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 risk situation due to the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 very seriously. It is the Institute's primary objective to minimize the risk of infection for its staff and to contribute in general to minimizing the spread of the virus.
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Only a few months after its launch, ESA's Solar Orbiter has captured images of the Sun from a previously unattainable distance. Among other things, these images reveal structures in the Sun's atmosphere that could possibly be interpreted as so-called nanoflares, very small bursts of radiation. The images were taken in the days before and after 15 June, when the spacecraft reached the point closest to the Sun on its current orbit. Only 77 million kilometres separated the probe from our star.
Starspots are more common among red giant stars than previously thought. In the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics MPS researchers report that approximately eight percent of red giants exhibit such spots. Although red giants are generally regarded as slowly rotating stars, those with starspots are apparently an exception. The new publication offers a comprehensive analysis of the reasons for their short rotation periods.
Solar activity fluctuates in a rhythm of about eleven years. Scientists have long been puzzling over what causes this cycle. It must be related to the plasma flows beneath the "skin" of our star. A team of scientists led by MPS has now succeeded in drawing the most comprehensive picture of the plasma flows in nort-south-direction to date. The researchers have found a remarkably simple flow geometry: the plasma describes a single turnover in each solar hemisphere, which lasts for about 22 years.
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