Finland became a member of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) on 7th July 2004. The mandate of ESO, founded in 1962, is to create and operate “…an observatory equipped with powerful instruments in the Southern Hemisphere and to promote and organise co-operation in astronomical research…” ESO headquarters are located in Garching, Germany, and it operates three world-class observatories in Chile. ESO has currently 15 member states.

The entry fee of Finland to join ESO was about 13 million euros and the annual membership fee is about 2.2 million euros (in 2009). The efficient and comprehensive utilisation of this investment made by Finland to ESO requires coordinated co-operation between all the Finnish universities engaged in astronomical research.

For that purpose, the University of Helsinki, the University of Oulu, the Aalto University (Helsinki) and the University of Turku founded a new astronomy research institute, the Finnish Centre for Astronomy with ESO (FINCA). It started operations 1st January 2010 in the University of Turku, in the premises of Tuorla Observatory.

The mandate of FINCA is

  1. to take care of Finnish co-operation with ESO by networking into the international ESO infrastructure and projects;’
  2. to practise and promote high quality basic and applied research in astronomy, and ESO-related technological development work related to astronomy, and to participate in researcher training in astronomy; and
  3. to foster and implement ESO-related co-operation and joint projects of Finnish universities in the field of astronomy.

The ultimate goal of FINCA is to improve the scientific and industrial benefit of Finland’s membership in ESO, and Finland’s competitiveness and international visibility in astronomical research.

Board of FINCA 2019-2021


Anne Lähteenmäki, Aalto University, anne.lahteenmaki@aalto.fi
Merja Tornikoski, Aalto University, merja.tornikoski@aalto.fi
Jyrki Räisänen, University of Helsinki, jyrki.raisanen@helsinki.fi
Alexis Finoguenov, University of Helsinki, alexis.finoguenov@helsinki.fi
Seppo Mattila,  University of Turku, sepmat@utu.fi
Kalle-Antti Suominen (chair), University of Turku, kalle-antti.suominen@utu.fi
Elina Lindfors (staff representative), University of Turku, elilin@utu.fi
Juergen Schmidt, University of Oulu, jurgen.a.schmidt@oulu.fi
Heikki Salo, University of Oulu, heikki.salo@oulu.fi

Substitute members

Tuomas Savolainen, Aalto University, tuomas.k.savolainen@aalto.fi
Joni Tammi, Aalto University, joni.tammi@aalto.fi
Karri Muinonen, University of Helsinki, Karri.Muinonen@helsinki.fi
Mika Juvela, University of Helsinki, Mika.Juvela@helsinki.fi
Harry Lehto, University of Turku, hlehto@utu.fi
Juri Poutanen, University of Turku, juri.poutanen@utu.fi
Roberto De Propris (staff representative), University of Turku, rodepr@utu.fi
Vitaly Neustroev, University of Oulu, vitaly@neustroev.net
Sebastien Comeron, University of Oulu, seb.comeron@gmail.com

Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)

The Rectors of the Aalto University (Helsinki), the University of Helsinki, the University of Oulu and the University of Turku have nominated a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for FINCA. According to the rules and regulations of FINCA, the SAB serves for three years at a time, and consists of 6 – 10 members, who represent various fields of research being practised at FINCA. At least half of the members have to be from abroad. The task of the SAB is to evaluate the work carried out at FINCA, and to aid the Director and the Board in defining the directions of its research.

During the period 2020-2022 the SAB has the following members

Prof. Susanne Aalto (chair)
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

Prof. Sofia Feltzing
University of Lund, Sweden

Prof. Johan Fynbo
University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Prof. Rob Ivison
European Southern Observatory (ESO), Garching, Germany

Prof. Ariel Goobar
University of Stockholm, Sweden

Prof. Reynier Peletier
University of Groningen