On the morning of February 13, 2023, the small asteroid 2023 CX1 entered Earth's atmosphere, 7 hours after discovery. Its former provisional name was SAR2667.
The asteroid was observed for two hours from Berthelot Observatory - The Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, the last observation being recorded 20 minutes before impact.
In the image, the asteroid is visible as a streak which crosses the image from bottom right to the top.
The estimated diameter of this celestial body was about 1 meter.
Desegregation of this object took place north of Le Havre (France) and its debris fell over France and in the English Chanel.
On May 20, 2023, the popular astronomy and science educational fair - Astrofest 2023 opened again its gates of knowledge to the public, in Bucharest. The Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy had a fully featured stand for the entire duration of the event, and welcomed there a large number of visitors of all ages.
Inside and outside our colorful educational stand, AIRA’s outreach team members - Dr. Diana Ionescu, Octavian Blagoi, Dr. Simon Anghel, Dr. Dumitru Pricopi, Cristian Dănescu, Sorin Marin and Cristian Omăt, presented to the public our main research areas in astronomy and beyond it, in other associated scientific fields. To better introduce the visitors to our research fields, a binocular stereo microscope was used to analyze the features of a Sericho pallasite meteorite fragment discovered in Kenya in 2016. Our magnetic field experiment and that of the proportion size of planets relative to the size of our Sun complemented the discussion about the variety of space bodies and their features in our Solar System.
In front of the AIRA stand, our educational refractory telescopes determined the formation of queues of people for the whole day. They waited patiently and eager only to have a glimpse of Venus through these fine instruments.
On the main stage of Astrofest 2023 event, Dr. Mirel Bîrlan, our Director, revealed some of the challenges of a light polluted metropolis like Bucharest for the astronomical research, while the astronomy historian Sorin Marin presented in brief the story of the scientific infrastructure build-up process that took place on AIRA’s present day domain since the 19th C.
On the 1st of April 2023, the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy (AIRA) celebrates 115 years of continuous scientific endeavour. The governmental Decree issued by the Minister of Public Instruction and Religious Affairs, Spiru Haret, on April 1, 1908, created the Astronomical and Meteorological Observatory of Bucharest - the present day Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy. Back then, at the turn of the XXst Century, that new scientific institution was developed as the next step of the Romanian astronomy after its previous pioneering age. Since those times of the Old Kingdom of Romania, the building up of scientific knowledge and infrastructure has been advancing constantly, in favorable periods or during economic, politically and military turmoil.
Inside the Main Building of AIRA, a true astronomy palace of Romania constructed in between 1908-1912, the Romanian scientists brought and sometimes even designed, a number of great astronomical instruments such as the refractory telescopes Prin-Merz (1912) and Gautier-Prin (1926), the Zeiss Transit Instrument (1953), the Zeiss solar refractors (1957-1958), the Cassegrain Telescope (1964), the precise vacuum dome fundamental pendulums Le Roy (1930) and Riefler (1956), or the massive quartz clock Rohde & Schwarz (1967), large photographic equipment such as the camera AFU-75 (1970).
Always in the scientific service of our country, the Romanian astronomers calculated and reported for decades the Legal Time of Romania by studying the Earth’s rotation, our primordial clock.
During 1908-2023, the calculating and computing hardware used here by the astronomers, evolved from the old Odhner and Mercedes mechanical calculating machines to the present day AI scripts and reduction algorithms developed indoor at AIRA, running on a super-computer with hundreds of cores and as big as a medium-sized office.
In 1908, on the astronomical side, the Bucharest Astronomical and Meteorological Observatory had a 16 square meters Meridian Hall that hosted a 1893 Geneva-made refractory telescope, and another Bardou refractory telescope, working together with a few precise clocks. Today, AIRA has a vast human operated and AI robotic infrastructure in astronomy covering hectares of scientific parks and development platforms, that is composed of directly or remotely operated telescopes like those in Berthelot, Cluj-Napoca, Bucharest and Timișoara Astronomical Observatories, the MOROI network of all-sky cameras spread all over the territory of our Motherland, never falling asleep, stellar investigating hardware, algorithms and protocols, starting with our Sun, in various types of spectrum radiation from visible to radio and up to the advanced mathematical models. AIRA is nowadays dynamically integrated with the ESA projects and space missions flow of data.
Today, the former scientific research facilities such as the Meridian Hall or the Equatorial Dome, where the old instruments are preserved, are visited every year by thousands of children and adults. They hear and see with amazed eyes the story of the achievements of Romania in astronomy and of generations of scientists led by Nicolae Coculescu, Gheorghe Demetrescu, Ella Marcus, Călin Popovici, Constantin Drâmbă and others. They also understand that this was a national effort in astronomy and beyond it, a story of struggle, dedication, perseverance, heroism and humanity of the Romanian astronomers who fought in the scientific field as well as on the military battlefields under the flag of Romania.
On March 13, 2023, during AIRA's solar patrol, we observed a spectacular phenomena - a filament eruption, followed by an C3.1-class flare. A C-class flare is a medium-sized flare that releases energies from 10−6 to 10−5 W/m2 (for peak flux range at 0.1-0.8 nm), an energy that would be equivalent to one 100 W light-bulb emitting light for more than 6 days.
AIRA's solar patrol data is observing the solar full disk in white light and Halpha every day the weather conditions permit, and the data is available at http://solar1.astro.ro/~solar/observations.html. The instrument is a refractor – Carl Zeiss Jena refractor 80/1200 mm with an Halpha filter (Solar Spectrum S-1.5 (0.3A)), while the CCD camera used is an Atik11000 (4008x2672 px, 0.009 mm, 16 bit).
The observed filament eruption was not associated to any active region on the Sun's surface, such as defined by NOAA and can be found at https://www.solarmonitor.org/, and was located at N27E07 (Carrington coordinates). The filaments’ length, before the eruption, was ~250000 km.