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São Paulo Creates Astronomy Network

Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation SPANET wants to unite state astrophysicists who participate in major international projects such as the GMT supertelescopeGiant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

An alliance designed to boost research and development in astronomy and instrumentation. This is the motto of the São Paulo Astronomy Network (SPANET), officially established on March 16 with an event held at FAPESP. “Our objective is to create a connection between researchers and to increase the importance of astronomy in the state,” explains SPANET coordinator and astrophysicist Laerte Sodré Júnior, director of the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of São Paulo (IAG-USP). About 160 researchers from various institutions in São Paulo are working in the field of astronomy. Together, they produce more than 500 scientific articles annually, about 2.2% of all the astronomy papers published worldwide per year. The impact of this output, measured by the number of citations, has been above the global average for the last five years. Many of these researchers collaborate with major international projects in the field, such as the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) in Chile, scheduled to start operating in 2022. SPANET aims to increase collaboration among astronomers in São Paulo by promoting courses, workshops, resource sharing, and infrastructure. As well as academic research, the network wants to encourage technology companies in São Paulo to participate in the development of astronomy instrumentation. They also plan to stimulate astrophysics and education projects across the state. “We will establish a strategy for each front: science, technology, and education,” explains Sodré.