed and operates the Solar Energetic Proton Flux (SEPF) tool, which is a European space weather asset. The tool provides solar energetic proton fluxes at various locations in space using the count-rate measurements of the ESA Standard Radiation Environment Monitor (SREM) units on-board INTEGRAL, Herschel, Planck, and Rosetta spacecraft. The SEPF tool downloads SREM data, calculates the differential proton fluxes and displays derived results from past and current SREM measurements. The tool is based on the application of a linear algorithm solver for the inverse problem of calculating fluxes from the SREM count-rate measurements. The inverse method has been developed by IAASARS and has been validated by comparing results of selected number of past solar energetic particle events with measurements from other proton monitors.

Astronomical Data

Regular services: The yearly Astronomical Almanac of the Institute is published and sold to specific publishing companies in Greece. It is also provided upon request and free of charge to government institutions and non-profit organizations. Services by request: - issuing certificates for legal cases requiring astronomical data and preparing information on specific phenomena (e.g. sunset and sunrise times).

Nowcasting and forecasting ionospheric conditions over Europe

The Ionospheric Physics Group of IAASARS works systematically on making available data and products for the monitoring, specification, forecasting and long term prediction of the ionospheric conditions over Europe to academic and operational users. The added value services are the integrated result of the development and /or implementation of state of art models that are validated according to international standards and the continuous assessment of users' requirements. Data and products are available in local and regional scales.

Kryoneri Observatory - 1.2m telescope

Kryoneri Observatory (established in 1972) is located in the district of Corinth in the northern Peloponnese at the top of mount Kyllini, close to Kryoneri village. It is equipped with a 1.2 m Cassegrain reflector telescope manufactured and installed in 1975 by the British company Grubb Parsons Co., Newcastle. It is one of the largest telescopes in Greece, with many successful scientific observations during its long operation (scientific observations started in 1975). In 2016, the telescope was upgraded in the framework of the ESA program NELIOTA, to monitor the lunar surface for impacts of near-earth objects. More information on the telescope and the site can be found at .

The Athens Digisonde Portable Sounder

The Athens Digisonde is an infrastructure for remote sensing of the Earth's Ionosphere, operated by NOA in Penteli since September 2000. The Digisonde is a Digital Portable Sounder with four receiving antennas (DPS-4), spaced about one wavelength apart. Data are collected and retrieved in real time (24/7 operation) and are openly available through the main portal of the Ionospheric Group of IAASARS/NOA ( The Athens Digisonde is part of the following international networks: GIRO, ESPAS, WDC for Solar-Terrestrial Physics (RAL) and IPS/WDC. The Athens Digisonde participates systematically in cal/val campaigns for LEO satellites. For more information and access to data please visit the Athens Digisonde web portal available at .

Atmospheric Remote Sensing Station

Since February 2009, IAASARS has been operating a ground-based Atmospheric Remote Sensing Station (ARSS) to monitor ground solar radiation levels and aerosol pollution over the city of Athens, Greece. ARSS is located on the roof of the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (37.9 N, 23.8 E) at an elevation of 130 m above mean sea level. The site is located close to the Athens city centre and 10 km from the sea. ARSS is equipped with a CIMEL CE318-NEDPS9 solar photometer for the retrieval of the aerosol optical depth at 8 wavelengths from 340 to 1640 nm, including polarization observations. The CIMEL instrument is a part of NASA's AERONET (Aerosol Robotic Network). The data are processed on a daily basis and are available at AERONET's webpage along with aerosol inversion retrievals, useful for aerosol characterization purposes (e.g. classification of Saharan dust advection, smoke or volcanic ash episodes etc). ARSS is additionally equipped with a UV-MFR instrument for radiation measurements in the UV spectral region. The instrumentation of IAASARS constitutes a state-of-the-art passive remote sensing suite for atmospheric research, the first one that ever operated in Athens with such specifications.

DIAS system: The European DIgital Upper Atmosphere Server

The DIAS system was developed under the EC eContent Programme (2006) and delivers systematically a comprehensive set of data and products that characterize ionospheric and plasmaspheric conditions over Europe. The service was recently expanded to retrieve data from 10 European Digisondes and Ionosondes (Athens, Rome, Ebre, Arenosillo, Chilton, Juliusruh, Pruhonice, Moscow, Tromso and Sodankyla), as well as solar wind data from ACE, and supportive data from NOAA (solar and geomagnetic indices) and ROB (GNSS data). Data are collected in the DIAS backend and ingested into prediction models. The resulting products serve more than 500 registered users through the DIAS GUI, through API (on-demand services to ESA, NOAA and IZMIRAN) and through a wrapper interface (ESPAS platform).

Helmos Observatory - "Aristarchos " 2.3m telescope

Helmos Observatory is situated on "Neraidorachi", a mountaintop of the Helmos mountain chain in the Peloponnese. The site is 2340 m above sea level, 220 km southwest of Athens, and is one of the darkest places in continental Europe. Helmos Observatory hosts the "Aristarchos" telescope, an optical telescope designed and manufactured by the german company Carl Zeiss GmbH. The main characteristic of this telescope is its 2.3 m mirror which, combined with the super-sensitive detectors that the telescope is equipped with and the good atmospheric conditions of the site, makes it a very valuable tool for observing astronomical objects, even very faint and very distant objects located in the outskirts of the Universe. More informations about this telescope and site can be found at .

Geomagnetic Array ENIGMA

NOA currently operates ENIGMA (HellENIc GeoMagnetic Array), an array of 3 ground-based magnetometer stations located in Trikala (Klokotos), Attiki (Dionysos) and Lakonia (Velies), Greece. ENIGMA provides measurements for the study of geomagnetic pulsations, resulting from the solar wind- magnetosphere coupling. Ground-based magnetometers have proven to be the workhorse of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling physics. They enable effective remote sensing of geospace dynamics and therefore their importance in space weather monitoring and research is indisputable. ENIGMA is the first magnetometer station array that has ever operated in Greece and within a few years of operation has succeeded in becoming a SuperMAG contributor. SuperMAG ( is a worldwide collaboration of organizations and national agencies that currently operate more than 300 ground-based magnetometers. SuperMAG provides easy access to validated ground magnetic field perturbations in the same coordinate system, identical time resolution and with a common baseline removal approach. The purpose of SuperMAG is enable scientists, teachers, students and the general public to have easy access to measurements of the Earth's magnetic field.

Access Type
Virtual, Remote
Access Mode
Excellence Driven, Wide
Date of last update: 20/03/2018
Printable version