Athena School Announcement

We are pleased to announce the first edition of the Athena School: “The Universe in the era of spatially resolved, high-resolution, X-ray spectroscopy”. This CNRS thematic school will be held from the 20th to the 24th of June 2022 in Toulouse, France. It is open to the whole French astronomical community, regardless of prior experience in high energy astrophysics.

Artist’s impression of the Athena observatory (© ESA/IRAP/CNRS/UT3/CNES/Fab&Fab)

Athena (Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics) is ESA’s next generation X-ray observatory. It is the second large-class mission of its Cosmic Vision programme and the successor of current missions, ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra. With its two focal plane instruments, the X-IFU (X-ray Integral Field Unit) and the WFI (Wide Field Imager), Athena will unveil the physics of the Hot and Energetic Universe through spatially resolved high-resolution X-ray spectroscopic observations. Athena will address two fundamental questions in astrophysics: 1) How did matter come together over time to form the Universe as we observe it today? and 2) How do black holes form, grow and shape the Universe?

The lessons and practicals will cover the whole breadth of Athena’s scientific reach i) the dynamical assembly of clusters of galaxies, the chemical enrichment of the Universe; ii) the search for the most distant super-massive black holes, the physical mechanisms coupling black holes and their environment; iii) the life cycle of stars from the chemistry of the intergalactic medium, the physics of stellar winds and of supernova remnant, to the endpoints of stellar evolution, namely compact objects.

The aim of the school is to provide participants (staff, postdocs, PhD students, etc.) with knowledge of the scientific objectives of Athena, foster collaboration in the early stage of their careers, stimulate inter- and multi-disciplinary collaborations, and develop their skills in high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy. No specific background in X-ray astronomy is required to attend the school.

Registration for this event is now opened. The deadline is 30 April 2022.

Each application will be reviewed by the Scientific Organisation Committee.

For further information, please visit our webpage: or contact us at

More news


The SF2A Young Researcher 2022 Prize is awarded to … Audrey Coutens

Press release of the SF2A Audrey Coutens is an assistant astronomer at IRAP since 2021, and she carries out her research on the interstellar medium and the formation sites of […]



F-CELT: an EquipEx+ for the French contribution to the Extremely Large Telescope instruments

In 2027, the largest optical telescope ever built will see its first light at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Named ELT, for Extremely Large […]



The ChemCam team awarded by the Explorers Club

The engineering team of the ChemCam instrument on the Mars rover Curiosity has received a Citation of Merit from the The Explorers Club academic society, which promotes scientific exploration and […]