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.
Since the beginning of February, ESA's Solar Orbiter spacecraft has been on route to its intended trajectory around the Sun. From there it will enjoy a unique view of our central star using its ten scientific instruments. Over the past weeks and months, all instruments on board have been gradually commissioned. So far, the results for the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), which is involved in four instruments, have been consistently positive: All systems are functioning as planned.
During a fly-by of Jupiter’s moon Europa twenty years ago, NASA’s space probe Galileo may have witnessed a plume of water. A group of scientists including researchers from MPS have now found new evidence of this event. In computer simulations they strove to reproduce the data gathered by the onboard particle detector that was developed and built at MPS and in the USA. This was only successful under the assumption that a water plume was involved.
The Sun is an ever-changing star: at times, numerous dark sunspots cover its visible surface; at others, the surface is completely "empty". However, by cosmic standards the Sun is extraordinarily monotonous. For the first time, MPS-scientists compared the Sun with hundreds of other stars with similar rotation periods and other fundamental properties. Most of them displayed much stronger variations.
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