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MPS Projects and Research Teams

Sun and Heliosphere

Projects are listed from latest to earliest. Future, current, and past projects.

Coronal-Dynamics Coronal-Dynamics: Understanding the structure and dynamics of the corona
Theory group
Cool stars like our Sun are surrounded by a million Kelvin hot outer atmosphere, the corona. It is still puzzling what sustains its high temperature, being 100 to 1000 times hotter than the stellar surface. Being related to (changes of) the magnetic field, we can expect the heating mechanism to change the structure of the corona, to drive plasma flows, and to induce wave phenomena. On the Sun we can observe this dynamic evolution of the corona in detail, especially through spectroscopy and imaging at extreme ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths.
Project description
Coronal-Dynamics home page
Sun-Climate Sun-Climate: Solar variability and climate
Theory group
Radiation from the Sun makes Earth a habitable planet. Fluctuations in the solar radiative output are therefore likely to affect the climate on Earth, but establishing both how the output of the Sun varies and how such variations influence Earth's climate have proved tricky. Increased amounts of data from the Sun and about the climate on Earth over recent years means that rapid progress is being made. This work is aimed at understanding solar variability and the Sun's influence on the Earths' climate.
Project description
Sun-Climate home page
CSI CSI: Coronal Spectroscopy and Imaging
Data Analysis
The group studies physical processes in the solar chromosphere, transition region and corona, thereby applying both observational techniques and theoretical modelling. The upper solar atmosphere is best observed in the wavelength ranges of the far and extreme ultraviolet and soft X-rays, emissions that are only accessible from space. Our research aims at describing and understanding the fundamental plasma processes at all scales in the upper solar atmosphere and addresses in particular the unsolved problems of coronal heating and solar wind acceleration. We also study atomic radiation processes, ionic excitation and de-excitation, radiation transport and wave-particle interactions.
Project description
SoCo3D SoCo3D: Solar Corona in 3D
Theory group
The magnetic field couples the solar interior with the photosphere and corona where it drives heating processes and eruptive phenomena like flares and coronal mass ejections. We developed sophisticated computer-codes to model the coronal magnetic field and plasma by nonlinear and self-consistent extrapolation techniques, stereoscopy and tomography.
Project description
SoCo3D home page
Solar-MHD Solar-MHD: Solar and stellar magnetohydrodynamics
Theory group
Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) describes the dynamical interaction between flows and magnetic fields in a collisionally dominated plasma. The work of the MHD group at MPAe is mainly concerned with MHD processes in the interior and atmosphere of the Sun and other stars. Using large-scale numerical simulations and analytical tools, this work aims at understanding the origin of solar and stellar magnetism as well as its rich variety of manifestations in the form of magnetic activity.
Project description
Solar-MHD home page
Solar-Plasma Solar-Plasma: Solar Wind Particles and Fields
Data analysis and theory group
The group is mainly engaged in theory and modelling of the solar corona and solar wind, with emphasis on plasma kinetics and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulence. The solar research aims at understanding basic plasma processes at all scales in the solar corona, especially in the transition region, and addresses the fundamental problem of coronal heating by plasma waves and small-scale magnetic activity. The solar wind research focuses on MHD turbulence and wave-particle interactions.
Project description
Plasma-Simulations Plasma-Simulations: Theory and simulation of solar system plasmas
Theory group
The main emphasis of the research work in the group is put on the energy release in the Universe by magnetic reconnection and on the resulting turbulence, structure formation, plasma heating and particle acceleration to high energies. Applications are magnetic substorms in planetary magnetospheres, the heating of the solar corona, e.g. of EUV and X-ray Bright Points, solar flares, coronal mass ejections and particle acceleration. The research methods are kinetic (Vlasov- and PIC-code) simulations as well as combined kinetic-MHD plasma simulations, developed in the group. Starting from heliosphysical plasma processes conclusions are drawn als for galactic and extragalactic plasma processes like jets out of active galactic nuclei or the interaction of extrasolar planets with their stars.
Project description
SLAM SLAM: Solar Lower Atmosphere and Magnetism
Data Analysis
Imaging and spectroscopy of the Sun in the near UV, visible and near IR: High-resolution solar imaging using phase diversity image reconstruction techniques and High-precision spectro-polarimetry (Zeeman polarimetry and Hanle diagnostics of scattering polarization).
Project description
SLAM home page
Solar-Orbiter Solar-Orbiter: High-Resolution Mission to the Sun and Inner Helisphere
Planned Launch: 2017
The scientific rationale of the Solar Orbiter (SO) is to provide, at high spatial and temporal resolution, multi-wavelength observations of the solar atmosphere and comprehensive in-situ measurements of the unexplored inner heliosphere. Solar Orbiter is now proposed for ESA's Cosmic Vision programme.
Participation: PHI: Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager, SPICE: Spectral Imaging of the Coronal Environment, EUI: Extreme Ultraviolet Imager, METIS-ICOR: Multi Element Telescope for Imaging and Spectroscopy
Project description
Solar-Orbiter home page
Sunrise Sunrise: A balloon-borne solar telescope
Planned first flight: 2009
The Sunrise project aims at high-resolution spectro-polarimetric observations of the solar atmosphere on the intrinsic spatial scale of its magnetic structure. The Sunrise telescope with 1 m aperture and its instruments will provide spectra and images resolving spatial scales down to 35 km on the Sun. The main scientific goal of the mission is to understand the formation of magnetic structures in the solar atmosphere and to study their interaction with the convective plasma flows.
Project description
Sunrise home page
STEREO STEREO: The Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory
Planned Launch: August 2006
STEREO is a NASA mission designed to make the first 3D observations of the Sun and inner Heliosphere to help unveil the origin, evolution and interplanetary consequences of coronal mass ejections.
Participation: SECCHI: EUV imager and white-light coronagraphs, IMPACT: Solar energetic particle package
Project description
STEREO home page
SOHO SOHO: The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
Launch: December 2, 1995
SOHO is designed to study the internal structure of the Sun, its extensive outer atmosphere and the origin of the solar wind, the stream of highly ionized gas that blows continuously outward through the Solar System. The view of the Sun is achieved by operating SOHO from a permanent vantage point 1.5 million kilometers sunward of the Earth in a halo orbit around the L1 Lagrangian point.
Participation: SUMER: UV spectrometer, LASCO: Coronagraph, CELIAS: Particle instrument
Project description
SOHO home page
ULYSSES ULYSSES: The solar polar mission
Launch: October 6, 1990
A joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency, Ulysses was carried into Earth orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery and propelled toward Jupiter, where the giant planet's gravity helped direct the craft's flight path into an unusual orbit around the Sun (first spacecraft to leave the ecliptic plane). It has since made several orbital passes of the Sun's north and south poles.
Participation: EPAC: Energetic PArticles Composition Instrument, GAS: Neutral Gas Instrument, SWICS: Particle Instrument
Project description
ULYSSES home page
HELIOS HELIOS: German-American spacecraft orbiting the sun
HELIOS 1: 1974 - 1986, HELIOS 2: 1976-1980
Helios 1 and Helios 2 were a pair of deep space probes developed in Germany in a cooperative program with NASA.
Participation: E1: Plasma instrument, E8: Particle instrument
Project description
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