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Institut d'Astrophysique et
de Géophysique (Bât. B5c)

Quartier Agora
Allée du 6 août, 19C
B-4000 Liège 1 (Sart-Tilman)

Tel.: 04.366.9774
Fax: 04.366.9729

Master in Space Sciences


Our students have access to several facilities (in Liège and abroad) in support of their training, either during courses or in the framework of their Master thesis. This enables a significant part of the educational programme to be practical, providing students with a high-level preparation for their future professional activities. In the context of the Master thesis, students have the opportunity to process and analyse data from ground-based and space-borne observatories. A non-exhaustive list of these facilities is briefly presented below.

The roof of the Physics building is equipped with an automated telescope (under a dome) made available to bachelor and master students for laboratory work and to allow scientific research for master theses. This observatory is composed of a telescope equipped with a 26-cm-diameter mirror and a 2k×2k-CCD camera allowing star, galaxies and exoplanets to be observed and studied. Furthermore, several night observing sessions are organized during the year and are open to all students.
TRAPPIST is a robotic telescope located in Chile. It consists of a 60-cm-diameter primary mirror equipped with a 2k×2k-CCD camera operated with a large set of broad and narrow band filters. It is mainly dedicated to the search for exoplanets and the study of small solar-system bodies. Several students of the Master have been involved in observations that notably led to the discovery of new asteroids.
The el-Tigre telescope located on the site of La Luz (Mexico) is a joint project between the universities of Hamburg (Germany), Guanajuato (Mexico) and Liège (Belgium). It is a fully robotic telescope with a primary mirror of 1.2-m diameter equipped with a spectrometer operating in the full visible domain. Master thesis topics are frequently proposed in relation with data collected with this telescope. It is used essentially for stellar astrophysics, in particular for variability studies of stars over time scales of a few days up to several years.
The planeterrella is a small device designed to simulate planetary auroras. It is used to reproduce and observe phenomena related to plasma physics and magnetospheric environments in laboratory conditions. Experiments conducted with the planeterrella are used as a complement to studies of auroras in the magnetosphere of giant planets such as Jupiter or Saturn.
Students also have the opportunity to participate in a traineeship in astronomical observations at the Calern observatory, very close to Nice (in the South of France). The traineeship consists of a stay of about 5 days (and nights!) dedicated to observations with meter-class telescopes. This opportunity allows students to participate in the complete process, from project definition over data acquisition to data processing with dedicated software to retrieve scientific images.
The Centre Spatial de Liège (CSL) is a research center dedicated to space instrumentation including environmental test facilities and high-level laboratories. It works for the European Space Agency, for the space industry and for regional firms. Several space observatories have been tested or partly built at CSL. Opportunities for Master theses are frequently given by CSL staff members to Master students.
Beside all these facilities made available to students, it is important to mention that master thesis supervisors have access to world-class facilities operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the European Space Agency (ESA). As a consequence, many Master thesis topics involve scientific data obtained with the best ground-based and space-borne observatories.
University of Liège > Faculty of Sciences > Department of Astrophysics, Geophysics and Oceanography : CoWebAGO, May 2015.