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 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. Read more about current measures and restrictions here.

The MPS in times of corona: Current status

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.
Read more about current measures and restrictions here.

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.

Solar Orbiter’s first images of the Sun

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.

Gigantic, red and full of spots

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.

Mystery of solar cycle illuminated

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.

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.

Staff at the MPS

Staff directory

Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Canteen at the MPS
Mon - Fri 9 - 13
This week's menu

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News

Closer than ever before: Solar Orbiter’s first images of the Sun

July 16, 2020

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 ...

Gigantic, red and full of spots

July 13, 2020

Starspots are more common among red giant stars than previously thought. In the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, researchers led by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany report that approximately eight percent of red ...

Mystery of solar cycle illuminated

June 25, 2020

Solar activity fluctuates in a rhythm of about eleven years, which is reflected among other things in the frequency of sunspots. A complete magnetic period lasts 22 years. Scientists have long been puzzling over what causes this cycle. It must be ...

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