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Science & Exploration

N° 14–1997: Hipparcos Venice 97 Symposium

8 April 1997

Almost 300 renowned astronomers, astrophysicists and physicists from all over the world will gather in Venice on 13 16 May next at the Hipparcos Venice 97 Symposium, organized by the European Space Agency.

Carried into orbit by an Ariane 4 launcher in 1989, ESA's astrometric satellite Hipparcos monitored 118,218 stars during a period of four years taking the first accurate census of the stars that populate our galaxy. The measurements, precise to one millionth of a degree - a hundred time more precise than equivalent measurements taken by the most sophisticated ground-based observatories- are collected in a catalogue (the Hipparcos Catalogue) to be available to the international community of scientist in June this year.

A second catalogue (the Tycho Catalogue) gives positions and proper motions of 1,038,332 stars with a precision of one hundred thousandth of a degree.

The Hipparcos Symposium in Venice will mark the completion of the Hipparcos and Tycho Catalogues and will also be the first occasion at which the scientific results arising from the mission will be presented and discussed.

Co-sponsored by Matra Marconi Space and Alenia Spazio, the industrial architects of the Hipparcos spacecraft, this symposium will be held at Fondazione Cini, on the Island of S. Giorgio, under the auspices of the City of Venice.

A daily summary of the Symposium works will be available as of 13 May on Internet at the following URL: or under the What's New section of ESA's Science pages on the web at

An open air exhibition on Riva Ca' di Dio, a Venetian quay near the Piazza San Marco, open 1-25 May 1997, echoes the Symposium and catches the attention of the public at large with full size models of the Hipparcos, ISO and SOHO scientific satellites: advanced space science amidst Venetian palaces, history and art.