The research focus of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research is our cosmic neighborhood: the solar system with its planets and moons, comets and asteroids as well as the sun. The aim of the scientists is to describe the processes in the solar system in models and to simulate them on the computer. In addition, instruments are being developed and built to study these bodies from space. The Institute is involved in numerous space missions. More info.

Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research

The research focus of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research is our cosmic neighborhood: the solar system with its planets and moons, comets and asteroids as well as the sun. The aim of the scientists is to describe the processes in the solar system in models and to simulate them on the computer. In addition, instruments are being developed and built to study these bodies from space. The Institute is involved in numerous space missions. More info.


The Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research takes the current situation very seriously and strives both to minimise the risk of infection for its staff and, in general, to contribute to minimising the spread of the virus. Read more about current measures and restrictions here.

Measures due to the current corona risk situation

The Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research takes the current situation very seriously and strives both to minimise the risk of infection for its staff and, in general, to contribute to minimising the spread of the virus.
Read more about current measures and restrictions here.

Using over 18 years of data from ESA's Cluster mission, MPS scientists have mapped the heavy metals in the space surrounding Earth, finding an unexpected distribution and prevalence of iron and shedding light on the composition of our cosmic environment.

Iron is everywhere in Earth's vicinity, suggest two decades of Cluster data

Using over 18 years of data from ESA's Cluster mission, MPS scientists have mapped the heavy metals in the space surrounding Earth, finding an unexpected distribution and prevalence of iron and shedding light on the composition of our cosmic environment.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Christensen, who was director of the department "Planets and Comets" at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) since 2002, has retired. Nevertheless he will continue his scientific work at the institute. Christensen will remain involved in scientific projects and international space missions and will now lead the Emeritus Group “Planetary Interiors”.

Retirement of
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Christensen

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Christensen, who was director of the department "Planets and Comets" at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) since 2002, has retired. Nevertheless he will continue his scientific work at the institute. Christensen will remain involved in scientific projects and international space missions and will now lead the Emeritus Group “Planetary Interiors”.

Different stars can exhibit very different levels of activity. While researchers have long identified the magnetic fields generated in the interior of stars in a dynamo process as drivers of activity, the exact workings of this dynamo are still unclear. A group of scientists led by MPS has now searched for an answer by applying the same analysis to a sample of both main sequence and more evolved stars. They find that a common, turbulence-dependent dynamo mechanism plays a crucial role for stellar activity in all stages of stellar evolution. The results are published in Nature Astronomy.

Turbulent convection at the heart of stellar activity

Different stars can exhibit very different levels of activity. While researchers have long identified the magnetic fields generated in the interior of stars in a dynamo process as drivers of activity, the exact workings of this dynamo are still unclear. A group of scientists led by MPS has now searched for an answer by applying the same analysis to a sample of both main sequence and more evolved stars. They find that a common, turbulence-dependent dynamo mechanism plays a crucial role for stellar activity in all stages of stellar evolution. The results are published in Nature Astronomy.

Research Departments


Sun and Heliosphere

The focus of this department is the solar interior, the solar atmosphere, the solar magnetic field, the heliosphere, and the interplanetary medium, as well as solar radiation and solar energetic particles. The balloon-mission Sunrise, a balloon-borne solar observatory, is managed by this department. The mission investigates our central star from a height of about 35 km. In addition to several other participations in space missions, the department significantly contributes to the ESA's Solar Orbiter.

Planets and Comets

This department investigates the interior, the surfaces, atmospheres, ionospheres, and magnetospheres of planets and their moons, as well as comets and asteroids. The department currently contributes or has contributed to important space missions such as the ESA's missions JUICE to the Jovian system, BepiColombo to Mercury and Rosetta to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko as well as NASA's missions InSight to Mars and Dawn to the asteroid belt.

Solar and Stellar Interiors

Helioseismology and asteroseismology are tools that use the oscillations of the Sun and stars to probe their interior structure and dynamics. This allows us to test and refine the theory of stellar structure and evolution, thereby bringing us closer to understanding solar and stellar magnetism. The department hosts the German Data Center for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, and is preparing to host the data center of ESA's exoplanet hunting mission, PLATO.

At a Glance


International Office

On the pages of the International Office, new employees and guests will find information for their stay in Göttingen and at the institute.

IMPRS

PhD programme: International Max Planck Research School for Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen.

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News

Retirement of Prof. Dr. Ulrich Christensen

March 17, 2020

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Christensen, who was director of the department "Planets and Comets" at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) since 2002, has retired. Nevertheless he will continue his scientific work at the institute. Christensen ...

Turbulent convection at the heart of stellar activity

March 09, 2020

Different stars can exhibit very different levels of activity. The Sun’s coronal mass ejections, flares and sunspots – all signs of solar activity – are rather feeble on an astronomical scale. Other stars are up to ten times more active, for example ...

Mars is seismically active

February 24, 2020

In the first ten months since starting its scientific operations in February 2019, InSight’s seismometer SEIS has detected a total of 174 probable Martian quakes, on average a bit more than one quake every two days. The data published today by ...

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