Mercury exosphere ground-based observation WORKSHOP

ESTEC, noordvijk, October 4-5 2018

(Meeting room: Na213 in ERASMUS building)


A two-day workshop is organized on 4+5 October 2018 at ESTEC to bring together several experts of ground-based observations

  • to understand and identify the ground-based observation possibilities to observe Mercury within the next decade,
  • to understand the observatory, instrument, and observation constraints,
  • to identify scientific objectives,
  • to identify observation strategies, and
  • prepare a preliminary Mercury’s exosphere ground-based observation plan for the next years.


The organizing committee is currently addressing observatory staff of night and solar telescopes in Europe, the US, Africa, Japan, and India. It has to be noted, that night telescopes usually try to avoid pointing at Mercury due to the risks connected to the vicinity of the Sun; for this reason, we preferentially aim to address our study to solar observatories. Nevertheless, both options will be investigated.

It has been increasingly difficult over the past years to obtain Mercury ground-based observations and since about 4 years there are NO observations anymore from Europe (due to closure of solar telescopes or their refurbishments). Hence, the final goal of the workshop is of course to get access to Earth-based telescopes to get ground-based observations of Mercury to image Mercury’s exosphere. These observations will allow us to infer about exosphere generation processes as well as about the complex interactions occurring with interplanetary and intrinsic magnetic fields, surface, micrometeorites and solar wind particles and radiation.

This dataset (as already done in the past with previous data obtained at the THEMIS solar telescope in the Canary Island and related publications: Leblanc et al 2008, Leblanc et al 2009, Mangano et al 2013, Mangano et al 2015, Massetti et al 2017, Orsini et al 2018), will allow the science investigations on the mentioned topics, but it is also meant to provide fundamental complementary global imaging of Mercury exosphere during first BepiColombo in-situ measurements along the 6 flybys at Mercury starting in 2021, and up to orbit insertion in 2025 and in-orbit operations in early spring 2026.


The Organizing Committee (OC) is lead by Prof. J. Huovelin, University of Helsinki, Dr. V. Mangano, INAF/IAPS, Rome, Joana S. Oliviera, J. Benkhoff, and J. Zender, ESA/ESTEC.


                         FINAL agenda




(Room Na213, Erasmus building)

09:30 Registration and Coffee
10:00  J. Zender Welcome, Introduction, and Logistics
10:15  V. Mangano Scientific Objectives of the Workshop
Present Status

S. Kameda (via webex)

Haleakala Station  (17:45 in Tokyo)
11:15  C. Schmidt Boston University Campaign
11:45  V. Mangano THEMIS Campaign
12:15  R. Killen & T. Morgan McMath-Pierce Campaign
12:45  B. Gaehrken Amateur Telescope Observations
13:00  Lunch
Requirements and new potential telescopes
14:00 ALL, lead by J.Huovelin Discussion on requirements for future Mercury Observations
14:50  S. Mathew  (via webex) Udaipur Solar Telescope
15:10 M. Brentjes LOFAR
15:30 N.N. ( supported by C. Schmidt and D. Del Moro) GREGOR/VTT
15:50 J. Huovelin Nordic Optical Telescope
16:10 A. Sickafoose (given by V. Mangano) SALT (Amanda will be dialing in on Friday only)
16:30 B. Gelly THEMIS
16:50 B. Gaehrken Amateur Telescopes: possibilities
17:10 ALL, led by V. Mangano Discussion on Achievable Objectives (identify missing telescopes, proposal deadlines, achievable science goals, funding needs, etc)
18:10-18.30   Summary and Closure




(Room Na213, Erasmus building)

09:00 A. Sickafoose SALT
09:30 All, lead by Juhani Discussion on requirements for future Mercury Observations
10:00 All, let by Valeria Discussion on Achievable Objectives (identify missing telescopes, proposal deadlines, achievable science goals, funding needs, etc)
11:00  ALL, led by Joe

Discussion Items:

  • Geographical distribution
  • Access and Availabilitty of Telescopes
  • Funding Needs
  • Data Processing and Archiving
  • Policy for Future Publications
  • Create an official group?
12:00 Visit to ESTEC Test Centre
13:00 Lunch
14:00 ALL, led by D. Del Moro CME Alerts, reaction time, 
  • target of opportunity
14:30  ALL, led by R. Killen


  • Mercury Transit 2019
  • Workplan 2019/2020 
16:00-16.40 ALL Summary, Review of Action Items, and Closure